21 December 2007
14 December 2007
I say that I am done with school for a while, but actually, I am planning to take some more courses in Photoshop, hopefully in January. I could use the added wisdom to help edit my photos, in particular with layers, curves, and histograms. I do not plan to do much in terms of special graphics, but I'd rather, for now learn how to better enhance my photos as they are. I may later explore some work with other types of digital manipulations as I did with alternative darkroom manipulations using film.
Since I am done with school, I am trying to get back to working with models and getting some more shoots lined up. I haven't been able to talk to potential models as much as I normally used to. The challenge is to be able to work with models since its gotten cold here in Vegas. I'll have to do more indoor environmental shoots instead of working with the great outdoors, but I'd still like to use natural lighting as much as possible. I meet with a potential muse early next week to discuss some possibilities. I am kind of excited about this one because I was searching specifically for someone who could be available for me to shoot on an ongoing basis, even on short notices. Ever wake up to a lovely day, with beautiful clouds and just think to yourself that if only you could find someone to take off their clothes and let you photograph them? Well, that's what this interview is for. Sometimes you just get a spontaneous moment and want to shoot and there is no time to hunt for a new model, coordinate schedules for two weeks out, and put together a concept. No, sometimes I do not need a concept...just a naked female with a good attitude. I don't have that here in Vegas and I need to change that. The girl in this photo was one such muse. She is a friend from Kentucky who was ready and willing whenever. I'd like to get to work with her again as well as a few others I left behind...Trish, Jacinda, Chels, Dana, Elizabeth...and the list goes on.
For any readers in the Las Vegas area, I need a venue to hold figure drawing sessions for my Las Vegas Art Model's Group. Specifically, I am seeking a drawing studio complete with hot lights, easels, benches, and a model platform. I'd like to be able to use this facility at least once a week to hold figure drawing sessions. I could use the same thing with a photo studio, but right now, the biggest focus is on drawing. (Volutneered is the operative implication here.) I want to begin this mid January. I want to hold a few photo workshops as well and will be looking for guest instructors to come and impart some knowledge on fellow photogs. So when we get a studio for it, I'll be interested doing this as soon as possible. So I am putting out the call: I need models, particularly female...we have plenty of guys. I need a drawing and photo studio. And finally I need artists and volunteer instructors to help participate and grow these functions. Thats my Christmas wish list, so to speak. So unless you are getting me photo equipment, stick to this list.
On another special note, I was very please to get to see my friend, photog extraordinaire, Dave Rudin from Brooklyn again. Dave and I got together and checked out the Crazy Horse topless cabaret show at the MGM Grand. I had seen the show once before about 6 years ago, but we got front row seats which made for quite a different experience. Those girls were GOOD. They possessed the unique ability to show you everything without letting you see anything. I tell you that took the skill of a magician.... Now you see it...NO YOU DIDN'T!
*** Note to MOM: Ignore the aforementioned list....stick to the photo equipment.
04 December 2007
At any rate, I am going to do tributes every now and again and this one is going to be for my friend, Umit (oo-mit), from Istanbul, Turkey. I got to meet Umit while doing my MBA at Murray State University in Kentucky. I got to meet and interact with many different cultures while in the Army and I have always been intrigued by observing and learning how other people in the world go about their daily lives different from my own. I grew up in Texas... in Terrell, Texas actually. I was not named for the place nor do I own it. I just lived there. Anyway, I didn't travel too much, but I always loved reading about the history and traditions of other cultures. So when I joined the Army and was sent to places all over the world, I got everything I could from the experience.
Therefore I came to relate to Umit very well. Since I was curious about his country and customs, I was glad that he was willing to indulge me in my questions about where he lived. I thought I might have gotten on his nerves to some degree, but I was able to often return the favor in his quest to learn more about the U.S. Sometimes we had challenges with the language. Umit spoke English very well. Every now and then a word might understandably stump him and we could spend 15 minutes just to figure out what he was trying to say. On one such occasion we discussed job opportunities. I thought he was trying to tell me he wanted to be a carrier builder, so I am making associations to either naval ships or HVAC units. When it finally dawned on me that he was interested in finding a job on Careerbuilder.com, we were both too mentally exhausted to continue the conversation.
