28 August 2007

Chris' Interview - Andrew Kaiser

It seems like I keep talking about Chris' Blog, Univers d'Artistes. Well I didn't have an intent to post today, but I read the interview for photog Andrew Kaiser of Absolute Reality Studios (posted 28 August), and could most certainly identify with his sentiments when he wasn't shooting:

"If I go more then three days without doing a photo shoot I normally become a very irritable person. My friends laugh at me about this all the time. I love shooting pictures more then anything else. It can be as relaxing as a trip to a day spa, and as exciting as a rollercoaster. I have a very hard time imagining what my life would be like without it."

When I am shooting, I feel like I am right where I belong. When I am not shooting, I am thinking about shooting. I was talking with one of my models just yesterday. I noticed I had a propensity to direct the conversation toward something dealing with photo. I made a deliberate point to change the topic so as not to dominate the dialogue with photography. It didn't work. I asked her about her trip to LA. She spoke briefly on it, and I was already commenting about how I'd like to do a shoot where she had visited. I realized my fault and apologized. She was gracious enough to make me feel better by claiming that she, in fact, was also going to mention to me about shooting there. Maybe it was the truth or maybe she was being nice. My point remains; I readily identify with Andrew Kaiser's sentiments. Its like a drug and I am waiting for my next fix. Is this a bad thing? Who's to say. I just need to shoot, that's all.

26 August 2007

New Gallery coming soon....

I mentioned some goals I had in the interview with Chris on his blog Univers d'Artistes. It detailed visiting some of the most notable landscapes in Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. My goal is to complete shooting in several of the National Parks and other places of interest that appeal to me. I have started this endeavor with the closest locations, beginning with Valley of Fire in Nevada since its less than 50 miles from me.

I have learned that this is a difficult place to shoot during the summer. I have photographed here before, but it was in March of 2006. The summer temperatures are exceedingly hot, but what else would anyone expect in a desert. My main issue was the intensity of the sun at so early in the morning. Sunrise is at 6. By 8am, I had to consider concluding the session out of concern for my model's pale skin. (I've always hated the end of a shoot). Coming from Tennessee and Kentucky, I am not used to the harsh lighting so early in the morning. As soon as it crests the horizon, its almost unbearable. I may limit my time to sunsets but by the time it cools off you are losing your light.

I just did this shoot with a new model, whom I met randomly while shopping. She had an interesting tattoo around her neck and her expressive nature caught my attention. We had a difficult time arranging schedules so the shoot took some time to coordinate. I did not have any particular goal for this shoot. It was more of an introductory session but I'd like to work with her some more with a specific objective in mind. Many photogs dont want to work with models with tattoos. Thats not me. I'll do them with gladness and would like to conduct a special project showcasing models with interesting tattoos. I'll have these images posted to a new gallery on my website by the end of the week, so be sure to check it out. Feedback is always appreciated.

I will go through these latest images over the next week to edit before I post anymore of them. Anyone who knows of beautiful and interesting places to shoot in the states I mentioned should comment on this post. At present, I want to do one more shoot in the Valley of Fire using a model of a slightly different shape. I have done both the small petite as well as someone tall. I'd like to bring in someone of a voluptuous shape that will work well with the surrounding rocks. Next, I plan on working Zion National Park including the Narrows which was suggested, even though the site says 60% of it is hiking through water. So I will be searching out a model who doesn't mind camping out over a weekend.

24 August 2007

Find a Model

First things first...I made a promise to talk about how I find models, what I look for in models, and what photographers I identify with. In finding your models, I think two important elements have brought me success. The first is confidence. "Ask for what you want and get what you can" is a phrase I first picked up in the military. I am not afraid to ask a girl or woman to model for me. If I feel there is distinct characteristic that she possesses which will work well in a project I am working on, I ask. All she can say is no. Asking is not illegal nor is it for the feint of heart. When I ask a model to pose, just out of the blue, I am serious about it and it comes across that way. They know I am not joking, but rather that I exude a certain professionalism about it. Have something to show them, (a card, a portfolio, a website) that you are professional. Many feel flattered that I ask as long as they don't take me for a perv. In other situations, I can develop a connection first and then raise the topic. There is much that can be said on this subject.

