26 March 2012

Challenges, Change, and Haters

Nude Model, Mercy © 2011 Terrell Neasley / See More, "A Year in Review of the Nude: 2011"

You need haters to make you stronger…without haters most people wouldn't try to become better.
~ Katt Williams

It would seem as if every time I sit down to do a blog post, the first thing on my mind to write about has something to do with patience. I'm still learning to sit still, but I'm feeling better and all the more anxious to get out and do something. Before, it was simply a dream to be able to put the crutches down and walk unassisted. Last week was my first week without crutches. I went to the theater to see why the Edgar Rice Burroughs screen adaption of "John Carter" bombed at the box office. It had been such a large production and heavily promoted, but did not live up to expectations. As fan of Burroughs, I rather enjoyed the movie, but I must confess to leaving the theater under new temptations. You see, in the film, John Carter is transported to Mars and along with superhuman strength, the lighter gravity enabled him to jump great distances. All I could dream about for the rest of the day was running and jumping. I know, I sound like a little kid, right?

Nude Model, Mercy © 2011 Terrell Neasley 

Something else I've been contemplating is moving the blog to WordPress. Blogger has been ticking me off something fierce over the years and I'm not sure why I've still been loyal to it. It was maybe 3 years ago that I first considered it, but have resisted making the move. Partly because it means moving the blog URL all over again and having to reestablish all my links, but I think I'm ready to do it. Blogging has definitely evolved and I know there is a particular look I want. Blogger simply hasn't given me what I want and I'm adamant about having that look and feel that I envision. So sooner or later, this blog will have a new look, style, and feel. On top of that, I've even got in mind a project for an all new blog! So get ready for that!

Nude Model, Mercy © 2011 Terrell Neasley 
So all in all, I'm getting off to a late start. I'm 3 months behind right now. I've had huge expectations for this year and have been optimistic about my prospects. I'm still excited about whats ahead and view my opportunities as not only challenges to overcome, but challenges to enjoy. Sometimes you need a Goliath in your way to remind you of what you are capable of as well as to expand those abilities. There are definitely challenges that simply come with living life, but I've also created challenges for myself  that might seem otherwise insurmountable. Sometimes you gotta burn that net before you walk that rope. If anything, it'll make for a good story no matter what happens. I maintain a "Watch Me!" attitude and have every intention of matching will power to  every single opposing element that may face me. Its time to make some changes and to be about what I'm supposed to be.

If you have someone hating on you right now you better think of how to get five more people hating by Christmas.

~ Katt Williams.

Nude Model, Mercy © 2011 Terrell Neasley 
So many people have aversions to both change and challenges. I don't really know why that is and have a difficult time to relate. Change is the only constant in life or even the universe for that matter. Nothing stays the same. Being flexible and adaptable is key. Maybe I learned that in the military. "Adapt and Overcome!" was often the mantra to success. As in military tactics, there are no rules in life and its not uncommon to find yourself facing overwhelming odds. But odds are just that...ODDS. It represents a probability of success given certain parameters, but even when the odds are not in your favor, by definition there is still a chance. Odds represent a one in a certain amount of chances that you can succeed. I've learned to take that "one" and run with it. If you have one chance to do something, you simply make it count. There is no such thing as a no-win situation. There is always a way to derive a positive outcome. There is much power in the will of a person who has resolved to win, achieve, overcome, survive, and ultimately thrive. Every since my teen-age years, I've actually enjoyed it when someone tells me I can't do something. So keep telling me its impossible. Tell me again how it simply can't be done. Let me hear again how impractical and improbable my ideas are. I need to hear that sometimes. Katt Williams talked about having naysayers and haters are good and that you should strive to get more. I do believe that. I aspire to have more haters. I've collected some already over the last year. So maybe I should put out an ad on Craigslist: HATERS WANTED...

17 March 2012

Latest on Recovery

Art Model, OutDrBeauty, © 2010 Terrell Neasley 

I'm getting there!

Everything is still on hold for a little bit longer, but the knee is getting better. I still have to use crutches for a few more weeks, but I'm able to balance and put weight on my left leg more than usual. I'm not having to keep it suspended off the ground as I walk. It still sucks that I haven't been able to get back to shooting. I think a good nude project is the first thing I want to do when I can hold a camera and move around a subject again. I want to go model hunting right now, but I can't say as to when I can actually do the shoot. I've had to change my Model Mayhem page twice to reflect a longer recovery time than anticipated. But that's okay, I'll manage.

Art Model, OutDrBeauty, © 2010 Terrell Neasley 
Its been the microfracture procedure that has taken so long with the recovery. Microfracture alone takes a while, but instead of the 3 to 5 holes the surgeon had planned on, it ended up being TWENTY! (Yeah, that's what I said too.) I didn't know he had done that much off-shore style drilling in my knee until a few weeks afterwards during my post-op appointment. He told me there was more damage than what had showed up in the MRI and X-rays. So that led to more clean-up, more holes, and more recovery time. To give you an idea, this is the same surgery Greg Odom, once number 1 overall draft pick of the Portland Trailblazers had multiple times on both knees. Granted it hadn't been so successful on him. However Jason Kidd and John Stockton have also had this surgery done and you see the longevity they've enjoyed in basketball. Overall, I'm looking at about 4 to 6 months for recovery. I've yet to begin my 6-8 week rehab time.

