Over the past few months, I done a couple of pieces featuring the work of PhotoRSH. Both of those pieces however, were theme pieces. The first, focused on Temptation Island's Tyler Berta, (Checking In) the second, a July 4th piece featuring several models in front of the red, white and blue. (Bold Stripes/Bright Stars/Brave Hearts) Today, the visual focus is Clinton, but the spotlight, is aimed at the artist behind the lens.
I first noticed Ross' (PhotoRSH) work awhile ago, and especially loved his use of lighting, bold color and pose and the dynamic and striking way that he was he captures the male form. I often say that the focus of FH is the male form, but not every shoot that I feature, keeps form, the entire form in focus. Many photographers focus more on body, and specific body parts, but Ross beautifully covers, and uncovers, the entirety of the incredible male form.
Although Ross shoots a variety of different themes, nude, erotic, fine art, editorial and fashion, fitness models are definitely one of his specialities. With a focus on fitness, it's even more important to not only admire, but respect the bodies incredible strength and power. It's also equally important to document how all those hours in the gym create a body that looks incredible both in and out of clothes. That's why I thought Physique Builder Clinton was a great choice to illustrate Ross' work. Naked is of course always great, but as you can clearly see from Ross' shots of Clinton, muscles, lines and curves are often highlighted even more beautifully, with the addition of a great pair of underwear, a jockstrap, or a sheer pair of work out pants.
Although his road to photography officially began in college, Ross shares that it was the summer after his high school graduation that he first used a digital point and shoot camera. With no formal training, Ross experimented with his new toy, trying different settings learning how far he could go and what was possible. Although he shares most of those images were not worth a second look, a passion was aroused.
Ross had initially chosen Athletic Training as his field of study, but after experiencing some problems early on with the department, he got scared of his choice and got out. Ross went on to choose photography, hoping it would be both a fun, as well as an 'easy' art degree to pursue. It turned out, Ross' assumption wasn't exactly on point, and he struggled, actually failing his first portfolio review. Ross pushed through however, and graduated with his BFA in Photography with a minor degree in Photojournalism.
'My focus on the male form as a theme in my photography was born out of my religious small town upbringing, and being in the closet up through parts of college. I started experimenting with photographing nude men from the "Life Drawing" classes I took, offering the models almost as much as the class itself. '
'I started photographing the nude male form partially in voyeurism but mostly in learning how light formed shapes with the body, and the different shapes on different bodies. Since I actually started after starting the Life Drawing class, the model themselves were pretty comfy and more often than not taught me how they should be posed for the best angles with lighting.'
'Working with some confident models while I was not confident at all with a camera was a great teaching tool. I learned about the technical challenges and how to pose models to be flattering without having awkward angles. While none of my actual photo classes used the male form in an assignment, it was something I loved to try and learn from with portraiture. My appreciation for the form, and slight obsession with learning the technical side of lighting drove me to continue focusing on underwear and the nude form after college. I was very fortunate to connect with some underwear companies early on, and still have a couple very strong ties with companies to showcase their garments.'
Ross connected with Clinton through his modeling with another photographer-friend in Chicago. The other photographer had worked with Clinton first and Ross admired the images and set about to contact him about working together. Do his connections, Ross had the perfect underwear garments for Clinton to show off, colorful N2N's from UnderwearNewsBriefs and a jockstrap from SuperGayUndies.
'Setting up and working with Clinton was a great experience. He was planning to be in Chicago on a certain weekend and I had a free day at the same time. In chatting with him he explained he was very open to showing off in just about anything, and even without! The underwear fit him perfectly of course, he has a body he's worked hard to build, and it's as if the clothing was sewn for his shape.'
'I just showed up without a map or a compass, and at some point, you have to make a choice ... about who you are and what you want. And therein lies the catch.'
I was away last weekend, so haven't had time yet to watch the season finale, but still wanted to give a Standing O to HBO's Euphoria. The American teen drama television series was created by Sam Levinson and I was surprised to read it was based on an Israeli miniseries of the same name. ( אופוריה)
I wasn't surprised it was based on another show, but I haven't generally thought of Israel as a country known for boundary pushing teen drams. I'll have to give the original a look! I thought HBO did an incredible job of promoting the show, in part, but using society's perplexity with the penis.
