Thursday, February 2, 2017

Tommy Flory: Bright Burning Light

First two images from Jamie Arabolos

'I love being in front the camera and I love the attention. I love to be able to tell a story with each picture I'm in, as well as bringing joy to others. It's become a passion of mine.'

The first image of Connecticut based model Tommy Flory was the incredible shot that I used for today's POTD. I loved the striking and dramatic deep red background used by Rockwell Studio Tommy's beautiful hazel eyes, facial expression and especially the pose. There was something about Tommy's arm position that brought about both a strength with his flexing, and a feeling of vulnerability with the way Tommy's arms are positioned to the back and side.

Next two images of Tommy by Darkest Before Dawn

Although Tommy and the image are incredibly sexy, my primary reaction to the image was of the clear, hard earned strength expressed by the model captured. I reached out to Tommy about a feature for the site, and he quickly responded with support. My passion, as most readers know, is to discover the stories behind images that grab me. I loved that Tommy was so open and willing to share how got to a place in his life, to be strong enough to stand in front of camera, completely naked expressing such strength and confidence.

We all know great art is often emerges from great pain, and Tommy's confidence was something he had to fight and work for. Growing up, Tommy admired those he looked up to who seemed to express strength and confidence with such ease. But growing up in an abusive household, put down both physically and emotionally, Tommy felt lost and worthless. Looking in the mirror was difficult and only reaffirmed his struggle with self esteem.

The image above, of a younger, blonde Tommy was one of his earliest nude selfies and was how he looked when he walked into his first modeling agency. Tommy never would have even had the confidence to give modeling a try except for someone he met who became a mentor. They provided him the the encouragement to build himself up and to face the hate with forgiveness and move on. That first modeling agency was in Orlando and although they didn't immediately sign him, they saw something in the determined aspiring model, and paid for Tommy to attend a local modeling school.

Next 3 images from BriansPhoto

'That was the turning point for me. For the first time in my life someone saw greatness in me and believed I would go far in life.'

When I asked Tommy about his favorite modeling experience thus far, he didn't choose a shoot, but more a rejection that that impacted him to fight even harder. When he moved to Connecticut and was trying to enter the modeling industry in a new State, he was immediately shot down, for both his height, 5'7" and is lean physique. Tommy left hurt and frustrated, but decided to channel those feelings into changing what he could.

Clearly his height wasn't something Tommy could change,, but his body and muscle mass, he could do something about. Tommy headed almost immediately to the gym and over the next few months, worked out daily, going from from 125 lbs to 160 lbs of muscle. Opportunities began to open up right away and Tommy started working steadily leading him to feel more confidence with both his appearance, and himself.

Next 4 images from Alexander Ryan Photo

I am always curious about what factors lead to the decision to take it all off for the camera, and Tommy initially went back and forth. Tommy's fire to reach his goals had him questioning whether shooting naked might hinder future success, but also wanted to create great images in all area's of modeling. Tommy also started to understand that his new found confidence, and comfortably with his body, has led to him to enjoy becoming something of exhibitionist.

'I think my eyes seem to draw most attention from my images. For those I have worked with, beyond my physical features, it is my personality that I think stand out the most, I am a huge people person!'

Thus far, most of Tommy's experiences have been positive. Although he's become comfortable with nudity, and would be open to shoot with other models, Tommy has gotten a few offers for erotic themed shoots, that's not the direction he wants his modeling to go. Right now, Tommy's happy with direction of his life, and the way his modeling is heading. That image in red, that initially had me reaching out to Tommy, ended up winning the Model Mayhem Pic of the Day contest, and Tommy won again just two days later. Given how hard he has worked, I asked Tommy what that felt like.

'I continued to win second place in most contests that I put my picture in including the regular non 18+ competition. It was most discouraging to me, because it seemed that my life story, was always coming in, just short of success, but it does fuel me to try harder. Waking up to see that I got first place was like finally getting a breath of fresh air for the first time in my life, it was the greatest feeling and gives me much greater hope. And now I have to beat myself.'

Last two images from Rockwell Studio

'My favorite photo of myself is from Rockwell Studio. I am fully nude, with what looks like a cape covering my genitals with an active volcano behind me. I like it because it's the closest I've felt like Superman, whom is my biggest idol. Weird I know, but Superman, no matter the crap everyone gives him, continues to try to help others. My hope is to show others with my past, and being the underdog, that no matter the hardship life gives you, you can still chase your dreams and continue to do what you believe in despite what others say. I will help encourage others to reach their dreams too. My fire is burning bright.'

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