22 March 2009

Cool Melissa

If you are not passionately devoted to an idea, you can make very pleasant pictures but they won't make you cry. - Ruth Bernhard

I took a break from photo work, and some other studying that I am doing to go see the movie "Knowing" with Nicholas Cage. All I could say was, "Damn..." after the credits began to roll. It started out fast, by impressing you with a plane crash, but then slowed down a bunch and made you try to figure out where things were going. It has few interesting twists, but in the end, left you wondering with a feeling of "NOW WHAT?" Interestingly enough, there is a question of faith that Cage has to deal with and when he comes to his conclusion, there is a reference to biblical prophesy. The thing is, nothing that transpires in the movie has anything to do with a prophet or how the Bible says events will unfold.

But onto photography...

As I write this blog, I am being interviewed via email by a young girl, or woman, I should say, who is the daughter of one of my models. She's a teenager doing an interview on people and their careers. She chose me since I am a friend of the family and she relates to me because I am an artist like she is. And this girl is good. She's got a talent and a potential, that properly cultivated and supported, could blossom into something great. Hold on... another email question... Okay, I'm back. She's asking some very good questions. At first I was wondering if her mom was helping, but she's come back with some fairly spontaneous remarks that would suggest otherwise. This is her own work. So for now, we are going over what its like to be a photographer and some of my background. Its cool.

I was recently featured by Unbearable Lightness, who's been helping Chris St. James run Univers d'Artistes. In her post, "The New Neasley", she made me sound like I was some high profile photog who went into a mysterious hiatus leaving everyone to guess and speculate what I was in the midst of creating. It was a good article that centered on my initial intent to suspend my nude work and the challenges I had in the attempt. Nine images of Brittani, Melissa, Trixie, Erica, and Gabriella were selected for the feature. This was a March 18th post but you can go directly to the link =>clicking here<=. You may notice that for this feature, Unbearable Lightness uses one of her recent photos as sort of a tribute the the Vegas theme for her image ID. Nice touch, Sweetness.

I mentioned before that you should be expecting images of a recent shoot with Model Melissa. This was our 3rd collaboration. It was right after editing the first work that I had the idea to do her with a wide-angle lens to exaggerate the perspective of her hips and legs (Canon EF-S 10-22mm). She's got the deceptive build for it. To look at her, she appears thin as can be, but when the clothes come off all that hidden shape and curvature comes to life. I was thankful for the fact that she allowed me to play with that idea. Not many models are willing to allow you to capture imagery that intentionally makes their butts look bigger. Melissa is very comfortable with the way she looks and trusted me enough to just let me play, 'cuz that's what I did. I experimented with angles and positions, while trying to get the desired effect with the camera lens. Many models would be very uncool with how close I had to get to get the exaggerations, but that's necessary when you work wide like that. When I get my Canon 5D Mark II, the 16-35mm L-series is definitely on the list. In fact, I don't think I will get that camera without two lenses...one of them being the 16 to 35.

One of the more interesting thing about this shoot is that its the 3rd time we've shot and its all been in her house in the same area. Normally, I'd have been bored silly by now and yearning to get her outside. She's even got the most interesting backyard, and I have yet to explore it. Part of that has been weather, but also, its been due to my business with the indoor work. The third shoot in particular took some patience because of the lighting challenges. I knew from the last shoot that coming during the time of day I was there would allow some interesting lines from the Venetian blinds in the window. This day however was very cloudy. We'd have the light for just a second or two and then it was gone. We'd wait for it to come back, but limitations on time forced us to move on. But when we'd see the lines return, I'd have her jump back on the couch, assume the same position and try to snap quickly. Some of it was trial and error, thinking I could bring it out in Photoshop with contrast corrections and blending options, but I finally got what I wanted. I love me some Melissa. And here is some of our latest work.

Hi, Charlie!

16 March 2009

All About the Fun

Maybe things will be settling back to normal pretty soon. I'm very hopeful, at any rate. My friend and roommate, Jeff is back home from about 11 weeks in the hospital. It'd be inappropriate for me to go into details, but the dude is back at home, trying to recover and gain his strength back. So welcome home, Jeff.

