Happy New Year to all those who have contributed, participated and enjoyed the blog the past 12 months! I usually hate resolutions, but this year I have made a few for 2014, one of which involves changes for the blog. I will share more about that in the next few days. For those staying in, have fun, for those going out, be safe, it is an icy mess where I live. I am heading out for an early dinner but then hoping to be home early to catch up on The Walking Dead Marathon!
Here's to a peaceful, yet visually incredible 2014!
I paraded, wrote letters, marched and fought for gay rights so that one day stories like Robin's would NOT be news.... When I saw so many gay sites and blogs, when I read so many people on Twitter and Facebook applauding and cheering Robin this week I wondered if we have somehow forgotten what being equal means. The news anchor did not loudly come out, she quietly and respectfully mentioned her partner...just like anyone might have. I love her for that. I understand how important it is for gay celebrities, athletes and political figures to be honest with who they are but I think our need to have a ticker tape parade every time we find out someone is gay has passed the point of helping the cause, in fact it may be just slightly starting to make it worse.
Plans are coming together for another BMSO physique photography retreat in January in Palm Springs. During the summers of 2006-2008 Prairie Visions Photography has hosted retreats for serious amateur to semi-pro photographers and models to get together and collaborate. The next one is planned for January 2014 and there is still room for another photographer or two!
The retreat will consist of four or five models and six or seven photographers. The retreat will be based at the Triangle Inn in Palm Springs which has a nice pool and beautiful gardens. There will also be a day trip to Joshua Tree and will have both group shoots and models posing solo. Participants can arrive on Friday, January 17 and head home on Tuesday, January 21, giving us Saturday, Sunday and Monday to shoot.
Photographer costs will be $200 per day (three days, which covers model fees and food/lodging/travel for the models). Your travel, food and lodging will be your own responsibility. Triangle Inn is offering a special, however. Book three nights and get the fourth free. Just mention you're with the photo retreat.
All of the images here are from past retreats and if you want to see more check out the BMSO flickr site HERE: You can also find out more info as well as contact info if you wish to join the fun! Although there may be one or two more, the models on board thus far will ensure incredible images and I can't wait to share some of the results! Models currently attending include Erijole and Paul Boulon, both whom I have featured on FH, as well as models Javoroce and davidlambertxxx.
'To declare myself to the world, actually, why not if the world wide web exists for the connecting people from the most different corners of a planet. for the finding adherents and colleagues. for the meeting interesting people and to show my own.'
Some days I look at the web, and the filth and hate spewed on so many forums and messages boards and wonder it is really more than just a vehicle to spread hate. It was a certain and specific basement dweller blogger whose voice was simply used to belittle others that had me decide FH had to be different. Not necessarily always positive, but stories and features never (ok, rarely...) at the expense of another.
Reading photographer Alexander's quote on the front of his site AlAn-design reminded me of the power and positivity of the world wide web. If not for the web, how would a guy,, currently freezing (although power has been restored!) and storm stayed, surrounded by snow in a house in the North East of America share the work of a Russian photographer currently living and working in Belarus.
'I'm going my way form amateur to professional photographer. In Russian "amateur" ("любитель") have almost same sense as "love" ("любить" in Russian). I really love to see different moments of life and I really love to catch them by my camera! But also I like to make this on real good level to be real professional!'
As huge as the world is, almost every artist I profile, especially those who don't shoot for a living, describe their photography as a passion, they do it because they have to, they love it. I am convinced people see the world in one of five ways; through their visual or auditory senses, through their imagination, through the lens of another or with their eyes to the ground. Most photographers are of course visually inclined, it is why my images never look quite right. I see the world through my imagination, every encounter and experience like a scene from a play. It is why I see 'story' in every image I spend time with.
When I saw this set of images, as beautiful as sexy, as mysterious and enigmatic they were, I instantly had questions, why the choice of the veil, why was the model hidden? Was it an artists choice, a statement or story being shared, or was it a model's request, were they shy or wanting to remain hidden? It is a beautifully fascinating contrast to unveil our penis, the part of our body most usually wrapped and cover the face, the part of our body usually the symbol of who we are and the base of expression and emotion.
