'Photography started by accident, A friend asked me if I would try my hand at real estate photography after seeing some of my vacation photos from Argentina, in which I concentrated of architecture...'
One of the questions I always asks artists that I profile is how they got started. Not just how they began taking pictures, but how and when their focus turned to the male form. It is fascinating to me how many respond they began in taking images of animals, tree's and buildings. We've all taken those shots, of our dog, our house, of that apple tree in full blossom. Most of our shots however, come out like a year book photo or those family shots taken by the photographer at Sears. Everything's there, yet there's clearly, something crucial that's missing
What's often missing isn't necessarily what's physically seen, it's more what's felt. When we first meet a person, and even when we see a tree or building, what we experience is a combination of what we see, along with with what we feel. These feeling are based on a multitude of factors and great artists attempt to incorporate some of these factors into their images. It might be a model's demeanor, their sense of humour, flow of movement or a specific personality trait. Photographer Benjamin Veronis loves to discover the essence and character of the subjects he shoots. Model Mark Summers describes this as providing an 'extra kick', creating images with an energy and spark that stand out within a model's portfolio.
Benjamin began his career in the fashion industry as a menswear designer. After moving from New York to Palm Springs a few years he was in need of both a new focus and a new career. It was then that his friend noticed those vacation shots from Argentina and Benjamin did his job as a real estate photographer. The images turned out great which led to him getting more and more work shooting real estate. Benjamin had always loved the male form, and through an interesting connection, he took the opportunity to give it a shot.
'I had a fantastic personal trainer who also was formerly a photographer, and we used to discuss photography during our training sessions. I eventually asked if I could photograph him, and he said yes and was very patient while I stumbled my way through that first shoot. I’ve always been a big fan of black-and-white photography from the Hollywood golden era, so I knew that I wanted to approach my photography with that style in mind. Luckily, those initial photos were pretty successful creatively, so that I’ve never second guessed myself and never looked back!
Since then, Benjamin's gone to photograph almost 200 guys. In his first year, he found most of his models through Model Mayhem, but today, most of his subjects, or people that discover his work, happen through his website or Instagram. For two years, Benjamin ran a successful gallery of his male photography in Palm Springs, but ultimately, he decided last December to close it due to the increased work he was getting for his work with male models for magazine and fashion related work.
It was Benjamin's Instagram that first connected him with model and Psychology and Criminal Justice student Mark Summers. Benjamin says the connection wasn't one he pursued, but more on that was actually handed to him but one of his followers who got in touch suggesting that Mark would make a great subject. Benjamin reached out and a couple of weeks later they had their first shoot lined up in Palm Springs. I noticed that 'extra kick' the first time I saw Benjamin's images, especially in his work with Mark. The erotic energy Mark exudes is intense and Benjamin beautifully captures both the visual and emotive within this series of images.
'It was a great day, very creative, he was looking to build a portfolio and so was very open to try any idea, and he has a fantastic body for almost any kind of photography. In the end I really tried to focus on classical shots playing with light and shadow on his very muscular body.'
No literary character, no matter how classic, is immune from being sexualized when Hollywood (or FH) gets involved. Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn is no exception. Although some have written about the sexual undertones in the book, especially between Huck and Jim, the character's age ranged only from 13 to 17 in Twain's two novels so any sexual tension was left unspoken, in the subtext in readers imagination.
But... out of the pages, Huck has been brought to life on screen in movies and on television over two dozen times since the character's first appearance on screen in 1920. Many of the actors who took on the role, including Brad Renfro, Elijah Wood were the same age as the character, but many of the other others cast in the role were a bit older.
Big River on Broadway (1985)
One of earliest, and most famous Huck's was Mickey Rooney who was 19 when he took on the role. Jeff East (who I previously featured HERE:) was 17 and two of the recent actors to take on the role, Jake T. Austin in 2014 was 20 and Kyle Gallner in 2015 was 25.
Mickey Rooney in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939)
Johnny Whitaker and Jeff East in Huckleberry Finn (1974)
That brings us to Mitchell Anderson, who was responsible for my choosing Huck as a character to spotlight. I never really watched Doogie Howswer M.D, but I did have a huge crush on Mitchell Anderson when I was a kid. His beautiful face and sparkling eyes were more than swoon worthy and seeing a recent shot of his turn 1990 turn as Huck had me interested to learn more about other young actors who took on the iconic role.
Back to Hannibal: The Return of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn (1990)
Anderson was close to 30 when he took on the role in the Disney film which took at look at what Huck and Tom Sawyer (Raphael Sbarge) were up to 10 years later. I couldn't find a copy of the film, but there are some trailers on Youtube, the although set in 1800's, there was a distinct '90's vibe about the few clips I saw. .
Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn (2014)
Actor Jake T. Austin certainly brought a doze of sex appeal when co-starring along side Joel Courtney (Tom Sawyer) in 2014's Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. I haven't seen this version yet, but I didn't need an excuse or reason to feature a few shirtless shots of Austin
Beginning in the mid 80's with supporting roles on shows like Hill St. Blues, Riptide, Cagney & Lacy and 21 Jump St, it was inevitable that Anderson's beautiful face would find a home on TV. That home, and his most well known role was that of Dr. Jack McGuire on Doogie Howser M.D from 1989 through 1991. I remember distinctly being in my early teens and seeing Mitchell's face and falling instantly in lust. Mitchell's beautiful eyes and his angelic face drew in many fans, and inspired many crushes beyond just mine.
I believe Anderson only had one official nude scene on film, a bit of butt thrusting and some under the cover action in 1998's Relax...It's Just Sex. I couldn't find a great copy of the film, but when I do, I'll update with some better caps.
Although he wasn't naked in 1988's Deadly Dreams, I think was shirtless or in a towel more than dressed. In some ways, Anderson's role in DD was the role usually inhabited by the female star. In addition to not wearing very much, his character was also vulnerable throughout, nervous and scared and constantly checking all his doors and windows.
Above: Recent shot of Mitchell.
Below: Mitchell with Kevin Spirtas in After Forever the series on Amazon.
Surprisingly, one of the roles in which he showed the most skin was his guest shot on Melrose Place. Anderson Rex, a male model hired for an underwear campaign. During his photo shoot, Jo (Daphne Zuniga) convinces Rex to drop the underwear to get some racier and more proactive shots. Although this part of the shoot wasn't shown on TV, they did show a few side butt shots from the shoot, surprisingly for a network show on Fox in the 90's.