My only reference to actor Troy Donahue until last week was Stockard Channing singing his name in my old VHS of Grease. From the song, I gathered he was a blonde teen idol, the object of lust of both young girls and young boys in the 50's and 60's, but that was the extend of my knowledge. Last week, I got to experience Donahue's lust factor for myself when I watched my PVR recording of 1950's A Summer Place.
A Summer Place (1959)
A Summer Place was an overly dramatic soap, that at times bored me to tears, and at others, had me paying close attention. Donahue and Sandra Dee play Johnny and Molly, (got to love the 'y's) young loves, who were accused of being lovers before they actually did the deed.
Even though they weren't intimate, when accused of it, they run away, (I said overly dramatic) are separated apart, but eventually come together and marry by the films end. The main drama involves their parents and I especially enjoyed Constance Ford as Molly's mother, but Donahue and Dee are purdy and blonde and spend a lot of their time on the beach.
Troy with Van Williams, both looking fine in their short shorts
One of the things I'm always curious about is how shoots come together. How the artist and model connect, and how the theme or story for the shoot comes together. For this series of Ben, photographer Robert Colgan says it started with a coffee mug. On one side of the mug is the logo for the Save the Artist Foundation. On the other side is an image of two people swimming in a sea surrounded by all of the tasks that occupy their time.
'It makes me laugh thinking of all that occupies my daily routine with an outside job shoved in there, and wonder how I ever manage to be productive. Of course those tasks, much like the ocean, ebb and flow with their demands. One task that is particularly troubling is the model. Models are ethereal, fickle, distant characters that are the cement holding our work together. It also demands that initial question that I intensely despise - "will you model for me?" Ugh!'
Despite his experience and skill behind the camera, Robert says he'd rather chew off his own arm that ask models to model. I don't always think of photographers struggling to ask a model to model, but when thinking about Robert's quote, it made perfect sense. Presumably, a model would check out an artist's portfolio before responding and response of no, can certainly be interpreted as a judgement on the artists work. We often assume it is the model most vulnerable during the shoot, but the process, from a concept's beginning to the final images, also requires risk from the artist.
'Considering how much I dread it, imagine my surprise during the doldrums of winter, I notice a particularly handsome young man from New York mentioning that he's actually in MY town! So, I contact him and am equally surprised with his enthusiastic response The only difficulty is the time he has available - early Sunday morning - REALLY early Sunday morning! Before his flight home to the Big Apple. So I wing it and boy was I overjoyed!'
'Ben is one of those guys that has boundless enthusiasm. It kinda makes you feel old. Once he entered the studio, he immediately picked up props and began his playful interaction with them. It was well worth getting up at 5am on a Sunday! Ben was a whirlwind of expression and movement. For almost two hours the lens tried to follow his path of exuberance. Then it was off to gather things for the airport.'
'Afterwards I felt as though the most amazing moment had come my way. And on a Sunday, no less! Ben was terrific! I hope someday to recapture that exuberance and create more works with this amazing guy. Thanks Ben!'
FH readers know how much I love Robert's location work, many of which you can see on FHHERE: One of my favorites was the last piece we did earlier this year. (The Mansion in the Woods)
It's wonderful however, to join Robert back in the studio and the resulting images with Ben.
Robert's creativity and eye for architecture and design are still strongly in play and Robert' images beautiful capture and match Ben's expression and movement. Ben has a great look, physically impressive and classically handsome. Ben also expresses great emotion and character and I love how he so fully gets into his role and perfectly utilizes the costumes and props with energy and personality.
'Robert was an exceptional and playful photographer to work with. We did a shoot starting at 6:30 in the morning and I had never been in a space with so many objects to work with in a creative way. I was impressed by his willingness to try obscure poses and use evocative objects.'