On Microfracture surgery recovery:
The harder part is the restrictions that are placed on the patient during the post-operative recovery period. This can be a major challenge for many patients. For optimal re-growth of joint surface, the patients need to be very patient and also extremely cooperative. They usually need to be on crutches for four to six weeks (sometimes longer).  - Wikipedia

I'll just be glad to get back out on the trails again and I need to get back to shooting. I'm not making any money hanging around my house all day everyday. I thought I'd be spending all this time reading and doing tutorials, but that hasn't been so easy. Its tougher to read in my house, I think. And even moreso when all you think about is getting outside. I miss hiking. The days have been beautiful. I can see the mountains from my back patio. Yet, I am stuck inside my apartment. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not totally fixed in here, but I only go someplace when I absolutely have to. If there isn't any place I NEED to be, then I pretty much stay home. Its been exasperating. Patience has never been in my quiver of virtues. I've at least been Tweeting more than I usually do. Mostly about travel and entrepreneurship.

Art Model, OutDrBeauty,
© 2010 Terrell Neasley 
Wednesday was my first time trying to leave the house without my crutches. Overall, I did fairly well, but its different from just walking around the house like that. I got to meet up with good friend Karl Sutphin (his new website!), who was in for the week from San Fran. We hung out at my place and then got some dinner at Famous Dave's. We had just stepped into the place when I stumbled and let slip and expletive, because of the pain. It was fairly embarrassing in that it occurred right next to a couple who were enjoying their dinner. I had to grab onto the back of their booth to regain my balance. I think my face was even more contorted trying NOT to wince from the pain, than had I not been trying to control it. I took a second (or maybe a minute) to regain my composure and was led to the booth where our hostess seated us. After that, it was a good evening. I had been to Famous Dave's often but had never had their burgers. It was pretty darn good.

Art Model, OutDrBeauty, © 2010 Terrell Neasley 

I'm due to start rehab sometime at the end of the month or first week in April. I think I'll stick to that schedule instead of trying to be too quick as I had recently planned. I'll heed the doctor's advice and wait. I guess it will make it all the more sweeter if I wait. I think my ex-wife said the same thing before we were married. Not so sure how sweet it was. I think that's when I'm most prone to re-injure after having waited so friggin' long!

06 March 2012

On the Portraiture

"A portrait! What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound."
- Charles Baudelaire, 1859


This is the single most important element of photography that I absolutely have to photograph. Its the summation and hub of every element or aspect of photo that I endeavor to shoot. And if you drill down from there in order of importance for me, then next is the nude and then the portrait takes the tertiary role. Everything else that I do are either in supplement or complimentary to those three primary focuses for me. Life in general is what I endeavor to capture and in its purest form, the nude represents my favorite aspect of that, but the portraiture of my model is the deepest connection I have with the nude and is probably the most powerful aspect of anything I do.

Does that make any sense? I do some interior/architecture photography. Its still a representation of life, as in someone's expression of life as they see it for either a functional or aesthetic purpose. I photograph events and occasions which are moments of life taking place. I do still-life photography for my fine art work. This is evidence of life that it has existed and left its mark. I have photographed death which is the culmination of life or rather the conclusion of one aspect of it. I photograph life and death along with everything in between, as most every photographer does, I guess, to some degree. And like many, I do have my specialties. I will shoot almost anything and add my particular style of interpretation to it, but my primary focus in life is the nude and the portrait.

The interesting thing about the portrait is that it does not need to be nude. In some cases, the difference is not obvious and then sometimes it is. Whether a close up or the bust, the portrait still remains the most powerful aspect of photography, I believe. It is powerful because its limits are boundless. A good portraiture does not have to have pleasant features to be impactful. Exposure does not have to be correct, nor does even the focus. Sometimes, in the same way interesting ruins or abandoned buildings can be appealing, rough facial features can also draw the attention. However the portrait has one other distinguishing component that no other genre of photography captures and that's the connection that any human being can have with the subject by peering into the eyes. Even in some cases where the viewer cannot see the eyes of the subject, there can still be an implied connection between the mind of the viewer and that of the subject. You might wonder where the subject has come from, what they feel, or how they came to be. There is a voluntary transference that takes place which can draw in the viewer unlike no other depiction of any image.

"Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter?"

