Since first discovering his work earlier this year, (Self-Propelled) I have been enjoyed following the work of model and artist Jacob Dillon. Jacob creates such beautifully majestic captures, incorporating both his incredible physique, and the beauty of mother nature that surrounds him. .
It is all the more impressive given that during the shooting process, Jacob is both model and photographer. Although Jacob's self portraits are mostly taken around his Missouri home, he considers himself a traveling model, and loves seeing other parts of the country to work with, and model for other photographers
I am endlessly fascinated by artists like Jacob and their process. Heading out into the forest, usually alone, (except for occasionally Jacob's dog) managing the equipment, locations, unplanned hikers, not to mention the weather, all of course while completely naked and focused on body and pose to achieve the perfect shot. Although Jacob says he usually has a general idea of the shots he wants, a lot of it is trail and error due to the unpredictability of what the woods and weather may have in store.
I love Autumn, especially the visual signs of seasonal change, and the vibrant colors that mother nature provides. It was easy then, to decide these visual signs of change were the best, and most natural way, for FH to celebrate the Thanksgiving season.
When Jacob headed out to shoot, he was hoping to hit the colors at their peak, usually around mid October in Missouri. This year, the weather has been so warm and dry that Jacob shares the colors weren't as vivid as they usually are. I still love the results, with hints of yellow and red poking through and behind the browns and greens seem that much more special.
'Photographing the nude figure in nature is like stripping down all forms of modern culture and technology (except for the camera). It is how we came into this world as Mother Nature intended. There is nothing wrong with clothing, it’s how we adapted to be more comfortable with the elements. However, there is something pure and natural in the nude figure.'
'When we photograph the rawness of nature, we tend to try to eliminate all forms of human existence. By adding the nude figure, we capture the rawness of our bodies.. At first the contrast seems stark, but the beauty of nature and the beauty of the human form compliment each other extremely well. In these self portraits, I have tried to capture just that.'
One of Thanksgiving's main events is the meal. For most, it's turkey and dressing, mashed potatoes, carrots and peas, yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Some of the keys to a great Thanksgiving meal are planning, prep and help in the kitchen. If you enjoy naked men in the kitchen, check out my salute to apron (only) wearing kitchen help on The OVER-FLOW.
The first time I featured the work of Iowa photographer Dave Larson, the focus was on Deconstructing the Cowboy. Dave loves to take conventionally held examples of masculinity, and examine, reveal and deconstruct them down to their most raw and naked form. Today's deconstruction is of the farmer, or as model Matthew Dunston calls the shoot, the deconstructing the farm boy.
For those of you who read my August profile of Matthew's work, (Unabashedly Naked) you may remember that getting naked isn't usually an issue for him. This shoot however, involved more than just being nude, but something Matthew says was a bit tougher for him, exploring his sex appeal.
'I am comfortable in my own skin, but I didn't think I was sexy enough for this photo shoot. It turned out that stripping in front of the camera was more difficult that just posing nude. Dave has done these kinds of shoots before with much better looking dudes than me, and I just wanted to make sure I lived up to the deconstructing series. Luckily, Dave had ideas on how to make me look sexier than I initially thought I could be.'
Matthew's reservations about his level of sex appeal is one of the reasons that for me, this deconstruction was not only successful, but incredibly hot. One of the reasons farmers are so appealing is in part because they tend to be unassuming about their sex appeal. They are usually more focused on their work, than how hot they look doing it. Standing in the corn field, the field he both panted and created, Matthew's farmer is just naturally sexy. Both his smile and his stare are filled with pride and satisfaction for the many physically grueling and long hard days that yielded the results.
'If only humans could die like the autumn leaves, with a splash of beauty and the promise of another season.'
One of the reasons many of us love specific seasons is our ability to physically fuse, connect and immerse our bodies with the gifts mother nature lavishes upon us. In winter, our skin feels the cold, our tongues catch the snowflakes and most of us at one time or another used our hands and bodies to make snow men, angels and forts. In the spring, our senses are strummed by the smells and colors of a world in bloom. In the summer, our bodies are literally bathed in both the heat of the sun and waters of the lakes and oceans we immerse ourselves in to cool off.
In Autumn, it's both the sites and the smells that lure us down any path surrounded by elms and maples moving through stages of senescence. Most of us have experienced the sensation of rolling and playing in a cold and damp pile of leaves. Sadly, the desire to physically connect with seasonal changes seems diminish for many adults. The cold becomes less tolerable, the humidity too oppressive and the damp leaves, just an eyesore in need of raking.
One of the themes that I loved exploring on FH is how creative artists and adventurous models can take us back to the sense of freedom and play that life often forces us to forget. Just the experience of being naked outside is something foreign to most adults, even thought our parents have Kodak produced proof, that we once ran around the backyard in our birthday suits.
