Fresh off their well deserved Oscar win, the male cast of Moonlight, including Oscar winner Mahershala Ali, Ashton Sanders and the incredibly hot Trevante Rhodes, (pictured here) are headlining Calvin Klein’s latest ad campaign. Perfect choice and perfect timing. See more images from the campaign HERE:
Although interested, I really hadn't planned on watching When We Rise. There were a lot of actors in the cast I loved, but wasn't sure I wanted to invest in the 8 hours of the four part mini series. Writer Dustin Lance Black however, hooked me from the get go, introducing in part 1, three main characters to follow. I found myself involved in each of their stories right away, especially with Black's writing and Gus Van Sant's direction. It was also great seeing so many familiar faces including Spring Awakening's alum Austin P. McKenzie, Sam Jaeger and Fame alum Michael DeLorenzo as Jose.
In one of the productions first scenes, we're introduced to the young Cleve Jones character, (McKenzie) hanging out shirtless with the incredibly hot Matt. Matt wasn't named, but I recognized the amazing face (even with the longer hair) of actor Tyler Young. Tyler looked incredibly with his beautiful eyes and curly hair. I was really hoping to see more of the character, but it appears some of Matt's story with Cleve were sadly cut due to time.
Tyler first caught my eye during an appearance on Empire, and he has guest starred on a few prime time shows as well as starring in USA networks Eyewitness. I have read a bit about Eyewitness, and Young's character and his relationship with Lukas (Bill's son James Paxton). Sadly, I don't get USA so have not found a way to watch...yet. Tyler certainly caught my eye in When We Rise, and I look forward to watching Eyewitness, and will be keeping an eye on his future roles.
Tyler and Eyewitness co-star James Paxton
Besides wondering why didn't get more Matt, my main question about Part 1 was whether Whoopi and Rosie were on the same set for their scenes? They were certainly in a few group scenes together, but the editing made it seem they may have been shot at different times...
'Our bodies, no matter what we tell ourselves, will change with age. I am lucky enough to love my body as it is at this moment in my youth. You sure as hell better believe I am going to have photographic evidence to remember it with.'
When I throw questions to a model, I never know how what, or how much I will get back. I have a few question I like to always send, the rest stem from the story I want to explore after spending time with the images I am planning on using. Some models send back answers which include stories about themselves and some just send a sentence or two scratching the surface of my curiosity. Some, like District of Columbia based model Borgia Van Wilde, sent back much more. I enjoyed reading Borgia's answers not just because of what he was sharing, but also how.
To be honest though, and completely superficial, initially it was a shot of Borgia's incredible body, that had me getting in contact. The image, not by any the three artists featured in this piece, was an underwear shot that featured Borgia looking down, his eyes not visible to the viewer. When Borgia sent back images for this piece, those intensely beautiful blue eyes were front and center in almost all of my favorite shots. Those eyes radiate both character and strength, as well as what I can best describe as an indisputable 'don't fuck with me' quality. Those eyes, and the depth behind them, became the focus of my questions, and my curiosity. Below, are Borgia's responses.
'Sean P. Watters is an artist I believe every model must experience as a director and photog. This man is a Harlem native, by way of Louisville, KY. He is an excellent conversationalist, also a fierce procurer of cold-hard truth. It's refreshing to know a professional of his caliber did not waste a single moment dallying or making small talk. It's February, it's cold out. Yeah, great. Sean was ready to work. Styles are selected, original and just as unforgiving as Sean. It's fascinating to watch. I understand color, weight displacement, light and whatnot. But, understand me when I say, Sean makes acute attention to detail look effortless.'
'What's more, you know this guy is setting you up to look your fucking best. His shots are fast, fast, rapid-fire quick. And you had better keep up. If you show up to work, Sean's gonna have you out in the Harlem wilderness in February. Oh, yes. Wet, slick-back hair, and I am a skinny little blonde boy, right? I look like a member of the walking dead, but the most fashionable member of undeath you ever did see. But those shots, though. The shots are to die for. The bottom line is - Sean is a nonchalant master of his craft. Oh, and his preferred term of endearment is, "Tranny."
