Test shoot with model Dani Ford.
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From a shoot this week with the all-singing, all-saw-playing cabaret marvel, Markee de Saw! (Who graciously agreed to mountaineer a near-vertical dirt slope in a ball gown to get these shots.)

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In honour of the Oscars (and forgetting to post these in January): (±)2015 in cinema, courtesy of my Cineworld Unlimited card! (Yes, I saw Star Wars three times.)

My choice for best movie of the year: Still Alice (which I’ve written about at length.)

Joint runners-up: Jurassic World and The Force Awakens, both of which so perfectly captured my childhood love of the franchises that a sweeping shot of Isla Nublar accompanied by that John Williams score, or the sight of Han and Chewie aboard the Millennium Falcon nearly brought me to tears. Far from banking on the viewer’s nostalgia, however (filled as I was with glee on seeing the original T. rex from JP in the finale!) both succeed in being damn fine movies in their own right; with Star Wars in particular making me fall in love with a new generation of characters who, by the film’s close, I was just as engaged with as the original cast. (Special mention not only to Rey, who I loved, but also to BB-8, who – like WALL•E before him – succeeds in conveying an entire gamut of emotions belied by his lack of a single line of dialogue throughout. Indeed, his “thumbs-up” with the lighter which was just about my favourite moment in the movie.)

My uncontested choice for worst movie of the year: Absolutely Anything. Given the frequency with which I go to the cinema, it’s statistically improbable not to encounter my fair share of duds, though I can usually forgive them on the basis that they at least achieve the basic function of their given genre. Trainwreck was meandering and about an hour too long, but – at least in parts – it made me laugh. Sinister 2 was a pale, horror-by-numbers imitation of the original, but – every so often – it made me jump. It’s rare, therefore, that a film so utterly misses the mark that I’m not only angry at its creators for its existence, but also myself for the two hours of my life I wasted on it. The Simon Pegg movie Absolutely Anything is one such film, and – adding to its list of crimes against filmmaking – also holds the dubious honour of being the last on-screen credit for Robin Williams, who is beyond wasted in this howlingly unfunny pile of shit.

After seeing Still Alice, I remained open to the possibility that something might come along in 2015 to change its position as my favourite film that year. I was entirely confident, however, that I could declare Absolutely Anything the unmitigated worst, without fear of another film even approaching its spectacular craptacularity in the four months that remained. The list of films I’d rather see again in my lifetime is both brief and comprehensive. To wit: absolutely anything.

And, if I had to appoint a runner-up: Life – a James Dean biopic, in which a woefully miscast Dane DeHaan infuses the Hollywood legend with all the charisma of a tree stump.

Here’s looking ahead to the remainder of 2016!

As media outlets fall over themselves to bemoan the “newest” trend in men’s hair (“We Just Got Over Man Buns—Now We Have The ‘Man Braid'” reads NewNowNext – an LGBT site surprisingly distressed by the prospect of gender noncomformity), I’d like it noted a) that I was rocking one a good 6 months ago, and b) that people do not exist to suit your tastes. Radical notion: if you’re not a fan of a particular hairstyle, it’s entirely possible not to sport it (or date someone who does) without informing the world of that fact as though your individual notions of attractiveness were decrees handed down by some tyrannical folicular dictatorship. Shocking, I know.

Male form x Jean Paul Gaultier. The complete photoset of a project I never shared here before. (nsfw under the cut)

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The third and final part of my journey through the islands of Japan, this time back to the mainland. Starting in the historic village of Shirakawago, it was onwards to Nagoya, Tokyo, the Zao Fox Village in Miyagi and finally back to my former home of Akita.

This last one was a little bittersweet in the making, being that it involved saying farewell to some of my closest friends in the world; now 6000 miles apart yet again. But, in the words of A.A. Milne, “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

If for any reason you can’t see it on YouTube, the video is also available on Vimeo.

(Filmed on a Nikon D800, using a 50mm f1.4 and a 14-24mm f2.8.)

Christmas photos aren’t technically late if you post them before January 25th, right?

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