The second thing is knowing who to ask. You increase your chances of success if you don't go up to the preacher's wife in the middle of service Sunday morning and drop the question. You odds of success dramatically decrease. You can, however develop a knack for determining women who have an air of confidence about themselves by the nature of their dress, their conversation, or their overall style. Timing is important. I dont stop someone while they are on their way to their car at night in a Wal-Mart parking lot. I also don't ask if I can clearly see she is busy, frustrated, or otherwise in ill-comfort. Get to know women a little bit and one of the best services you can do for yourself is to not ask me this question. Ask a woman. Ask a few women. Ask them, if you (hypothetically), wanted to ask another woman to pose, what would make them feel comfortable to answer you. Go to an university art department and ask someone who is already a model on how to approach women. Personally, I am a black man, yet I have the most problems getting a black woman to do this no matter what I do. Asian women and women who are pregnant are also challenges for me.

As for models I prefer, I dont really have a particular one thing. I have photographed large women as well as sub-one hundred pounders. I have shot from the ages of 18 to 55. I guess the element most important to me is what's on the inside of the model, moreso than without. I hope she is a giving person who lends to the experience by possessing a great attitude and a willingness to take a vested interest in what I am doing. When I have that, I can usually make magic.

Photographers... well, check my links. Spencer Tunick and Jerry Uelsmann have been my original motivators. I follow Helmut Newton, Gordon Parks (recently deceased), Dorothea Lange, Diane Arbus, Marc Baptiste, and Matthew Jordan Smith. I also like Dave Rudin and Michael Barnes, but if I had to chose one person whom I truly ID with, then Edward Weston.

I have recently had a GIGANTIC spike in visitor comments to my site and blog, due to my letter to Domai. Let me say thank you all for your kind words and constructive criticisms. I will get back with each of you who requested so over the next week.

23 August 2007

A Soldier's Story

Guess what, Eolake Stobblehouse of Domai.com just featured my letter of the week on his site. I wrote it a few weeks ago about my first experience with open nudity. Its called "A Soldier's Story" and it details my moment of understanding, an epiphany if you will, of the difference between sex and nudity. I think its a good story and you should check it out.

A whole lot of people must genuinely like the model posted with this entry (and the last two). She now has 8 of the top 12 images on my website! She's a very special person whom I am glad to have became friends with. I had known her more than a year before we finally did this shoot together just before I came to Las Vegas. As a matter of fact, it was requested today that I submit a photo shoot of her to Domai.com which is a complement not to be taken lightly. Does anyone else feel the same about that?

I have to keep this entry short. I promise to get to the model questions tomorrow or the next day at the latest. Its getting late for me and I still have much more work before bed. So check out more of this beautiful girl on my website @ http://www.tlneasley.com/.

22 August 2007

Dark Matter...

I figure I must be doing something good. I really appreciate all the traffic, comments, and questions about my site and blog. I've received exposure from Art Nudes, Univers d'Artistes, Iris Dassault, and now afuckaday. Yeah, afuckaday...don't trip. There's no sex on this site, its just more quality work by someone who appreciates promoting other photographers, models and note-worthy blogs. This site belongs to rob, whom I contacted about showcasing my work. From my recent success, I have been looking to do the same with more sites like his. I try to collaborate with other blogs and sites of interest that I feel is consistent with what I do and presents a quality standard that I can appreciate and respect. Its been a great way to let more people see my artwork and I in turn also will let my readers and viewers know about their work. I am always happy to return a favor.

I also plan on addressing some questions that have been asked of me in my next few entries. I have noticed some photogs do a FAQ page on their sites such as this excellent one by Looknsee's FAQ. That may be a best practice that I try to emulate later on, but for now, I think I will just take on repetitive individual questions and see how it goes. Mainly I have been getting questions referring to how I get my models, what kind of model I prefer and other photography works I identify with. Some questions about commissions and model experience, I can answer easily enough, but I mainly refer them to my website which already has those answers. Rest assured, I will post a blog entry to address the modeling questions soon.

In the meantime, you can also get some good information from my list of links and resources. Visit my site and check back on my blog for updates. I appreciate everyone's interest in my work and I thank you for the comments. As always, feel free to contact me about questions you may have regarding my work, about me, or to debate whether or not Dark Matter truly exists. I saw that on the Discovery Channel the other day. It was really interesting.... really, it was!