'Rick Day is a southern gentleman. He is hospitable, a dandy, and had already started setting up the moment I arrived to shoot. He's a nice guy, takes incredible shots. His understanding of shadows and negative space is unparalleled. Also the quickest style selections I've ever seen in a shoot. And they were all fabulous. He also plays some kick-ass music.'
'Lucas is so sweet. I was such an asshole, never having really utilized the NYC train system. I was almost an hour late to the shoot and was constantly reassuring Lucas I would be there asap. He was not upset in the least. Lucas was smiling, congenial and he even opened the door for me. The shoot was so much fun. His styling choices are rather modern, and rely on classic framework. I loved the pieces he used. And his Softbox is on point! Great shots, nice guy; knows his stuff.'
At the Outset: 'I enrolled in an Acting, Singing, Dancing and Modeling school at John Robert Powers. I certainly didn't learn every discipline, but it was undoubtedly an academy rather than an agency. I did, however, have access to multiple conventions; especially those in Los Angeles. At iPOP! 2009, out of 2000 contestants from the states as well as the UK and Canada, I received Male Model of the Year Award, Male Singer of the Year Award and Male Commercial of the Year Award. I was immersed almost immediately.'
Beginnings: 'I admire those who are bilingual, tri, quad and, goodness me. I truly do. I had an appointment to shoot with a photography student in Los Angeles. Now, granted, I was barelu twenty years old, but I knew exactly what was up. The community I was living within Los Angeles was a rather affluent neighborhood. That being said, I felt like I was in deep, expensive waters. However... as I attended classes, I would be intercepted by rather eager, young photographers, many of them students. This photographer, however, was not a student. He was a professor of the university down the street. I would have not known it myself if he had not notified my agent at the time. The gentleman was barely thirty years old. But... the reason I mentioned multilingual persons beforehand is, this man spoke a bare bit of twelve or so English words. Don't get me wrong, I was enamored. He was quite the looker and he knew how to take a good shot.
I find Español to be one of the most exquisite musics of language there is. Therefore, I was dumb as shit as he spoke to me. I might have understood, who gives a shit? But he basically told me, "You stand, you sit, you smile, you stand at window, etc," and it was a refreshingly thorough process. But the strangeness of this shoot wasn't in our being lost in translation. The photographer's eyes would be on his camera, but they'd never leave me. Granted, he was staring at 21 year old me, but, he was studying me; the entire time. I couldn't decide whether to be flattered or alarmed. Low and behold the shoot was a crapshoot. He was a gentleman, hospitable and prudent. Very, very professional. But, within a week, while I expect to see some edits, his hard drive collapsed under exhaustion. No photos. No mas. Cool guy, though.'
Artistic Nudity: 'I don't necessarily remember weighing much of anything when I first decided to participate in artistic nudity. I am rather comfortable with my body. It's mine. And I've always believed that if Michelangelo's masterpieces display humankind as gorgeous nudes, as nature intends, I would certainly not shy from doing the same. Photography is meant to capture time and never release it. Our bodies, no matter what we tell ourselves, will change with age. I am lucky enough to love my body as it is at this moment in my youth. You sure as hell better believe I am going to have photographic evidence to remember it with. What better way to celebrate moments of your individual history?'
Reactions: 'Surprisingly, I received very few negative responses. But I also wasn't broadcasting this on a loudspeaker. And I appreciated this, because, who gives a shit? Friends and family are one-in-the-same for me. I gather their opinions as I would a bouquet of wildflowers. I appreciate them, and will acknowledge and thank those who gave them. But I certainly don't have to keep them.'
