Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Favorite Pic of the Day for January 3rd

Vaughn by t a mueller photography
-See More Below-

Happy Birthday today January 3rd to:

Above: Nicholas Gonzalez by Greg Gorman
Check out more of Nicholas HERE: & HERE: and more of today's birthday boys HERE:

Kudos to Scott Norton & ESPN

'In what might be a first, ESPN this weekend showed an openly gay male pro athlete kissing his husband and they did not shy away from describing the relationship.'
Jim Buzinski, Outsports

Read the entire story at OutSports HERE:

Below: Craig Woodward, left, and Scott Norton (Photo by RJ Ross)

Ushanka: Vlad by t a mueller

I am not sure I could ever live anywhere that didn't gift it's inhabitants with four separate seasons. There are such incredible things about each of the four separate times of year. Not just the things we talk on and on about like the the heat and humidity, the cold and snow, but things that are harder to describe. Each season has a different smell and different energies that fill the air. My favorite part of each season however is the visual palette which changes about every three or four months.

Today when I opened my door to go out, I was visually greeted by all white, blistering cold and wind and and nothing in sight by blankets of snow. In March and April, all I will see is brown lawns and the pink from lilac and vibrant yellow's and reds from tulips and other annuals. Summer will bring deep greens from both lawns and leaves and the purples and blues from the plants in front of my house. Then in October, my favorite month of the year, the world outside my door is orange, yellow and red as the colors of Autumn transition once again to the white of winter.

It's not that every season is perfect, as we reach the end of one, I often long for the beginning of the next. As the humidity of August starts to drive me crazy, the crisp cool fall gives me something to look forward to. Just when I think I can't stand one more snowy day, and paying for one more tank of furnace oil, I hold on knowing spring is just around the corner.

It is the changes and differences that I love most. Some huge, some more subtle. Knowing that when I step outside, the sights, sounds and smells are ever changing. I often think that if I lived in the South or far North, where the changes were less dramatic, I might go crazy. My body has come to not only expect, but to crave the regular changes of the seasons. Swimming when it is hot, jogging when it is cool and skiing when it gets cold. It is one of the reasons I try when possible, to theme my artist profiles to shoots that match what is going on around me. It would be strangely difficult for me, almost unnatural, to post shoots shot on the beach in January or models in the snow in July. As winter began, and snow once again entered my life, winter themed posts such as the recent Tuqued, that become a focus.

I know of several photographers, especially ones without their own studio space, whose work ebbs and flow with the weather. This makes sense of course, it is not easy to be outside shooting when it is freezing cold. It would be especially difficult for the naked, or half naked model, standing in front of you waiting patiently as you wiggle your frozen fingers around in your gloves so you can take the shot. Difficult yes, but for me, it is some of these shoots, especially those that embrace the weather and use natural backdrop of winter and autumn, that are often my favorites.

It is no coincidence that on this day in early January I am featuring the work of Ohio photographer t a mueller. I first discovered Troy's work last summer when I was researching the amazing Vlad when profiling the 20 year old model and his work with Robert Colgan. (A Major Distraction) While researching Vlad, I immediately saved one of Troy's images, one of my favorites of him wearing the ushanka to contact him later. For some reason that image got lost in the shuffle, but a couple of weeks ago, when profiling Jason Rafael, I again came upon Troy's work.

Living in Ohio, Troy also experiences the four seasons, and thankfully, along with Vlad, embraced winter for this unique and beautiful series. Vlad has such and amazing look and Troy's images of him are some of my favorites. Troy says it is the creating of the images that appeals to him most and that it really doesn't matter what he is shooting, wildlife, jewelry or the human form. It was about one year ago, in January of 2012 that Troy first connected with Vlad about shooting together. Luckily, Vlad's college dorm is only a few blocks away from where Troy lives, so they were able to meet up at a local coffee shop before beginning to shoot. Troy tries to meet up with models before shooting to help ensure they are on the same page, and comfortable with each other, especially when a shoot involves artistic nudity.

'Working with Vlad has been such a pleasure. He can come across as shy at first, but when he's in front of the camera, the extrovert in him comes out. Vlad is always open to ideas, willing to try just about anything and will try his hardest until we get the perfect shots. Since we live so close to each other when he's at school, we have done about 8 different photo shoots. I look forward to working with him in the future and watch as his career grows.'

'After our meeting, Vlad and I set up a date in February to shoot outdoor nudes. The idea behind the photo shoot was one of vulnerability in the wintry outdoors. Vlad was quite comfortable in front of my camera. He knew exactly how to work the camera angles so that the his face and body looked the most appealing. Despite the fact that it was below freezing outside, he never once complained about being cold. I actually had to suggest that we take a few breaks so that he could put is coat on and warm up before moving on with the shoot. I think that if it were up to him, we would have just kept shooting.'

