For those dealing with the Arctic air mass that has been hovering for the last few weeks, I may have a cure. When cold and frigid, the best antidote that I know is an intense infusion of heat. One of the hottest series of images on FH the last 12 months was last Autumn's Utah shoot featuring the work of Gordon Nebeker, Mike Tossy and Studio MG Photography. The trio of photographers shot models Yorgen and Devin under the heat of Lake Powell's September Sun.
In addition to pulling together his favorite shots in a book, Muscles & Mountains: Lake Powell II, photographer Gordon Nebeker is also showing a selection of images from the shoot in a photo exhibition in Fort Lauderdale FL beginning on January 20th. If you're in the area, Gordon invites you to drop by, check out the images and say hello. If you need an additional incentive, Yorgen will be on hand for the opening to meet, take pictures and interact with attendees of the exhibition.
Although I didn't have time to put together my annual Golden Globe nominee post, I did get to watch most of last nights telecast. I loved Call Me By Your Name, but wasn't really thinking it's cast were going to home with the award. Both Armie Hammer, and especially Timothée Chalamet put in beautiful performances, but maybe too subtle for the Foreign Press. I did think the film might win, but it was a really great year for film, and a very competitive year for actors in great roles.
Chalamet always looks great and was dashing in his tux, but he was no more adorable than when noticing the former figure skater seated near him at the awards. At only 22, the young actor wasn't even born in 1994 during Harding scandal, but thanks to the brilliant I, Tonya, her name is again back in the headlines.
If you haven't seen 'Call Me By Your Name' yet, try to check it out if you get the chance. It's a gorgeously shot film with a story so many of us can relate to. There is often an obsessive element to first love, one that although you get over, you never truly completely shake or forget. The film so beautifully captures this time in a quiet, yet powerful way. Chalamet and Hammer hit the notes of their roles perfectly on pitch setting a compelling tone they maintained throughout.
'George was my muse. We explored so many different themes and concepts. George was perfect. His skin, his eyes, his physique ... there wasn't a flaw. He was a joy to work with he worked hard on every shoot and was proud of the work.we accomplished.'
Regular readers of FH know how important 'story' is to me. Although the site's focus may be on visual depictions of the male form, my focus is also on story. One of the recurring themes I love to explore is relationship. Relationships between artists and their craft, models and their bodies and of course the relationship between photographer and subject. Some photographers meet, shoot and edit images of models they barely know, speak to, or ever see again. Other photographers work at forging a connection with their subjects, getting to know their passions, their skills and incorporating what they learn in the work, creating more intimate and dynamic imagery.
But as we all know, relationships are not static, they're constantly changing and evolving, and ultimately, most end. Florida based photographer Greg Lindeblomshot more with George than any other model. Between 2006 and 2010 they shot five times together, the first four shoots occurring in 2006 and 2007. Sadly, their shoot in 2010 would be their last. Sadly George died suddenly in an accident several years later at just 37 years old. Greg says that even today, years later, those who were close with George remain heart broken and in shock at the senseless loss of the vital and gentle soul that they knew George to be.
I usually go back and forth when it comes to featuring the work of a model who has died. Ultimately, it is that relationship with the photographer who shot him, and the words of those who knew him best that guide my decision. With George, the decision was an easy one. George was like a burst of energy, a nationally ranked sprinter and great overall athlete. Greg's images of George not only capture a time when the young model was in peek physical condition, but also a time when his life was on a hopeful path and a positive, successful future was awaiting his next steps.
Second Shoot (December 2006)
'My second shoot with George was in December 2006, about six weeks after our first shoot. This time, we did more athletic poses. I called this the Olympian series. George was such a natural in front of the camera. By incorporating sprinting into the shoot plan, we created images that really showed off his gorgeous physique. The sprinting images were some of George's favorites. I made a print for him of one of his favorites and he was thrilled.'
Greg wasn't the only photographer to enjoy shooting with George, or to sing his praises. In both his home in the UK, and his 'second home' in Florida, he was a favorite of all who had the privilege to to work with him. Greg describes him as a real chameleon, a model he was always excited to work with due to his changing looks each time that they got together to shoot. As an athlete and sprinter, a focus on form, athletic poses and movements was always at the foundation of their work together.
'My third shoot with George was just a week after the second. This time we stayed outdoors, shooting at a friend's outdoor shower and I often used a drop cloth and had models float on it, posing as they were inspired. Here are a couple of George's.'
In addition to George's incredible physique, and his proficiency with utilizing his athleticism in incredible poses, I most struck by George's incredibly beautiful and expressive blue eyes. If eyes are the windows to the soul, you can see subtle changes in both George's physical appearance, as well as the degree of light and energy in his eyes between Greg's first shoot in 2006 and their last shoot in 2010.
George's eyes also appear to offer a hint to some of what he has been going though, and the life experiences that we all go through and endure. George's eyes also seem to show a bit of the wear that those with gentle souls often must carry, especially someone like George, whose profession was as a nurse, and whose focus was so often on the well being of others. Gentle souls are usually not the product of easy, pain free lives, instead usually, just the opposite.
Fourth Shoot (September 2007)
'My fourth shoot with George was in September 2007, eight months after our third shoot. George's look was so different. He had trimmed his hair dramatically and had added substantial power to his chest. We shot both indoors and outdoors. The studio shots were almost brooding and I kept the light very low for these images.'
Greg shares that over the years, especially as they became closer friends, George's focus on others was always at the forefront when they got together, both in the Florida, and also when Greg visited him in the UK. I especially love the beauty, and maybe the sadness in Georges eyes in the image below. Greg has captioned the image 'George remembered' and is a beautiful tribute to their work together. I am grateful to Greg for sharing his images, and especially his stories of his work with his friend and muse.
'My last shoot with George was three years later in March of 2010. In that time, his look returned to the sweet, almost angelic appearance of our first couple of shoots. We reprised some work from years earlier, both outdoors and in the studio. Rather than emulating an athlete, I put a sword in his hand and he again showed the impeccable form I first saw three years earlier. It was a wonderful time and we enjoyed the shoot immensely.'
Fifth Shoot (March 2010)
'Over the next five years, I saw George when he came to Florida for his annual visit. We had dinners and coffees. We talked about shooting again, but didn't do it. There was always going to be a next visit for that shoot. When George died suddenly at only 37, everyone who knew him was in shock and distress. We learned again that life is fragile and that we need to make each day count. I am so thankful that I had an opportunity to work with George as a model, but even more to become a friend.'