Friday, December 25, 2020

Favorite Pic of the Day for December 25th

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πŸŽ„Check out today's BIRTHDAYS HERE:πŸŽ„

What the Elf?

Elfie by TheTravelinBum

'A world in which elves exist and magic works offers greater opportunities to digress and explore'

So... why an Elf theme this year?  Many reasons really, some going back a few years.  Photographer Gordon Nebeker has generously been capturing and sharing his Christmas Elves for the last six years. Now, to clarify... by capturing, I don't mean, putting in a cage, as fun and tempting as that might be.  By capturing, I mean chronicling the Christmas Elves that he hires to help decorate the house and  get those ornaments high up on the tree.  Gordon has captured several different Elves over the years and shot them decorating tree's in Massachusetts, Florida, and one year, in the middle of a cold forest while driving from one State to the other.

Mark by Gordon Nebeker

Last year, when putting together my Christmas posts, I not only had Mark, Gordon's latest Elf helper, but as well, the naughty Elves created by artist badsign769. (HERE:). I began to think if I was able to gather a few more, I have my own troupe of Elves.  The final sign that and I should use Elves as my holiday theme came late in the summer.  My father was quite sick, and my usually very active Dad, wasn't able to move without assistance.  

Although he rarely watched television, he did enjoy certain movies, especially westerns and war flicks.  One exception was 2003's Elf.  We sat and watched the movie on an incredibly hot and sticky day in early September.  We had watched the movie together before, but I really didn't pay that much attention.  My mind would wander, or I'd be working or coming in and out of the room.  Dad on the other hand, always paid close attention to whatever Will Farrell was doing.  This time, it was dad that drifted in and out while I paid full attention.  I always enjoyed the movie, but during this viewing, paid more attention the relationship between Buddy and his father's.

So, a theme was then cemented! I wanted to salute the hard working Elf, as they often get a bad wrap. Elves are usually not depicted as very intelligent, but instead simple and obedient creatures, almost like pets.  I usually support the underdog, and Elves are really the unsung heroes of Christmas.  Santa gets most of the attention, but he really only works that one day a year.  It's the Elves who toil and sweat the other 263 days, making all the toys that Santa gets to deliver.

The only time Elves really get any vacation time is while Santa's on his journey. They work right up until the toys are all loaded on the sleigh, then must turn around, and be ready to greet the old man, when he returns tired and grumpy from his trip. Before he goes to eat and rest, he always has plenty of feedback about the toys he just delivered.  Then, as soon as he's ushered off to bed my Mrs. Claus, the Elves go  right back to work to get ready for next Christmas.  So here's to Elves!  The hard working ones, the sweet ones, the naughty ones of course, and given this is FH, we can't forget the naked ones as well!

πŸŽ„Check out more Elves on the NEXT PAGE HERE:πŸŽ„

Elfed Up! Ryan Knight by Gordon Nebeker

'I particularly enjoyed working on the Christmas themed shots. Gordon let me loose with the costumes/props and I loved the opportunity to be a bit cheeky and add a sense of humour to the work'

Regular readers are keenly aware of FH's tradition of showcasing photographer Gordon Nebeker's Christmas Elf each Christmas.  Although Gordon loves his decorations, he also routinely hires some nimble Christmas helpers to help deck those high halls, string the lights to the rafters and utilize the ladder to ensure the tree topper is impeccably aligned and perfectly perched on the tree's highest branch.

Each Christmas, FH viewers eagerly await both Santa's arrival, and seeing which elf Gordon has hired for this years decorating duties.  Although Gordon's tree theme and color scheme may account for some of the excitement, the fact that this particular Christmas helper decorates completely naked, may also play a role...

Humans weren't the only one's impacted by this years pandemic.  Elves were also hit hard.  This particular Elf hails from New York, and before the pandemic shut down all of the theatres, was a busy working actor.  Although trimming a tree in the nude wasn't initially on Ryan Knight's 2020 bucket list, it did involve a travel, with the tree requiring ornamentation, sitting in a stand in Florida. 

'It was a bit of a leap of faith travelling down to Florida to meet with Gordon, having only chatted on the phone prior to the shoot. Luckily his warmth and professionalism put me at ease immediately.  I think we were able to create some beautiful images together (if that's not too egotistical to say πŸ˜‰).. Can't wait for the opportunity to model for him again!'

Michael Craft : When Santa's Away....

Stephaun Anthony

The Elves Will Play! 

When I last featured New Jersey photographer Michael Craft, I featured imagery from his coffee table book Sweet Tooth. (HERE:)  In the book Michael created eye catching images combining two of our favorites type so candy, man candy, and actual candy, the sugary treats we love to lick, suck and devour. In many ways, Christmas is also a feast, both a literal one, as well as a visual feast for the eye.


The bright colors, the lights, and the shimmering decorations. are all designed to both pleasing to the eye, and to draw our focus and attention.  Although Michael shoots more than just holidays, the visual themes run through so much of his work.  Michaels use of vibrant color, dynamic models and poses, and erotically creative concepts, all both draw focus and demand attention. 

