Sunday, October 15, 2023

Favorite Pic of the Day for October 16th

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Seasonal Sightings:

A Vintage Vantage: Ben Pascham by Kovert of Hollywood

I love this series of model Ben Pascham from Bob Mizer and AMG studios.  In addition however, to Ben's beautiful body, charming face and adorable smile, is the story behind the images.  Although Mizer was a photographer, his name, as well as the Athletic Model Guild, often used other photographers to shoot models for their brand and for male physique publications.

These images, which I believe were shot in the late 40's were shot by Frederick Kovert.  The LA based photographer also used the credit of Kovert in Hollywood, which was also the name of his studio.  Mizer trained with Kovert at the beginning of his career.  Kovert was truly ahead of his time, a drag queen in the 20's and 30's.  At the time, he was referred to as a 'female impersonator', and appeared in drag in stage shows, clubs and reviews.

Kovert was also a silent film actor, appearing in silent films in the 20's and 30's.  One of his roles was in silent film version of The Wizard of Oz in 1925.  Kovert also acted as the costume designer on the film.  Following his career in films, Kovert went on to become an early pioneer of not only shooting the male nude, but creating content for early formats of physique magazines and pictorials.  Given the time, his photo were considered both illegal and obscene, which led to his becoming a target of the Los Angeles Police department.

In 1945, Kovert's studio was raided by the LA police vise squad, and he ended up pleading guilty to possession of obscene materials.  Kovert's passion for shooting the male nude was not stifled however, and he continued to shoot until his death in 1949 from a self-inflicted gun shot rule.

Although these shots are under the AMG brand, there is a big clue that they were not shot by Mizer himself. Mizer wasn't a fan of smoking, and didn't like cigarettes in his shots.  You may notice that Pascham is holding a cigarette in several of these shots.  Kovert was a smoker, and didn't have rules about featuring cigarettes in his images.  I can't be sure, but I'm guessing Kovert's shoot with Ben took place in the late 40's, a year or so before his death.

Horror Hunks: Nico Greetham in Drive

'A club girl's life is turned upside down when the nightlife begins following her home.'

Given the site's focus is on the male form, it shouldn't be shocking that most of my posts are motivated by an image.  Even my spotlights on television shows and movies, often start with an image.  I loved the first few seasons of Ryan Murphy's American Horror Story.  I think it was the totally gratuitous and unnecessary massacre at the end of forth season's Freak Show that ended my passion for the program.

I watched sporadically after that, but really haven't invested in the show in years.  I also never started the spin-off series, American Horror Stories.  The single episode series began in 2021, and although I was intrigued by some of the plots, never got around to watching.  I did however, take notice of the many behind the scene shots of Nico Greetham that made the rounds last year after he appeared in the 2022 episode Drive.

I first noticed Nico and featured Nico on the site, (HERE:)  a few years ago, mostly because of the many hot shots he posted on his Instagram.  Although initially known for his images and social media posts, Nico is an actor who got his first role as a member of Vocal Adrenaline on a 2015 episode of Glee.   Since then he's continued to work on television including two appearances on American Horror Stories, and in season 10, (Double Feature) of the original American Horror Story.

Behind the Scenes

After seeing all those shots of Nico in his tighty whities from Drive, I thought it was time to finally check out the episode.   I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.  It was a well crafted episode with a nice twist that came as surprise to me. Although the ending was a little disappointing, given how well crafted the rest of the episode was, it didn't impact my enjoyment.

With just single episodes to tell the story, much like the old Twilight Zone, the magic is the build up, and the climax of the twist.  The endings were often climatic, in part, because you wanted to see more.  That's how I felt about Drive.  Given how weak some of the stories are for the main AMS franchise, this one off episode would have made a great story to tell over a series of episodes. 

Nico did well with his role, having us believe one thing about his character upon his introduction, than feeling something very different after the reveal.   Although the show also graciously gave us a brief butt shot, it was those white tighty whitie behind the scenes shots that inspired me to tune in. 

The Slip of the Mask: Zilo by Lights On Studio

'Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary.'
Edgar Allan Poe

Though Costumes are all about concealing, the often do just the opposite.  Our choice of costumes, especially at Halloween, often reveal more about who we are than we might realize.  When I was a kid, I spent a lot time hiding who I was, even before I really knew what that was, or what that meant.  Even at Halloween, I'd mostly wear traditional costumes for young boys, donning cowboy hats, Vampire fangs and a Superman cape.

I played the part at my elementary school Halloween party and while out trick or treating, but later, I was myself.  When alone, I posed with that hat, and twirled with my cape, morphing from the Man of Steel to a another superhero, one a little more wonderous.  I think the reason so many people love Halloween so much isn't so they can disguise themselves, but because they can display parts of themselves, parts they may not feel safe to expose the rest of the year.

My goal with FH is to reveal and uncover.  My hope, it that I not only unveil beautiful bodies, but uncover their stories and how the process behind how the images were created.  That's one of the reason I bugged photographer Tom Nakielski  to dig back into his Halloween shoot with Zilo.  Many readers remember that Ton's shots of Zilo headlined last years Halloween celebration on the site. (Skin & Boned)  Although this one of Tom's last shoots before he took a fall, it was his first with Zilo.

I've been featuring Tom's holiday themed imagery for the past eight years now, and although he's not currently shooting, I didn't want the spooky season to pass by, without celebrating his skill and creativity.  Tom's imagination and idea's has conjured up a various demons, vampires and witches over the last few years including Zilo's crazed bone collector from last year.

Thankfully, Tom was able to dig into his files and not only find some fun behind the scenes shots, but some visuals I hadn't featured before.  I focused last year on Zilo's skin and bones, leaving out the shots with the Halloween scarf and his rodent appetizer.  The origins for this shoot clearly had connections with Poe's The Raven, but it was some facial tattoos that Tom had in his prop collection that really drove the narrative. 

As I previously shared, Tom's movement has been limited the last year, and he has been relying more on support from others.  For this shoot with Zilo, it was Tom's friend, and studio partner Karah, who helped out, and even provided a little ass assistance.  Although being drawn to Zilo's behind is natural, even for a corpse, this particular skull was heavy, and required Karah to lend a hand to ensure it was positioned perfectly in place.

As much as I loved Tom's final images, I equally enjoyed a glimpse behind the scenes, and seeing Karah at work not added an CFNM element, they were also a lot of fun.  Zilo had no issue being completely nude in front of Karah, and shared he had a blast with the shoot,   Zilo enjoys modeling, in clothes, or without, and feels right at home in front of the camera. 

Not only was Karah helpful during the shoot, she also helped nudge Tom on to get Zilo out his bone collector costume.  Tom loves to take as many shots as possible, and they were nearing the end of their scheduled time and Tom was still looking to capture great shots of Zilo in costume.  Karah reminded Tom that if they didn't get Zilo's clothes off, they wouldn't have any nudes to include with the series for the post.  Thank you Karah!   Thanks to Zilo as well, and especially Tom, for heading into his files and sending on these behind the scenes shots.