I have been struggling a bit to finish of this seasons How To Get Away With Murder. The cast is still top notch, but some of the writing is all over the place. I also think the show is too 'Viola Davis' focused. She is incredible of course, but season one acted more of an ensemble piece, this season, Viola's Annalise is at risk at jumping the shark as a character if the writers don't give her a bit of break.
That being said, the great acting, and male eye candy is keeping me watching, especially the talented and incredibly hot Kendrick Sampson who is guest starring on the series as Caleb this season. Caleb is involved in one of the shows main murder arc's and has thus far (I am about 5 episodes behind) getting a great deal of coverage.
It is impossible to keep your eyes of Kendrick with his beautiful face and eyes, and incredible body. Kendrick is equally hot, and watchable, whether the HTGAWM writers have him shirtless, or in business suits in court.
'I told Tomas that I wanted him to think of the shoot as something for Rolling Stone. Not sure if I captured all of my images in that style, but I'm definitely happy with the way the images came out.'
Back in 2013, I was fortunate to have discovered the work of Austin photographer Rey of Reyj Photography. I quickly got in touch, and Rey about his work and a feature for FH. The resulting feature, The Rules of Attraction focused on a model some might not see as having qualities normally associated with mainstream male models. Rey's images of Tomas Christzen however were easily my favorites from his portfolio, and one of my all time favorite shoots to feature.
Rey's imagery, and his work with Tomas, really speaks to why I love working on FH. Most models we see in magazines, print ads and campaigns, are chosen because someone thinks they'll appeal to the masses. Although I understand this, it speaks more to commerce than to art, nor does it take into account an artist's ability to create a connection between their subjects, and those who enjoy and view the final images. I connected to Rey's imagery with Tomas, the poses, the guitar, the facial expressions and his big beautiful, and a little sad and tired, blue eyes.
In returning recently to Rey's site, I came upon new images of Tomas I had not seen, nor included in my first piece. Here, along with a few favorites from the first piece, are those images. The first time, the narrative was mostly mine, and why I connected so much with Rey's shots of Tomas. This time, I'll let Rey share his connection with his subject and the work. If you want to read Rey's full account of his work with Tomas, check out his blog post HERE:
'I'm drawn to musicians and the beauty that they are able to create. In high school, there was this guy that used to live across from me, but everybody thought he was douchebag. It's funny because I think I was one of the few juniors in our wing that he actually liked and made a point of hanging out with him, which left everyone else confused.'
'He played the violin and would often practice in his bedroom, which was right across the hall from me. It was ridiculous how many hours I spent sitting on the floor outside of my bedroom listening to him playing piece after piece on his violin.'
'Music. It's one of the reasons why I went to college in Seattle and the reason why I came back to Austin after graduating. It's why I make a point to take in as many small venue concerts here in Austin. It's part of the reason why I occasionally wonder the streets of South Congress for the opportunity to listen and photograph street musicians. It's definitely the reason why I jumped on the opportunity to work with and photograph Tomas Christzen.'
'Working with the photography meet-up group, I decided to participate in the November 2012 photo shoot with Tomas based on his image. Of course, the theme of the photo shoot was "Mountain Man" based on his overall appearance, particularly his beard. However, once I found out that he was a musician and had brought his acoustic guitar, I completely abandoned the "Mountain Man" theme and focused on photographing him in his element. It definitely a good decision based on the images that I was able to get with him and his guitar.'
'There was an aura of moodiness throughout the photo shoot, which definitely played to my favor towards the end of the shoot. It was further highlighted by the fact that Tomas was comfortable in his own skin and didn't particularly care about what others thought about him. Throughout the shoot, I wanted to capture that attitude and moodiness as well as the beauty that I saw within Tomas.'
'Given that focus, I think that's why I favored portrait-like images and music photography-like images from this photo shoot. It definitely helped that I told Tomas that I wanted him to think of the shoot as something for Rolling Stone. Not sure if I captured all of my images in that style, but I'm definitely happy with the way the images came out.'
'A man and his guitar. This was one of the first images that I worked on from the series. When I captured the image of his impromptu performance during the photo shoot, I knew that I had captured a cool image, especially since I was able to capture his entire body and the width of the guitar. I also love the fact that it's an implied nude, but still has a sensuality to the image. His focus on the guitar, the fact that he lost in his world of music, and isn't paying attention to the camera definitely illustrates the fact that I was able to capture a moment in time.'
