Whenever I feature a model, as I did today with Joe, (in the piece below) with classical good looks and a beautifully framed face and jaw, I use the same two descriptive words within the text. Chiseled and sculpted have become my 'go to' words to describe a strong, often square shaped face. When thinking it about today, I realized there is one man who personifies this look for me, an actor who's face flashes through my mind whenever I use those words.
It's funny, I really haven't really seen much of Christopher Reeve on film. I have seen parts of the Superman films when they have played on TV, but not one all the way through. I did find a copy of Deathtrap to prepare for today's post, and I keep meaning to watch some of his other films that I have read about, most notably Somewhere In Time and Monsignor.. Other than a couple of his TV appearances late his career, my connection to Reeve has been mostly through images.
That didn't mean Reeve didn't have an influence on me. Growing up in the eighties, Reeve's image, especially as Clark Kent and as Superman were everywhere in magazines and newspapers. I knew the face before I knew the man. The look and shape of his face grew to define what I thought of us 'classically good looking'. .
I was still in school when Reeve had his accident, but I remember it having a strong impact on me, especially thinking of something so horrible occurring to someone many thought of as invincible.
For me, Reeve was both handsome and sexy, yet at the same time, not necessarily sexual. Maybe it was because I was so young at the time, but I was not really that attracted to Reeve physically. I was drawn to him however, his face, his eyes, his aura. There have been several men in my live that I have been strongly drawn to for reasons beyond sexual attraction but I think Reeve may have been the first.
As I have grown older, I can see and understand Reeve's sexual appeal has gone stronger but his appeal remains more one of fascination and a visual interest in his physical beauty. I have read quite a bit about his life, and despite his Superman physique, Reeve struggled at times with his appearance, and dealing with being so 'visually handsome' all of the time. Reeve also struggled with clothing, finding it difficult to find clothes that fit him right given that he was broad at the top, but narrower down below.
Somewhere In Time 1980
The fact that this man, so perfectly sculpted, had body issues is weirdly comforting. I have saved images of Reeve for awhile, looking for a reason to post them. Thinking about him today, especially in the contest of how his looks have defined in some ways my idea of male beauty, there was no better time.
'This is Clifford Anderson, my secretary; my friend...'
After watching 1982's film version of Deathtrap, I couldn't help but feel it really was better suited for the stage. The Ira Levin written play premiered on Broadway in 1978 on Broadway. The character of Clifford Anderson, played by Reeve in the film, was played by Victor Garber in the original production, a role Garber received a Tony nomination for.
The 'play within a play' framework seems better suited for the stage than on film, and although not necessarily confusing, was not as fun as I imagine it was to see on the stage. That being said, I enjoyed the movie, the performances and Christopher Reeve's brief shirtless scene. Although not as bulked as he was for Superman, Reeve looked amazingly lean and hot. As you can see, Michael Canine's character thought so as well....
'But soft, what light through yonder window breaks.'
The words above are spoken by Romeo in the famous 'balcony scene' from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Although the scene takes place late at night, Romeo imagines his beloved is bathed in sun, transforming the darkness of night into the light of day. Shakespeare often uses the themes of dark and light within his works, usually to contrast the experiences, options or choices his characters face
For artists, dark and light are the two essential elements required to beautiful not only light, but contrast the beauty between body and form and surrounding space. I love images which rely on natural light, and FH readers are keenly aware how much I love, and am endlessly fascinated by imagery which include windows, and incorporate window light. I have written often about the reflective and mysterious elements of windows and mirrors and the added depth they can to bring to images of the male form. For most photographers, utilizing windows is about light, but for me, they often expose much more.
Window images can feel almost transcendent, increasing the in scope making one location seem sometimes like two. Not only do we see the room in which the model is shot, we wonder what lays beyond the glass. What is the model looking at, and who might be out there...looking back in. You never know when you're in front of a window, especially when you're completely naked, who might be enjoying the view. This voyeuristic feature is another reason I love the inclusion of windows as an element and theme.
I am sure by now, most of you are asking why 'I'm babbling' about light, you just want to know more about (and see more of) the blonde Adonis by the window. Photographer JW Johnson shares that Joe's great looks come from his German background, and in addition to being one of the hottest models JW has seen and met, was also one of the nicest. Polite, respectful and courteous, JW reports it is both his looks, and his attitude, that make Joe a model he loves to work with whenever he gets the chance.
If polite and courteous weren't enough t win you over, Joe also works full and recently moved in with his grandparents to help take care of them now that they're older. Although straight, Joe also like to have fun when he shoots and can be quite a tease in front of the camera. Joe is popular with all those who have had the pleasure of shooting him and it was actually a friend of JW's, a photographer from Little Rock, that recommended that he Joe to JW.
If you visit JW's website, (JWJ Photo) you quickly see it contains a huge collection of models that he has worked with over the last decade plus. I spent quite a bit of time going through some of the many pages in December, looking for my favorite Christmas themed images for Unwrapped, the first piece I did featuring JW's work. When I went back to search for a subject for a follow-up piece, I didn't get any further than page 1. When I scrolled down and saw JW's post titled, Joe in Arkansas I knew instantly I had found the shoot I wanted to showcase next.
Joe has an incredible body, long, lean and looking magnificent lying on the carpet in front of JW's patio glass doors. Joe's blonde hair, great body and classic good looks are beautifully captured by JW. Joe has a great smile and his chiseled face looks as if it were professionally sculpted to photographed. JW didn't initially plan on putting Joe in front of so many windows, but circumstances, the afternoon sun, not to mention a couple of visiting swimmers, led them to head inside.
JW had scheduled two models to shoot last July 4th and Joe was the second of the day. They began by driving to a waterfall south of town to make use of the sun's natural light and the beauty of the water and setting. Joe began the shoot clothed, dressed all in white in under the waterfalls. Joe removed the white, and changed into some stars and stripes boxers to pay homage to the holiday but that was as much as Joe could take off at that location. As the day went on, people began to show up at to cool off in the flowing water.
Shooting inside didn't cramp JW's creativity, in fact JW decided to try to shoot Joe with as many light sources as they could find. He began in at one end of the house with a window welcoming in light from the south. They moved from window to door, bathing Joe's naked skin with south light and north light and finally in the beautiful softness of shadowlight.