Sunday, July 3, 2022

Favorite Pic of the Day for July 4th

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~Check out today's  BIRTHDAYHERE:~





Vexillology is the study of flags, and in studying these images from Campbell Photography, one thing stands out...  Although the red and the blue are the most vibrant, it's really the white that emerges and draws focus.  Be sure to check out Campbell Photography's The Male Form to see more of Cole, Shawn and Carson raising more than just their flags.


Struggle Upwards

Image by Mano Martinez

'That piece of red, white and blue bunting means five thousand years of struggle upwards. It is the full-grown flower of ages of fighting for liberty.  It is the century plant of human hope in bloom.'
Alvin Owsley

I've written before about my struggles with celebrating the 4th over the last few years.   Although some of the recent Supreme Court decisions have been incredibly scary and discouraging, my struggles actually began back in 2016.  You remember 2016, the year one of the most qualified presidential candidates lost to a unstable egomaniac....  Since then, the stars and stripes seemed to have lost a some of their luster.

I have to keep reminding myself that the orange oppressor is out of office, and things have gotten a bit back to normal.  Unfortunately, his actions and his stench continue to linger.  The rise of cruelty and impatience he ushered in stubbornly remain, meaning even the smallest of things, (wearing a mask to save a life) are cause for protests, violence and outrage.

Despite how difficult it's been, this year I knew it was time to buck up.  This year, when choosing images for the holiday, I began to again feel the excitement and optimism the day used to hold.  I had to remember that the American flag has stood as a symbol of freedom and justice for over 225 years, through wars times and in times of peace.

Jayden by Tom Nakielski

In many of those 225 years, black men, and even longer for black women, were not able to vote.  Women also couldn't vote for many of those years, homosexuality was illegal and gay men and women couldn't marry, and members of the trans community were, and continue to be vilified by many.  Despite these obstacles, members of each of these communities remained resilient and celebrated the day despite not having equal rights and freedoms.

Trevor by Studio1x

In many ways, celebrating and raising the flag are even more essential when rights and freedoms are at risk.   Some seem to have taken the flag, corrupted it for their causes, hanging it in their living room windows and hanging it on their trucks and cars.  There was a time seeing a community full of the red, white and blue was welcoming, today it can be scary.

It's time to take back the flag, from people and communities who've used it for hate and to divide.  The flag, and the ideas and principles at the core of the country were never about what is.  If they were, we would never celebrate.  Sexism, racism and homophobia have always been systemic in many communities and institutions.  I know one day, and one day soon, the direction will again be positive and more forward looking.  

Change has been painfully slow I know, but it has been happening.  This positive forward change obviously  scares the shot out of many, which is why they're freaking out and barking back.  It won't last, it can't.  Nothing can truly go in reverse for very long.  It's time to view the flag and what it stands for not for what is, but for the hope of what could be, and most importantly what should be.   

Image by Nolan Dean

12 Days: American Flyers

'They're four one-of-a-kind people taking a chance...and going after a dream that will change their lives forever.'

As I stated last week, it can be difficult to find a Canada Day themed film to spotlight for 12 Days.  Finding a film for the 4th of July however, has never been an issue.  There are literally hundreds of films with a red, white and blue theme, celebrating both the holiday, and determined and passionate spirit at the core of the both the country and holiday.  

This year, I chose American Flyers.  The 1985 film was written by Steve Tesich who also wrote the cycling themed. Breaking Away. He also wrote the screen play for one of my favorite adaptations of a John Irving novel, The World According to Garp.  Irving's books tend to span long time frames, and don't always translate well to film     

American Flyers was directed by John Badham who also directed a number of American classic films including; WarGames, Short Circuit, Blue Thunder and Saturday Night Fever.  More recently Badham has directed for television with shows including: Psych, Siren, Nikita, Arrow and Supernatural.

The film stars Kevin Costner in one of his early hits and co-stars; Rae Dawn Chong, Alexandra Paul, Jennifer Grey, John Amos and David Marshall Grant.  It was actually Marshall Grant, whose career has always intrigued me, that helped motivate the choice.

