The past February proved to be one of the harshest months of winter many of us, especially those on the East Coast, have ever experienced. One bright spot for me was getting to head into the forest with Atlanta photographer Preston Woods. In my first piece featuring his imagery, (Artistry Through Naturalism) Preston shared his work with Cody, one of the first men he shot with his new camera, and one of the first models he shot sans any clothing.
A lot of photographers shoot outside, but Preston has a unique way of drawing in the elements, the sun, the vegetation and surroundings. Preston brings the feel of the location vividly into his work. It is almost as if you can smell the air and hear the sounds surrounding the model. There is spirituality to the work as Preston does not just bring a model into a location, but also brings the experience of the location into the images he captures.
Since his trip into the woods with Cody, Preston says he has grown much more comfortable with shooting the male form. All of those early jitters and nerves I enjoying hearing about, and writing about in the first feature, have transformed into confidence and a relaxation about focusing on the work and creating great images. Preston's focus on naturalism was certainly evident in his work with Cody and maybe even more so this set of images of Alex. Alex is hot no doubt, great body and beautifully soulful eyes express just a hint of sadness, the blends well with Preston's vision and his incredible surroundings. I know for myself, often walks deep into the woods occur when I have something on my mind, something that only a walk through tree's or by a slow moving river can solve.
Preston is certainly developing a comfortability, and a bit of a talent, of getting his friends naked in the woods! Preston believes in part, it is his ability to created a sense of comfort in those that surround him. Preston calls it a blessing, especially as he gains more experience shooting and builds his portfolio with different concepts and themes.
'Alex was another friend of mine who I asked to pose for me. Alex has stunning good looks, and as it turns out he is a natural. Originally we were just going to shoot the typical posing in underwear shots, but then Alex said 'lets get naked', and you can see the results. Alex has a confidence, and no issues his body and was completely at ease naked in front of an interesting alcove we found in front of someone's house. Definitely a closet exhibitionist, which is perfect for someone shooting the male form!'
Preston had hoped to get a naked Alex into that refreshing river you see behind him but it was unfortunately still way to cold on the day they were shooting. Although Alex's body is certainly beautiful to behold, Preston says it was his face that became the focal point for most of the shoot. 'What most attracted me visually to Alexas a model was they way his face can manage to both cocky, yet smoking hot at the same time.' Given Preston Woods has only just begun his photography journey and is only 25 years old, I look forward eagerly to all of the images, and naked men in the woods, that are to come!
I couldn't believe while I was putting together this piece that it marks the FH debut for actor Kit Harington. Viewers of Game Of Thrones have known for awhile there is something special about Kit, and his character Jon Snow. It might be Jon's humanity (that beheading last week aside...) and that fact that Jon, like the actor who plays him, has those droopy eyes, baby face and beautiful head of tussled dark hair. You root for Jon, you long for Kit. It is no wonder the young actor is driven crazy with questions about when Jon is going to drop his drawers like most of his cast mates. Jon had a brief nude scene already, but sadly Kit has acknowledged it was not him. 'When it came down to it I had a broken ankle, so the only time you saw my ass, it wasn't my ass.'
Brothers in arms.... well defined arms at that
The consummate image of Jon Snow, out of course.. in the snow where the character has spent a fair bit of time.
Quiet evening hanging out at home!
Promotional image from Pompeii (2014)
Like most viewers of GOT, part of the journey is the long awaited reunion of the Stark kids. Lets hope there are at least one or two left alive by the time that happens...
In the post below, you will get to know a bit about photographer Nicolai Kornum. When not shooting male models, Nicolai's focus is working on video filming and editing Fashion Films and Music Videos shot in his studio, BLitzWerk Studio in London. Although it was a tough choice to decide which video to feature... (Nicolai also directed the music video for Doctor Tongue about a hunky detective solving the murder mysteries of dead male underwear models)
I ended up choosing the fashion film Paradisia. I love the colors, the music and the dreamlike feel of Kornum's work. The film, featuring the work of fashion designer Antonella Petraccaro, was specially produced for a fashion editorial for Faint Magazine - The Aphrodisia Issue from November 2014.