When I was looking for imager for today's theme, I scrolled past hundreds of images on webpages.  When I scrolled by Michael's shots they had me both stop, but stay and head off on a hunt to find more from the series.  Michael was inspired to work on his 'Naughty Elf' series after seeing so many memes that people posted using their Elf on the Shelf.  I'm not talking about cute poses and shots for kids, the shots Michael saw were people putting the Christmas toy in all kinds of sexual situations and mischief. 

'I only did a handful of shoots, they were fun to do. Of course the craziest was having elves, Abel and Jay tie up with Christmas lights and sexually tease Joel. (below) Someday i hope to do more on a bigger scale with lots of props.

I look forward to that as well!  This series, especially the last few with Abel, Jay and Joel were the shots had that me stopping and searching!  As we wait for more erotically charged holiday shots, you can check out Michael's lastest book, Thirst Trap, on Blurb HERE:  Thirst Trap was originally in the works until the pandemic began in the spring.  Michael hoped that while stuck at home, people might enjoy embracing the mouthwatering diversity in the many incredible men he's shot over the years. 

Exposing OnesELF: Cal by Lights On Studio

'The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.'

So although deciding to celebrate Elves was an easy decision.  Creating our FH Elf, was a bit more of a challenge.  Although Will Farrell brought Buddy to life on-screen, he had the benefit of millions of dollars of studio money and a team of special effects professionals.  Not deterred, I through the idea by Lights On Studio's Tom Nakielski in late October, even before I posted Tom's latest Dracula series for Halloween.  Tom first thought of location, he was in the middle of moving studios, so needed everything in place before he could shoot.  He then began shooting back costume options, and some of them were quite expensive.

The costume however, proved the easy part.  Tom found one to rent at a local costume shot that provides costumes for the local theatres in town.  One we had a costume, it was all about who could or would, wear it.  Now if you're a regular FH reader, you know many models have put on, and taken off, a variety of costumes over the years.  To pull off Buddy however, we needed a model who would both put on and take off the suit, and as well, be able to take on the innocence as well as the impish and playful traits of the character.

Tom shot me back a few links of models on Model Mayhem who might be options.  While all had the looks, none had the specific qualities we were looking for to take on Buddy. Then, one of us, I'm pretty sure it was was me... ;) suggested model Cal Green.  On the surface it may seem an odd choice, we chose Cal for Halloween due to strong, even menacing looks that we thought would be perfect for the Prince of Darkness.  But, Cal is an actor, and given he went from Dracula to Buddy, one with a great deal of range!

Cal was on board and Tom's first shoot in his brand new studio was set.  When the costume shop was told a well built personal trainer was going to don their Elf suit, they were a little worried about him getting the tights on.  They gave some specific instructions about how to squeeze them on, including instructions for Cal to trim his toenails before putting them on.  I would have thought yellow tights would have been easy to find, but these ones are obviously magic tights.  The shop didn't need to worry, they fit like a glove, and the tights were returned without any scratches or runs..

'This was the first session in the new studio, and I love that I have so much more space. Room to move and less chance to trip and fall. Cal was immediately impressed with the new space even though it still has a lot more work needing to be done. Definitely warmer than the last space. You know how the cold can have a unwanted effect on... .well you know. '

'I was a bit concerned that Cal might be uncomfortable getting into an elf costume,  Buddy isn't exactly  a sex symbol, but Cal loved the elf costume. With his acting background, Cal got right into character. He easily went from sexy to zany. It was an added bonus that he is also a photographer and cinematographer. With out me asking, Cal was helping me set up the background and moving props. Made the session go faster and made it much easier on me.'

Although Will Ferrell's version of Buddy may not have been a sex symbol, there is an inherent sensualism associated with elves.  Maybe it's the costume, maybe it's that elves are usually categorized as either naughty or nice.  Maybe, it's because their stuck in the North Pole all year long, that when they get a taste of freedom it's like an episode of Elves gone wild.  Green hats and jackets get ripped off and yellow tights are flung into the air in a festive frenzy!

Speaking of yellow tights, Cal reports they were indeed a little snug.  As the shoot went on, and the tights were eventually peeled off,  after being crammed in so tightly for so long, Cal headed behind the large wrapped packages to ensure his elf equipment was properly repositioned and camera ready! Cal is comfortable with his body, and not self-conscious at all about getting undressed and posing nude.  Posing in the Elf suit, was actually more a challenge than when in just his birthday suit.

'Cal is thinking about entering a bodybuilding competition and is working to get in shape for that. He looks great to me as he is but bodybuilders are aware of every square inch of their bodies and are immersed in perfecting their bodies.'

Given how comfortable Cal was in and out of Buddy's attire, Tom focused on creating different looks with the various props he had on hand.  Tom shares that it didn't matter what he handed Cal, whether a candy cane, a Santa sack or the wrapped presents, the Michigan model got into character with ease.  Cal tapped into Buddy's sense of fun with his facial expressions while creating Elfish, and incredibly sexy poses.