'This is a business. I am here to reinforce, invigorate or embody a product, especially if I am the product. With all due respect, people don't tend to fuck around if they plan on keeping their "big name jobs." And that's the truth. Most photographers, and I say most because I haven't met all of them, obviously, are very respectful individuals. I cannot recall being disrespected by a single one. Now, as a kid, 18, 19 and so on, you aren't exactly a lost boy screaming around a bonfire buck naked. But, you're not the most comfortable specimen on the block. As I spent more time modeling, fashion and otherwise, I learned something about this business... If you are uncomfortable with your body in any way - it will show up in the shot. Any discomfort, doubt or tentativeness will speak louder than anything else; doesn't matter if you're hot as volcanic fire. I am comfortable with myself and I am also a gentleman and hope to receive similar treatment. It's work. We're here to work. Let's do this and get some great shots.'
Where the intense emotions/looks stem from? I've been acting longer than I've modeled. Theatre is very close to my soul. Modeling, for me, is acting with my mouth closed.
Why modeling? I enjoy the business of it, also the curating of the human form and the phenomenon of fashion.
Photographer you would like to work with? ' I'd be overjoyed to work with Desnudo Magazine. Their work is exquisite. Each and every shot exhibits unbridled, sharp choices. I love it. Each piece is an excellent pairing of tasteful nudity and celebration of the body and its innate eroticism. Gorgeous work.'
What part of your body are you most happy with/What part gets the most attention from others? 'I don't think I'm unhappy with any part of my body. Though, if I were to pick a favorite? My lips. They're real, I promise. While modeling, my eyes, lips and torso get notice. But that's my job, right?'
Is modeling an end goal, or a step in another journey? 'A career is always the goal. Modeling, I don't think, is meant to be a hobby. I am not referring to posing for an illustration class, or art photography participation. Don't get me wrong. What I mean is, industry, working fashion photography is meant to be lucrative. And it's a job. But it's a fun one.'
Back in 2012, while putting together posts for a Circus themed day, I needed an aerialist. When I was a kid, those daring young men swinging through the air, were always a highlight. I had seen and image of circus artist Apollo Bird on Studio MG Photography's Model Mayhem port, and aI halways wanted to feature him and was thrilled that Mark shared a few images of Apollo for me to include. (With The Greatest Of Ease)
Mark's images of Apollo have always been some of my favorites, and am thrilled to be able to feature more of the shoot. In fact, there are a couple of new shots, Mark just recently edited while going through shots for this piece. The incredible lines Apollo creates, with his body, and with the ropes, silks and chairs he utilizes pull together so many of the optical motif's Mark so beautifully weaves into his work.
Circus, and Mark's own unique rendering of his cirque érotique concept is a theme he has been exploring within his work for years. Some images, such as shooting models completing acrobatic moves, juggling or hanging from ropes and chains are shot with a clear eye on the theme. But elements of circus are weaved through so much of Mark's work. Elements of risk, with models scaling walls and bars, models in pens, and enclosures and maybe especially the locations Mark chooses use.
Mark often shoots outside, and when in, there is rarely an room which is totally enclosed, without a broken window or open doorway for easy escape. The buildings and warehouses Mark often utilizes invite not just movement, but big movements, fast movements which can whirl, spin and speed through expansive spaces with high beams and roofs, or no roof's at all. Dancers need space, especially when their dance, occurs closer to the ceiling than the ground.
These open spaces create a beautiful lack of limits, for both the model interacting with them, as well as the boundless feel of Mark's images. The space used for this shoot, was actually a loft space, one fitting the needs of both Apollo Bird, the man in the air, and his girlfriend, with whom he shared the space with.
Mark describes the space as a large warehouse, one that had been cut up into smaller pieces, most likely to attract both artists, and artistic types who fight boundaries, or in any way feeling enclosed. Mark remembers that at the time, Apollo and his girlfriend were half, or maybe a third of a performing group, part circus, part magic show, with a bit of music weaved within.
'I never saw one of their official performances but our shoot felt like a wonderful solo afternoon show. Light was streaming in from skylights and Apollo had hardware rigged in several places so he could do the most amazing things.'
'In addition to three types of aerial work he did some balancing work and even juggling. None seemed like a big deal to him - it was everyday life, although maybe a bit skimpier on the costuming that usual... It was another of those shoots, like working with dancers, where I have no idea what they can do so I just let them play at their art, while I create mine!'