'I know that I do photography as hobby, an expensive one at that, but it's worth it when I am able to capture moments like these. I don't know if I have the skill and vision to make it as a professional photographer, but I am happy to be able to do it as a hobby and have experiences like this one. And I know that I always find something amazing about each shoot that I've participated in or held on my own, but the photo shoot with Tomas is definitely one that is dear to my heart. On top of that, I love that I was able to highlight some, what I think are, amazing portraits as well as some images that could have potentially be found in a music magazine - maybe. Either way, I am proud of the images that I was able to create with Tomas and am grateful to have had that experience.'
I loved Stephan's quote about shooting his graffiti series as in many ways, artists often work with the leftovers of others. This is especially true when doing location work. It really doesn't matter whether the backdrop your using is an old building, a beach or a field, there was always someone, or something there before you.
Everyone who had any piece of creating the structure or the visual, and everyone who came through after, has a hand, and left a stamp on the what remained. Whether the original creator was a graffiti artist, a painter, an architect or whether it was nature itself, most of what we create today, is in many ways, is the continuation of something already begun.
I love how Stephan shot himself with the setting. Although there are shots of Stephan standing within and in front of the colorful artwork, you can also see how he beautifully integrates himself within the art and the arts meaning. I especially love how Stephan seems to channel the original artists energy, bringing it forward and to life in an all new way.
Stephan's work is often panoramic, making it difficult to fully appreciate on my blog, or a computer. His images are vast and wide, taking in the entirety of his visual, they are complete, and not just a small section or piece.
I think my favorite images from Stephan's graffiti series are the four shots below. I love the energy and movement captured, as well as the matching vibrancy between what is on the walls, and model moving towards and from them.
'I suppose there is that fascination in photographing genitals and then moving on to the next set... but even naughty bits have to be part of SOME composition otherwise it is just voyeurism. Well, at least in my opinion.'
'It is all about shapes. The back view photo is especially notable because lifting one foot to the ladder rung creates two differently shaped volumes of butt cheeks. This appealing to the eye, even if you don't really understand what is happening. It's what is marvelous about the human figure- that collision of body parts that creates that ballet of movement even if the body is not moving.'
'With this series with Clinton, I took a sculptural approach to a body making marvelous use of a simple prop. The prop was an example of how to present His body at its best. Not very pornographic since he is not making love with the ladder, the ladder is providing wonderful possibilities to show off a wonderful physique. A prop is only as good when it can help the figure excel.'
'I capture mankind at its ideal best. Working with people who happen to look good for a fleeting time: long or short. The challenge is to take their physical gifts created in the gym or just by happenstance and make them better. There has been the occasional criticism about the extreme poses but this does not concern me. I have photographed my share of people who can only lean against a wall yet I still want the context within that shape to be fascinating. Others can be taken to athletic heights or entwined to delight the eye. The reality is fantasy. Even my subjects have said they don't look the same until I have wrapped them in light and shadow...'
'The Greek and Roman sculptors portrayed their gods, legendary heroes, kings, warriors and athletes in more than mortal nobility; endowing them with ideal properties in which ordinary people recognize their own best potentialities. They were left nude not to arouse carnality but admiration. The Platonic ideal (embraced by Michelangelo & Co.) states a perfect human body is visible evidence of a man's potential grandeur, his ideal self.'
Soap Operas are often viewed a great training ground for young actors. I know many actors who have made their career in daytime might find that insulting, but some of the industries best actors got their start emoting on soap opera sound stages. I think this is especially true for women. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Meg Ryan, Anne Heche and Julianne Moore all cut their teeth playing strong female heroine's on daytime.
Maybe because soaps were traditionally seen as viewed mainly by women, male characters are not always as well developed. Soap Opera producers seem comfortable hiring 'mediocre' actors who look good with their shirts off, but don't always know what to do with actors whose talent is bigger than their biceps.
One of the things soap opera writers frequently do is write talented actors into corners. They do this in many ways, the worst of which is writing a rape story. Soaps have literally dozens of male characters who have committed rape only to be written as sympathetic, even heroic after the violent act. Some male characters go on to survive their deed to remain on the show, others are written off after the writers have gotten all they want from the storyline.
I am not sure where Days of our Lives Chase is going to end up, but I hope actor Jonathon McClendon ends up with an EMMY and tons of future acting work. Chase was an 11 year old kid a year ago, but after the show aged many of it's younger characters last fall, Chase became a troubled teen played with skill and complexity by McClendon.
The show unwisely decided to go down the clichéd path of ruining one of it's most talented actor by having him rape their new heroine. McClendon acts circles around his scene partner, and the show ruined a character they could have used in story lines for many years to come. McClendon is a unique talent, and hopefully will find another venue for the 19 year old actor's complex expression of drama.