'Toward the end of the shoot, I asked him if there were any specific things that he would like to shoot. He said that he'd like to get some shots of him in the water. Being around 30F, I thought he was joking and said, "OK, sure". Well he wasn't joking. He immediately slipped off his boots and got into the water. Some people think that modeling is easy. Well I assure you that there is nothing easy about being naked and in the water in February in Ohio. I was cold just looking at the scene through my lens even though I was heavily dressed in a winter coat and insulated overalls.'
Troy Mueller

Thanks to Troy and Vlad for braving the elements and sharing your work with FH!


Above: Lady Edith by ReneAigner

Actress Laura Carmichael is a beautiful and talented actress, so talented in fact, her Downton Abbey character Lady Edith has become a favorite of many. Poor Lady Edith has never had it that easy however. Growing up with the strong and beautiful Lady Sybil and the beautiful but prickly Lady Mary never gave her much room to shine. To most of her family, when not ignored, she is often taken for granted and the brunt of of cruel comments.

Having finished Dowton's season 3, I don't think it a spoiler to share that Lady Edith's journey is again not without it's share of pain and missed opportunities. Lady Edith is however an important part of the show. Every television show, every family or large group for that matter needs a Lady Edith. The trick for most of us, is not to fall into that role. For most healthy groups, the Lady Edith roles gets passed around, with everyone taking it on at different times and under certain circumstances. For other groups, the Lady Edith role remains in the hands of one unlucky individual who for one reason or other has decided to embrace their role.

Actress Laura Carmichael

Some of Television's current Lady Edith's:

One might argue there are 5 Lady Edith's on The Talk, but there is really only the one, held, I am pretty sure without her knowledge by Aisha Tyler. As an actress, Tyler is both beautiful and likable, as a member of this gabfest she is the runt of the litter. Although in the shows first year, Sara Gilbert auditioned for the role, Aisha beat her to the crown. Not nearly as funny as Underwood, not nearly as competent as Chen and not nearly as colorful as Osbourne. Tyler tries, but sadly too hard and it is awkward how often her bits and jokes fall flat. The other ladies quickly cover and move on but Tyler belongs on a sit-com, not a talk show where her weakness's are spotlighted on a daily basis.

The Modern Family cast is made up of a group of talented actors which is why having the role of the shows Lady Edith is that much harder to bear. Jesse Tyler Ferguson wears the role, no matter how much he tries not to. Ferguson is talented, but his character is not as likable or fleshed out as his male counterparts and even with his talent, there is rarely an inch for him to push through to shine. Ferguson can barely hide his discomfort with the role, but even when he tries to find the humour in it, his Lady Edith qualities have it ring untrue.

Justin Chambers has always been my favorite character on Grey's, but sadly the shows writers and creators will not allow him to actually experience any lasting growth. Much like Sue on Glee, Alex goes through major growth experiences only to return the next episode to being an ass. Unlike Glee however, Grey's tries to be more character based so Alex's continued return to form is that much harder to stomach. If Grey's wants to continue, I suggest breaking up the incredibly boring Derek and Meridith and finally paring her with Alex. That might re-spark my interest in a show that for the last couple of seasons is as about enjoyable as going to the funeral of a loved one, week after week.

Jesse Metcalf was perfect as the boy toy on Desperate Housewives, a supporting role which required minimal actual emoting. As Christopher on the new Dallas, the thespian challenged Metcalf cannot keep up with the shows old guard, nor the energy and sex appeal of Josh Henderson. The show already has enough boring and vapid young people with the Rebecca and Elena characters. Metcalf might be OK, but only when the writers understand Lady Edith's are meant to be supporting roles, not leading. Write less for Christopher and more for the great Ken Kercheval and enjoyable Charlene Tilton, and maybe you can still create a watchable balance.

Image: Tyler Shields

Nothing takes me out of the compelling drama on Revenge than a scene involving Connor Paolo. On Gossip Girl, Paolo was a perfect fit as Erik, but as Delcan there is little to no connection between actor and character which make his scenes consistently cringe worthy.

Erica Hill was an OK sparing partner for Anderson Cooper, but her Today Show hiring in one of the show most head scratching decisions. After losing the incredible real Ann Curry, Hill is like a Stepford replacement, with helmet hair, make-up and a presentation style more suited for a SLN parody of a female anchor. Hill was brought in to bring something, but what exactly that is remains a mystery. She was not needed and Jenna Wolfe, though maybe not as polished has an ability to connect with the shows viewers in a much more natural and appealing way.

I like Kunal Nayyar and with a cast of 5, he was able, barely, but able to hold his on. But when five went to seven with the addition of Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik as regulars, Raj sadly is fading more and more into the B and C storyline.

She may have created the show, she may think she stars in but on The View, Barbara Walters is the weakest link. Whenever she appears, the flow between the women is stilted with Walters insisting her voice be heard above, and more often than the others. She interrupts constantly, especially the two younger hosts, and cannot seem to understand that viewers might want to hear from anyone other than her. I have seen each of the other 4 roll their eyes and bit their tongues at Walter's antics and her aggressive plugging of her prime time specials are reminiscent of watching QVC.