20 August 2007

Univers d'Artistes

Its taken me an extra day to get this blog entry done, but I want to direct your attention to this blog: Univers d'Artistes, run by Chris out of France, who noticed my work when my site was featured on Art Nudes Blog by Michael Barnes about a month ago on July 25th. Chris made a nice comment about my work on his site. I contacted him and through this exchange he also featured my site on his blog along with a full interveiw. If you view his blog, you'll see a collection of work that you will indeed want to take an interest in. So let me take a moment to thank Chris for this site feature AND for selecting such incredible work to highlight and promote. That's by no means a boast on my part. I speak directly to the other aritstic photowork that is sure to grab your attention and make you spend some time in observation. In addition to that you can spend a moment coursing through the margins and checking out the plethora of link resources that he has added for your benefit. The man deserves our applause!

Secondly, while I am dispensing praise, I also want to appreciate someone who works on the opposite end of the lens, and that's model Iris Dassault. You can check out her website with the previous link, but here is her blog as well. Iris recently added me to her list of reputable blogs links, which was a pleasant surprise. I have never worked with Iris, nor have I met her. We had a brief exchange of emails at one point and that was it. The reason I have her as a link on my blog is because of the insight she gives from the model's perspective. She has done work with several great photographers such as Dave Rudin and Jim Young . She is beautiful from the inside and out. I can say that even though I have never met her because her words qualify that beauty from within. Check out her blog and you will see the facts that I am referencing. I like what she has to say and can fully respect and admire her choice to model less often with only a select few photographers even though she could easily choose to make more money from the demand for her services. You have to respect that. You've just got to. This is why I now refer potential models to her blog and website so they might have a good idea from an experienced model's perspective on how this is done and what is truly important. If you have not visited her site...stop what you are doing right now and click the links! So thanks again, Iris.

I have included a couple of images done this past May with a lovely model in the woods of Land Between the Lakes and surrounding areas of Kentucky. You will be seeing more of her on my next few posts. Enjoy!

18 August 2007

Scouting trips

I am still getting aquainted with the sites of Las Vegas. For the most part, I know the place well, in terms of getting where I need to go, but not for locations to shoot. Thats still a trying task for me. I'd prefer someplace nearby for right now since I like to scout out my locations before I actually do a shoot there. From what I am hearing from several people is that I need to get out of the city to get what I am looking for. I have been out to Valley of Fire several times now and truthfully, I can't get enough of it. That place is just gorgeous. Its crossed my mind to do several sessions out there with different models. I can just shoot in different locations within the park. After a while I know it starts to look the same, but I believe working with different models can still give it a twist of uniqueness.

It was also suggested yesterday to check out Zion National Park. Now I have been to Zion, but my trip wasnt all that long and I didn't get to do the hiking trails I wanted. I have been told to hike the Narrows, which is supposed to be really nice. I understand that a portion of it is through water thats anywhere from 2 to 4 foot deep. Don't know if that's true or if it depends on the seasons but its certainly worth checking out. My issue is that I have to drive out almost 3 hours to see it before I shoot it. I may just go out to hike it and come back with a model. I'd like to go with a fresh face, but a first time model may not want to go that far out with someone they just met which means camping out is also out of the question. Decisions...decisions...

Well, I will get it done at some point. My thoughts are to hike it, come back, shoot a new model at Valley of Fire, and then depending on how it goes, discuss a trip out to Zion. I have heard Spring Valley Ranch should be nice as well. I'd appreciate some suggestions if you got'em. I have included 3 pics of a Colorado adventure in this post. This girl freaked me out when she climbed out over a cliff that had a drop of at least 300 feet. There was a 3 foot long triangular shaped flat rock that extended from the cliff about 10 feet down. I made her come back up and then climbed down there myself to test it out before I agreed to shoot her there. The LAST thing this black guy needed was a naked white girl at the bottom of a cliff in a area where I got to see only one other black person the who week I stayed there. We were all over the Black Canyon near Gunnison, CO. I only planned on stopping overnight. I ended up staying there a week and shooting 4 different models. Loved it. Isn't that an intersting tree?

17 August 2007

New Gallery on Better Photo.com

This will be a short one. I have posted a gallery of images on the BetterPhoto.com site. Better Photo is a good resouce for photographers, both amateur and professionals alike. They, of course do review of cameras and photo equipment, but its also a great asset for its online courses. Beginners can right now take an entry level course for free. I have already recommended it to a few friends looking to get a grip on camera modes, lighting, and composition. The most popular feature is probably the monthly contests. I just entered 6 images for this month in various categories. Winners will be chosen at the end of the next month, I think, but one of mine did get picked as an Editor's Choice.

