'We would typically be the first person to mock the idea of the Hallmark Channel, but there is something specific about this December: It’s crap. The news stinks, current events stink — turning on the television, in general, stinks. Another beloved icon revealed to be a sexual predator? Nope — let’s watch Hallmark. Another North Korean missile, now deemed capable of hitting the United States? Nope — Hallmark. The president is retweeting fake video clips of — NOPE, LA LA LA LA. HALLMARK. HALLMARK. HALLMARK.'
Writer Monica Hesse, and her theory on Hallmark, rings true for me this year. I was someone who would mock a Hallmark movie watcher, feigned annoyance that they seem to play on a loop when I visit my parents. I would have them on occasionally at home, to check out the eye candy, or play in the background as I did other things. This year however, I have found myself actually watching a couple, actually enjoying a hiatus from from the shit show that makes up the current state of politics and the world.
I still keep my focus on the eye candy, especially when they're as adorable as actor Steve Lund. The Nova Scotia born actor may be familiar to some of you from his work on television roles on Reign, Haven and Bitten. Lund has appeared in a few Hallmark movies, but the one I recently caught was 2015's Christmas Incorporated. Lund playes a rich spoiled corporate executive who has to decide whether to shut down a toy factory, just as Christmas approaches. Can you guess the ending?
Steve in Schitt's Creek
With sexual assault and harassment to prevalent in headlines, the popularity of Hallmark movies isn't merely a coincidence. In almost every Hallmark movie, woman are the focus, women are the interesting characters, women are in charge. Yes, most are driven by a desire for romance and love, but most have careers and full lives and although looking for love, looking on their terms. The men are secondary in Hallmark movies, interchangeable and alike. They're all well dressed, handsome and successful, and although intelligent, don't always see that love is right in front of them. They are written with minor complexities and just enough past pain to draw them to healing power of the female lead. All of which occur of course, just in time for Christmas.
It was precisely those countless ways of expression that first attracted me to the work of model Marc-Antony. As you can clearly see from his images, the London based model looks not only comfortable, but incredibly hot in or out of tweed, wool or cotton. Stylish and sophisticated, Marc-Antony's ease and professionalism in front of the camera comes from years of experience, beginning at the age of 16 with fashion and runway work.
There is a magnetism and charisma about Marc-Antony's look, and work in front of the camera that is incredible alluring. His energy and spark, not to mention his beard, that remind me a bit of another bearded hottie we see a lot this time of year. No, not the Santa we see squeezing his way down a chimney, but a younger, sleeker and more contemporary version. A Santa after a professional make over, after giving up Christmas cookies, and after many days, many months at the gym.
'My work with IAmWillDube was a great studio shoot combining fashion and artistic nudes into an editorial story line.'
Marc-Antony continued to model through college and part time throughout his years in university. I know from my time at university, as much as I loved the experience, it did have a way of rewriting, not to mention rerouting, a few of my childhood dreams down a more realistic path. A road heading towards a future and financial stability. For Marc-Antony, this road led him to pursue a corporate career.
'After nearly three decades away from the modelling world, I was scouted by a fashion photographer a couple of years back, whilst working out at the gym. It coincided with a time when I was ready to step away from the corporate world. So when I was scouted, I felt like I had gone a full circle and "the universe" was pulling me back to my first calling.'
Marc-Antony shares that he has had many great modelling experiences, working around the globe with numerous hugely talented photographers, models and artist. Recently, Marc-Antony had the opportunity to shoot with one of the world's most famous photographers, known for his unique style and work. They did an editorial shoot for a global magazine, which has a monthly circulation of over 2.5 million, in the US alone.
With his vast experience, both as a young model in his teens and 20's, and his work since his return to the business, I was eager to pick his brain about his experiences in the industry, and the challenges of returning to modelling after three decades away.
'Bobby Crayand I shot in this most interesting and beautiful town house, decorated and furnished in a 1950's style. It was a dull autumnal afternoon which in itself gave us diffused lighting, helping create beautiful, low-key, soft "dudouir" images.'
What are the pro's and con's of being a model over 50? 'To me the positives of being a model over 50 is that we bring with us many years of life experience and the self confidence which comes with it. This does reflect in the result of the work we do. Additionally, I think we are pretty much grounded and have a clear understanding and expectations of the industry in general without the naivety perhaps. The over 50's models or "Best Agers" as we are often referred as, are now much in demand, which is a hugely positive sign of how the modelling industry has changed for the better. You would have struggled to find the "Best Agers" becoming mainstream models even less than a decade ago. Times have changed! If there were to be a negative in my opinion, I'd have to say that whilst we are now rocking the industry, not everyone has embraced this shift and to some it is still a very slow learning curve.'
You describe yourself as an experienced, professional, bearded model in your bio. How central is your beard to your modeling work and the jobs you get?
