Sunday, December 16, 2012
I am sure most of you have heard the saying that 'It's not where you end up but its how you got there.' Lately I have been trying to get my head around exactly what it means, not literally, but it's meaning to me and how I live my life.
I always said that FH is about story. It is not enough for me to simply post images. I am not sure exactly what those who have tumblr pages actually get from it. Yes, I know hot images of naked guys might be enough for many, but after a minute or two they frustrate me. Pages and pages of uncredited images just drive me crazy as when I see an image that has me stop and take a closer look, I always want to know who shot it, who the model is and what the concept behind it was.
I guess I am stuck as a three year old, annoying others with 'why' questions. I have discovered over the last year that story, really isn't what I am after, I thought it was, but working on the blog the past year has had me discover my quest is more specific. I think it began with Robert J Guttke. I spent a lot of time working with Robert last year on pieces for FH and tMf magazine. When asking Robert about his work, he had more than story, he had perspective on process. How outstanding images came to be, what first inspired them, brought them to life and led to the finished work we are all right clicking and saving to our hard drives.
Robert gave me incredible start to finish accounts of how a particular photos were created. These accounts were as fascinating and stimulating as the image itself. It helped define what my purpose with FH is. Providing readers who enjoy the blog with information about process, information that makes those who don't just scroll by it be glad that they stopped to read. Text that doesn't just provide breaks between images but stories that actually add to the pleasure that can be enjoyed by an image. I don't always succeed of course, most times I fall short. But if the final image is the destination, chronicling the process is for me the journey.
Today, I explore the process featuring two diverse, yet equally talented, artists. Photographer Angus Malcolm, whose work I have featured regularly on FH. His process of creating breathtaking images of the male form has never been as fascinating to watch as it is with his work with the Warwick Rowers. I only recently discovered the work of artist and painter Felix d'Eon, whose work you see showcased in this post. Although Felix is a photographer, his end goal is not a photo, his destination is a drawing or painting. I have become totally captivated with his images detailing his creation process, the behind the scenes, on set, account of the experience of both artist and model. Felix's process images, are exactly what I try to do with text, when putting together a feature for the blob.
'As sportsmen, we believe that everyone should be empowered to to fulfill their potential and be true to themselves'.
I have been covering the Warwick Rowing calendar and video for the past several years. (Check out previous posts HERE:) I am not sure the project, or the rowers, would have reached such incredible success without the talents of photographer Angus Malcolm. Angus has an eye for capturing the most incredible images of boys on the verge of becoming men. Boys At The Lumina was a favorite feature of mine, the images so breathtaking. Angus has the unique ability to capture not just the body, but the spirit, that essence of youth, the energy that is the core of the men in front of his lens.
This years calendar was completely sold out off the advance publicity around the video and Angus tells me that it went viral before they had really begun the publicity campaign. As soon as I saw my first image I headed over to purchase one but they were already completely gone! I can't be disappointed however as the calendar's proceeds go towards The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation which he created to combat homophobia and bullying.
Still available however is the behind the scenes video of the making of the calendar. In the video, Brokeback Boathouse, you get a look behind the shoot with Angus and the Warwick Rowers! The video is truly amazing, I think my favorite calendar shoot video ever. The video, like the images, captures such spirit and fun, something some of the other calendar creators have long abandoned. It is available for download now on the Warwick Official Site. You can also check out downloads for hundreds of images from the shoot.
Here are some of the incredible images created by Angus along with some captures of the process from the 2013 behind the scenes video.
'We got slightly slammed last year for blurring, but we had no choice - several of the guys hadn't really understood that creating implied nudity on film is a very different game to creating implied nudity in a still image. I didn't want to compromise or upset anyone, so we blurred out almost all of the frontal nudity. As a result, I spent a lot of time with the guys this year, explaining that if we were going to use blurring, we might as well not bother making a film, because it just annoys people to know that the goods are there on display, but they aren't being allowed in on the secret.'
'Inevitably some guys have been braver than others about putting it all out there, but I think they've all been very sporting about letting some of the really racy shots stay in so people feel they've got value for money. Certainly, the unanimous story so far from purchasers has been that it's a bargain!'
Angus Malcolm Tumblr:
Below: Passing The Torch: Chris and Matt
Loved this video sequence of Matt and Chris with photographer Angus Malcolm.
'I am a gay, Mexican artist living in San Francisco and totally devoted to the art of the male nude.'
Felix's devotion to the male nude is evident in so many ways. His site is massive. You can literally spend hours and hours on the artist's site and blog devouring his art, behind the scenes images and incredible detail into the artist process. The 'In The Studio' section was amazing, with start to finish stories of his process of working with models from inspiration through creation and execution.