Jesse from JDT Photo is one of my favorite chroniclers of seasonal changes, but I thought I'd already tapped the well dry with his Autumn images. Last month I featured several models Jesse shot for An Autumn Afternoon. Today, we get a fall bonus, as a few weeks go however, Jesse headed back into the woods, this time with Blanco.
There is a beautiful symmetry in the way Jesse captured Blanco, and the way in which the Atlanta models interacts with his Autumn arena. Blanco creates such beautiful poses with his body, even the design and lines of his arm tattoo flows with his surrounding. Blanco interacts with the forest and leaves as may of us did when we were young, and how many of us long to again.
I love Riverdale, but there is something off about this season. Part of it could be the focus on darker stories. Last year centered on a murder, but it was still done with a soapy and comic book type of fun. It could also could be the more noticeable shift to everything being about the four main characters. They have always been the focus, but this season the supporting cast seem even more distanced from the main stories and action.
This means some of my favorite characters, especially Kevin and Cheryl, are only getting flashes of screen time, Josie, much less. This also means, our new Reggie, actor Charles Melton, who I first noticed in AHS Hotel, is also not getting to do anything besides fist bump Archie, and occasionally scowl and grunt.
I am already getting a little tired of the main four, and hope the writers balance out the story as the season goes on. The one episode where Kevin (Casey Cott) was actually written for was one of the seasons best, and Melton is too talented, and too hot, to be written as just a hyper and testosterone grunting neanderthal.
Regular FH readers are undoubtedly familiar with Mr. Herzog, and photographer Gordon Nebeker's habit of capturing the hunky former marine's surrounded by tree's, even at times, Christmas Tree's... The problem for Mr. Herzog however isn't being naked in the forest. It's not worrying about poison ivy, the bugs and tree sap, or even being poked by a jagged branch.
Given Mr. Herzog's location, Gordon is only usually able to connect with him on his trips to and from Florida. Given Gordon usually only does this drive in the early spring, and the late fall, this means Mr. Herzog is usually frolicking naked through the forest when it's freezing outside! It isn't a problem for viewers, as and during the spring and fall, colors tend to be more vibrant, and the suns light clear and crisp. But, as crisp as that light may be, it's of little comfort for Mr. Herzog if Gordon decides he just 'must have' a shot of Mr. Herzog under a waterfall or laying in the lake...
These shots were taken last year, about this time in November as Gordon headed south to escape winter's rapture of the North East. This shoot also provided us with last holiday's shots of Mr. Herzog decorating a tree in the forest. You can check out that shoot, and all of Gordon's work with Mr. Herzog, and other models on his Quaternate post HERE:
If you haven't checked out my most recent piece featuring Gordon's work, Muscles & Mountains: Lake Powell II. check it out HERE: The heat may be equal to the sizzling Mr. Herzog, but the temperatures were a wee bit higher!
The quote above is how I began the first chapter of Andrew's story, featured on FH back in the summer of 2016. (Same Old Story) Andrew's story was featured along with several other models Richard had work with in 2015/16. Andrew's story captured before knowing anything about him, my fascination with his story began with the first image of Richard's I saw of him.
The image (HERE:) featured Andrew staring out of a window. There was something about the look in his eye that had me wondering what brought him to that window, what led to him removing all his clothing and be photographed in such an emotionally vulnerable way.
Truth is I don't know if Andrew knew he was projecting such emotion that would trigger such intrigue from someone viewing the image. As Richard shared in the first part of the story, Andrew wasn't a model, had never modeled before in fact. But, having just lost a job, he needed work, he needed money to pay the rent. There are models I feature on FH who have made modeling a career. There are other models on the site, who have jobs and careers outside of modeling but enjoy doing it on the side, as a creative outlet, or to make a little extra cash.
Then there are models who never thought of modeling before, but due to circumstance and opportunity, find themselves in front a photographers lens for the first, and often, only time. Andrew returned to shoot with the Ohio artist again this year, a little older, a little wiser, and with a few more life scares on his emotional resume.
Andrew's story is still a work a progress. He shares that he is still struggling to find a career path that he's passionate about. His modeling work with Richard however, has inspired him to seek out something creative, something allows explore his talents and passions. He is however in a happy long term relationship. Andrew's girlfriend is also creative, and works in the entertainment industry.
Richard is a master storyteller and each of the last three pieces featuring his visuals, (Kyle | Besecker) | Brian) have gone beyond the front cover into stories of transformation and change. Richard's images of Andrew continue to stoke my curiosity, and I look forward to discovering more of Andrew's story. As much as I love the physique and nudes, it is Richard's portraits, and Andrew's beautifully expressive eyes, that tease pieces of his story yet to be told.