'It's people who've sacrificed their livelihoods, it's people who've sacrificed their parents' finances and health and sometimes even marriages to get that one chance at glory. As an athlete who's lived it, I could never turn my face to that. While equality is necessary all over the world, the Olympics is not the place for me to make a stand.'
I don't agree entirely with Wier's words, but I do respect them. It boggles my mind sometimes how we expect everyone in the world to understand our feelings, our rights and stands on issues, but struggle to even attempt to understand theirs. I am not talking Russia, I am talking Weir. I played hockey, baseball and basketball but would never think I could understand the sacrifices professionals athletes have had to make, and from such an early age. I somehow think if Weir were not so out there and looked and acted more like someone more accepted in the mainstream like a Matt Bomer, he would not be getting so much flack. Weir is not my cup of tea, I don't think his theatrics helped him professionally, but he does make some good points. If gay people stopped going places we were not welcomed or wanted we wouldn't have that many places to visit. We certainly wouldn't have headed to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Olympics, nor if we listened to Weir's detractors, would we even go there today?
Regardless of what may in the foreground, a dancer, a bouquet of balloons, Rob Eco or Tarzan, no one shoots New York City as majestically as Richard Rothstein. With the snow still whipping around outside my windows, I thought I would share his most recent images of January.
As beautiful as January is, I await Richard's images of Summer!
'I was a size 42 and 250 lbs. I remember my mom saying you're going to be very handsome with age, just watch. I really didn't pay her much attention...until about the age of 22. I started losing weight and noticing the attention. I started exercising more and more and dieting until I shed 80 lbs. in total.'
'I remember not being able to attract the attention of the girls I desired...'
We spend most of our lives trying, or wishing to change. Things about our lives, ourselves, or bodies. We are used to seeing manipulated change, all of those 'before and after' shots that company's use on TV and in print to make money or to sell a product.
Those changes are not however, always indicative of a true metamorphosis. Sometimes...they are just smoke and mirrors. When someone gets a face lift, do they really become beautiful, or do they just look different. Real change is not so much about the pounds lost, the new hairstyle or the make-up we applied. True change is the morphing from who someone was, into who they were meant to be. This change is more transformative and meliorate. An evolution moving someone into a less painful and more desirable place.
I am sure many assume, I know that I have, that most people enter modeling because they have spent a lifetime hearing how great looking they are. There is a incredible beauty then, in hearing Leonel share that it was not being told how handsome he was that inspired him to model, but hearing someone that he loved tell him that one day he would be.
'Leonel was one of those guys who caught my eye, and then like a big elusive fish, I never could seem to reel him in for a shoot.'
Photographer Tom Rubeck ,from TR Pics, has become one of my favorite photographers to feature on FH. Always exited to share both his images, and his stories. Tom and I had been working on a piece earlier in the month, but like the fish analogy Tom mentioned above, sometimes the fish that gets away isn't the one you were meant to catch. It definitely all worked out with my introduction to Leonard, a 28 year old model from Dallas.
Tom first saw images of Leonel on Facebook, they had never met, but both living and working in Dallas, they had mutual friends in common. Tom calls Leonel the Master of the selfie. Although Tom thought he had an amazing look, he could not find any professional photographs of him on his page. 'I thought he needed some, so I went for it'.
It was January of last year when Tom first contacted him. Leonel responded in February that he wanted more time to get ready so the shoot got pushed back until March. March came and went, and although they continued to communicate it was this past October Tom got a text from Leonel with the word, 'I'm ready!'.
'I remember Tom contacting me about a year ago to shoot with him but I was scared to do so cuz if my own insecurities. I finally decided to shoot with him and leave my little insecurities behind. I contacted him he scheduled me to meet at his studio and we shot for a good 4 hours I think. Tom made me feel so good about myself and just felt so natural to shoot with him.'
'We shot in early November, and his hopes were for 'slightly dirty, provocative', which I think we covered. Leonel brought a friend of his, and we used her for a couple of the shots. He turned out to be very eager, very collaborative, and completely agreeable to shoot about any idea I had. Despite his obvious good looks, he really seemed to be a guy without much of an ego after all. Sure, he had his pose and angles down, but he was totally down to earth about it, and not diva-like at all. Truly, he's a nice beautiful guy, inside and out.'
Tom says they had a fun and amazing time, and have continued to keep in touch. Recently Leonel was excited to report that he was contacted by an agency in New York who would like him to refine his look a bit , meaning lose weight, and submit some things for a possible job. Personally I think Leonel is pretty perfect as he is now, and it speaks to his character that Tom was as impressed with his personality as he was with his look.
'I really felt comfortable with Tom and if my pictures ever take me somewhere, He would be my photographer of choice. His insistence in me pursuing something and also because of his good heart and his amazing work.'