Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Favorite Pic of the Day for August 5th

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Room With A View

Tyson Bull: Making Australian Olympic History

There are a lot of history making moments at every Olympic games, but not all of them get the same amount of attention as others.  In his Olympic debut, 28-year-old Victorian gymnast Tyson Bull finished fifth in the horizontal bar event after making history in artistic gymnastics.

Although placing 5th isn't usually seen as history making, Bull's placement marks the first time an Australian made it through to an Olympic men's artistic gymnastics final. Bull is also the first Australian to compete in men's artistic gymnastics at the Olympics since Josh Jefferis at the London Games.

Don's World by Ori Paul Levi

'When I first discovered Ori’s Instagram feed, I was immediately drawn to his layering and manipulation of color, shape, and vintage physique and beefcake imagery. Ori was breathing new life into images 50+ years old and I found that to be very exciting.'

Regular readers of FH know that I'm a huge fan of artists Baker & Adams.  It was through photographer Devin Baker that I was first introduced to the new Western Photography Guild website. Fans of artwork featuring the male form know the work of the WPG and it's originator, photographer Don Whitman.  As much as today's chroniclers of the male form strive to create unique and original visuals, so much of what we see hark back to photographers, sculptures and painters in the past.  

So many photographers like Don, focused on the male form during times when you end up charged, in jail, or even killed for not only shooting, but possessing images of the nude male form.  In many ways this has helped bring both a greater appreciation, and a heighted significance to the visuals they created. Recently, Devin got in touch about an exciting new collaboration between the WSP and visual artist Ori Paul Levi.  Raised in Tel-Aviv Israel, Ori found an interest in art and photography at a young age.  

'It’s always been our goal that Don's work remain relevant for all including past, present and future generations. I’d been following Ori on social media and found his collages to be fresh and exciting, especially with his incorporation of vintage beefcake imagery. For us, the collaboration was about pushing Don’s material into exciting new directions while maintaining a respect for his legacy and that of his models. 

We trusted and believed in Ori’s vision from our first conversation. Ori demonstrated an honest respect for Don’s physique photography and we moved forward without hesitation. For our part, we personally selected many of the images Ori worked with and provided him with both digital material as well as prints and vintage ephemera.'

'My work has a lot of elements in it that some would put in the collage category, which would be accurate, to me however it’s simply Visual Art, you see it and it makes you feel.  I have always been focused on the male form, after attending school in Milan, I moved to London. And began interning at Wonderland Magazine which defiantly had pushed towards being focused working with male models and men’s fashion. soon after I was able to snag a job working as the assistant to the menswear editor at I-D magazine, which fully cemented my desire to focus exclusively on male figures. I have always felt comfortable sharing my work.'

Who are your artistic inspirations?
I love Robert Mapplethrop, his work is my main source of inspiration. So is the work of Andy Warhol, Nick Knight, Rankin, Don Whitman and many others.

What inspires you more, a specific man or model, or a concept?
A combination of all three. But first and foremost it’s all about the composition. When I rework an image the first thing I do, is try to visualize it in my head, to see the color and to envision the message.

Your work has distinct vibes from the 60's and 70's, do you know where that comes from?
There’s just something magical to me about that era, that I’m instantly drawn too. The ruggedness of models, the feel of the paper, the way it all looks on film. We live in an instant digitized society, where you can shoot a single frame multiple time, choose the best image, photoshop that image. The end result to me is just this overly processed image. When you have (or had) a limited number of shoots, it forces you to really think about the image you’re creating. That is mainly why I choose to work with vintage photography, and why I exclusively shoot using Polaroid camera. 

Tell me about the process of creating art inspired by work from the WPG?
It’s been an interesting and deep process..  Usually when I source my images, they're either from old magazines or from the web. and I have less of an affiliation...or immediate connection to the person who had originally created the content. 

However the “WPG” series I wanted to take a different approach. I wanted to know who Don Whitman was, and I was fortunate enough to have multiple conversations with Both Andrew and Devin from “WPG", that helped shed some light on who this person was, what was his process and how i as an artist can rework these images into my own vision whilst maintaining the original vision. 

I tend to not go with themes, or any pre set idea of what something should look like. Each image has a life and a story of it’s own, they all carry a touch of Don’s spirit mixed with my own. 

How difficult is it to make a final decision on text to add to your art? The text has the ability to limit, or expand a viewers imagination range, is this a tricky balance?
I’m very big on minimalism, something that a lot of times is missing in collage work, while other artists have a tendency to have a lot of different elements in their work. My main focus is always the image, color, message and composition. 

Adding written elements can be difficult, but it is sometimes a necessary element in my work, that I see as bringing it all together, I don’t always use it, but when I do I first have most of the main elements on paper, which I then couple with the right written element - which has to be sexy and make you think.

Chairing The Pants Off Them! Chris by Cooks Photography

'The chair does sit in our family room. My partner sits on it when he's putting his shoes on. lol '

Whenever I feature the work of Cooks Photography, I'm always amazed at the dynamic curves, lines and poses that photographer Hal Cooks always manages to capture.  One of the ways the California based artist is able to do this, is through his us of furniture.  If you've check out my previous pieces featuring Hal's work, (HERE:) you'll remember that Hal brilliantly uses stools, chairs, trunks and ottomans.  

Although Hal ways keeps his model the focus, the furniture that uses provides the model with a base to sit on, stretch on and straddle.  A pivot point for their poses.  When Hal send on this series of shots of Chris H, I was struck with how the furniture pieces were used as more than just a prop.  The furniture pieces act to actually heighten Chris' beauty, by providing a visual contrast between their fixed, hard structure and the beauty, softness and fluidity of Chris' beautiful body. 

Do you remember what it was about him that inspired you to get in touch with him?
I believe I met him on ModelMayhem or Instagram. I saw that he was an extremely handsome guy and he was already posing for a photographer 

Was he immediately up for a shoot?
Yes, He had already posed for a few photographers, so it was fairly easy to get him to pose for me

Did you have to bring up nude work, or was it already a given? 
I saw that he had already posed nude in the past. I typically send a few of my favorite nudes from previous shoots to gage their comfort level.

Is the wooden chair that you use just for shooting, or is it a part of your own dining room? 
It's actually a chair I primarily use for photo shoots, but it does sit in our family room. My partner sits on it when he's putting his shoes on. lol

How much direction do you give your models about the chair and poses?
It really depends on the model. Several guys have dripped pre cum on that chair. lol

What was Chris like to work with?
Chris was incredibly easy to work with. We seemed to hit it off immediately. I always start off with clothes first, then ease the model into it.

Are you a 'chatter' during shoots, play music, or is it usually quiet except for giving direction?
I'm definitely a chatter. I find it helps the model to relax more, especially if they're just meeting me for the first time.

Did you get any feedback from Chris after he saw the final images?
t's been a while since our first shoot, but he did seem to like them. He's posed for me three or four times now. He's always great to work with and laid back.

How did/has Covid impacted your shoots, both the amount, and the process.
It took several months before models were comfortable enough to come out again. Once I got a few to come over to shoot, they were comfortable shooting.