“We All Live Such Elaborate Lives…”

I am having a tormented night of tossing and turning as the reality of my life comes crashing into my dream. Today I was offered an extraordinary opportunity and I passed it up without a second thought and it has haunted me all day. I become friends with an amazing man who lives in Belgium. He seems to be a connoisseur of art and seems particularly interested in male erotic images and the process of the creation of this art. He has been drawn to my images for some time now and we have been having exchanges via the Internet. One morning several weeks back he called me to chat and asked if I would be interested in becoming part of a series of shows he is putting together in a gallery he is opening soon in Brussels. I was astonished, first of all that he would call and want to talk to me. He seems moved by my project and images in particular. Today he offered me an opportunity of a lifetime; to fulfill an ambition I have only ever dreamed possible. To come visit him for two months in the north of Greece and just photograph beautiful men in extraordinary light. I have had a deep desire to visit Greece for decades now and almost went on vacation several years back, as the American economy was falling apart, our dollar devalued, I ended up spending two weeks in New York instead. I have had a long time fascination with Greece, its people, its history, the clear blue Mediterranean Sea, but most of all I am drawn by its mythology and theater. I am drawn to its literature, especially from the early periods of Homer’s Iliad and the adventures of Odysseus to the plays of Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, and the brilliant biting comedy of Aristophanes. I long to find a beautiful stranger with piercing eyes and olive skin to photograph as the sunset in the ruins of one of those Hellenistic theaters. Oh how I digress.

My reality is I have a job, that I have worked some time to establish myself within for UPS. Though it’s part time, it is a steady income that pays my living expenses and also provides some great perks and benefits and allows me days just to work on my creative endeavors. I am currently allotted two weeks of paid vacation per year, and since I am at the bottom of the totem pole in my center I don’t get much choice when it comes to selecting time because I generally have to take whatever weeks remain open which becomes very limited, especially in the summer. But the funny thing is this isn’t really what bothers me, because several years ago I would have leapt at such an opportunity. The thing that really bugs me is that I have begun this Naked Man Project as a dream to reach out with my heart, expand my horizons, and allow my artistry to flourish. I know it is a big dream with the potential to really expand my creative talents. I did not look much beyond Montana and did not consider the possibility of where it might lead. Yes I was hoping to get published somehow and possibly do a calendar of some sort. But my reality is that I am in Montana, working for what feels a meager survival. The market has crashed around me and it is becoming more and more difficult to scramble for the work. Though my talents are toward photographing nude people, there really isn’t any money in it. I also struggle with my issues of growing older and constantly have to think of my future? I am so uncertain of the potential of making money making beautiful art that I am possibly blind to what lies before me. It is all new to me. Am I really talented enough to actually make enough money at it to survive on it solely? I am a creative soul who knows how to create, but I have no real idea of what the potential value of such things. There are a lot of people out there taking beautiful pictures of beautiful men, is there room for what I do? I keep thinking about the future and know if I want to pursue my art and follow my passion I will need to eventually leave the security of these mountains that surround me. Trapped in a sort of Shangri-La that is beautiful, mystifying, and draws my soul to the comfort of it surroundings. Perhaps I am foolish to have begun this passion so late in my life. This is a young man’s dream and thus perhaps, I often wonder if my dreams have only become delusional fantasies. What is the next step? Where do I really want to end up? I am an extraordinary studio here in Montana that I have spent a lifetime building? Is it time to let go and step outside of the box?

“We all lead such elaborate lives
wild ambitions in our sights
How an affair of the heart survives”
ELABORATE LIVES, lyrics from the musical AIDA by Elton John as sung by Adam Pascal and Heather Headley.

One thought on ““We All Live Such Elaborate Lives…”

  1. Paris29

    >I really want you to keep developing your artistic talent and to not feel discouraged by how old you were when you began your photography career. There are some amazing artists who began their careers late in life after having spent half of it suppporting their families through a career that wasn't artistic. I started my poetry career in 2008 and I am 26 years old now. For any poet starting their career this late is unthinkable because typically a poet starts publishing his/her work when in the late teens bracket. Age is not a hindrance to creating amazing artwork. You have so many years of life experience and learning that your artwork is exquisite and better than any other photographer's artwork. It is very fortunate for your career to have begun at the age you were. You apply your aesthetic taste and the result is very appealling. The use of color, lighting, body positions and facial expressions contribute to this world you are sharing with the audience. If it's any consolation I prefer your artwork to Nigel Barker's ;-).

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