Hunter Schafer (Jules)
Weeks before it's June premiere, there were story about the scene with all the penis's. Given the penis is so taboo in American society, a show promoting penis-a-plenty was going to get attention. It got mine. I DVR'd the first two episodes, but honesty, just fast forwarded to Eric Dane and the nudity in those first two shows. At first glance, the show seemed so dark and depressing, my initial feelings were it wasn't for me.
Then came those penis's, so many of them. What was interesting to me was how important those appendages were to the story. After watching the scene, and making a few caps for the blog, the penis's became secondary to their purpose in the story. As I re-watched the scene, I was drawn to the story, and how those all those naked jocks in the locker room were so important in the unveiling of the character of Nate. Let's be honest, most on screen nudity is in part, gratuitous, but Euphoria's penis scene, not only grabbed a lot of attention, it also actually incredibly pivotal to story.
Barbie Ferreira (Kat)
I especially love how brilliantly the show's writers focus on character. There are so many brilliant and unique characters in the show, all fascinating and beautifully portrayed. The show gets a lot of praise for being realistic, and in part I agree. Yes, the characters shown are realistic, but they don't necessarily represent the typical American high school student. A slice, of course, so were Dawson and Pacey, Rory Gilmoore and the crew from The OC.
Algee Smith (Chris)
They all represented specific students at specific times. I think what's so incredible about Euphoria, isn't how real the characters are, but how rare it is find this particular slice on television. We sometimes see them in in films and documentaries, but not on a TV show with time to really dive into their stories. One of the most interesting characters to me is Nate, I talk a bit about why in the post below.
'At night, I fall asleep to you, and in the morning, I wake up to you. I kind of feel closer to you than I do anyone in the world.'
Nate Jacobs is one of the coldest, cruelest sociopaths on television. He's also one of the most realistically drawn characters on the show. I know, as I had a 'Nate' in my life, and the show's writer, and Jacob Elordi's portrayal are spot on.
I crushed over Jacob after seeing him as the resident hottie in the teen romance The Kissing Booth. This made seeing his turn as Nate, all that more impressive. Nate, and Jacob, have everything on the surface many are so drawn to. Great looks, hot body, star athlete. Nate's the hot jock, blessed with privileged and popularity. Nate's also incredibly damaged, sexually screwed up and primed and desperate to deal with his pain by inflicting it those around him, especially those attracted to him.
My 'Nate' was a also sexually confused. He defined himself as straight, and always had a girlfriend to mistreat and cheat on, but also willing and able to use his body with men if it got him something he wanted. He had boundaries of course, you've heard them before, no kissing, and he's not doing that! But he'd let you have a little fun down there if wanted something. When it was over, and he got what he wanted, (usually some cash or to borrow my car) he was out of there, usually with a threat never to say anything about what just happened.
For a short while in my twenties, I was drawn to the damage. I thought I could help him, thought he needed a friend, someone to trust. In the end, I understood I was using him as much as he was using me. Having the hot jock spend the night at my house, in my bed, was a high, even though I had to give up so much for the privilege.
My 'Nate' treated me like gold for about six months before it went down hill. When I started saying no, it got ugly. Although he never physically struck out at me, he kicked in a few doors in my house, dented the side of my car, and cost me quite a bit to fix the holes in the walls he punched in when angry. I didn't put up with it for long, and although it was a bit of a slow process, realized I was better off with him out of (or at least more distant) from my life.
The interesting thing about 'Nate's' is how much you can miss the drama and the high. When Nate was staying with me, I couldn't wait for him to leave. When he left, I longed for his return. Even though he's been out of my life for a very long time, I still sometimes miss that period of my life. I would NEVER ever want to repeat it, or every let him back in, but even those moment of missing, speak to how dangerous 'Nate's' can be.
I was a fairly mature guy in my late twenties when my 'Nate' briefly came into my life. I can't imagine how I handle him if he entered my life when I was 15 or 16 years old, especially if I didn't have a strong support system of family and friends. I think many of us have had 'Nate's' in our lives, some briefly, some, for longer periods of time. They one good thing about having endured one, is how keenly it teaches us to see one. Today, I can spot a 'Nate' a mile away, and have learned how to keep them at a distance from the get go.
So as hated as the character of Nate may be, I still find him fascinating to watch, especially in the capable hands of Jacob Elordi. Given how much I wrote about Nate, I thought it would help mentally separate actor from character by featuring a few images from a couple of Jacob's other projects.