I have never been much of a fan of The Osbournes. Never really listened to Black Sabbath, therefore my only real knowledge of Ozzy was all those chicken and rat rumours. Never watched their reality show and always felt that Sharon could be a nightmare. Sharon is one of those mothers you might think cool if she was the mother as a friend, but also someone capable of getting nasty and cruel when she felt it required. Never gave Jack or Kelly much thought at all, Kelly seems to try hard to be edgy, only to really seem quite retro and Jack was well... just Jack.
That's why it was pleasantly surprising to me how attractive he came off on DWTS. Not only smooth on the dance floor, Jack showed grace and humanity and regardless of any pre-conceived ideas, he was incredibly sweet and endearing. I would not say my feelings moved to an actual crush, but they were getting close. Given at the end of the competition, Jack's came in third, I am obviously not the only one who taken aback by the surprise appeal of Jack.
I have had the privilege of working with DZmitry three times over the course of the past year. We started corresponding shortly after he arrived in the United States and I soon realized that I would probably be one of the first photographers he worked with in the U.S. I'd seen the pictures in his portfolio and knew he had already had the start of a promising modeling and acting career in Europe and his home of Belarus. Still, two things caught me by surprise: DZmitry's English and his physique.
A couple of days before our shoot I got an email from "Andrew," writing from DZmitry's email address. He was writing to explain that DZmitry spoke little English and that he would be accompanying the model as his translator. Unknowingly, I had been corresponding with Andrew all along.
On the day of the shoot the two of them arrived a few minutes early. I was struck by how good looking both the men were. Andrew was not just DZmitry's translator, agent and friend; he was also a talent manager who brought European singers to America for concert engagements and had once been a model himself.
It was a bit awkward at first, working through a translator. I would be staring at DZmitry but talking to Andrew. But soon enough the model and the photographer developed a working rapport and were communicating with subtle gestures and movements.
I generally work my way into a shoot by starting with headshots; it's my creative warm-up. When I feel that the model and I have started "clicking," I move on. After 20 or 30 minutes I asked DZmitry to remove his shirt. Clearly, I wasn't prepared for what I saw. It's embarrassing to admit, but I must have gasped because Andrew asked me if something was wrong. All I could sputter was, "Those are the most incredible abs I have ever seen!"
And to this day, they may still be. I have shot many models over the years, but DZmitry probably has the most impressive, ripped physique of any man I've worked with. I can only imagine how many hours he must spend in the gym! But it sure has paid off. Big time!
Despite his extremely limited command of English, DZmitry’s amazingly vibrant personality came shining through. He has a charm that transcends the language barrier and it’s clear that anyone who meets him is going to like him and remember him.
I was aware that DZmitry did not do art nudes and the focus of the day was on fashion-oriented shots for our respective portfolios. But rarely have I worked with a model more suited to the type of art nudes that I take than DZmitry. I do, nonetheless, respect the professional and personal limitations of my models and was content to work within his boundaries.
We devoted a follow up fitness session in the studio to documenting and celebrating DZmitry's incredible physique. A few months later I captured him in casual, natural poses in a home setting. Along the way the model and I developed a trust of each other and built a good working (if silent) rapport. And over the course of the three sessions we created an impressive body of work that span the gamut from fashion to physique work. To this day, DZmitry remains one of my favorite models and I look forward to working with him again.
Work from all three sessions is offered here and more than two dozen of the best shots have been compiled in a new book, Cortlandt Manor. The art photography book features fashion, fitness and uncensored art nude studies of DZmitry and five other professional models working in New York. Readers of Favorite Hunks can see free video presentations of work from each of DZmitry’s photo sessions as well as a gallery of DZmitry's photos that is only accessible to readers of Favorite Hunks. This gallery is not open to the general public and you must use the link below to access it.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone chowing down on turkey today!
Everyone who reads FH knows I love any excuse to post holiday themed images. Although Thanksgiving is not generally a sought after theme in the world of shooting the male form, I make do. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and seasons. I hope whether your sitting at a huge table surrounded by family and friends, or nuking a Swanson turkey dinner for 1 that there is a little thanks, and a little giving in your life.
I love this quote from Irish poet John O'Donohue. It has a lot of meaning for me and thank Ira David Wood III who shared it yesterday as a thought for Thanksgiving on his Facebook page.
'Home is where the heart is. It stands for the sure center where individual life is shaped and from where it journeys forth. What it ultimately intends is that each of its individuals would develop the capacity to be at home in themselves. When one is at home in oneself, one is integrated and enjoys a sense of balance and poise. In a sense that is exactly what spirituality is: the art of homecoming.'
When searching for Thanksgiving holiday themed images I came upon the image above. Although I instantly knew it was not appropriate, even offensive, I found it fascinating as it no more connects to Thanksgiving, than Santa to Christmas. Santa Clause is a fantasy and about as real as the notion that there were feasts and celebrations between Pilgrim's and the Indians. Thanksgiving is bitter sweet for many native Americans, and so it should be. I find it incredible that the myth of a sweet transition of land, not the bloody massacre it truly is still maintained by some and that some company's (below) still try to profit off this myth.
America has managed to bastardize all of it's holidays but none more so than Thanksgiving. At it's heart, the holiday is about being thankful. Thankful that no matter what your economical status, there are still little things, family, friends and blessings we can be grateful for.
