'It all started on holiday, four years ago at a beach in France, my girlfriend Iris told me, “You should be a model.” Back then I didn’t believe her, because that’s what your girlfriend should tell you, right? [Laughs] But after we sent some digital shots to Tony Jones Model Management in Amsterdam—I’m from Holland—it all went fast, and I slowly started to believe this job could be something for me.'
Wouter Peelen, Da Man
Height 6'1.5" Waist 30" Suit 38" R Inseam 33" Shoes 9 Eyes Blue Hair Dark Blonde
Ok, this barn doesn't have a stable boy as hot as Cheyenne Parker, but it does have a multitude of studs, and other furry friends to fall in love with. One of my favorite parts of Twitter isn't politics or all the bashing, my favorite part is the re-tweet. I love when someone I follow re-tweets something from a fascinating person, or interesting organization to get to know.
A few months ago, someone I follow re-tweeted a video from M_Crouton. Crouton, is actually the name of the beautiful cow in the image above and Crouton lives at the Squirrelwood Equine Sanctuary.The Sanctuary provides a haven for both horses (and other animals) and veterans to return to health and wholeness in the aftermath of trauma or loss.
One of the best things about following M_Crouton is the daily videos, especially the Nightly Crouton, which during the early days of the pandemic, was a boost of joy before hitting the hay. The Nightly Crouton runs from 30 seconds to as long as 45 minutes, or for as long as you can stand the love. The nightly video features bedtime in the barn, with all the horses, pony's, goats, cows and pigs.
Two of my (and everyone's) favorites are Crouton and his room mate Rue (the pig above). Rue is impatient at dinner time, and rough on pretty much everyone in the barn except for Crouton who Rue loves to snuggle up with for naps and at bedtime. Recently, with the pandemic eliminating visitors, the animals have been surprising workers by joining in on Zoom meetings to help raise money for the cause. If you need a doze of joy each evening, check in on the nightly Crouton's HERE:
With the world pushed back home, it was only a matter of time before a someone started a site to comment, judge and rate those homes... One of my favorites is Room Rater on Twitter. Celebrities, politicians, news anchors and TV hosts have all been forced to work from home. It's been fascinating to check out what space they use as their background.
Room Rater rates Skype rooms and Zoom rooms, and offers comments, advice and judgement on the backgrounds and rooms. Although the book case is the usual standard fair, some choose to go a little more minimal, others choose the vanity route. Whichever route is taken, there's usually something, that wasn't intended to be seen....
Deciding how much of the 'real world' to let in is always a balancing act. This is true in both my own life, and with FH. There are days I'm consumed by the news and world issues, and other days, I just need to tune out and escape. For the most part, I try to keep to FH an escape, but.... as regular readers are aware, politics and the real world often seep in. This is natural of course, art reflects life, and if we're lucky, our lives also occasionally reflect art.
I have loved featuring work of artist Stephan Tobias as both a model and photographer. As much as his focus has always been the male form, Stephan's imagery is also layered with meaning and messages. Some of these messages are straight forward and clear, much is in the abstract, and within the energy and emotion his work evokes. When Stephan sent on links to a new series triggered by the virus and pandemic, I wasn't so sure what to expect.
Social media has been blanked of late with images models in masks, and I've resisted jumping onto this very real, but already overused theme. Stephan rarely uses the obvious, and this series of images, although inspired by the virus, are rooted not in the visual, but in the emotional complexities associated with the cluster of contrasting sensations so many of us around the world are experiencing. Feelings of confusion, fear and anxiety weaved with resistance, resilience and vitality. No matter how we're feeling, there's almost a begrudging yet mandatory, even surprising strength we've all been forced to muster, regardless of circumstance.
It is this web of emotions that Stephan weaves into this series, confronting the dangers we now all face. As always, I was curious about the creative motivation, but I also curious what Stephan's experience with the pandemic has been like. I have been fascinated learning how other countries and cultures have been dealing with the crisis. Although a world wide issue, the world has also closed ranks and borders, most countries, choosing to handle things on their own, viewing those outside their borders as potential risks. Based in Germany, Stephan's journey parallels that of many, yet like each one of us, has it's own unique challenges along the way.
'With my artistic editing I often react to stimulation from outside. So sitting at home now, waiting for better times. Through such pictures I try to express what I can not say with words. Part of the message may be that in the end we can be confident that life and beauty will prevail. My legal freelance project, which kept me busy over the last 2 years, was stopped abruptly 10 days ago. Now I am hanging around at home, more or less unemployed, like most people in Berlin and around the world.'
'Fortunately I live in a bright and pleasant rooftop apartment. On sunny days I can sunbathe on my sheltered balcony and I keep enjoying the spring sun there. In Berlin we still can roam freely for sport and exercise. The parks are full with joggers and I go for a bike ride into the green every afternoon. Two planned photo shoots with visitors had to be cancelled, as all travelling came to a halt. But I am sitting on a big pile of pictures from previous shootings and can use my free time to play around with them.'
'A picture is a picture, and often it is a great statement and in many cases doesn't need anything else. But for me any picture also can be the beginning of a journey, an inspiration for digital alterations or collages, the base for new creations. This sort of creative journey for me can be just as interesting and rewarding as the purely photographic process and results. I like to play around with pictures. Sometimes it takes a long time for me to come to results, sometimes it happens very fast. But I need to wait for a creative moment and a playful mindset, which often come late at night. Better if I don't have to get up early. Often it takes several layers of work and weeks to reach a satisfactory result. I like to take my time and check the results critically before I can believe anything is finished. But sometimes I publish spontaneously too. What is a single picture in this constant visual avalanche?'
'Part of my inspiration comes from the ideas and images, impressions and fears I am confronted with through my surroundings and the media every day. I love to be contemporary. But there are also those eternal subjects: Eros and Tanatos, sex and death are a motive which constantly inspires me one way or the other. So thinking of fitting pictures to publish on my Flickr account in these Corona Virus times I came across a series which I had finished already a few months ago: me posing for a Scottish photographer in my apartment, in front of my cloth covered bookshelf. I had added cutouts and shapes, maybe reminiscent of punctuation marks and architectural drawings. It all made sense in a different way now, and I could easily baptize this series "virus" under those new circumstances.'
'Life is more fun if you have a playful and creative mind. It allows you to pull yourself out of any misery. Limitations become obsolete, less becomes more, restrictions become a challenge. Life will go on, for all of us, at least for a while. We can overcome and resist. I guess that's part of my message, too.'