Saturday, February 27, 2021

Favorite Pic of the Day for February 28th

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~Check out today's BIRTHDAYS HERE:~

Actors & Skin

Check out more of Jon Seda, the next actor up in my Actors (HERE:) & Skin (HERE:) series on the next page:

Mr. Colorado

Last January, I did a story (HERE:) about a new website featuring the work of Don Whitman from Western Photography Guild. The site, run by Don's nephew Andy, who wanted to celebrate his uncle's story, and his place as one of the pioneers of classic male physique photography. I was introduced to the site by photographer Devin Baker, (Baker and Adams) who contacted me about an interview for the website's blog.

Since that introduction, I've been following the blog's updates, as well as the site's  Instagram page. Earlier this month, I was drawn to a recently posted image. The model was stunning, with a beautiful face and a physically flawless physique.  I was also struck by the fact the model was black.  It  is rare to see men of color in classic beefcake imagery,  and given it's so rare,  I was curious to get in touch with Devin to ask about his story.

Devin knew the model was named Bill Broome, but unfortunately, Don lost much of his early work in a flood. Billy had modeled for Don prior to the flood so Devin and Andy weren't sure what material and information might still be available.  As a writer, I was interested in learning more of Bill's story, even if it was just a small piece or chapter. 

They searched the archives and luckily found a few additional images.  Four of the shots were official WPG images, the fifth, an image from the 1954 Mr. Colorado Contest.  Bill won first prize in the Jr division and Don was front and center in the image holding a plaque.   Devin and Andy shared that Bill had posed in the early 1950's, and the negatives from the shoot would have sadly been affected by the Denver flood that impacted Don's studio.  So much of WPG's work was either lost or damaged as a result.   

A Golden Crown:

Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series: Josh O'Connor in The Crown

Most years, I try to do a themed day devoted to The Golden Globes, and of course the nude scenes from the year's nominee's.  The awards, which air this weekend, snuck up on me this year and I didn't have time to research and put it all together.  Maybe the Oscars....  I did however, want to feature actor and nominee Josh O'Connor, who I have been planning on featuring for awhile. 

Thanks to a friend's recommendation, I binged the first two seasons of The Crown last year.  I paused, when Claire Foy and Matt Smith left their roles as Philip and Elizabeth at the end of season two.  I like their replacements, and I'm sure I'll catch up, but the transition was a smooth one and not one that had me wanting to keep going.  The buzz surrounding this year's Charles and Diana story however, is pulling me back, especially given my love for O'Connor who plays Charles.

God's Own Country (2017)

Although O'Connor has an impressive resume, featuring multiple nude scenes, many of us were introduced to the British actor in the 2017 film God's Own Country.  In the film, Josh played Johnny, a bored young farmer who during lambing season, begins an intense sexual relationship with Gheorghe,(Alec Secareanu) a Romanian migrant worker.  I love this film, especially the atmosphere set up by writer and director Francis Lee. 

The Snowy Day: Chris Bell by Richard Rothstein

One Winter Morning....

'Peter woke up and looked out the window.
Snow had fallen during the night.
It covered everything, as far as he could see'
The Snowy Day, 1962

This past Christmas, one of my favorite gifts was a copy of The Snowy Day by author Ezra Jack Keats. The gift came from one of my older brothers.  He remembered how much I loved the book when I was a kid.  The short story, which focus's on a child's reaction to the season's first snowfall, was a book that I loved to pull out and read every winter.  The copy I owned had became so worn and torn, it was put in a box and eventually thrown out by my mother.  I had always planned on picking up another copy so the gift had a lot of meaning.

When I was a kid, I didn't really notice the attention, both positive and critical, that surrounded the book.  Sure, I noticed that Peter was black, but wasn't aware at the time that it was a big deal. When the novel was first published, it was one of the first mainstream children's books to incorporate a story and artwork about a black family.  I was mostly focused on the snow, and how my reactions to it were so much like Peters. 

Keats was inspired by a set of photographs of a black child from a 1940 edition of Life magazine.  The photos had hung in his studio for over two decades.  Although the artwork inspired the story, the connection came from Keates memories of snowy days from childhood home in Brooklyn.  While the author was not trying to make a statement about race, The Snowy Day was one of the first books to feature a non-caricatured African American protagonist. 

Some critics questioned how Keats, a white Jewish man, could tell the story of a black child. Early reviews noted some of the collage illustrations, and challenged the depiction of race and culture.  Others welcomed the never before seen positivity.  Prior to the story, most characters of color in children's novels were written with a heavy reliance on negative stereotypes.  One teacher who wrote the author commented that after the book was read in her class, some of her students, while drawing self-portraits, picked up brown crayons, for the very first time.

After Christmas, when I put the book away on my shelf, I wanted to celebrate it in some small way. I ended up buying a second copy on Amazon to frame.  I hang the front cover in my living room.  I also wanted to do something on the site. Given it was children's novel, I didn't want to sexualize it in any way, but FH readers are keenly aware that like Peter, I get excited every winter with the first site.  I immediately knew which artist to contact about images to celebrate the book, and the story.

Few artists integrate such passionate joy and reverence for their city that Richard Rothstein.  His passion isn't limited to the just the beauty of New York during  the summer.  Some of my favorite shoots from Richard include his shoots with model during the Autumn and winter.  One of my favorite winter shoots was Richard's work with dancer Chris Bell that featured a few years ago. (A Blizzarding Ballet

I thought it was the perfect shoot to celebrate the story. I had thought however, that I had  already featured most of the images from the shoot in the first post.  I was wrong!  Richard sent on more images from the shoot, most of which I'd not seen before and that were not featured in the original piece.  Richard's images, and Chris's energy and enthusiasm, beautifully embody the joy and passion of Peter's reaction to that first snowy day.

For even the most passionate snow lovers, the winter does tent to take a toll, and for most of us, our enthusiasm wains as the season goes on, and on... I loved however, that both Richard and Chris so perfectly captured the beauty and the quiet, but intense, energy of an early winter's day.  Keats told his story with words and artwork while Richard and Chris tell a similar story with visuals and dance.  If you want to see more of Chris on the snowy day, check out the NEXT PAGE HERE:

Chris Bell on Instagram | Youtube