Most of you by now have seen the image of Alexander Skarsgard in the South Pole on the can. Not many people can make sitting on the toilet sexy, but Skarsgard pushes hard to make it work. Personally, I enjoyed the parody shots just as much and some, like the two below can be found HERE:
Ryan Murphy knows better than almost anyone how to put together a spectacular season 1. Glee, Nip/Tuck, Popular and AMS all had first seasons that had audiences coming back for more. Season 2 of American Horror Story was to me, even better than 1. But... I am struggling with the Coven that is the focus of season 3.
It is still watchable, the powerhouse acting still holds my attention, but Coven is a bit of a mess. Last week's Stevie Nicks themed episode highlighted the seasons lack of direction. It was clear from the awkward editing, especially of Jessica Lange's scenes, the idea to bring in Nicks was an after thought and quickly put together and edited into the story. It is funny though, as uneventful as the episode was, the scenes featuring Nicks music were the highlight.
Coven doesn't have the balance the previous two seasons had. Although undoubtedly the best part of AHS, this season is far too focused on Lange. She is in pretty much every scene and it is becoming rather tedious. In season 1 her character was balanced out well by Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Taissa Farmiga and Evan Peters. In season 2, Peters and Sarah Paulsen shared the storyline load. In Coven, Paulsen, and especially Peters are stuck in smaller, uninteresting roles with little to do. Although watching Lange spar with Kathy Bates, Francis Conroy and Angela Bassett has been a blast, they don't make up for the lack of a cohesive story or direction. In addition, Emma Roberts and Farmiga are irritating and not up to the level of their co-stars.
The worst part of Coven however is it's shocking lack of ability to create any real horror. The opening credits aside, almost every major character that as died (Patti Lupone has been offed twice) has come back to life. How can we be terrorized by murders and stake burnings when characters either rise from the dead the next episode or in some cases, can't be killed at all. I hope the show's last set of episodes are better than the last few. I haven't given up, just hope that the producers see Lange is at her best when not in almost every scene, and she alone, without a well thought out story and concept, and Peters and Paulsen, are not enough to keep AHS on everyone's must watch list.
Over the years I have often been fascinated by the artists and images that combine beauty with destruction. Some of my favorite shoots and features have focused on young men, at their peek physically and sexually, surrounded by, and within buildings and locations long abandoned and forgotten. The contrast between the human form, breathing and alive with a dead location is both visually compelling and often strangely erotic.
I am not sure there is a more fitting example of a dead location than an old soviet casern in Leipzig, Germany. This is where photographer Jenswac shot 31 year old German model Nico. The first few images are actually from the second part of the shoot which was in a field outside of the city. Nico says the focus of these images show more or less a country boy having fun in the grassland. Most of the pictures try to show some movement, which means they had to do one situation several times. The life and movement in the field contrast the more somber, still feeling of the first part of the shoot within the Casern.
One of the things that runs through my mind when I when I feature certain locations is the stories and history of that location. I remember last year when I was profiling model Tyler in an old mill was thinking, and hearing the voices of all the miners who worked there in the past. With a military barracks, you can just imagine the history, the fear, life and death that once inhabited the location.
'I'm absolutely into art, like performance art, fine and visual arts, photography, literature and music. And I try to combine these arts and it's also a kind of testing borders, entering new spaces. That is also meant literally as I love to work in certain spaces and locations like old buildings, abandoned factories and so on. I like the contrasts there one can work with or one can stage. And also the light and colors.'
Nico describes the area they shot in as huge with different buildings, most of them actually overgrown. It was a sunny summer day so they were fortunate to have had great natural light. The goal was to use different places and locations to connect the damage and destruction with masculinity and strength. Nico says working with Jenswac was easy and he always gave him the feeling he was giving the photographer what he was looking for. 'He gave me good hints how to move and pose. He had great ideas how to use the surroundings and he was never disappointed if an idea failed.'