Beware the naked man in striped socks, especially if he's on the furniture...
I hadn't intended a full day of Halloween themed posts featuring Richard Rothstein's work. But... as I started to put together today's posts, I had too many great shots I couldn't pass up. Richard's work has always incorporated character, story and play, all themes of the big October 31st day.
Richard also embraces the dark, and being a creature of night, does most of his dastardly needs in the wee hours of the night, before the sun comes up. He surely must be a vampire, because he is looking fang-tastic for his age! As I post this, Richard is in the midst of celebrating a milestone birthday, another great reason to celebrate both his talent and his incredible body of work
Last year, in the middle of November, after Halloween had already passed, Richard Rothstein sent on these images of A Werewolf in Manhattan. Although eager to share them on FH, I knew, like planning any good kill, patience was required. Check out more of the Manhattan monster, After the Kill on Page 2 HERE:
As Richard Rothstein continues to build his homonormative narrative, creating his own visions of fairy tales and legends, it makes sense the Greek Goddess Artemis would be one of the legends he brings back to life through his imagery. The Goddess of Light and the moon, especially the crescent or 'new' moon.
Protector of the vulnerable, Artemis had the divine duty of illuminating the darkness and although loving and caring, Artemis could also be vengeful and impulsive in her desire bring light in the dark. Sergey has been a central part of Richard's vision and theme and is the perfect model to inhabit the the strength, humanity and sensuality that Artemis possessed. Sergey has the unique ability to inhabit the emotions and characteristics of whoever he is portraying and I cant wait to see who's next!
Check out more of Sergey dancing in the moonlight on Page 2 HERE:
'Millions of years of evolution, right? Right? Men have to stick it in every place they can.'
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
When I was thinking about this years Halloween themed posts I remembered a series of masked themed photos Manhattan photographer Richard Rothstein had on one of his older sites. With Richard's support, I dug into the archives to pull out some of my favorites.
The first thing I noticed when gathering my favorites, was how un-Halloween most of the shots were. Like so much of Richard's work, there was an intensely erotic feel, felt even more so with the element of mystery and disguise.
The shots reminded me more of an adult eyes wide shut party than a childhood holiday affiliated with candy and fun. Not there wasn't a sense of play, there was, but the kind of play connected with risk and danger. Sexually charged adventures with naked strangers and orgies with faceless bodies in which the climax far outweighs the consequence.
The mask is essential and a crucial element of arousal. To look too closely at the face, at the eyes, would wreak havoc on the fantasy. The mask allows one to avoid any signs or reality, and disassociate with hints of pain, addiction and especially obsession. Jolts of reality corrupt and destroy, aggressively waking the participant from the traumnovelle, the dream story the mask was used to create.
The werewolf is neither man nor wolf, but a satanic creature with the worst qualities of both.
Unlike humans, who brutally kill for sport, for fun, a werewolf's killing is ritualistic, a requirement for survival and nourishment. That doesn't mean they don't enjoy it however, the art of the kill is as important as the killing itself. Because kills can only take place under a full moon, timing, precision and success are not only important, but essential.
Like all blood thirty killers, Werewolf's have rituals for after the kill. Because killing begets feasting, the carnage is intense, leaving bloody mess of both the devourer, and the meal. Entrails, blood and organs make for a messy meal, often leaving remnants through the hair, and over the body of the ingester.
For our Manhattan man eater, the after the kill ritual is like the rich dessert after the big meal. It begins with a cleanse, a washing away of both the blood and guts, but as importantly, as a way of releasing and cleaning away the actions required for the slaughter. Werewolf's enjoy the kill, it's an orgasmic high they live and look forward to. When it's over however, they need to release their desires before the sun comes up, putting them back in their place until the next full moon.
After the shower, a drink or two are required before another orgasmic impulse is indulged in. Like all mammals, the climax leads to slumber, a day of rest to celebrate the success of the kill and to dream and anticipate the many future kills to come.
On the night Sergeyand Richard Rothstein headed to the beach to shoot the Artemis theme, Sergey also donned a wet suit for this sensuous set of shots. Although a brisk September night, Sergey brings the heat of a sizzling summer night.
'The sky grew darker, painted blue on blue, one stroke at a time, into deeper and deeper shades of night.'
More than just incorporating his subjects with their surroundings, Richard beautifully manages to have location almost another character his his visuals, core to the look and feel. Sergey always looks incredible, but I'm not sure he's ever looked as luminous as he does in this series.
Illuminated by the pinks and blues of the night sky, and the reflection off the ocean, there is an emotional nexus formed between body, sky and sea.