Photo work has been sort of sketchy as of late. I've still been shooting and editing, but I've not been posting much of my work on my online profiles or website. Part of that is cuz of Chris St. James' fault. Because of his mentorship, I've got this thing with titles now. Since I haven't been able to sit down title my shots and post them, they have been sitting on my hard drive waiting to receive a name. This goes way back to maybe a year ago when Chris first discovered me and took an interest in my work. He began to encourage me, mentor me, and be a friend. Well, one of the things he'd knock me on the head for was the lack of titles in my work. Since then, I think I've really grown from his help and I've cherished the relationship we've had over the course of, wait...I think its been closer to two years now.

I haven't even kept up with many of the blogs that I normally follow daily. I still track Univers d'Artistes regularly. Unbearable Lightness has done a wonderful job at helping Chris. These are two people that I've cultivated relationships with, but have yet to actually meet. I consider both to be mentors and will be glad when I am totally back on track following my friends' blogs and back to posting my own at my usual rate of twice a week. I haven't even talked to my good friend, Dave Rudin in a while. I'm really out of touch. I don't know what's been going on with Iris Dassault, who's like the model queen of this country. And I need to get back in touch with the happenings across the waters with my friends at Fluffytek.

I need to go on some interesting outings. I haven't done that in a while. I think that was one of the attractors for a good part of my readership which was to hear about my adventures in the wild. Yeah, I need to get out more. The weather is starting to warm up and ice is melting off the mountains which means water falls and full streams again. This is what I do. I gotta get back out there. Whatever I do, I think I'd like to take some models out with me on a road trip or something. And speaking of which, I want to make sure I encourage you to utilize the services of the models I present on this blog and my website. If you're planning to be in Vegas and feel like shooting, feel free to contact these girl's links or even myself and plan something. Brittani from New Jersey is coming to reside in Vegas permanently next month. (Damn, I've still got to send her a disk! Sorry B.) I'm happy about that. I mentioned her in my last post along with several others. I've still yet to shoot with Marley. She's waiting on a tattoo to heal up a little first. But you've also seen some of my mainstays like Faerie and Trixie who I shoot quite often and of course there are several more. I shoot with Lieara this weekend. Lorelei has taken off like a space shuttle. The Brittany II maintains her role as one of the most prolific models in Vegas. And then there is Sarah Jane...come on! Really, do I need to say more. All these different body types and looks. I've got like the Wal-Mart of models, here. And wait til you see my next posts of Melissa!

Gabriella is one of the models I've been shooting with who is very up and coming. This girl can be on the cover of any magazine by tomorrow. She's different than the normal style of model I've been shooting because she's very suitable for glamor work that you might find in Maxxim or even Playboy. I've always been doing the girl next door type to produce my artistic style of nudes, but with Gabriella, I've been exploring the more sensual, sexy, and even erotic style of the art nude. She's hella fun to work with and is an instant boost to anybody's port. I think I'm going to start highlighting models I work with on my posts. I don't promote these girls enough and one of my initial objectives to starting my Las Vegas Art Models Group was to support art models. All of these girls are fabulous with great attitudes. For me, attitude is more important than they way they look. Gabriella is super sexy, but she comes with a willingness to work and gives you what you want and then some. You're sure to walk away from her shoot with more than you bargained for. I like the girl. Gonna work with her some more. You will too, so give this artist of her trade a hollar. Isn't she sweet? Tell her I sent 'cha. We'll both get cheese points!

02 March 2009

Is This an Addiction?

NOT photographing the nude has NOT been successful. At all. I'm still shooting nudes despite the fact that I was going to suspend my nude work and only work on projects that were already in play. In some respects, this is a good problem to have. I mean, what photog can really complain, "Woe is me. All these ladies want to take their clothes off for me." That will never be a complaint of mine. However, I did have a desire to shoot more things, subjects, and explore my artwork in new directions. I know some of this has to do with the all the things occurring in January, namely my daughter getting married and then becoming ill for so long soon after my return. I know I got behind on edits and am still behind. I'm about 4 models deep on edits right now. Catching up amid outside circumstances can be a pain. But still, I am certain I could have controlled all of these elements much better, had I really wanted to. The fact is that its an easy thing to just say no. No more nudes for a while. The reality is that so far that hasn't been possible.

