'As someone who’s been out since I first started almost 20 years ago, it is an honor to be on this cover oh wait I’m sorry that is a dead closeted person I’m so sorry.'
If you were on social media yesterday, you may have noticed the new cover of Entertainment Weekly became the issue Du Jour to be angry about. Don't get me wrong, the magazines PRIDE cover had me wondering about two (women) who were included, and one I didn't really know for sure was gay. But the Pollyanna in me couldn't help but think how lucky I am to live in an era where such a cover is now possible.
One of the comments that bothered me the most was the quote from Billy Eichner. To me, the comment showed no only his jealousy at not being included, but also an ignorance to the fact that coming out, and struggles with sexuality are different for everyone. The term 'closeted' is now an insult, but there was a time, it was a safety necessity. Rock Hudson was a matinee idol in the 50's and 60's, not exactly a welcoming time period for gay men, especially in Hollywood.
It took me awhile to come out of the closet, and I'm glad I did, but I don't have any regrets on how and when I did. I'm not sure that an a actor playing romantic leads can be successful in 2020, let alone when Hudson was a star. The cover images showed comedians, musicians and creators, but there wasn't a movie star leading man in the group, that pretty much tells it all. From what I read, although Hudson may have been in the closet professionally, but by the late 60's and 70's, he was pretty much out in his private life. It annoys me to no end that some still think unless you scream it on 60 Minutes, or announce it on the cover of People Magazine, you're still not out. Closets, and their exits and entrances are not one size fits all.
Rock and longtime roommate Bob Preble
For me, Hudson is a gay icon not because of his position in the closet, but because of history in gay culture. Not only was he an icon to gay men, long before they knew his secret, his death, and posthumous coming out, created changes in attitude, and progress in the AIDS crisis that may not have occurred if not for the love Hudson generated from Elizabeth Taylor, his friends and fans. Eichner's use of the phrase 'dead closeted person' may not have been intended as an insult, but to me, it's not much better than calling someone a fag. They're both based in hatred and ignorance, certainly not Pride.
FH readers know I love a good CFNM shot, and last week I took a deep dive looking for images to use for Mother's Day. I ended up choosing vintage images and images that fit the holiday and top, but there were other themes that I discovered and loved.
I ended up saving a bunch of shots, and discovered afterwards that many of them were of women sharing, showing off, or photographing their boyfriend's bodies. Pulling down their underwear to show a flash of skin, or cupping or framing a specific body part.
Vulnerability is often at the core of so many images of the naked form, and a reason so many enjoy the genre of art, and these CFNM images play on this theme. One of the reasons CFNM images are so popular is the reversal or roles with the female in the power position and the male the sexual object. It's not surprising that it's not just men who love this theme, but many women as well.
Is there really such a thing as a 'flawed' gem? I know technically there is, the stone, may have a small dark mark or scratch which means it can't be classified as flawless, but it's usually not something seen by the naked eye, but only with close inspection or with bright lights and a magnified glass.
Flaws are also usually most felt and seen by their owners. Despite his talent, and despite Bartosz's incredible look, both Bartosz and photographer Mark Leighton felt the results of their first shoot together were not as good as they might have been...
'I am not quite sure why that is although a lot has to do with the conditions - it was either blazing hot (too hot to shoot in) or we had a strong and chilly coast wind. July is also a difficult time to shoot here anyway, the light is very strong and of course there are a lot of tourists around (well, in a normal year!) so it can be difficult to find peaceful locations.'
It has been my experience that flawless can also be boring. This goes for most things, people, object and especially photographs. I've seen perfectly composed images of incredibly looking men that didn't engage me in the least. We've all seen those images, many from 'renowned' photographers, heavily filtered with photoshopped penis', caked on make-up, and models that barely resemble themselves.
I was immediately drawn to Mark's work with the stunning Polish born Bartosz.. At just 18, and with only a few shoots under his belt, Bartosz not only has an incredible body, but his facial structure, with the combination of his beautiful eyes, nose and lips, are incredibly beautiful, and incredibly photogenic.
I also loved the array of looks, fashion and themes Mark incorporated into the shoot. Bartosz joined Mark in Portugal for several weeks last July, giving them time to explore a variety of different set-ups and locations. Bartosz looks great in just jeans, in underwear or in nothing at all. I thought he looked especially hot in the shots in where Mark captured him wearing nothing but a pair of sunglasses.
It's funny how the little things people notice about their own work, can sometimes be the same little things a viewer is drawn to. Bartosz's face is so striking, that the images where his face is not looking just perfect are some of my favorites. Those shots in which is face is maybe scrunched up a bit, or where his eyes not wide open, act to reveal even sexier aspects of his appearance. Mark and Bartosz are hoping to shoot again this summer if things come together, and world events improve. I look forward to seeing more of their work together, and hope they don't polish this gem too much, as the little flaws only enhance the natural beauty.