In American Flyers, sports physician Marcus, (Costner) persuades his unstable brother David, (Marshall Grant) to come with him and train for a bicycle race across the Rocky Mountains. Marcus doesn't tell David that he has a brain aneurysm which could render him paralyzed or dead at any given moment. While David powerfully heads for the victory, Marcus has to realize that the contest is now beyond his capabilities. 

There are two 'nude' scenes in the film.  I felt I had to put nude in quotes as they are just brief butt shots, one from Marshall Grant, plus a hit of butt crack from Costner.  You can check out caps and clips from the scenes on the NEXT PAGE HERE:

Red, White & Brand Spanking New: Kyle by Lights On Studio .

'Although this was his very first nude shoot, from the minute Kyle came in to the studio, his attitude was upbeat and humorous  He willingly and eagerly agreed to the pics with the underwear in his mouth and the flag in his butt crack.'

Like so many artists. Tom Nakielski (Lights On Studio) always worries before a session.  What if the model doesn't show?  What if they look different than their pictures?  What if they're not supportive of the concept, the poses, or shooting nude?  What if??????   You can't really blame Tom for worrying, especially with his string of no-shows for scheduled holiday shoots in jus the past year.

For this year's Easter shoot, (HERE:)  Tom thought he had all his ducks (well... baby chicks) in a row. A model was set, scheduled and even confirmation from the model the night before.  Tom headed to the studio in the morning, hauled out the holiday backgrounds, set the lights and put all the props in their places.  Yet... there he stood, surrounded by baby chicks and bunnies and his model didn't show

In a panic, Tom called called his studio partner Karah to vent.  Karah knew of a hairstylist who might be interested and offered to call him to see if he could fill.  While Karah was on the  phone with Kyle the hairstylist, Tom was on the phone with Anthony, a model he'd worked with before, and who lived close to the studio. Anthony was able to come right over.  

Although Kyle agreed to the shoot, in the end, Tom decided to go with Anthony. They had worked together several times before, and Tom knew Anthony could slide in and give him what he needed. Tom did however, really want to work with a new model, so when it was time to plan for his 4th of July shoot, it was Kyle he decided to contact.

'Kyle had never done a photo shoot before and never posed nude.  I went over the shots that I wanted, and confirmed there would be nudes. Kyle was a bit hesitant and said he would consider it.' 

As you can beautifully see, Kyle decided to put his trust in Tom and take the leap.  As he usually does, Tom went all out with dramatic lighting, props, fashion all draped in vibrant red, white and blue. Given he's worked with so many bodybuilders and fitness models, Tom eager welcomed the enthusiasm and energy that Kyle brought to the session. 

I always start a session with with clothed shots, I want the model, and myself, to feel comfortable and not rush things. I had Kyle put on some patriotic underwear under his leather pants. Gradually I had his show a bit of the underwear until he was in just his underwear. I took over 100 shots before I finally had him remove his underwear. No problem!  Kyle did not hesitate or seem the least bit uncomfortable. 

Tom had also invited friend and fellow photographer Cari along to assist him during the shoot. Tom shares that Kyle had both of them laughing during most of the shoot.  Kyle was open to all of his concept ideas and suggestions for poses. 

As many FH readers are aware, Tom loves to end his sessions with a bang. Well, at least a bang, pop and whoosh.   Check out Tom's shots of Kyle, (as well as several other models) shooting off their fireworks on the NEXT PAGE HERE:

'The flag in the butt was Cari's doing. I thought about it but didn't have the nerve to suggest it to a new model and upset him. So glad she suggested it. It's one of my favorites too. He was more than willing to the idea. '

'The session was a lot of fun.  Kyle's  confidence and eagerness throughout the session made it go quickly. I had planned on three hours but I realized that 4 hours had passed and I needed to call it a wrap. I could have shot several more hours but I hope to have him back to do more shots.'

'I had never done a photo shoot like this before. Just head shots. I was super nervous and excited. Tom was great! He made me feel very comfortable as if I’ve been doing this forever! Once I saw the photos I felt a whole new kind of comfort and confidence! I can’t wait to get back in the studio and do some more.'