Some of you may recall, in one my Halloween themed posts, that there was a photographer looking to shoot for FH with a live turkey. Turkey's are of course the wild live most connected with Thanksgiving. It's a bit of a warped connection though.... Like snowmen and bunnies, the turkey is usually made to look cute and adorable, happy to be slaughtered for our Thanksgiving feast.
I like to honor the grand bird each year, and when I can, include images of a little gobbler retribution. (HERE:) Don't get me wrong, I love turkey at Thanksgiving, and do eat meat, but far less that I used to. I have no issue with eating meat, it's the way we treat the animals that sustain us that had me cut down. I live in the country, so finding ethically raised birds and meat is fairly easy and inexpensive, but I know it can be time consuming and expensive for many.
I've wanted to include a turkey, a live one, in my Thanksgiving day posts for awhile, but it was Tofu that really inspired me this year. I don't know how many of you follow Wolfgang(Steve) on Instagram, but his feed is one of my favorites. Some of you may have met Wolfgang on television, promoting senior dog adoption, or promoting his book. (The One and Only Wolfgang: from pet Rescue to one Big Happy Family)
I've followed Wolfgang and his menagerie for years, and loved seeing Tofu the turkey join the family earlier this year. Tofu made himself right at home, hanging with the dogs and strutting around as a proud member of the family. That brings me to this year's turkey themed idea, an idea that unfortunately, never got fully cooked.
'I just picked up a turkey for a Thanksgiving-themed session on Tuesday. Hope I haven't gotten in over my head and it cooperates with the model.'
The best laid plans.... The photographer who rose to the challenge of shooting a hot naked male model with a live turkey was Tom Nakielski. This shouldn't surprise any FH readers, in the past couple of years Tom has included baby chicks and an bunny rabbit in his Easter themed shoots. I thought Tom was going to head to a farm for the shoot, but nope, Tom wasn't going to the turkey, the turkey was coming to him.
'I picked up the turkey from a farmer that was 1 1/2 hours away. He put the turkey in a large bag with a hole cut out for its head to peek through and had his feet tied together so I could drive safely back.'
Sadly, the model had to cancel at the last minute, ironically, due to a health issue with a pet of his own. Tom tried, wasn't able to find another model to shoot, and not wanting to keep the turkey caged up in his studio for too long, sought out a good home for the turkey.
'I found the person on Craig's list. His response on Craig's List was .."I will give your turkey a good home on my farm with my other turkeys. I won't eat him." I just needed to get the poor turkey out before the next session in the studio. Good to know the turkey has a good home. All in all, it was a unique experience.'
Always thinking creatively, when Tom was cleaning up the studio after the Turkey flew the coop, he saved many of the beautiful feathers that were left on the floor. Although the turkey didn't get his 15 minutes of fame, Tom did find a way to include him. While shooting Cynbel eating some Thanksgiving goodies, Tom added the feathers into a few of the shots. Check out more of Tom's work with Cynbel in the post below.
And pull it off (literally for Cynbel) they did! Although we didn't get a live turkey, nor the model scheduled to shoot, the positive result, was Tom being able to shoot with Cynbel. When Tom first told me the turkey tale, I was disappointed. I also felt bad for Tom, not to mention the turkey, for the long drive and planning which never materialised in a shoot.
Any disappointment I had quickly disappeared when Tom sent along Cynbel's Model Mayhem # and asked me to check it out. I loved Cynbel's long lean look, and beautiful brown eyes and hair. Cynbel had shot with a few photographers I know, and loved many of the erotically elegant poses and captures in his portfolio. Although we didn't get our turkey as the main meal, we did get a luscious piece of lean meat, with plenty extra's for leftovers.
Leftovers get a bad wrap, and with many foods, deservedly so. With some meals however, especially Thanksgiving dinner, the leftovers are really the main event and the best part of the holiday meal. In addition to those hot turkey sandwiches the next day, I love sneaking into the kitchen, around midnight on Thanksgiving night, and eating a little turkey and stuffing. The food hasn't yet gotten completely refrigerated, and still mouthwatering and moist.
Although for this shoot, the focus was on the skin and carcass, in his real life, Cynbel's is a little more cerebrum focused. With a masters is in computer science, and his work as a software developer, Cynbel spends most of his time thinking about how to solve problems. Even in his spare time Cynbel is focused on solving and strategic thinking especially when while board games, one of his favorite past time passions.
Tom discovered Cynbel on Model Mayhem, and was thrilled they were finally able to get together, especially after the turkey turmoil. Tom was impressed with Cynbel's patience, and his ability to hold some very awkward and painful poses over an extended period of time. Cynbel shares this was his first time doing a holiday themed shoot, and wasn't sure exactly what to expect. In the end, thanks to Tom's prep work and professionalism, Cynbel enjoyed his experience, and playing in the Autumn leaves.
Speaking of those leaves, they are indeed real. Tom bagged them from his front lawn and brought them inside to the studio. Unfortunately, peak season had passed, ad the colors weren't very vibrant. What's an artist to do.... Well, for Tom, it meant staying up into the wee hours of the morning the night before, spray painting them yellow, red and orange. Tom shares the worst part was cleaning up. He thought his leaf raking was over, but there were leaves everywhere, and Tom spent much of the next day raking the leaves back up!
'I tried to keep the theme of Thanksgiving/Fall throughout the session. LOL I spent two days spray-painting fall leaves that I raked up but had no color. My thoughts were to represent a fall day at grandma's farm...Grandma didn't mind that Cynbel was naked romping in the fall leaves in her backyard. To incorporate a Thanksgiving feast I used some typical holiday treats the grandma might have. Apples, potatoes, squash, grapes, pumpkin pie blueberries and, with tongue in cheek, the addition of those turkey feathers from the turkey I had picked up after my fine feathered house guest had left.'
'Cynbel is comfortable in his own skin. Usually, when I am changing sets for a session, the model will get back into clothes until I have made the set changes. Cynbel was at ease in the nude as if he were fully clothed. He helped me in setting up props and didn't give a hoot that he was in the nude. He said he is a bit shy in social situations but completely at ease for photo sessions. I found that to be true.'