Despite being often covered in parka's and heavy sweaters, Canada has it's fair share of hot bodies. I'm not sure there's been anyone in awhile who has elicited as much Canadian carnalism as Shawn Mendes. The 19 year old singer is both sweet and sexy. Mendes has many qualities of the typical adorable twink teen idol, yet he also has a maturity that attracts lustful longings from all sexes and all ages. .
Unlike Justin Bieber, Mendes has been handling his mega fame (thus far) with respect and grace without even the slightest hint of bad behavior. When I was thinking of sexy Canadian's to feature this Canada Day, the only choice this year was Mendes. Mendes is magic on stage, both as a musician but also as an entertainer who is so effortlessly sexy on stage.
I started to do a FaVorite FiVe on Mendes, but of course, it turned into a FaVorite TeN. Check out some of my favorite Mendes images on the second page of my Canada Day theme posts HERE:
Hockey, more contact than football, better eye-hand coordination than baseball
and more skills than soccer all coming together ON ICE!
You can't think of sports and Canada without thinking of Hockey. Call me grateful it's still hockey as I'm not sure I could have found enough images to fill a post with the naked hotties of curling. Over the ten years working on FH I have featured a number of hockey themed pieces. Both models in hockey gear and real hockey players mostly out of their gear. I played hockey for a few years, and still get get excited during the playoff's.
Many models have put on, and taken off their jock straps for hockey themed posts, including the come from behind beauty of Cole Monahan. (above) There have also been more than a few photographers who use the theme regularly in their work, often featuring their model in goalie gear, I guess maybe to symbolize getting ready for an incoming.
I included a few of my favorite shots of models in (and out) of hockey gear on page 2 (HERE:) but for the remainder of this post, I wanted the real thing, and to head into the locker room with candid shots of real players hanging out before and after the game.
As a gay kid playing hockey, locker rooms were both an exciting and a dangerous place. My memories of locker rooms hit all of my senses, especially the sights and smells. For me, the sounds were usually muffled, I didn't hear much as I was focused on making my way through the changing area and showers without bringing on any unwanted attention.
In order to do so, I usually looked straight ahead, restricting naked players to the peripheral. I think if I had been out at the time, I would have felt more relaxed to enjoy a gaze or two, but at the time, my fear of being outed drove my behavior. That's not to say I don't have some fond memories of team mates in jock straps and in the shower, but I was always on the move when in the locker room, so my memories are mostly drive by recollections as I changed or headed out to the shower or out the door.
I have also have found memories of the smell. Contrary to what most think, locker rooms, especially just after a game, are a mix of sweat, Axe and Old Spice High Endurance. Sweat just after a game can have an almost pleasant aroma, at least it did to me. It was the sweat and smell of that hockey bag, especially a few days later, that brought forth the gag reflex.
I came from a hockey family, we all played and my father coached, and our furnace room was filled with wet hockey gear, not always properly hung to dry. I don't remember too many dinners when my bother didn't complain about the hockey gear, and the smell, my brother and I needed to 'take care of.' I miss playing hockey, the locker room and the excitement of entering the rink on game night. I don't miss getting up a 4a.m on Saturday for practice, or... that hockey bag, with wet, three day old gear.
If you want to spend a little more time in the locker room, there are some additional shots on Page 2 HERE:
'I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.'
John G. Diefenbaker, Canadian PM, 1957-1963
I have written before how different Americans and Canadians express patriotism. Although no person, nor any country can be catalogued the same, as a general rule, Canadians are quieter in their pride. The quiet doesn't mean lack of or less than, just the opposite actually. Canadian seem so self assured in their love of country, they don't seem to feel the need to yell it loudly, it is more an internal feeling of safety and gratitude for the country they live in.
I recently watched CNN's Kamau Bell's The Canadian Way episode of National Shades of America. It was interesting to see that although Canada has it's issues, many of them, there is a cultural peace so dramatically different from just south of the border. Canada is always thought of as being a bit behind the United States, but with cultural issues, they have been far ahead when it comes to most cultural issues, especially sexual orientation.
Because their pride is more internal, there are less choices for imagery to celebrate Canada Day. With the US flag, there are literally thousands of images with different models and different photographers across the net. For Canada, a google search usually pulls up the classic shot of Canadian actor Shawn Ashmore (HERE:)
Last year, I reached out to photographer Shaun Simpson who I knew had shot some flag images with model Michael Hamm. (HERE:) This year, I'm exited to present a brand new set of images shot for FH by photographer Jim from Studio1x. Jim's biggest obstacle was finding just the right model to pose wearing nothing but the maple leaf. Jim found just the right model in Taylor.
Taylor is not a professional model but loves taking risks and always had a hidden desire to take part in a nude photo shoot. Jim brought Taylor in and they shot twice, the second being with the flag. I love how Taylor used the flag in so many different ways and believe me, Jim sent on over 300 images, so there were many I had to edit out for another day and time. Usually I shoot on questions to help me pull together the piece, but Jim briefly interviewed Taylor about his experience during the shoot.
What made you want to do nude modeling? I wanted to give this shoot a try for a couple of reasons. The primary being just to do something so taboo! It was liberating and exciting to participate in. In addition, I am happy to have some shots to look back on 40 years from now and remember when I was still in decent shape.
What were your thoughts the first time you did a nude shoot compared to the second time? I was nervous both times, but much less nervous the 2nd time. There is no good way not to be awkward, especially if you're a somewhat modest person like myself. The first 10-15 minutes is always a little nerve racking, but you "warm" up after that!
What do you like to do in your down time? In my free time I am an avid outdoors enthusiast. I fish, kayak, hike, and rock climb as much as possible.
How would you describe your overall experience doing the shoot and would you recommend others to do so? 'I had a fantastic time doing the shoot. I think anyone who is even considering it, should take the risk and give it a go. You'll regret not taking opportunities like this! Just think about it and set limits for yourself prior to arrival.'
When looking at your finished photos, do you see yourself the way you normally do or how do you feel it is different? When looking at the finished photos I am stunned. The photos turn out much better than expected. I feel like the lighting and technique makes me look like more of a "model" than I would ever consider myself. It is great for self-esteem :)