Since first featuring his work a few years ago, (Operatic) I have been keeping my eye on model Jessie Lee. Jessie welcomes everyone to keep an eye on him, especially his nightly Instagram posts from the gym. Jessie keeps an eye himself on his progress sharing what body part and muscle group is getting the most attention with each visit.
As regular readers are keenly aware, FH is all about story. The visual stories that great images are able to conjure, and the stories of process and the way some of my favorite images and shoots came to be created. Stories of artists, models, actors and creators are what inspire me to continue to look for story each time I sit down and put together a piece for the site.. The curiosity to discover more about the artists I feature, and the desire to then tell their tales is one of the reasons I was so drawn to the work of writer, actor, model, and storyteller Mark-Eugene Garcia.
Some of you may be familiar with with Mark's work as an actor. In addition to numerous stage productions, Mark has been featured on TV and film in projects ranging from Pacific Blue and Buffy The Vampire Slayer to lead roles in the short films Nocturnal Fury and Bliss. In addition to telling the tales of other writers and characters on screen, Mark has also written and mounted several productions of his own plays and musicals. I am sure a few of you may have even read some of Mark's work including a piece he wrote for Go Naked magazine.
'The sun is beating down on my back. The sun is seeping down my forehead. The salty breeze is blowing against my butt. There is a soft sound of surf slamming the sand. My pen is in my hand. I am naked, laying alone on the beach at 11 AM on a Tuesday and life is perfect.'
As you can see from the images include, Mark also beautifully begins many first chapters in his work as a model. Although many images tell complete stories, some of my favorite images, and many of Mark's, provide an introduction and welcome the viewers imagination to direct where the story goes next. Mark's incredible body, and his poses in front of the camera, provide an alluring cover, which draw in the viewer with the expectation of a stimulating story to follow. Mark's intensely sensual hazel eyes direct the viewer, and depending on the image, tells stories infused in passion and intense erotica, mystery, anger and both darkness and light.
I love telling stories, but maybe more so, I love reading and hearing them. Whenever I get an e-mail, with an artist or model's images enclosed, I am always excited to see what visuals await. Quickly however, my mind moves to how best tell their story. The visuals guide me in the story I want to tell, and help in the creation of questions to send back. As great as it is to receive the e-mail with the visuals, I equally look forward to the responses to my questions, and the continuation of the story. If you've enjoyed the visuals of Mark included, continue turning the pages below to continue the telling of the tale. Below: Image from Rico Kinnard
You're both an actor and writer. Did one come before the other? Which would you consider your primary passion? 'Growing up, I wanted to be an actor but I was always writing. I would go out and audition and perform as much as I could and I pursued that life and it’s gone pretty well.… but every night I would come home and write. It never dawned on me until my twenties that writing was something to pursue as a career. It was always something I just did. I thought everyone went home and wrote for hours. Now I realize, I’m a storyteller- whether on stage, on the page, or in pictures.'
'The first time I posed naked was after I started losing weight. I lost 60 lbs. Originally, I wanted to document the process- plus I was beginning to feel super confident about who I am and what I was doing. It was a completely new experience for me to get in front of the camera. I was nervous as all hell, but as the first shoots went on it became fun. It was acting- without all of that line memorization.'
'The first time I went into a shoot and found a whole set built in the studio was amazing. That’s when it hit me- that “oh wow, I guess this is something I do now,” moment. Plus even though I’m professional in my demeanor, but as immature as ever. Whenever a photographer refers to my junk, I giggle. I feel like the shoots are fun because I’m always laughing. To me, the oddest thing is how natural it all has become. How many people get to come to work and take their clothes off?'
What part of your body are you most happy with? What part gets the most attention from others? 'You know, I don’t know. I guess that’s up to the viewer. Growing up overweight, I think I still have it in head that it’s all about hiding my flaws. The first few shots of every shoot are me relearning to let go.'
What factors did you weigh before deciding to take it all off.... career? partner? family? 'When I first started I kept it very private. It was special to me. It was something that was only mine. I liked that. If I chose to let someone into that world it was my decision. Other than my model mayhem friends, it was my happy secret. Then, in the past few years I did a quite a few projects that it involved nudity in both stage and film. When shots and clips from a short film I did (Bliss) started popping up online I realized my nudity was googleable. I knew it was bound to happen. But it unlocked a door that I found I didn’t really mind being opened.'
