The quote above comes from the description to Pierre-Yves Monnerville's 2009 book Diaries. Pierre's quote resonated with me as in many ways, it sums up the motivation behind FH. At heart I am a writer, and telling the stories behind the images I feature is what stimulates my interest in the men in front of, and behind the camera.
There is nothing wrong of course with enjoying an image solely based on the visual. Art is about the artist telling a story through their work. For me however, an images is like the front cover of a book. Sometimes the cover is enough, I glace, enjoy the visual and then move on. Other times however, with the images I feature on FH, the cover has me curious to investigate and find out more about the stories behind the cover's creation.
With the subject being art, and the male form, the stories frequently stem from creative concepts, often accompanied by interesting, funny, and frequently arousing and even erotically stimulating tales of the process. As humans, we all have stories, most however do, and should, remain untold. Many of the photographers and models I have interviewed have included stories 'off the record' tales that they would rather not have made public. As a writer, it can be frustrating at times telling an 'incomplete' story, one with chapters that have to be left out of the manuscript and final final published piece.
As soon as I saw Pierre's images of Gareth (mr nice), I sensed there was a story to tell. There seemed a bit of a disconnect between his big beautiful muscled body, and the emotions flowing from his wide blue eyes. Sadly, I can only share the images, and part of the story as Pierre shared that Gareth died a few years back.
This shoot was from 2008. Gareth was a straight bodybuilder, but dabbled in nude shoots and solo videos to help support and finance his training. Pierre describes Gareth as being being very quiet and reserved during their shoots. Professional and business like, Gareth was willing to try anything that might work, yet at the same time rarely showed interest in the final outcome. Gareth did however seem genuinely happy with working with Pierre and the completed photos, but again, from a business perspective.
The connection between body building and nude modeling is a natural one. You spend so many hours working out and in the gym to achieve results. The end goal, to show off your body to both judges and the public at a competition. Pierre always had the feeling that Gareth wasn't totally comfortable with the homo-erotic aspect of some of the work and videos he was doing. Gareth considered it part of what he needed to do in order to continue bodybuilding professionally.
I would love to have been able to follow Gareth's story beyond this mid-point in his life and career. Many people in their thirties, struggle with their career, and spend countless hours trying to figure out how they want to spend the rest of their lives. My guess, or maybe more, my hope is, that like most of us, within a few years things would have settled and Gareth would be on the path he desired. Although Gareth sadly had many missing chapters, for this piece, Pierre's words about one of their final shoots, seems an appropriate last chapter for this piece.
'I shot these images of Gareth as part of my Men in the Dark series. The series was motivated by my annoyance at how most people reacted to the photos I showed. Most people seemed only interested in whether they found the models attractive, how muscly the guy was or the size of his cock… I tried to make those men generic so to speak.'
I had never heard of actor Christopher Jones until last week. Alberto, a poster on DC, shared images of Christopher modeling nude in the 1968 movie, Three in the Attic. I liked the CFNM element to the scene and after reading a bit about the movie, wanted to find a copy of the movie. It is not really that strange that I had not heard of Christopher, with the exception of one small role in 1996, Jones' carrier really only spanned about 5 years between 1965 and 1970.
His roles may have been minimal, but his screen presence certainly was not. In the few moments I have watched so far, Jones has a strong and intensely sexual presence on screen, something not lost on those promoting his films. I have not seen The Looking Glass War yet, (it is quite expensive on Amazon) but as you can see from the poster below, Jones in tight, unbuttoned jeans were certainly seen as a selling feature.
The Looking Glass War (1970)
I look forward to finding a copy of the film, which also featured Anthony Hopkins. One of the scenes that comes up most when I searched was what looks like an interrogation scene with Hopkins and another actor trying to get info out of the jeans wearing, but shirtless Jones.
Sometimes when you research an actor, you don't find much except info on their movies, but Jones, who died in 2014, had a life far more dramatic than most of the roles he played don television and on screen. After his father was sent to a state hospital for putting a gun to his head, Jones and his brother were taken into care and place in Boys Town in Memphis. As a young boy, Jones became a fan of James Dean after constantly being told how much they looked alike.
Growing up in State care, Jones didn't have a lot of future options and ended up joining the army as a teenager. It didn't last long however, and he ended up going AWOL which led to a one year sentence in military prison. After his release, Jones headed to New York to start an acting career. Jones got his big break starring along side Shelley Winters in a 1961 Broadway production of Tennessee William's The Night of the Iguana. Jones went on to co-star with Winter's in Wild In The Streets. (1968)
Winters introduced Jones to actress Susan Strasberg, daughter of Lee Strasberg. Jones later went on to join Strasberg's famous Actors Studio, and married Susan Strasberg in 1965. Soon after he headed to Hollywood and landed the lead in the series 'The Legend of Jesse James' and upon the shows cancellation, began his work in film. According to wiki, the oddest part of Jones' career occurred after being cast by David Lean in the film 'Ryan's Daughter.'
'The two men (Jones and Lean) had a difficult relationship, as did many actors who worked with David Lean. This intensified when production of the film took 12 months instead of the expected six because David Lean would wait for the right composition of clouds or the perfect storm to brew. Unknown to Christopher, he was drugged during his filming of Ryan's Daughter by Sarah Miles, according to her first autobiography A Right Royal Bastard, which caused Christopher to believe he was having a breakdown. Jones also was involved in a car crash, not knowing he had been drugged. The director and producers never informed him of the drugging. Later, Lean would dub his voice, causing a bad reputation for Jones.'
All of the trauma took a toll on Jones, and his career. He abandoned his acting career and focused his energies into painting, art deco and sculpting in clay. Quentin Tarantino tried to lure him out of retirement for a role in Pulp Fiction, but Jones declined. He did step back in front of the camera briefly in 1996 in a role in Trigger Happy for his friend, director Larry Bishop. Very sad his career ended so early, I can only imagine what movies would have lay head for Jones in the 70's and 80's.
Three In The Attic (1968)
'In the swinging sixties three girls discover they have the same boyfriend who has been playing around with them all while vowing fidelity to each. To teach him a lesson he won't forget, the trio contrive to lock him up and continually favour him with their attentions in turn.'