'The 22 year old model was not experienced shooting, but wanted to try all types of modeling, including nude shots. He wasn't sure how people around him can take this. Therefore... he decided to hide his face. To make those images a bit more enigmatic. He can show his nudity, but at the same time he wanted to keep in secret his soul...'
Alexander's words, and story about the images to me enhance their beauty and provide another level of emotion and enjoyment viewing them. Although not necessarily directly connected, given all the news surrounding The Olympics, Russia and gay rights the images make the images, and models choices pointedly current and poignantly relevant.
It's official, the Hemsworth brothers need their own FH category. Will have to put that together soon. Not everyone can (or should) pull off this style and length of hair, but on Chris Hemsworth it works. It is especially hot during his far to few sex scenes in Rush.
It used to be common, especially with young actress's, to ensure within their portfolio was a least one shot of them in a tight shirt or sweater. In the late 1940's and 1950's, the term 'sweater girls' was coined for the women, whose chest, heaving just below the shirt or sweater, was really the star (s) of the show. Since then men have continued to find ways to ensure almost every piece of clothing for women, (including the still popular wet t-shirt contests)show off their chest and breasts.
Although not as frequently talked about, we men know a tight t-shirt can be our best friend or our worst enemy. For those of us with just the right physique, there is nothing like the right shirt to show off all those hours in the gym. We all wear t-shirts, but in order to obtain that perfect look you have to ensure your wearing the one that best suits your frame. If your too muscular, your shirt can look like it is straining to stay in place, if your too thin, it can look almost bored, just hanging there like it has nothing really to do.
But the perfect shirt, color and fit, along with the perfect chest can be spectacular to behold. 21 year old model Viktor Jay has an incredible body and chest, and his shirts look like they were tailor made to best show it off. The blue, black, and especially the grey one look as if they were made specifically to highlight Viktor's chest, stomach, neck and arms.
In addition to his incredible body, Viktor also has a great face, with an almost European look, including his beautiful blue eyes, nose and lips that are all highlighted in these images from New York photographer Rawle B. Although some photographers would have quickly worked to have the shirt on the floor, Rawle B. wisely choose to keep his shirt on, tightly, for a large part of the shoot.
Rawle contacted Viktor though Model Mayhem about setting up a shoot, but initially didn't hear anything back. Then, one day out of the blue Viktor shot Rawle and e-mail and photographer and model agreed on a date, place and time. Because Viktor was in college, Rawle decided to make the 2hrs and 45 minute drive to him and book a hotel for shoot. Winter weather was not on his side however, and the drive ended up taking quite a bit longer than usual. Rawle did not have Viktor's cell number and worried he might lose the opportunity to shoot. Thankfully Viktor called him to confirm just about the time Rawle was pulling into his final destination on the journey.
'When I got to the house, a house that he shares with roommates near campus, there was a big sign written up in paper on the glass door "Welcome Rawle". I was surprised and it made all the driving in the bad weather worthwhile with such a warm welcome. Viktor turned out to be really humble, down to earth and very beautiful, even more so than the pics I had seen of him on his MM profile.'
During the shoot Viktor confessed to Rawle was he was actually the first photographer to shoot him, outside of having his friends take a few snapshots of him. Rawle says the new model was very comfortable in front of the camera and great at taking direction as well as being very comfortable in his own skin. By the time the shoot was finished Viktor and Rawle were both hungry so grabbed a bite to eat before heading back to Viktor's house. There, they downloaded the images and both were exited and very happy with the results of their collaboration. When I was going through Rawle's portfolio there were a lot of images I loved, but there was something about his work with Viktor, especially the images of Viktor in (and out of) the tight t-shirt, that had me wanting to use Viktor's images to introduce Rawle's work.