Why do you think you like modeling?
'I like the whole process of it. I love getting there and bringing to life a photographer’s vision. I love being directed. I also really like so many of the people I’ve worked with, Justin Thai, Photofreedom, Rico Kinnard, Jerzy Kowalski, RBX photos, Bitten by a Zebra Photography to name a few. I’m always looking forward to working with people.'
What role or project has been your favorite acting experience so far?
'Acting wise I’ve had a few really amazing roles. I loved working on Bliss. There is so much that can be said without words. It was about a couple who could not connect with her partner. We see their lack of connection, followed by what it could be, in a sequence of bedroom scenes. From audition to rehearsals to filming- it was amazing. Also I recently finished acting in a play called The Underpants Godot, which was a hilarious comedy about Samuel Beckett, the NYC theatre scene, and censorship. Both where characters that I loved playing and were hard to leave behind.'
Are there many scripts in your head, or computer, that you dream about one day putting together?
'I am ALWAYS writing. I have a few projects that are out in the world now and I am really proud of them. I also have a few projects in my computer (more plays and a novel) that are waiting to see the world. Writing is similar to acting and in modeling. There are always so many stories to tell. I’m just happy to be able to tell them.'
Every year at this time, I do a Christmas favorite list featuring the work of some of the many artists I have featured over the last year. The list isn't necessarily what I am asking Santa for, many of the products below, I have already gifted myself with... But with Christmas a mere few weeks away, I thought I would offer some suggestions for that hard to purchase person on your list. All of the items below should arrive before Christmas, some in fact are downloads that are available instantly after purchase. I hope you find something of interest in this small list of some of my favorite things!
One of the most popular posts this past summer, featured YogaBear Studio's images of Samuel Lora and David Pevsner. David started as a songwriter, writing lyrics and music for the musical Naked boys Singing. David's current project, pulls together many of his talents in a new CD featuring what David calls 'mostly gay, dirty comedy songs. The CD is full of surprises, including cameos from Jim J. Bullock and Maxwell Caulfied.
'It’s all cheeky, filthy, fun, clever, risqué, offensive, sweet…it hits all of it.'
Most Versatileis available right now just for digital downloads…physical CDs will be available eventually. You can download it at CD Baby, Amazon, iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, or... you can check out more about it on David's site HERE:
Every year when I was a kid, there would be an issue of my favorite magazine rolled up in my stocking! One of my favorite magazines, with a focus on the male form, is New Manhattan Studio's Captured Shadows. There are currently 4 issues of Captured Shadows available, with more on the way. Although each issue has one model as the main focus (including FH favorites Bond and Alex Corso) There are also other models and shoots featured in each issue. You can get Captured Shadows as a download, or in the traditional glossy magazine form HERE:
FH readers recently enjoyed my 5 part Utah feature from the annual shoot this past August. Photographer Gordon Nebeker has been heading to Utah for years, and chronicled some of his early journey's in his 2010 book, Men To Match My Mountains. Check it out, and Gordon's other book, A Piece of Cloth on Blurb HERE:
Photographer Mark Grantham has ten incredible books available on his blurb page, and several of the models I have been lucky to feature on FH. Greg, Tyer and Cason all appeared in previous stories, and Mark's work with Andrew and Bond was featured earlier this year. Andrew and Bond are Mark's two most recent books and both are available in both hard and soft cover editions as well as instant downloadable editions!
Calendar's are always a favorite gift, and this year the selections are better than every. Photographer Mark Leighton has a variety of photos and products available HERE: including his 2017 The Original Athletes calendar. Mark gave FH a preview in a previous post HERE:
Max Woltman's Men of New Mexico calendar is guaranteed to warm up any night, of any month of the year. It may also have you googling prices for flights to New Mexico!
Richard Rothstein's work has hung in my kitchen in calendar form each of the last 3 years. Richard has a variety of calendars available this year, including several dedicated to the male form including 12 months of Tarzan, Lord of the Crete Jungle. (above). I think this year, my order is going to include City Lights (below) with each image taken from a Hell's Kitchen rooftop in Manhattan.
If you're still scratching your head about that perfect gift (for another, or yourself...) you can never go wrong with the Warwick Rower calendar, and the Making of Video which is a highlight for me each December!