'Fear and Prejudice... unfortunately, are always in fashion.'
Last year, images of actor Darren Criss, in his pink pouch hugging speedo's, and in nothing but a towel and some tanning oil, were all over the web. The images, were part of the actors prep for playing serial killer killer Andrew Cunanan in the second season of American Crime Story, The Assassination of Gianni Versace.
Well, the results of all that tanning are in, with a couple of teaser pics of Criss from the first hour of the nine part series that premiere's this Wednesday. Darren's derriere doesn't disappoint and I'm looking forward to some better caps after the episode is broadcast.
The other, while flipping TV channels I noticed the 1991 comedy Blossom had replaced Everybody Loves Raymond on one of the comedy networks I check out. I never watched the sit-com when it first aired, although I do remember crushing over Joey Lawrence. My connection to Blossom was mostly the images and pin-ups of Lawrence I saw in teen magazines. I watched a few minutes and although Mayim Bialik is talented and engaging, I am a little old for the show now, guessed I missed my window...
But... I watched enough to be reminded of hot hot Blossom's day Nick Russo was, in his tight, yet high waisted mom-like jeans. Most people most like know actor Tedd Wass from his time on Blossom or his time playing Danny Dallas on Soap, a show I was too young to watch when it aired, but keep meaning to check out on DVD.
The tall, lean, sexy and talented Wass got his start on stage and made his Broadway debut as Danny Zuko in the original Broadway production of Grease. Wass trained as an opera singer but moved mostly to performing rock as both a lead singer and guitarist. Wass' music background was used for his role on Blossom character who was also a musician. After appearing on Soap, Wass moved to the big screen with a series of relatively high profile roles through out most of the 80's.
By the late 80's, Wass was back on television, and his role on Blossom was actually the actors last acting role ever. Wass directed quite a few episodes of the sit-com and when it was cancelled in 1995, he moved behind the camera permanently. In addition to Blossom, Wass has directed episodes of Coach, Caroline in the City, Spin City, Two Guys a Girl and a Pizza Place, Two and a Half Men and most recently Last Man Standing, Mom and The Odd Couple.
With Soap co-stars Billy Crystal and Richard Mulligahn
Baby Sister, TV Movie (1983)
Oh God, You Devil (1984)
It didn't appear Wass had done any on screen nudity when I first searched, but then discovered he had very (very) brief butt scene in 1984's Sheena: Queen of the Jungle. The scene, in the Tanya Roberts led flick, featured Wass buried naked underground for some tribal ritual, with only his head above the ground. He is pulled out and you briefly get a quick glance of Ted's toosh.
Curse of the Pink Panther (1984)
Although not naked, I think one of Wass's hot scenes was in 1984's Curse of the Pink Panther. In the scene, Wass is in a teeny tiny pair of white undies when the woman he is about to have sex with is shot in the neck.
'Since my early childhood I grew up surrounded by the atmosphere of beauty. It was in countryside where nature itself was amazing with its picturesque landscapes changing shapes and colors million times a year. Dark forests full of mysterious sounds and birds' singing, golden leaves falling down into the deep blue sky reflected in cold water, dazzling shine of snow-white fields, giant colorful carpets of early spring flowers - I keep it all in my memory until now.'
My love of art, and especially images began with noticing. I remember even a kid noticing textures and colors that others didn't seem to pay attention to. I remember distinctly not only noticing, but needing to touch, smell and remember the feel of flowers, pussy willows and leaves that drew my attention. I noticed if they were rough or soft of if wet or dry when hitting my skin. I think my experience is one shared my many artists whose pull towards beauty becomes a passion which continues on into adulthood.
For photographer Nick Mesh, that beauty was everywhere. His home was filled with books on history, the arts, sculpture and architecture, books he wasn't forced to study, but books which welcomed him into a world of great masterpieces with both inspired and left a lasting impression. Nick doesn't remember if there was a particular moment or event that had him focus on the most form, but for Nick, it seemed always a passion, something that just came naturally.
'I started with pencil drawing when I was just a kid. Even then I felt the male form the most exciting subject for depicting. I studied academic drawing and plastic anatomy in books by myself and professionally when studying design and architecture. I was inspired by stunning male faces and bodies in ancient Greek and Roman art, in Renaissance paintings and sculpture. I believe, brushes, pencils, photo camera or digital applications are only instruments in artist's hands. So I always feel equal pleasure and enjoyment no matter what I do, a quick sketch on paper or a monumental shot.'