I had never heard the name Rawle as a first name before and really loved it so was curious about it's origin. Rawle was born in Trinidad and Tobago in an Olympic year and his father named him after an Olympic athlete that went to the games and participated in sailing. Rawle spent much of his regular working life in the healthcare industry but it was when he was traveling for work that he developed a stronger interest and love for photography. Rawle's entry into shooting was a unique one as his first shoot came from responding to an ad by someone who wanted to be erotically photographed by a stranger. Rawle found the experience fascinating and began setting up shoots of his own as a way to give himself an outlet for his own creativity, especially while traveling. 'Working long hours and spending countless nights in a hotel room can get to you sometimes if you don't do something to make it be more exciting.'
For the first few years I was online it seemed the same old naked Santa shots were yanked out (like those ornament) each and every year. Thankfully things have changed! Talented artists light up FH with incredible imagery all year round but I want to especially thank all those who have provided so many great holiday themed images to the blog over the years. I know some find them cheesy and some photographers don't go near them, but... when done right, when done creatively, they like the holidays themselves, can be wonderful and bring much joy.
Although you are reading this on Christmas Day, (hopefully if my auto pre-posting worked…) I am writing it on Sunday afternoon. I am heading to family tomorrow for most of the week and am trying to get a few days worth of posts up before I leave.
Recently I was talking with someone about the blog and it became even clearer that although photography and great images are an important source of inspiration for me, the main reason I continue with FH is as a creative outlet for my writing. Although I know most people pop into FH for the naked men, I still strive to write something even remotely meaningful now and then, especially at Christmas.
I was struck by last nights Saturday Night Live, not only because it one of the most enjoyable in years, but because the music video’s (Do it on my Twin Bed )hilarity in part came out of how spot on truthful it was. As you read this, I will have just spent two nights sleeping, or trying to sleep in my old single bed. I am pretty thin, but I am over 6ft tall and attempting manoeuvre the bed, especially if a niece, nephew or pet jumps in, can be a struggle.
My ‘old room’ isn’t actually my childhood room; my parents sold the house I grew up in when I was 17. I joined them briefly in their new home, but then was in and out mostly during summer break from University for much of my early twenties. I came back to live after graduation, but only for about 10 months until I moved out for good. That doesn’t mean the room doesn’t hold memories, it was the room I first had sex with a woman in, and the room I last had sex with a woman in (the same woman…). It was also the room whose four walls witnessed my official transformation into who I am today.
The room holds the desk that used to hide my Playgirls, underneath the bottom drawer. The closet that I used to hide my (self)…. alcohol and weed in. The floor than handled all my pacing before many big events. The bed is, and always was a bit uncomfortable, I never quite fit in it correctly but never really understood why until I moved out and got a bed of my own. As I look forward to a few days in that room, and in that bed.... I am struck by how lucky I am to be going home to a place that isn’t all together that comfortable, and a room that doesn’t fit who I now have become in my thirties.
I am not sure I could truly appreciate the home I have created for myself, the friends I have acquired and the life I have built without occasionally going back home to be reminded about what was. Those experiences helped form who I am today, the good, the bad and the wonderful. Although some of the memories are painful and most I don’t want to relive on a regular basis, my Christmas trips home help remind me why some of the shit I deal with in May, July and September is really not all that bad.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and wish you all just a few uncomfortable moments revisiting your past. They really can help you appreciate your present and ensure that they are not repeated too too many times in the future.
One of the blessings of Christmas is not just the present (s) but the ability to look back on the past. Being able to maintain even a small element of magic about the day is usually connected to our ability to remember the holiday from our childhood. Those days of running home on the last day of school before Christmas break, that fresh plastic smell from new toys under the tree, a fresh snow on Christmas morning, not being able to sleep the night before the old man's chimney visit. Since beginning FH in 2007, I have attempted to tap into this magic each December and have now have close to 70 Christmas and winter themed posts. If you have a few minutes over the next few days, please enjoy a little look back at the Ghosts of FH Christmas pasts.