The closer it got to the end of the final semester, the more we hung out. We went to a party that was in his honor where I got to meet even more international students. My daughter called me while at this party explaining how proud she was of her command of the french language. I put her on the phone with some of Umit's french speaking buddies and she quickly realized there is a big difference between learning french in school and speaking to someone from France. I recall good memories with my friend, Umit. I regret that he has called me 5 times since I have been in Vegas and I have missed each call! I do not hope for Umit's next visit to the states. Rather I hope to visit him in Istanbul sometime and let me be the foreigner for a change. I know I could not do what he did by coming to a foreign land and get an MBA. I got a 3.5 GPA and he did better than I did!
So this is for my man, UMIT! I look forward to visiting you sometime and I hope that Kentucky MBA serves you well. I wish you all the best my friend.
28 November 2007
She is very frank in this documentary. She doesn't try to be lady-like, politically correct, or even "proper". She tells it like it is, both the good and the bad. She seems to have a knack for story-telling. I would love sit at her feet, like a child, and listen to her accounts of adventures with Edward Weston and their escapades across the US on a budget. You don't hear many 91 year old ladies talking about sex, yet here she is recalling how she was well advanced in her sexuality at a very young age even before she at age 21, met Weston. (This is in the early 1930's). She discusses how he made her feel in the beginning as well as how she hurt and betrayed she felt toward the end of their marriage. She remembers it all with such vivid recollection that you can see it all play out in front of you.
But that vision is also aided by the film's actors who portray Charis, Edward, Ansel Adams and a host of other notable figures that the couple interacts with throughout their journeys and travels. I could be wrong, but I seem to feel that Charis lead a very fulfilled life, full of zero regrets. I am sure she must have had some moments where she may have made wrong decisions, but from the limited vantage point that we are made privy to, I would guess that she still lived her life the way she wanted to and on her own terms. As I watched the credits roll, I felt an even deeper appreciation for her contributions and for what she did for photography as much as I have for any photographer, including Weston. She helped make photography into an art form when the art society was still discounting it as a true art. Weston was the first photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship only because Charis wrote is letter of application for him.
If this is a first time read for you, you will have to pull up some of my previous posts regarding my search for this DVD to fully appreciate how I feel about Edward Weston and Charis Wilson. The DVD is titled "Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson" and is available at that link. Whether you are a fan of Weston or not, I highly recommend you purchase this DVD and share my enjoyment for it. No pics this time. It would just have spoiled the review. This was all about Charis.
23 November 2007
To fulfill another promise, I’m covering some questions I commonly get from models. I recently covered some male model concerns that resulted from several emails I received. While I didn’t receive emails regarding female model concerns, I have been questioned regarding these issues during my model interviews or right before a shoot. I get at least 3 particular questions with regard to female models wanting to know about “that area”, but today, I am dealing with one. Almost every model I have worked with has asked me about the age old question of “to shave or not to shave”. There is a strong trend toward shaving the nethers amongst girls nowadays. Chances are, most girls I shoot will be shaven, or at the least, trimmed. Very few have a “full bush”. Personally, I have chosen not to be selective in this sense anymore.
At first, I did have a tendency to prefer a model who did not shave. I am a natural-as-possible artist, and since having pubic hair is certainly natural, then it was preferred. The idea of not shaving lent itself to more open poses (or at least less restrictive ones), since even though a model’s legs may be apart, the area of concern was still covered. In my mind, this allowed the viewer to see my work without the distraction of bare skin down there. They could see everything in the composition and not zero in on one place, thereby possibly appreciating my efforts closer to the way I had intended. So at this stage, I had a stronger sense of caution as to not offend anybody, ignoring the fact that nudes in general might cause offense to the people anyway.