Nick's skill and success with drawing, led to his creating sketches and portraits of his friends. Soon, Nick had his first models, with many of his friends and schoolmates eagerly agreeing to pose naked and have their likeness creatively replicated on paper. Although Nick's passion for the male form never wavered, it was years before he picked up a camera and moved from drawing, to photographing his subjects. Creating imagery of the male form however, was always a part of Nick's life and career, and through his work as an architect and designer, male erotic images filtered their way into his work in film production and as a video game developer.
Most of my favorite photographers are not focused on one aspect of beauty, or the male form, but have a systemic way of looking and capturing the subject in front of their lens. It is always clear to me when a photographer is most concerned about capturing just a body, or a specific body part. In many cases, the body part is front and center with all that surrounds it almost irrelevant. Most great artists look beyond just one part or aspect of a subject, expanding their scope to utilize so much more in the creation of their imagery.
'I believe there's no need to take picture in complicated "studio" style or to create intricate costumes and environment to show man's individuality and uniqueness. People can be beautiful in their ordinary context. My mission is to see that beauty and to turn so called regular people and situations into a subjects of sensual art. At least I try to do that.'
Like that countryside and dark forest, those golden leaves and blue skies, Nick continues to see beauty everywhere he goes. Nick meets his models at the gym, in the streets, on social media. Nick says that one look is always enough for him to know if a guy meets his aesthetic requirements. Nick's requirements do not mean the men he shoots have to look like typical male models. Nick loves to shoot everyday guy, men who appear natural and inartificial. Sometimes, if they are not skilled at striking a pose, it means they're not prentending, or trying to be someone else, or anyone but who they are.
'Most of them never had shoots with a professional photographer before. But they wish to record their physical achievements for ages. So it's always a very special and exciting process for them, a kinda milestone. My aim is to make them feel comfortable and relaxed. Then I just have to create and catch the most beautiful and bright moments.'
Nick often draws sketches, and tries to imagine the best way to shoot the models he works with. Although he tries to have a plan for each shoot, a set, a theme and set of poses to fit the model, things don't always go a planned. Sometimes for Nick however, this is a good thing. One of the most surprising thing for Nick is watching the changes some models experience when in front of the camera. Models who voice not wanting to do nudity, and appear shy and reserved when a shoot is beginning. Nick shares that he experienced many models transform in front of the camera, models whose boundaries come down, and clothing comes off, naturally revealing intimate parts of who they are as they become more comfortable and confident during the creative process of shooting.
'That's what I really appreciate in a model beyond the impressive physical form - boldness and readiness to new experience. Obviously, exact following to the artist's directions is enough for a good shoot. But I'm happy when fellas share their own most secret desires and wishes while shooting. I love to feel crazy chemistry with the guy I see through my lens. This leads to the best results.'
This is certainly the case with Nick's work with model Andrew Phillip. Nick describes Andrew having all the best qualities in a model he looks for. Andrew returns the compliment, saying he loves working with Nick and that he can look at the images created by Nick for hours. Andrew doesn't consider himself a model, but does love to be the focus of the camera. Despite a bit of hesitation, Andrew says once he gets going, his shyness flies away, and a crazy sexual excitation takes over causing him to forget about everything as he gets lost in the process.
'It's always amazing working with Nick. He's absolutely professional and just a nice guy, he knows what he wants and how to get it, he's very friendly and easy-going. As for the pics, I would say Nick does his work geniously. He always knows the best angle to capture, he creates the light that looks absolutely natural. Like a film director he can make me express completely different emotions.'
Nick's work with Andrew is the perfect example to illustrate his philosophy when shooting. Although we see all of Andrew's incredibly sexy body, Nick has captured an array of both looks and emotions focusing on both Andrew's impressive physique, as well as fun and unique parts of his personality. Though his eyes Andrew channels both a sultry sensuality as well as a playful and mischievous side which for me, are just as hot and appealing as the full body shots. You can see more of Andrew on Nick's site (HERE:) where several of images are available for sale as posters and prints. Andrew also appears in several photo books (In Strict Confidence, v.1, In Strict Confidence, v.2, LUST and Best Undressed) and calendars.