I can't really keep deluding myself with one excuse after another. A model just left my house. We interviewed for a bit and got familiar with each other. I am so excited about this girl. Marley is an art model who is simply exciting to shoot. I can't wait. There is much anticipation involved in this one, that I have to be careful not to spoil it. She'll be a great addition to my portfolio and I simply think we can serve each other's interests well. I don't have many black women in my arsenal of imagery. Oh she's gonna do well. I wish I could go into all the coincidences and little subtleties on how we actually hooked up. Suffice to say its been very extraordinary.

Over the weekend, I met another model, Gabriella, who had contacted me about my workshops. This girl is the drop dead gorgeous type that you'll find on Sports Illustrated at some point real soon. Again, the circumstances on our meeting were peculiar to say the least. So much so that I had to play this one through just to see how it would unfold. The thing turned out AB-sol-UTE-ly GREAT! Talk about a fascinating young lady! We are going to continue our endeavors again tomorrow evening, I believe. It was so much fun and I've got so many new ideas I want to try with her. She likes what I do and has given me liberties to explore to my hearts content. Which is quite an extensive concept, let me just tell you.

Before this, I got to work with a few other new models that assisted with my workshop. Three in particular, and they were all great. Two Brittany's (one spelled with an "i"), and Lieara. BrittanY and Lieara were in my workshop. BrittanI didn't make it because she was from out of town and my workshop was postponed for a few weeks. I still shot her on my own anyway and she was a real trooper. It got cold and she never once complained. The girl just worked with me to help me get the shot. It was I who called it off once the temp continued to drop. She was willing to keep going, but I don't want to jeopardize a model's health. I've been in some risky and even compromising positions, but there was no benefit to keeping her out there. I've had a model in frigid waters, hanging off a cliff, and other things but her being cold at that time didn't lend itself to the project. Now had the project been nudes in the snow, now that would be different.

Lieara, was just as fascinating. She's a fiery spitball. I had a problem in stopping shooting her. When she came over for some preliminary work, accompanied by her boyfriend/fiance', I had to actually push my camera away in order to stop. I noticed the fact that he was tired and was asleep on the floor. I told them it wouldn't take even an hour to get the shots to promote the workshop. Three hours later, I am still shooting this girl. Now in my defense, I mentioned a few times that I had to put the onus on her to stop me. The girl kept assuming new poses! What was I to do? She and BrittanY did my workshop. Brittany worked under strobes all afternoon. With such a voluptuous figure, she garnered alot of attention. I hate bringing it up in one sense, but she's got one of the most perfect ...ah never mind. Somebody's gonna think I'm sexist. Well, you see the photo. That was part of a preliminary series. As for the workshop, I never got to even take out my camera! This just in: As I write this, I got a text from Brittany. [Freaky, huh?] We are now planning a new body of work since I didn't get to shoot her in the workshop. Am I sick or what?

But even before those 3, I got back with Melissa to do some more work. Oh...it was so good. I took over the wide-angle lens and repeated some of the bodyscape images I did with her before. Talk about amazing. We got some amazing light that kept changing at a moments notice. It took several attempts to capture these lines that contour her body because of the clouds. The light would be there for a sec and as soon as you get a focus, it was gone. Melissa is so great to work with.

But I guess all this begs me to question whether or not I have the ability to stop working with nude models, because if I don't then its a compulsion and an addiction. Am I addicted to shooting the nude? I don't know, but I don't think so. However so says the smoker who can't seem to quite when he wants to. Its a good question. I wish I had a good answer. I think I am justifying it because of all the great models I've met just in the month of February. I don't want to call this an addiction. I'd just like to think that I'm having fun doing something I love. At any rate, I'll have all these images edited soon and will post more on each of them. Comments?