With each year that passes, the holiday has become less about thanking, and more about buying and getting. Even though there are no actual gift giving rituals associated with the day, Thanksgiving and black Friday have taken on a grotesque commercialism in direct contrast to what the day was indented for. This year it seems more and more stores are not waiting until Midnight to open, but inching closer and closer into the day. Stores are literally begging us to shove down our turkey, get in the car and head to the malls. Those malls, like the early battles between Pilgrim and Indian are a crazed frenzy of people grabbing any and everything and declaring it to be 'MINE!'.
I would like to tell everyone to stay at home and ignore the pressures of the non stop television ads to buy but I know a great deal on a great product can be just too much for some to pass up. I am thankful the stores where I live will not open on Thanksgiving, not even at midnight, they will open the next day, at 9a.m on Friday morning. I would like to think even if they open early I would resist going, and I am thankful I don't have the pressure to decide.
When we last left photographer Eddie Christie and model Samuel Lora, they were on to Plan B. After fleeing the old fort they were shooting at after being discovered by some unexpected visitors! (Skin & Stone) The next stop, somewhere a little bit more private to shoot.
'Plan B required driving to a friend's house in Maryland, about an hour away. She offered her private 5 acres to me and I took advantage of the offer. The trails no longer existed in her wooded backyard but plenty of places to shoot abounded. Samuel and I found a starting location in a dried up stream. He got naked and I started taking pictures. It's great working with a model that needs very little guidance and who knows how to pose his body or come up with interesting lines. We worked together on pose ideas throughout the shoot.'
Every time I feature Eddie Christie's work I am always impressed at how with his camera, he brings life to almost any location, no matter how long forgotten. Every time I feature Samuel, I am in amazed at how he is able to blend himself into anywhere he is working, taking on not just the feel, but the history of the location and channel it through his movement and poses.
In this series I could not get the image of a woodland creature out of my mind, a deer maybe or the character of Mr. Tumnus from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It was Mr. Tummus who first welcome Lucy into the world of Narnia and in this series it feels it is Samuel who is welcoming us to take off our clothes and join him to play, frolic and experience all of the pleasures of the woods.
In my research of mythical woodland creatures the closes thing I could find to the spiritual vibe and magic, eroticism and sexual energy Samuel exudes was the Satyr. Although not every adjective to describe them remind me of Samuel, much of the description is spot on to the visual he has created within his work with Eddie.
'In Greek mythology, Satyrs (in Ancient Greek: Σάτυροι — Sátyroi) are a troop of male companions of Pan and Dionysus that roamed the woods and mountains. In mythology they are often associated with male sex drive and many artists have portrayed them with erections. Satyrs acquired their goat-like aspect through later conflation with the Roman Faunus, a carefree nature spirit of similar temperament. Satyrs are described as roguish but faint-hearted folk — subversive and dangerous, yet shy and cowardly. As Dionysiac creatures they are lovers of wine, women and boys, and are ready for every physical pleasure. They love to dance with the nymphs with whom they are obsessed and whom they often pursue'. Wikimedia Commons
There is on going debate in almost all area's of the arts about the importance of education and skill vs raw passion and emotion. We have all heard songs sung by vocal masters that fail to give us goose bumps. Have seen performances by dancers, ones with years of training, that don't trigger any emotion except that of boredom. It must be one of the most frustrating things to have studied and practiced something you love only to still be told your not good enough.
I read bios of photographers which have included years of art and visual education, all kinds of related jobs and awards from the institute of blabby blah or whatever. Yet... when I see their work I feel cold, no texture, no depth, no emotion. Usually hundreds of images of great looking models, all in front of the same background or posed in the same way. A shot or pose that years ago got them a bit of attention and resulted in the death of their passion and creativity.
The first image I saw from photographer Markus Bollingmo was one of Dominick, standing by the window smoking a cigarette. (see post below). The image told an entire story, a personal moment told in beautiful shades of dark and light. The Norwegian photographer, now based in Paris says all his work consists of personal projects. Markus has never worked in a studio, he shoots on location, at homes, hotels and outside and the models, not usually professional models, but the young men who have passed through his life. 'So far finding inspiring models hasn't been a problem for me.'
If an artists images act as their resume, their bio provides the cover letter. Although I loved his images, I was also impressed and amused by the words Markus has on his Model Mayhem page. Although a lot of professional models and photographers have used MM as a great way to promote and network for work, there are also clearly another group who use the site to meet various other needs. 'Let's be real. This website is mostly a bunch of people perving on each other while trying to be artistic about it. You know I'm right!'
There is an honesty within this statement that I think is also reflected within Markus images. I often scratch my head when I see an image of a completely naked man, face looking animalistic and the photographer wants any comment which connects it to anything sexual removed. The image may indeed be artistic, but at it's core, its foundation is sexual.
'People try to rise above it I suppose, but when you look around MM, it's pretty obvious from a lot of the comments that many of people are just trying to find classy ways of saying "I find you hot". I suppose "I love the juxtaposition of the this and the that" sounds better than "Your butt pic gave me a boner", but it's still very obvious.'
If you haven't guessed already, all of the images in this piece are self pics of the artist himself. I find it interesting that at 29, Markus visually looks younger than he appears which juxtaposes the maturity and emotion he demonstrates within his work. And... to continue with the honesty theme, Markus is not only talented but hot... and so yes, I had my own honest, and personal reaction to his butt pics.
Markus has large presence on the net, so if you want to see more of his work (and him) I would start with his official site, if only for the really cool video graphic on the opening page. I would also head to his Live Journal site, which is not only where I found the set of images of Dominick, but the top of the page contains links to his work on Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter & Facebook.