'My beard and handlebar moustache are an integral part of my look and personal branding. They give me a strong, distinctive look, which I am glad to say is in great demand currently When I started out in the industry over 30 years ago, I was clean shaven and too young to have a beard.' Is there a photographer you would really love to be shot by? 'There are numerous photographers I would very much like to be shot by in different modelling genres. However there are two photographers who specialise in the male physique who I greatly admire - Dylan Rosser and Michael Stokes. It would be a dream to shoot with them!'
Have you ever modeled for an art group or class?
'I have previously modelled for a group of artists and as it happens I modelled this week for three creatives in one shoot - A motion artist / photographer, a videographer and an artist / illustrator. We utilised a projector, fabric, light painting techniques and face paint, to create some fantastic, experimental art.'
What part of your body are you most happy with? What part, besides your beard, gets the most attention from others?
'I am most happy with my face, my chest and arms. Overall I am very comfortable in my own skin! In addition to my beard, it is my eyes, chest and ears (hehe) which seem to get the most attention from others.'
What would your dream scenario be for a shoot?
'It would have to be a shoot with two of my favourite male models (whose name will remain a secret) in either a world famous historical building or in a rugged landscape, to capture some very dramatic imagery.'
'My shoot with Superchargedguys combined various distinctive styles: The male form captured in a sea of rich fabrics, texture and colours, highly stylised fashion editorial and an experimental play of colour and lighting on the male form using coloured gels.'
You have shot fashion, fitness, underwear, nudes. Do you approach all shoots the same, or are their different factors involved with each?
'Overall I do approach all shoots in the same way, by giving them all my 100% focus and professionalism irrespective of whether they are fashion, fitness, underwear, artistic nudes etc. Having said that, one also has to be very flexible in adapting to the setups of the different styles or genres of modelling. A fashion shoot is all about the clothing you are wearing, whilst an artistic nude is all about your own physical expression, as there are no clothes to hide beneath.'
What are your boundaries when it comes to nudity? is about the concept, the photographer or personal boundaries you have set.
'When it comes to nudity my boundaries are limited to aesthetic, artistic nudes. I combine that with working together with photographers on a concept to create beautiful and artistic imagery of the human body and I have then achieved what I wanted - a celebration of the human form captured through an image, appreciated by the model, photographer and the viewer alike.'
You have worked and lived in many parts of the world. Have you found any differences in the attitudes about modeling and the male form?
'Oh absolutely! Culture, tradition, religious influence, conservatism etc play a huge part in the attitudes toward modelling. Some regions of the world are much more open to the male form than others. I have however noticed in recent years that these attitudes are changing for the better and that societies are becoming more open and accepting of the male form.'
I believe Santa stopped leaving living, breathing naked men under the tree sometime in the 70's It was after a particularly sad and unfortunate incident which occured under Andy Warhol's silver tree. Rumor has it... Warhol was far too intoxicated on the 25th to open his gifts. It wasn't until the 27th that he was coherent enough to unwrap his packages. What he found was not a pretty site. The wrapped and scotched taped model under his tree had choked on a tiny piece of tinsel which had lodged in his throat. He may have survived if not for the foil reindeer paper that he was tightly bound in.
The moral of the story, is never give anything living as a gift, no matter how much they're desired and begged for. On the plus side, books, calendars and prints of naked men make incredible gifts, with no risk of choking, except for maybe the chicken. The plus side, is that if you're a late shopper, many of the books below come in digital form, making the perfect stocking stuffer for the lover of the male form on your gift list. Most of the artist I feature on FH sell prints of their work, but below are some of the many photographers and models, who have created gifts and books that I have had the pleasure to feature this past year.
I was fortunate this year to be asked by photographer Hans Fahrmeyer to write forwards for his latest books, The Naked Truth, and The Cover Up, which I featured earlier this week. Both available in Print and low priced digital additions for immediate download.
I have been lucky to be able share the work of many of the incredible models StudioMGPhotography has shot and commemorated to book form. From his work with Greg, Devin and Andrew through his work with Bond, Yorgen and Anton who I loved featuring this past year. Check them all out on Mark's blurb page HERE:
Some photographers give previews, or teases of what lies ahead. With Gordon Nebeker's work with Austin, and Yorgen and Devin in Utah, he gave us an incredible opening act which had us eagerly awaiting act 2. Gordon turned his work with Austin in Mexico, and Yorgen and Devin in Muscles and Mountains into two incredible large format book editions HERE:
Richard Rothstein's images of New York City, as well as the many men (including Nick above) that he has shot there are just waiting to be given for Christmas. Prints, t-shirts and greeting cards are available, along with my personal favorites, his two calendars. One, Fantasy Island, features Richard's view of Manhattan. The second is year long tribute to Lord of the Concrete Jungle. Check them all out on Redbubble HERE:
Although photographer Mark Leighton has been shooting beautiful men on the rocks and along the incredible beaches of Portugal for awhile, it was just last year he published his first book. Mark has now created four books showcasing his images, including one spotlighting Ash (above) one of Mark's most popular subjects. Check them out HERE: