Wednesday, April 4, 2012
For the past four or five years, as I get ready for work each day, The Today Show has been in the background of my morning routine. The habit began after Katie Couric left the show (she annoys me sorry). I love Ann Curry, she has sadly been getting a bit of backlash lately and admittedly she was better beside Meredith Vierra instead of being forced to be her, but I still think she is one of the most impressive women on any of the network news shows. If you give any credit to The Kinsey Scale, my gay numbers go down dramatically when Natalie Morales is on the air. She is pleasant, intelligent and quite simply HOT. My score numbers dip even further down when Savannah Guthrie is on. I have a massive crush on Savannah and love watching her maneuver her way through three of the most annoying people on the show. (Those 'experts' Nancy Snyderman, Star Jones and ego inflated Donnie Deutsch).
But thumbs down to The Today Show for their overreaction to Katie's GMA Appearance. First off, as her nightly news number proved, there is not the audience for Katie there once was. Secondly, there knee jerk reaction to having Sarah Palin come on for the morning was both insulting to loyal viewers and to Sarah as well. Television shows have yet to learn that stunts to pull in new viewers often backfire by alienating old viewers and this week for the first time I have considered switching to CBS. I think Ryan Seacrest is one of the best hosts on TV, but I don't want to see him on a news show early in the morning... The Today Show had no need to pull out the big guns this week, a smart producer would have continued on status quo. By reacting so strongly they opened up their insecurities for all to see.
Generally, art bred from themes of bondage and fetish, images which use chains and restraints, veil's made from both fabric and shadow to cloak an individuals face, are not images that usually draw me in. It is that much more intriguing to me then, when I find an artist who uses those themes in work that commands I explore.
Just as when I profiled the work of Von Melzer and his fetish inspired images, Kim Hanson's artistry nervously draws me in. Nervous, not as in scary, but nervous as in carefully. Over the years most of us have been sent various messages about erotica and bondage. It requires putting these messages aside, re-thinking, or not thinking at all, and letting go to be able to fully savor the power within the work.
When I see Kim's work, the chains, the bodies, I cannot help but see it as an artistic visual interpretation of the themes explored in the most famous novel with bondage in the title, W. Somerset Maugham's 1915 masterpiece, Of Human Bondage. The novel was not so much based on literal bondage, but emotional, the kind we all experience at one time or another throughout our lives. A self inflicted bondage that can freeze and trap us within ourselves. Our minds have the mighty ability to paralyze us, exploiting our vulnerabilities and especially our fears.
In Maugham's novel, we follow Philip Carey's passage into adulthood and into relationships, one particularly destructive relationship, that has him losing almost everything including his sanity. Themes such as; passion versus reason, bondage and freedom, religion, opposition and even the question of what exactly is art, are all explored within the pages of the book.
The men in Kim's work are all involved in similar emotional and physical struggles. Although Kim does not always focus directly or clearly on his subjects faces, he manages to clearly convey their deep emotional strife and suffering through lighting, pose and especially their eyes and body and even through muscle definition and position. Most of the men Kim shoots are at some sort of risk, not standing or supported by what is around them or under their feet. Most are vulnerable, exposed, hanging, seeking or searching for something to both ground them and fill them.
Some of my favorite shots from Kim included his work with model and performer Bryan Slater, especially these chain trapeze shots from 2009.
Bryan describes Kim as one of the most generous and collaborative photographers he has worked with and the two artists have work creatively together many times since their first shoot back in 2007. Based in New York City, Bryan began erotic modeling with Kim and fellow NY based photographer Walter Kurtz, and soon after began working professionally in the adult entertainment industry. Bryan has been seen in several films by Dragon Media, Titan Media as well as films for Hot House, Lucas Entertainment and Dark Alley. Check out more great images of Bryan by both Kim and many other talented photographers at his great blog HERE:
'Kim is a photographer who doesn't get nearly enough attention. Part of what I love about working with Kim is the sense of freedom and play he inspires when we shoot. Often, as illustrated in these shots, he does this by giving me a prop - whether it is a bit of chain, a bolt of fur or model Tommy Deluca - and saying "Let's see what we can do with this.'
'I can't even begin to explain the degree of difficulty in getting these shots because Kim makes it look so easy! Coordinating three mirrors, lighting and a model so that the photographer gets everything in the shot composed, lit and WITHOUT getting himself caught in the reflection is no easy feat.'
'Kim expressed an interest in photographing something other than my dick and my abs...namely, my ass. He remains one of the few photographers who have focused their attention on my posterior so frequently and successfully. Kim's work is widely collected by enthusiasts of erotic and photographic art. I am proud to say that many of his images of me are in private collections across the country.'
New York born and based artist Kim Hanson has been been photographing people for close to 20 years. his work has appeared in numerous gallery shows throughout his home in New York to as far afield as New Zealand. Hanson's images have also appeared in various publications, magazines, galleries and Museums. In addition to his nude work, the artist is also known for his portraits, mostly of performers, and has also been recognized artistically with a one-man show exhibiting his portraits of gay singer/songwriters.
Kim Hanson Official Site
Kim Hanson on ModelMayhem
Oh yes, the topic title, The Erection Exception... I don't post that many erection shots on FH, and it is by choice. I think one of the main reason I don't is that I frequently find them lazy. For some reason many photographers, many very well known, almost seem to think because a model has a hard-on, no other work is required. All of a sudden, all other aspects in the creation of an image, lighting, composition and most importantly 'story' go out the window. There are exceptions of course, I have posted recently some really sexy shots of Quinn Christopher Jaxon and others in the past, but more often than not, they just don't do much for me. I especially dislike those images where photo editing is used to morph and distort hard-on's to look like nuclear missiles.
But the image below, wow, it has become one of my favorite images of all time. Though I almost don't want to say exactly why, but would love to hear some of your thoughts. There is just a strength within the image, enhanced by the erection, that really made an impact on me. I think the contrast between the erection and the emotion expressed within the models eyes and face is extremely powerful. Issues of power, control, race, pain, and what it means being a man are all beautifully woven into the image. This is one of very few images in which the fact there is an erection is both totally insignificant and creatively crucial all at the same time.