You could call this a Before and After piece, but given Michael's an Entertainment Writer, I thought Previously On fit much better.
Previously on FH, we've seen Michael featured as a writer, (HERE:) as an actor, (HERE:) and of course, as a model (HERE:) No matter what role Michael is playing, except for the occasional clown nose, he is usually naked. But on this week's episode, there more naked, but less Michael to check out. See for yourself HERE:
Sharisse Hammond had no intention of giving herself to some rancher who had sent for a mail-order bride! She had gone West only to escape the New York society marriage her father was arranging. Lucas Holt's intentions were also less than honest. But their plans to use each other were soon complicated by unspoken desire. He never expected her to be so stunningly beautiful. And she never expected to want any man so much.
'When it’s dark, I turn on the music, I light the candles. There is no timetable for us, for the fantasy that we will make come true.'
There were many elements that came together during my childhood which have contributed to my passion for great imagery of the male form. One that recently came back to me was romance book covers. Now I've never read a romance novel, not there's anything wrong with that, my tastes just tend to run towards suspense and mystery. My night table tends to always have a Stephen King or James Patterson novel on it.
My mother read romances, especially historical ones. She didn't just read them, she devoured them in mass. When I was growing up, my mother always had a book in her hand, sometimes a small Harlequin Romance soft cover, other times a huge hard cover from the Library. My mom read so many, it was hard to keep up with the demand. She scoured flea markets and on-line ads, old book stores and thrift stores, grocery story book trades and friends to keep up with her pace.
It wasn't uncommon for my mother to read a book a day, she carried it from bedroom to living room, from kitchen to porch. Every vacation, a dozen packed amongst her clothes. My mom read so many she used a pencil to write AB inside each book to keep tabs and help her remember that she read it before. Without the AB, it sometimes took a few chapters for her to remember she'd read it before.
Our house often looked like an used book store. The paperbacks outgrew the many book cases in our home before I was born. They were piled on her nightstand, in piles on the floor by her bed. They filled the spare room, the file cabinet and in every drawer and corner. She did give them away, traded them in and donated them, but not matter how many left the house, it seemed more came in.
I occasionally took a pile to my bedroom, quietly, ensuring I wasn't seen. My goal wasn't wasn't to read, but enjoy the cover the art. It seemed on many of the covers, the art depicted the woman in control, fully dressed in some beautiful gown. Her lover was either shirtless, or having his shirt ripped off in the heat of passion. The women on the covers always appeared in the throws of passion, looking for her dashing hero to satisfy her throbbing needs in a frenzy of passionate lust.
It seemed the covers, and the books, got racier as I got older, some I saw after I moved out, on the bring of soft porn. The covers and the stories a stark contrast to the surface life my mother lead. She wasn't a woman who sought risk or adventure, but one who chose a more private and quiet existence. She didn't like to travel, especially not out of the country, nor she appear to have a passion for hobbies other than ones she could sew or create in her craft room.
When I got older, I saw these book, like the countless Hallmark and Lifetime movies she watched were her escape. She escaped virtually into the romantic and adventurous lives of the characters and their stories. I remember trying to get my mother to read The Firm, but a few chapters in, she was bored silly. Even with the suspense John Grisham created, there wasn't enough romance and heat to hold her interest.
After my mother died, one of the first things my father asked me was to help him get rid of all 'those books'. It wasn't her personal items, her clothes or personal hygiene items he thought should go first, it was the books. It made sense in a way, as they were everywhere, it was hard though, as they, like my mother, were everywhere. Piling those books into boxes changed the look and feel of every room in my parents house. I wondered if this was my father's reason, they were the most impactful and physical symbol of my mother's existence within the home.
I packed up close to a dozen boxes, checking out each cover, one last time. My siblings and aunt packed up dozens more boxes, ignoring the covers, but getting a few chuckles from a few of the titles. Tender is the Storm.
Ok, not a romantic novel cover, but romantic (and sexy) nonetheless
Where I grew up, there wasn't a Coney Island, or a permanent Carnival or park situated near by. The closest thing was the Autumn fair. Once a year, our Exhibition grounds were taken over by traveling carnival rides and games, concession stands, loud music and the smell of cotton candy and stale popcorn. It was also the time when prized farm animals shared the stage with touring soap opera stars and washed up music acts.
