Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 2004: Brandon Ruckdashel by Pinnacle Photo

'We had quite a ball. I still look fondly back at those photos.'

Looking back is something I love to do on FH. Although I love discovering new artists and models and seeing new images that I haven't seen before, when I am truly in need of inspiration, I often return to old favorites. It is one of the reasons I included the line, 'You will also find some of my favorite things, not just from today, but from years gone by' in my introduction to the site. When I first starting exploring the web in the late 90's, the technology was new, but the content often was not.

Social media and instant news were not the norm and many of the first sites I discovered were sites set up to pay tribute to the past. The net was full of pages, forms and message boards devoted classic television shows, films and actors and even driven sites were aiming their glances backwards towards the rear view mirror.

I saw my first caps of nude male scenes at the old Campfire Video site. Most of the caps were not new, but from movies from the 70's and 80's. The photography sites I found were mostly on Yahoo Groups and were devoted to images of previously published books from artists like Bruce Weber, Steven Underwood and Hans Fahrmeyer.

The first images that I 'right clicked and saved' were shots of Peter Johnson, Marcus Schenkenberg, Michael Bergin, Jeff Conger, Eric Nies, Simon Rex and the Carlson, Hall and Brewer Twins. Most of the images I was discovering for the first time were already a few years old, but they were the images that played such a big part in my motivation to begin FH. For this reason, FH has categories such as 'Blast from the Past', 'A Look Back' as well as 'Classic TV shows and hunks.' These days, classic doesn't even really mean old, sometimes things only just a few years old can be given the classic label.

It is also the reason this year I chose 'firsts' for FH's theme for 2017. For the most part, when I profiling a model or photographer, I am featuring their most recent work. I wanted an excuse to dive into the portfolio's and archives of my favorite artists. Actor, singer and writer Brandon Ruckdashel is most certainly, one of those artists. I first featured Brandon back in 2008 after reading a review of his role in the off Broadway production of Edmund De Santis’s Ascension. After reading Anita Gates review in the New York Times, I was eager to see, and learn more, about the actor she was describing.

'The 23-year-old Mr. Ruckdashel is making his Off Broadway debut and it is a stunning one. This is partly because he has the intense blond good looks of a young Brad Pitt with a soup├žon of James Dean. But Mr. Ruckdashel’s performance is also noteworthy because his Lorenzo vibrates with the smug and nonchalant power of youth. Father Calvin, it appears, is determined to resist him physically, but the odds aren’t good. It’s not clear who could resist when Lorenzo whispers: “God’s not here now. It’s just you and me.” And this is before he takes his clothes off. (There is full frontal male nudity in Act II.)'

Since that first piece in 2008 I have covered, and uncovered, Brandon in his many roles on stage, television and film, and his work a writer in the recently released Grinder. I have featured Brandon's modeling shots from a few of my favorite photographers but for this piece went back 13 years to a 2004 shoot with photographer Bryant Criminger from& Pinnacle Photo. Bryant and I have been trying to find the right model to feature for awhile now and when I remember that he used to have a folder of Brandon's shots on his Model Mayhem page, I knew what shoot, and model, I wanted to share.

Although not his first shoot, Brandon was one of the first models Bryant shot when he began doing photo shoot. Bryant was shooting film at the time, and always had 2 cameras in hand. One with color, and other with black and white film. Bryant says he was 'hard-headed about switching to digital, but after he did, wondered what took him so long! The shoot took place over a two day period, the last day of July, and the first day of August in 2004.

'The July shoot was at Huntington Beach State Park in Murrells Inlet SC. There is an old building there called "Atalaya" or "Castle in the Sand" and we utilized that location. I do a great many shoots there and for an model agency I work with. It was a beautiful day that day as you can see from the photos, Always like it when I channel surfing and come across one of his movies playing on tv The next day we shot at a shopping complex called Broadway at the Beach at Hard Rock Cafe in Myrtle Beach SC. What I remember of that day is somewhere off the Atlantic a storm (hurricane) was brewing and it was really windy.'
Bryant Criminger

'Bryant was a really fun photographer to shoot with. The suit series and the swimsuit are two totally different shoots. He shot on 35mm and I think it was one of the few shoots I ever did that were film. It is also one of the few shoots where I think I didn't retouch anything from it. That film really captured a lot of the feeling of the locations and we had quite a ball. I still look fondly back at those photos.'

'Thru Facebook, Brandon and I are able to stay in touch more, Always gives me a good feeling when I see one of his movies playing on TV when I come across them. Really proud of all he's accomplished.'

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