Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Favorite Pic of the Day for February 26th

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Check out today's birthday's HERE:

Maybe Not So Brave...

Songs have the ability to die. Not to physically become dead, but over-played to the point that the life, power and emotion they once were able to express is simply just sucked away.

American Idol is a song killer. Each season they take a perfectly good song, overuse it, and put it through such agony no one wants to hear it again. Even great belted out ballads like Whitney's version of I Will Always Love You and Celine's My Heart Will Go On, lost so much of their power after over playing on the radio, television and associated films soundtracks.

I Sara Bareilles, and her song Brave is a powerhouse that has brought goosebumps play after play. I am not sure who owns the rights to Brave, I am guessing (hoping) it is not Sara. Whoever they are, they are slowing killing a great song. The other night it seemed on a loop, playing at every commercial, once three times over one commercial break. Between the ads, public service announcements and the the Glee promos, the message of Brave has moved from be brave, to be a consumer, and buy this product. I hope Bareilles, or whomever is responsible for the rights of her music, slows down with all the sharing as the message is being muted.

Far From The Tree

I so want to like TNT's Dallas reboot but no matter how hard I try it continues to fall flat. My emotional connection to the original runs deep as in the late 80's it was the only television show, the only anything really, that brought my parents together in one room. I also love Josh Henderson, whose sexy walk, bad boy pout and sultry eyes mix together into a potent cocktail oozing delicious erotic energy.

Problem is, the creators have no clue how to tell a good story. They are all over the map with direction, character development and focus. Story and characters seem to change on a whim, episode to episode, hell, sometimes even scene to scene. One suggestion if anyone connected to the show happens to be listening... The original 13 year run on CBS gave you your show and give you your legacy, stop snubbing your nose at the reason most most fans tuned in to begin with! Instead of a Lucy wannabe (Emma), give us the Lucy. Instead of Katherine clone (Judith) bring back the actual queen bitch. All of those millions of viewers who tuned in on the first go round had taste and brains. They tuned out when the show went downhill and they're tuning off your show now. Give them a reason to keep returning to Southfork.

Quintessential: Stephen Michaels by John Hough

-the pure and essential essence of something
-pertaining to the most perfect embodiment of something

Photographer John Hough was on my list. The short list of artists whose work I really wanted to have a part of the blog. I have enjoyed John's images of the male form for some time and admired his blend of physique with fantasy and masculinity with beauty and artistry. John also has the skill and eye to so sharply capture every muscle and vein the men he photographs have worked so long and so hard to distend and have seen.

Checking John's name off my list proved a bit of a challenge, but one I am sure you will agree was well worth the effort. John has been shooting celebrities and models for more decades than I have been alive. He is keenly aware of the power, and the damage, that having one's art free flowing around the web can do. My first contact with John was back in 2012 but it wasn't until last December, after revisiting some of his new work decided to give it another kick at the can. John was never opposed to the idea, just concerned about what it would entail and that any model featured was supportive of being a part.

It all came together in part due to his work last fall with Stephen Michaels. I had previously featured Stephen on FH with his work with Carl Proctor and felt John's work with Stephen was some his best. Stephen is a powerhouse in front of the camera, and was a perfect match in providing balance with the massive space and feel of the working steel factory that surrounded him. There is a certainly an artistic beauty to the factory I loved, but also a coldness which required the right model and photographer to bring to life.

When I first thought of profiling John's work, I envisioned a 'story' which would explore the massive changes in the shooting of the male form over the few decades. John quickly taught me that although things surrounding the business may have changed, the work itself essentially has not. When you focus on the actual shoot, and relationship between model and artist, the core elements remain quintessentially the same as they always have. 'In the 70's there weren't that many photographers shooting male nudes. Also, a lot of work back then was very posed and stiff. I think photographers, myself included were happy just to be able to shoot nudes and we didn't give much thought about all the possibilities in posing.'

'With digital it is very easy to see your results instantly and by doing so, you can change lighting or anything else to make good shots. 5 minutes on any shot can make a big difference in quality. To me, taking the shot is only the beginning. It reminds me of when I shot film and then spent more time in the darkroom than the actual shoot. I spent many years working in pro photo labs as well as making my own color and black and white prints. Photoshop is a dream come true for me'

'When I worked with Tony Ward in the 80's, he was 18 and I'm sure outside of his family and friends, no one knew who he was. To me he was simply a great model to work with, he really loved his time in front of the camera.'

Although Tony Ward went on to become a 'name', John says a models popularity, or his list of credits, is really not a factor for wanting to work with him. 'A model has to have a great face, in most cases they will also have a great body.' One of John's greatest joys is to work with a new model and watch how they open up in front of the camera. 'They become an entirely new person and it gives me chills to see it happen. Then when the session is over, they are the person who I met several hours ago but now, they have confidence for the next time in front of the camera.'

In viewing John's images, especially in this series with Stephen, you can see how experience, not just in years, but maybe more importantly in hours, plays a part in creating images with deeper layers and greater depth. Hours and hours of shooting with different models and experimenting with different styles, themes and ways of posing, lighting and framing an image. John has not just shot Stephen within the steel factory, through the captures, they have both become a small part of it. John's images bring a feel for the roughness of the building, and the work done within, into his work with Stephen and together create images which reflect both the setting and the experience and skill of the model and artist within it.

'Stephen is a dream to work with. first of all, he is a very nice person, he has a great sense of humor and of course he is in great shape so no matter what pose he is in, he always looks great, no attitude and one of the best I have worked with over the years. The owner of the mill rents out the space for movie companies as well as photographers and the space is well over 50,000 sq feet. After shooting for 5 hours, I was wiped out, we shot in about 7 or so different locations in the mill and moving lights and equipment all over is tiring. The bottom line is if you have a model like Stephen, then anywhere you shoot works out.'

Still Dreaming

I was only about 12 or 13 when I joined my family for a movie night to see Field Of Dreams. I remember my father loving the film but me, I was bored and restless during that first viewing. Too young to truly appreciate Kevin Costner's chest and too immature to really be moved by the power of the some of the movie's most memorable moments.

Years later I watched the film again, this time on VHS. Old enough now to salivate over Costner shirtless and also mature enough to understand why my father loved it and to be affected by the film's beautiful ending. I was also old enough to notice the he, the he who came.

'If you build it, he will come.'

I watched Field Of Dreams again the other day, it played recently as part of TCM's 31 days of Oscar. This time it was the he, John Kinsella, the father of Costner's character Ray. Actor Dwier Brown may not be the huge name that Kevin Costner is, but upon my third viewing, it was his face that became the haunting vision that impacted my viewing of the piece. With only a couple of scenes and a couple of lines Dwier still manages through his scenes, which bookend the film, to provide an emotional balance, and understanding as to what motivates Costner's character.

After Field of Dream, Brown continued to work steadily, in movies and on television in shows such as ER, Quantum Leap, House, Private Practice, CSI and in last seasons short lived remake of Ironside. Besides his continued acting career, Brown's experience on the film also inspired his writing the new book Wanna Have a Catch? a book about fathers, fate and Field of Dreams. You can check out more about Dwier, and his book HERE: