i was almost an abortion

Friday, June 15, 2012

portrait of an artist

don't let his hard exterior fool you...
it was all an illusion.
i didn't take this picture, but this is him, this was his smile,
his laughter, his squint, his attitude.

i used to think that what you had,
was forever.
i never dreamed in a million years that what was mine
could be actually taken away
so fast.
it's strange to imagine something you loved yesterday
is now just a memory
of something sweet.
i'm not saying i think for one second that
i am invinsible...
because i do know that i am not.
but there are certain things
and particular people
who, when you think of them,  your mind conjours
goodness, sweetness, and laughter,
and it's almost impossible to imagine life as you know it
without them.

one day about seven years ago,
i got a call from Falcon Studios
to photograph their biggest superstar performer,
Erik Rhodes.
i was psyched, because i knew what he looked like,
a huge towering mass of masculinity
built up and carved from stone,
the face was beautiful,
unlike a lot of other "porn" stars,
he had the face of an Abercrombie & Fitch model
on the body of a bodybuilder.
not to mention,
was hung about 11 inches.
my mind wandered to a place of fantasy,
but i was also nervous.
i assumed that the way he looked
would make him, naturally, difficult to work with.
a diva.
we arranged to shoot at the Eagle Bar in NYC,
i got there early, assuming i'd sit and wait for hours for the superstar to actually show up.
i was shocked and delighted when he actually showed up early,
greeted me with a huge smile,
a handshake,
and tons of compliments
and actually had, i believe,
his own brand of nervousness in meeting me.
i photographed him for about four hours,
not once naked,
and about 3/4 of the way through,
he looked at me and said, quite shocked,
"you know, this is the first time someone's photographed me with clothes on."
i laughed,
he smiled,
and then,
without missing a beat, he said,
"that's cool."

we had forged a bond that day.
a bond that transcended time, problems, work, and was based on creativity
and the fact that someone out tehre
actually liked him
just because.
not for any reason.
he would call me to complain,
tell stories and great gossip.
i called him for advise,
an ear,
and encouragement.
we worked out together,
we helped each other,
we encouraged and pushed each other,
and most importantly,
we trusted each other,

a month ago, i called him to ask him to write something about me for my new book.
he was frustrated.
but cocky, and funny.
when we hung up,
we made plans for him to come upstate and shoot outside in the mountains this summer.
he gave me advise on my company,
his take on the status of porn
and his future.

about two weeks later,
i got his kind words for my book.
we chatted, we laughed,
and then, said goodbye until we made definite confirmed plans for our project together.

yesterday morning at 5:30 am,
he died of a heart attack in his sleep.
and, i can't explain it, but,
nothing seems right since.

he was my brother,
my friend,
my confident,
my muse,
and, well...
something i don't even know how to descibe.
his reputation was that of a rebel.

but honestly...
a nicer, kinder, gentler man
i will probably never meet.

i miss him so much.
and the world seems a little less amazing.
the human race feels a little less lucky.
for one of it's most beautiful children
is gone.

here are some of our most memorable photos...

 when i just googled his and my names together, i found some really amazing things...
"As far as we know, the definition of Muse is ‘a source of inspiration’. We haven’t confirmed it but we think that Erik Rhodes has become a Muse for photographer Joe Oppedisano… or could it be the other way around? All we know for sure is that they bring out the best in each other and their recent collaboration for the MANHUNT.net ’7 Sexy Sins Tour’ is no exception."



 i miss you so much James.
for the first time, just now, i read your blog.
i never read it before because i had heard things about it and you that were different than the amazing guy i knew.

i wish you would have come to me and told me how you really felt...
i had no idea.
i'm so sorry i couldn't have helped you more.
i love you baby boy.
i really love you.