- Pablo Picasso

Mesmerizing, hypnotic, and even intoxicating can be terms ascribed to portraitures that are done well. This is why I love them above landscapes. I was looking through some of my images from my hiking expeditions over the last few years I've been in Las Vegas. I will go with people from the meetup groups I belong to or with close friends of mine. Ofttimes, I will go alone. However when I do go with people whom I may know or not, its funny how I'm one of the few photographers who will return from these trips with almost solely portraits and hardly any landscape. I was recently asked to licence a photo of Big Falls, a major natural landmark at Mt. Charleston, here in Nevada for a local publication. I've been up there several times, but had to look hard to find a good shot. Then when I found one, it wasn't anything that I had initially edited. Pretty much everything was of faces. Faces along the way. Faces with the falls. And faces along the return trip. Its the human condition that I shoot, although that may be a term quite overused. Most of my portraits are not posed, but rather candid shots in the moment where the subject may or may not know I'm taking the shot.

Heads. Faces. Some people are more interesting than others and for me, that starts often with the hair and then the eyes. Hair will often get my attention, but the eyes will draw me in and then I think to myself that I need that person's head. I tend to like faces that seem to tell a story or which may make me what to know about this person. Its interesting on the things that draw me to one person over another, because this is how I see the world. I am constantly looking at people. Its like a radar. I can pass through a crowd and there might be only a few faces that bleep in my range of scope. Some ping quite strongly with me. Others may ping less strongly, but my desire to photograph their portrait is no less as strong. What can I say? I like faces.

"Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter."

- Oscar Wilde

01 March 2012

Eleanor Annetta Callahan (1916-2012)


I write about a lot of things on this blog. Sometimes I write about current situations I find myself in, or bits of interesting information that might prove relevant to my readers. In a nutshell, this blog is representative of inspiring and informative aspects related to photography and modeling and how it all impacts or relates to me. Well, I just found out yesterday from a Facebook posting by friend and fellow mentor, Dave Levingston that one of the transcendent art models has recently passed away... Eleanor Callahan.

“I never complained, whatever I was doing. If he said: ‘Come quick, Eleanor — there’s a good light,’ I was right there."

It can be difficult to understand who Eleanor Callahan was without talking about her husband of 63 years, Harry Callahan. And if you don't know Harry Callahan, the photographer, you mind will probably go to Clint Eastwood's character of the same name. Don't do that. Harry Callahan is one of the consummate Masters of Photography pioneers mentioned in the same breath as Edward Weston or Alfred Stieglitz. Harry passed away in 1999, but for much of his career he photographed what was around him. He was the opposite of Weston who explored the western United States. Callahan is better known for walking the streets of his hometown, but the majority of his inspiration came from shooting his wife, Eleanor. She posed for him anywhere and everywhere. In fact, she is best known as the Model Who Never Said No and she'll tell you just that. If Harry called for her on the spot, she came running shedding her clothes as she went.

It might be just a simple way the light was falling on something outside. She'd sit for him and then go back to doing whatever it was that she was doing. She was photographed while she slept, when she was pregnant, outdoors, indoors...it simply did not make a difference. I do not believe Edward Weston would have amounted to as big of an innovative photographer as he was without Charis Wilson. In the same way, I do not think Harry Callahan would have amounted to the influential photographer he became without Eleanor. She was a willing subject in hundreds of his images.

“He just liked to take the pictures of me,” she told an interviewer in 2008. “In every pose. Rain or shine. And whatever I was doing. If I was doing the dishes or if I was half asleep. And he knew that I never, never said no. I was always there for him. Because I knew that Harry would only do the right thing.”

"Harry Callahan: Eleanor and Barbara",
I mean... think about it for a second. Can you imagine of Eleanor was a mean-spirited or stifling wife who balked at the notion of being photographed nude? Harry would have found another subject, possibly but it would not have been the same. He would not have been able to call on another model at a moment's notice and thus miss much of the fleeting inspirational moments that could so quickly captivate his imagination. There would have been no since of intimate connection from such a familiar perspective that we tend to take for granted in his images. One of my favorite images of his is a shot of Eleanor lying on her side with her back to us while 3-year old daughter Barbara is silhouetted standing on the bedroom windowsill. You couldn't have that shot with a model you pay to come by every now and again. If Eleanor was not the person she was, Harry would have walked by that room, saw the scene, and walked off to his refrigerator to get a beer and brood in front of the TV. But because she allowed him to fully explore his photography, his creativity, and to experiment with various concepts, he was able to achieve the greatness that we know of today. Harry would photography different landscapes and double-expose it with an image of Eleanor. Some say its because he saw her in everything he looked at.

So as is were, I've been a fan of liberating wife/models like this since I started doing nudes. Harry shot her both clothed and unclothed. Some of his most noteworthy work is of Eleanor and Barbara in the park. Interestingly enough, both Eleanor and Charis Wilson, survived their husbands and both died at age 95. So that proves a theory I've been working on. Women who model for their husbands live longer! It was also quite the coincidence that only 15 minutes before I saw DaveL's post, I was reading about Eleanor in the book, "The Model Wife", by Arthur Ollman, which I will get into in another post. I also just ordered (while in the middle of this post, no less) "Eleanor", by Jullian Cox.