I loved the carnival, especially at night. The lights, the sounds and smells and especially the vibrate energy. I look forward to i each year and usually began bugging my parents about it when the first posters when up in August. I was never really a big fan of the rides, nor the food or games, it was the sights and feel of walking through the fair ground that excited me. It seemed our whole community was there and that the grounds were the core, the pulse of the city, at least when the fair was in town. Those carnival grounds allowed me to feel alive, to fee apart of something I didn't feel the rest of the year.
The thing about carnivals and circus's though, is the real beauty is often found in the shadows. They want us to focus on the surface, the lights, the glitter, the rides. Whenever I walk through a circus or fair however, my eyes are on the faces on the carnival's workers, the young couple making out behind a tent, the boss telling off a new employee, the performers in the wings, not quite made up and ready for their performances. The real show is in the shadows, in the alley's, behind the rides and under the boardwalk.
'I did not have a happy childhood, but throughout my childhood three places brought me endless joy: the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Three- Ring Circus Side Show (the actual circus, not so much) at Madison Square Garden, the MSG Wild West Show and Rodeo and Coney Island. Unlike the circus and the rodeo which only came once or twice a year, Coney Island was forever present.'
'Coney Island is easily my favorite location for shooting nudes. As a child growing up the city, Coney Island was my favorite place. It’s kind of in my DNA, likely my parents and grandparents were taking me there before I was even old enough to eat Nathan’s franks! It’s a place of wonderful childhood memories: hot dogs, french fries, corn on the cob, cotton candy, the freak show, the Wonder Wheel, the fishing pier, sand castles on the beach…oh…and did I mention the lifeguards? By the age of 5 I was well aware of the wonderfulness of shirtless, sweaty men.'
'I would sit on the beach pretending to play with my shovel and pail, mostly gazing at the young men poised on their elevated stations. For me, shooting nudes in New York City is one of the ways I celebrate an end to the closet and living out loud, very loud in my hometown. Lincoln delivers on this fantasy and this celebration in a very special way. He captures my moods and my desires. He understands the sensuality and eroticism of the surf, the sand, the pounding waves and the steamy mystery of the world under the pier. Lincoln delivers the mystery man on the early morning beach that I dreamt of as a little boy while my father was focused on surf casting.'
Lincoln certainly does deliver, and this series is certainly at the top of my list of favorites shoots that Richard has shared. Lincoln is incredibly sexy for sure, but his appeal goes on beyond the surface. Yes, there is the mystery element Richard mentioned, but Lincoln also looks so at home in his environment, so natural and totally at ease, not a hint that he is anything but connected to his surroundings.
The series Richard sent on included addition shots of Lincoln on the beach and on the boardwalk, (on page 2 HERE:) but I was especially drawn to the shots of Lincoln under the boardwalk, totally exposed, yet slightly hidden, in the shadows just below the surface. Being below the surface, the darkness and mist added to the level of mystery and isolation. It also increased the degree of eroticism, especially with Richard's the of Lincoln removing, and then squeezing back on, his heavy wet jeans.
Change and transformation have always been a theme I have loved to explore. It's been fascinating to hear from so many models how posing naked had such a impact on how their self esteem and how they see themselves. Entertain Me's Michael sent me the image above months ago and I had been planning to use to promote his writing. Michael shares he loves to write naked and I thought it would a fun way to introduce one of Michael's Musings.
Before I posted the image and story, Michael sent on a few more images, after a very noticeable weight loss! Michael shares it was a year long battle, yo yo-ing up and down along the way. But, Michael stuck with it achieving success. I still wanted to include the glasses image, a great shot, especially his smile. Given Michael had titled the image The Naked Nerd, maybe the image below could be titled The Hung Hunk?
'It was a world of New York Harbor Seals, Freak Shows, hot dogs, corn on the cob, cherrystone clams, humongous french fries, cotton candy, all kinds of strange and mysterious arcade games, Skee-ball and all the wondrous prizes and collecting shells and sand dollars along the surf. Coney Island is my good to go place on mental health days.'
'I’ve lost count of the number of men I’ve photographed on the beach, on the boardwalk, under the pier, along the side streets…never grows tired, always makes me happy. Coney Island is also one of the places where a naked man is just one of the community’s many oddities and entertainments …nothing special.'