-From the About Felix section of Felix's site-
Felix d'Eon was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, to a Mexican mother and a French father. His father passed away while Felix was still a boy, and the family (mother, two sisters, a little brother and a twin brother) moved to Pacific Palisades in Southern California. Felix demonstrated an early aptitude for art, and began drawing students, boyfriends, and other members of his swim team from life while he was in High School. His mother enrolled him in figure drawing courses at a local community college at age 15, but shortly thereafter, Felix and his brother ran away from home and spent nearly a year living on a beach in Mexico, and then in Mexico City, working as "models," drawing sidewalk portraits, and with occasional stints as kept boys. Upon returning to Pacific Palisades and graduating High School, he went to live in San Francisco, where he graduated with honours from the Academy of Art University.
'My twin, the talented musician Marcelito d'Eon and I share an addiction to art, music, boys, and most especially, travel. I feel that everyone should have goals and ours include visiting every nude beach in Europe, every bath-house in Asia, and every Dude Ranch here in the States.'
Photography and art are often described by many of the artists I profile as a love and a passion. I think Felix is the first artist I have heard, describe it as an addiction. We all know that addictions can be harmful, but they can also for a time, create incredible highs of emotion, vivid imagery and a heightened sense of ecstasy allowing the user to transcend normal levels of consciousness. It is this high that fuels the work of Felix d'Eon. Unlike a regular high however, one that usually only is remembered through a blurred memory, Felix is able to capture his high and share it with those of us not wanting to fly quite as close to the flame.
Felix d'Eon Official Site:
Felix d'Eon Blog:
Felix d'Eon e-bay art store:
'Pete came by today to model for an Academy - this is a sort of drawing done in the 19th and late 18th centuries, usually of the male nude, as a drawing exercise to perfect one's drawing ability. While it was originaly meant as student practice, in the hands of some master's it became a profound and finished work of art in its own right. i have continued that tradition in my own studio, usually doing one Academy a week. The following is the process for the latest Academy of Pete.'
'I decided before he came that I wanted to draw him in the straw hat I bought before leaving for Tennessee and sandals, in order to set up some sort of narrative. I have a large shell collection, and Pete came up with the pose - of himself listening to a seashell - himself. I loved the very first pose he did right away, so I started the drawing without the usual preliminaries of gesture drawings. In the photo above, the drawing is seen after the first half hour. I used the distance from the top of his hat to his neck as one unit, and with that as a measurement figured out how big to make the figure to fit on the page, and then laid him out in very soft tones.'
'Below is the finished drawing! I added a small seashell at his feet to place the figure in a context, and to help make sence of the shell in his hands, which has mostly obscured. I spent the last hour or so going back over the figure with my stumping tools, smothing and refining, and carefully observing the model so as to get all the shadows just right.'
'I had Steven come to the studio today to model for a drawing; I decided to do a double portrait of sorts, in which he would play two different characters. I had a general idea in my head of how the two figures would be posed before I started. Below, you can see me working on the first part of the drawing.'
'In the photos below, you can see the first part of the drawing in progress. I have laid out the first, foreground figure, and have largely drawn it from the top down. The sheet of paper is much larger than would fit in my scanner, so I have only included close-ups of the actual figure. I usually start with a light brown colored pencil, and in this drawing, I used a dark brown pencil for the shadows. I then added a touch of red watercolor to his lips and cheeks, and white acrylic paint as the highlights on his face. I use acrylic on his face because a brush with a fine tip gives me far greater accuracy than a thick piece of chalk, which is what I used for the white highlights on his body, where less precision is necessary.'
Below is the image as it appeared at its conclusion.
'In the photo above you can see James in the pose, while I work from life on the preparatory drawing. The drawing takes up the full first session. Oil paint is transparent, so I make a drawing that I can transfer to canvas, that way I make my mistakes in the forgiving medium of charcoal, rather than the unforgiving medium of oil. After the first session, I transfer the drawing to canvas, and with the second session, start the underpainting.'
'Above you can see me at work, contemplating the painting. At this point I took a break and let the painting sit for a couple of weeks, while the paint dried and I thought about directions to take it.'
'Finally, I feel finished for this session. The landscape is largely finished - I am going to work on the stream running in the corner, and will add bright highlights and leaves to the vegetation to the upper right when the paint dries. Unfortunately, the model just got a full time job, and doesn't have as much time to come in - hopefully soon he will make some time for me for a final session, and I will finish up his feet. This painting is tantalizingly close to being finished!'
HERE: & HERE: