Archive for May, 2009
My friend Rick Reed, who’s a gay author of gay-themed horror novels, just posted the following update to his Facebook status:
Amazon will never learn! Trying to post my author bio, and it flagged “gay” as “inappropriate” & wouldn’t let me post until I removed “gay.”
Rick then told me that he knows of other gay authors who are still running into similar problems. Jay deleted his Amazon account when all this anti-gay discrimination on Amazon came to light a couple months ago. He’s been shopping at B&N and Powells. The fact that Amazon is still doing this just made me decide that I’m going to follow suit. I’m building a WishList at Barnes & Noble now.
I’m lucky enough that Indianapolis also still has an independently owned gay/lesbian operated bookstore, and I think I’ll also start asking them to order my purchases as I prefer working with the independents, anyway.
The is a reason why I’ve been so quiet for the last couple of weeks (and you’ll know why, soon enough). In the meantime, I’m wondering if anyone else saw the premiere of, Obsessed, a new A&C documentary-style show about obsessive-compulsive disorder, last night.
More importantly, I’m wondering if anyone besides Jay and me saw the former gay porn star on said TV show last night?
If I see one more photograph of ANYONE standing on (or walking on) the railroad tracks, I am going to scoop my eyeballs out.
This shot was cool the first time I saw it — in 1989. But after every photographer and their mothers created some version of it, its symbolism couldn’t be more transparent and its composition is as cliché as the ubiquitous close-up of a chess piece.
It especially irritates me to see this photo on a so-called “modeling site,” where you’d think everyone should know better. But no, I could find a different version of this photo every day on here.
You come up to me and start a conversation, and then when I ask you what’s going on in your life, or what’s new, you tell me this:
Nothing. I’m boring.
First, I don’t believe you. Why would anyone label themselves as “boring?” Who would be so accepting of being seen this way by others? And if you’ve already told me that you’re boring, then how am I NOT going to be bored by your company? And that begs this question: Why did you walk up and initiate a conversation in the first place?
Instead, I think you’re just editing yourself by predetermining that I don’t care about you, or that I don’t want to talk about whatever it is that we would talk about, if we talked about you. And that’s kind of standoffish and judgemental, don’t you think?
Besides, the only people who really bore me are the friends that I have that think they need to be “fabulous” all the time. If they’re not boring then at the very least, they are predictable. Some of my favorite discussions with people have been about things that don’t matter at all. To me, it’s often less about the subject than it is about the art of conversation, which seems to be a gift that fewer people have in this age of technology.
And so, if you have nothing else to say to me, then feel free to tell me about something insipid. I know that if you try, you can find a way to make it NOT boring.
I had no intention of abandoning the tens of readers I have amassed on this new blog for a whole week, but that’s just how it happened. Sorry. I could give you all kinds of excuses about a long list of photo shoots that I’ve had; and making a return to the gym; and a very big project that I recently started working on; and the gross cold that Jay and I have both come down with, which has me sitting on the couch and drinking flat Diet Coke through a straw more than anything else. But in the end, those are all just excuses, and I’ll try to be a better blogger from here on.
To give you something to look at, here’s Coty, one of the aforementioned recent photo shoots.
The one thing these photos don’t capture is how massive Coty is. He’s by far the biggest boy I have photographed — 6’3″, muscular, and thick — he looked like it would take no effort for him to throw me over this shoulder and carry me from here to Peoria. He’s not at all typical of the guy that wants to “model” but there’s something about the way he moved and posed that really appealed to me. I’d be eager to work with him again.
Richard Avedon was also a sometimes-controversial fine-art photographer. I think his most famous series was The American West, which he shot over several years starting in 1979. Some critics said that it sensationalized negative aspects of America. If you ask me, his most disturbing work was a series he captured in a southern mental hospital in 1963.
People often ask where I find the guys who pose for me. Truthfully, I don’t “find” too many of them because they just contact me. But I have also perfected the art of guerrilla marketing myself online (Facebook, MySpace, ModelMayhem, etc.)
One thing I’ve never been good at is approaching people in public. I have handed a stranger my business card less than 10 times and I am sure that I turn red in the face and stumble over my words when I do it. Part of the problem is, this is Indiana we’re in, after all. Here, people no more expect a photographer to walk up to them and say, “you should model for me” than they expect someone to offer them a ride on the space shuttle. And I know that’s no excuse for my own awkwardness, but it’s always in my head, all the same.
So there’s this guy who works at our gym. He was a stocky boy, but I’ve watching him in the last few months doing a lot of interval training on the treadmill and I bet he’s lost 35 pounds since January. He has dark hair and dark eyes and a trim beard — and if ever I’ve seen someone who looks like a Greek statue, it’s him. Monday night, when I was at the gym, I told myself that if he was there, I was going to find a way to talk to him one way or another.
He wasn’t there, but then he walked in halfway through my time on the elliptical.
And then I got nervous. And I backpeddled some, and I told myself that if he was alone and in a convenient place when I left, I would say something to him. I decided that I wouldn’t jump right into the photographer schpeel and instead I would tell him that I’ve noticed his weight loss and ask him how he did it. My time came to an end on the elliptical, and the boy was by himself, vacuuming. And then as I started walking in his direction, he walked away. And so I was saved from another awkward conversation with a stranger.
But then as I was heading to the door, he turned a corner and walked right towards me.
I kept my word and stopped him. In the course of our conversation, I learned that he’s two years out of high school and was a lineman on the football team. I heard about his workouts. And I noticed that his dark eyes have an unusual hint of purple in them. And so at least I have talked to him once, and he’s a little used to me. The next time, or the time after that, when he’s alone and I can stop him, I’ll ask him about posing.
I am going to get over this fear.
I’ve also decided that this year at gay pride, I’m going to have a handful of business cards and I’m going to give one to every guy I see that I am remotely interested in photographing. One thing that I’ve been surprised to hear, and see, in the last few weeks is that my name is out there; the gay boys in Indiana (and even surrounding states) know who I am now. It’s time for me to be seen, and to no longer be too timid to walk up to a potential model and say, “I’m Scott Barnes, and I’d like to photograph you.”
Jay and I are sometimes the last people to be in the know. All the cool kids saw this movie weeks ago, but finally, we watched it over the weekend.
And you know what? I don’t get the big deal.
I mean, the photography was beautiful. The music was wonderful. And the film seemed to do a fine job accurately portraying some Indian history. But the plot was absurd, predictable and stilted. Actually, stilted isn’t even the right word. It was schmaltzy.
I remember a lot of people saying that this was the “best movie ever” and I was convinced that I must have been missing something profoud . . . that I must have looked at the dog or refilled my wine glass during the big epiphany moment and somehow it sneaked past me. I was so convinved of this that after we watched it I went on Wikipedia to read the plot to figure out what I didn’t see. Turns out, I didn’t miss anything. It was just a simple, albeit unrealistic, plot — a step above the average Bollywood, but that’s it. It certainly didn’t change my life, and that’s what I was expecting.
And when it comes to best picture of 2008, I can tell you this: I thought that Milk was, hands down, the better movie. Next on my Netflix queue are two more Best Picture nominees. I have a gut feeling that I’m going to prefer them both, as well.
I don’t know much about horticulture, but who decided that the dandelion is a weed instead of a flower? Personally, I think driving into the country and seeing a whole field of dandelions is pretty.
But granted, those puffy things they eventually turn into aren’t all that appealing. My mother used to get to mad when I would pick them and blow.