RAISE YOU HAND IF YOU AND YOUR PARTNER MET ON SAINT VALENTINE’S DAY. I’M SURE THERE ARE MANY AMONG YOU. FLOWERS, CHOCOLATES, RED HEARTS, ANONYMOUS LOVE CARDS AND ROMANCE. LOTS OF ROMANCE. THAT'S WHAT VALENTINE'S DAY IS ALL ABOUT, RIGHT? CELEBRATING THE PLEASURES OF LOVE AND ROMANCE, ENVISIONED AS A TINY CHERUB WITH BOW AND ARROWS. WELL, MAYBE NOT.
When the Roman Empire and legions needed soldiers to protect their ever-expanding territories beyond the Rubicon, Emperor Claudius the Second decreed that nobody could become engaged to be married. According to the ambitious Emperor, married men made bad soldiers as their heads and hearts where not in their fighting. And so he banned marriage altogether from his Roman Empire. Mind you, we are also talking about an era where the Roman Empire strongly disagreed with the Christian Church and when polygamy was more common than one-to-one marriage.
But there was one man in the Empire, a young priest named Valentine, who openly defied the Emperor’s demand and married off many young couples clandestinely. When Claudius the Second discovered Valentine's illicit activities, he had him imprisoned immediately. Roman Emperors were seen as demi-God’s and Valentine’s actions therefor an act of treason and defiance of heavenly law. After having unsuccessfully tried to convert Valentine to Roman paganism, Claudius eventually condemned him to death by beheading. A sentence that was executed on February 14, 270 AD.
OK, maybe not the best introduction for todays editorial, but not completely out of place either. Because today we celebrate the memory of Valentine, better known of course as Saint Valentine, and all he has done in the name of love. Valentine has become the patron saint of lovers. Above mentioned story is but one of the many versions that history has left us. But they all seem to end in a similar fashion. And even if modern historians are somewhat in the dark about the real history and meaning of Saint Valentine, fact is that today is a global day on which people declare each other their love, whether it is a new love or an existing one, and celebrate this in the most romantic ways. And in a world where simultaneously same sex love is being more accepted and more condemned, today's editorial is of even greated importance. After all, someone once laid down his life for that. Sounds familiar?
Driven by an irresistible hunger for creativity, Chris Teel once turned his life around and picked up photography as an outlet for his passion. Following his instincts he captures male beauty in a most original and often sensual way. In that context he has worked with Bradley on numerous occasions, but what Chris really wanted to do was a duo shoot with Bradley and another model. The difficulty in that is of course the casting of the second model. First, the physical appearance needs to fit in order to create beautiful and well-balanced portraits. But more importantly, there needs to be chemistry.
One day, a few months ago, Chris Teel noticed Bradley posted some photos of a handsome guy on his Facebook page. This happened to be Adam and for Chris the answer to the quest he had been on. He contacted Bradley, suggested that Adam could be that partner, and within days there were set to shoot. Now what does this all have to do with the Saint valentine’s introduction. Absolutely nothing, except that seeing these stunning photographs, we couldn’t help but getting this feeling of newly discovered love and passion. And isn’t that what today’s Saint Valentine’s celebration is about? Chris took his boys to a loft in Toronto, resulting in creating that intimate homely feeling. Bradley and Adam are responsible for the rest, except the actual shooting of course. A true Saint Valentine mood, and more. Now whether Bradley and Adam are just friends or real lovers, we don’t know. But if this doesn’t get your Valentine’s juices flowing, we don’t know what could. –BM-
CHRIS TEEL | BEAUTIFULMAG