Although I always have my eye out for great holiday images, I usually start seriously looking a few weeks before the big day. This year with the 4th, Lights on Studio's Tom Nakielski beat me to the punch! Tom's images have been apart of FH's celebration of Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I enthusiastically welcomed Tom's red, white and blue themed shots of model Luke Roberts to help FH celebrate the 4th with a bang!
Tom's images also fit in wonderfully with my first's theme. Luke has been modeling and acting for awhile, but had not previously done a shoot in the buff. From the looks of it though, Luke had a ball as even with the balloons and sparklers, his sexy smile lights up every image. Happy 4th to all FH readers celebrating today!
For me, Independence Day is more about being patriotic than political. Yet, I wouldn't be honest if I didn't note that this year feels different. Usually my July 4th posts focus on the 'rah' rah' and celebratory feel of the holiday, but the 'rah rah' felt false. Thankfully it returned, in part due to visuals. Working with images from Lights On Studio, NICKET and the other contributing photographers helped bring back the spirit of the day. The American Flag, no matter who is in office, is always a majestic symbol of strength and freedom.
A friend also gave me the advice that Patriotism isn't just about now, but the hope that the future holds. We must have hope that the current struggles and trials, no matter how crazy they may be, will eventually lead to positive change. It was suggested I fall back on symbols of Americana that regardless of who is currently renting out the White House, never change. These words inspired by baseball theme, (in the post below) and this post which I hope is an appreciation for the military.
Over the last decade working on FH, I have profiled many models who have served in all areas of the military. I was honored to be able to feature photographer Gordon Nebeker's images of Mr. Herzog in a shoot shortly after Mr. Herzog had returned from oversea's with multiple deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. We all know how difficult transitioning home can be, and for many men, including Mr. Herzog, modeling has been apart of this process. Modeling of course can help someone with making a few bucks, but many models have also expressed the desire to do something creative upon getting home, some extremely different from what they had been doing before.
I especially loved these multiple exposure shots Gordon created from his work with Mr. Herzog. Although celebrating the 4th of July wasn't part of Gordon's plan with these images, there is something incredibly beautiful that connected these images for me with today's holiday. I love the symbolism of Mr. Herzog coming up for air. Coming home and rising up from the water towards the sun. So many who served don't have a sun, nor the light awaiting them when arrive home, so many come up for air to find only darkness.
Patriotism for many isn't simple or clear. It/s made up of many complicated and different thoughts, concepts, ideas and feelings. It is not as clear and straight forward as one single image. One can be unhappy with those leading a country, or specific decisions made, yet still have pride in one's country. There are endless idea's from the right to the left currently causing division, what isn't being done... yet, is pulling all of these ideas together into one unifying vision. Honoring those who served and sacrificed is that unifying nexus, even if we can't always see it.
'It's all about playing catch and throwing strikes.'
Growing up in a sports oriented family, I played hockey in the winter and baseball in the summer. I quit hockey in my early teens, mostly due to those 5a.m Saturday practices, but I stuck with baseball, which was mostly played in the evenings off and on into my 20's. For those like me, who played for fun, baseball is the perfect combination of playing a team, and independent game at the same time. Yes, you're playing on a team, yet no matter what position your playing, you're sort of on your own.
One of the reasons I liked baseball is that there was usually time to enjoy both the summer evenings, and the summer sights. Here are a few of those summer sites, including the first three shots which featured Dave August for DMK. Dave just celebrated his 20th year performing with Broadway Bares and shared many shots from the night on his Instagram HERE:
'Bat and Balls' was first played England in the mid-18th century. This game was later brought to North America by by immigrants, a over over decades, morphed into the modern version played today. By the late 19th century, baseball was generally seen as the national sport of the United States. If Hockey is connected with winter, and Football with Autumn, Baseball is definitely America's summer sport.
The American Flag, Old Glory, is an iconic symbol of liberty and freedom. It is also a colorful and artistic visual, which many photographers incorporate within their work. Each year, I try to tuck shots away that feature the flag, for posting on the 4th. (See last years's piece HERE:) There were several models draped in the red white and blue that I profiled in 2016, and here are the images I saved to help celebrate the day.