Today, I have changed this line of thought. First, I realize that models also shave underarms and legs, so why not the pubes if they prefer. So while I have shot women au natural, I hadn’t really shot anyone totally natural. Next, I also prefer to present the model as she presents herself. This is who she is and that’s the way I will portray her. I still have a preference for one or the other, however. I’d rather not shoot the strip, although I don’t mind close trimming as much. I also still cling to the idea of no jewelry or makeup, in most cases, but not all. In addition, I have come to not care so much about what the viewer is concentrating on or whether or not I may be offensive. I shoot the total nude, not just in parts. If the model’s legs are open and she’s closely trimmed or shaven, so be it. Genitalia is part of the nude and I am not inclined to hide it. I take what the model gives me and applaud her for it. I respect the model either way: shaved or not, exposed or not. If the pose lends itself to my project, great and if it doesn’t then I won’t use it. As of yet, I haven’t tried to do anything overtly sexual as a theme…sensual, yes.
I also find it absurd to hear other photogs or critics say that anyone who uses the cleanly shaven models are clearly into child porn or prefers children. To me that’s a serious allegation and in these times today, I think it’s a bit over the top. Women do it for several reason apart from fashionable trends and to suggest that men have a sadistic reason for showing it or preferring it … well, let me just say, I would find it personally offensive if someone told me that to my face and my reaction would be personally offensive to said person for saying so. So far, I have only heard men making that assertion. I could also submit that the kind of man to make this claim may be dealing with his own demons, himself.
So if anything, ladies, be comfortable with your choice. It’s a good question, but if you prefer shaving, do it. If you prefer not, don’t do it. If it doesn’t make a difference to you at all and then leave it to the photographer’s preference and go make some great art.
17 November 2007
13 November 2007
09 November 2007
05 November 2007
01 November 2007
28 October 2007
24 October 2007
On another note.... I have spent some considerable time talking about the amateur model lately. After joining an Photography Club on Meet Up.com, I came across an opportunity to start an Art Model's Group as well. Now for the most part, this may consist of mainly figure drawing models moreso than art photo models, however I have opened up the group to establish networking opportunities amonst art models and artists of all genres. So if you are living in the Las Vegas area and take off you clothes for the sake of art, then come on and join The Las Vegas Art Model's Group. If you think you may be interested in trying to see if you can pose without clothes or have always wanted to but have never had the right forum to do so then this is a good place to start.
19 October 2007
18 October 2007
17 October 2007
16 October 2007
11 October 2007
07 October 2007
03 October 2007
Ironically enough, I was breezing through one of the sites I check most every day. Univers d'Artistes did an interview with Marcus J Ranum that talked about the use of models vs non-models the VERY DAY AFTER I do my tribute "To the Amateur". (Go ahead, click the link and check it out. I'll wait.....) Model vs. Non-models...Professional model vs. Amateur model = Same thing. In one sense we have opposing views, but then in another I agree on most of his points. I at the very least understand where he is coming from. There are definitely pros and cons in either case. He points out the fact that is just easier to use pros in that he can be choosy and that, for whatever reason, he hates asking non-models to pose for him.
Well, I can agree with several points he brings out. I know that there are specific shoots that could really be complemented by the aid of a professional model. When I have an idea and need a specific personality, body shape, or style, I could easily go to OneModelplace.com or ModelMayhem.com and basically shop. A photog or aspiring model can for sure learn a thing to two from Iris Dassault, who's blog I still direct my models to visit. You just can't beat the expertise of a pro. Her value is to beneficial to ignore. I am also a fan of Abigail Stewart.
On the other hand, I mention why I like amateurs when I can use them in the post just before this one. In addition to that, I think experiences have much to do with this. Marcus mentions hating to ask an amateur to model. Why that is, one can only speculate. Personally, I find it easy for me to do and I have gotten great results, so I continue it. In addition, I can identify with the amateur, because I have been there myself and have developed a special affinity for those that do this (both pro and non-pro). I have dropped trow and stood before a class of artists for 30 minutes at a time as well as posed for photo peers. Thats not the easiest of work, mentally or physically. So I guess I have developed a high respect for figure models and even moreso for that person who can decide to do this on a whim as a first time experience or for the sole purpose of helping out an aspiring photog. Again, thanks Imagens!