'After a day of football, a gymnast would be bruised. After a day of gymnastics, a football player would be dead.'
Gymnastics in many ways, parallels great photography with its focus on both movement and hold. Great gymnasts must have the ability to fly through the air during a floor routine, hit the vault and leap into the air and create wide, majestic circles with their bodies while twisting and turning on the horizontal bars and rings.
With each of the gymnastic disciplines, whether it be rings, floor, vault or bars, gymnasts must find the strength to freeze movements and come to abrupt stops during all the running, moving and twisting that is going on. It is not an easy task to channel energy that is one one second, pushing your body into frenzied movement, to then in a split second later, channel that same energy to keep your body completely still.
There is a reason the rings are called steady or still rings. The purpose of movement whilst doing a routine on the rings, is to navigate from one hold position, the most well known being the iron cross, into another moment of stillness. This discipline is one skilled visual artists are very familiar with.
London based artist Nicolai Kornum knows how to capture moments of powerful strength and movement with complete stillness. The photographer and videographer's training in the visual arts (European Film College, Adobe & a degree in Stage Management & Technical Theatre at LAMDA & The London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art.) has given him a uniquely skilled foundation to create strong, colorful and beautifully theatrical captures. To me, the definition of a great artist is not just someone who creates great work, but someone able to create images that have the viewer stop in their tracks. When I first saw images of Nicolai's work with Matheusz Adamow, that is exactly what I did.
In addition to his training, Nicolai honed his visual artistry working for eight year as a 1st Assistant Director on feature films, TV-Dramas & Commercials. Nicolai worked for many directors, among them, Director Niels Arden Oplev ('The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo', 'Under The Dome', 'Unforgettable'), Zentropa Productions (Danish film director Lars Von Trier’s company), Lego Commericals and DR Denmark’s National Broadcast Company ('The Killing', 'Borges', 'The Bridge')
Nicolai has also had extensive experience working on theatre productions including working as a still-photographer for various theatres including; Old Red Lion Theatre, Southwark Playhouse and Young Actors Theatre. Creating a great still from a production is very similar to what Nicolai has achieved in this set of images of Matheusz. Through just one captured moment, the artist must capture the movement and energy of the actors and the scene, conveying to prospective audience members, not just a visual, but the emotions which surround it.
Some of you may remember actor Carter Jenkins, (which I posted about HERE:) from his non-nude nude scene in the 2010 flick Valentine's Day. In one of the young actor's latest projects, he gets rid of those flesh colored undies for a scene in the new horror thriller Nightlight.
When I came upon the work of Rotterdam artist Paul Sixta, I was visually drawn in at once by what I then thought was pose. The more time I spent with Paul's images however, pose just didn't seem to fit. To pose is to put one's body into a position, an artificial position, usually for the purpose of being permanently captured for a photo, drawing or sculpture.
The men Paul captured however, were not exactly posing, many in fact were photographed in movement. The point at which Paul captured them is more natural and organic than if they were simply holding a pose. The closest adjective that fit for me was posturing. Posturing is often thought of as using one's body to convey an attitude or emotion, sometimes as a way of expression, other times as a form of protection.
Posturing is at it's core is about the movement and positioning of the body. It may have an attitude, but in most cases, it is the way in which we navigate our bodies through the physical obstacle course of doors and rooms, stairs and side walks. Beyond the physical hurdles however, it is the emotional challenges that often dictate how tall we stand, how low we cower, how proud we walk or how quickly or slowly we maneuver through a particular situation our bodies may, and very often may not, want to be in.
'I don't ask them to pose. I invite them to come to my studio and we get to know each other. I give people a free space to express themselves however they feel like in the moment. Sometimes this involves movement other times its a lot of talking and sitting around. I try to observe a moment, expression and pose that feels authentic to them.'
I think it is the authenticity that Paul describes is what resonates for me from his imagery. Paul's focus is on story telling and exploring relationships and through his subjects expression, there are most certainly beautiful stories being told.