They don't want you to post nudes on this family friendly site, but I did post some images whereby nudity is implied. Thirty images are featured in this gallery. Click on this link for my BETTER PHOTO gallery. I am using it as a venue for more exposure. I have already had some comments regarding some of my photos. All in all, its a free service by a great site. A bigger gallery is available but it'll cost you. The next size up (300 images) is only $22 a year, which isn't bad at all.

I have attached a couple of my studio nudes using two different models. Enjoy

15 August 2007

I Got Spanked by Eolake Stobblehouse!!

Okay, maybe not spanked, but I got some good criticism. This was like the basketball equivalent of a high school ball player getting schooled by a NBA All-Star. You get no tears here. I take my lumps, suck it up, and drive on! It was too cool...

Overall, he along with several of his blog readers were not fans of the type of website I have that incorporates Flash. Eolake is the author of DOMAI.com. A lot of people are familiar with his sites and work. Several commentors don't appreciate the way Flash applications can take over your browser and usurp control from the user. There were some other comments that were made as well. In the end, I did get some positives from ALEX, who is thusly quoted,

"As for Terrell's site, it is accessible, and the merits of the content outweigh any shortcomings in the pages navigation."

I liked that. Oh, almost forgot, CLICK HERE for a direct link to his blog entry. Well, I have to take away something good from this. First of all, Eolake has been around at this alot longer than I have. Judging from the content of several of his sites, he knows his stuff well and has done much in terms of promoting art nudes in general. He is very intelligent and has bucket loads of value laden content on his sites. We emailed back and forth several times. I got timely advice and I can only illuminate my prospects by listening. Two other benefits was an increase in subscribership to my blog. Just posting my link on his own blog made people at least check me out and some liked what they saw. Also, I got a year's membership to Domai.com. Who can beat that?

For the time being, I have to stick with the use of my site. First and foremost for financial reasons. I've invested cash and time into it. Secondly, I prefer the protective measures of Flash over what I may be missing in promotion and I explain this in my added comments to his thread. I will have to make up on promotion via a different means. I have made sure the site is navigable and friendly or at least done my best at it. It would go against wisdom to not listen to their comments at all, but right now, I have to utilize what resources are available to me. This is knowledge I could have put to better use mayby a few months ago.

Hey, I know the value of good criticism and this was purposed to help me and I DO need it. Keep it coming, Eolake. Thanks.

13 August 2007

Blog vs. Newsletter

Tiger Woods won another major. Is anyone surprised? I'm not even into golf, but dang! Anyway, this hasn't turned into a golf blog, so let me just get to the important stuff. I have made some changes to my site, two in particular. First, I have uploaded direct links within my site whereas I didn't have those before. I have added a link page for models as well as a links page of some of my favorite sites I visit. I could add several more as I spend a lot of time searching through webpages and frequently visit the pages of several artists on a daily basis. One of which is Michael Barnes' Art Nudes Blog, which my site was featured on last month on the 25th. More than likely you now know about my site because of his blog.

The second thing is that I am not going to do a newsletter. I think I will just stick to my blog for the time being. Readers can subscribe to my blog and be updated as I make changes. I wanted to do a newsletter initially and have it automated using Listserv, but I think this blog can do what I want for the most part. I still have to figure some stuff out on it, like optimizing my use of Feedburner. I am most positive I am not using this tool to its fullest but I will get it figured out. I'd like it to email my subscribers as to new updates, but I think I have it set up as an option for subscribers to already do that if they so choose. I am learning more everyday and I am sure I will be at it for a while. So thats a no-go on the newsletter. For now, I'm a blogger.

Here are a few of some more non-nude images I do. In addition to rocks and trees, I like to shoot trains. The odd monstrosity you see is the inside of the train also depicted. Its the boiler taken in a most ominous perspective. Most people have no idea what they are looking at or can even imagine it has anything to do with a train, but yep, thats what it is. This train is on display in Paducah, Ky along the river walk. The tracks are actually taken near Paris, Tn, almost 60 miles away.

12 August 2007

A Brief On Model Poses

Several times now, I have had first-time models ask me about poses. In particular, I have been asked whether or not there is some book, web site, or something that gives examples on poses used by artist's models. I have a few links in my MODEL'S RESOUCE section of this blog, but I hadnt really come across much that is specifically made for models who pose for artists.

I mentioned on my website that I'd be looking for webpages that could give some examples on poses for models. Well, I got to thinking about one artist who's work I followed initially when I started shooting nudes. San Francisco Nudes artist Doug Wade has his site structured perfectly just for this. There are rows of models to choose from and each one has rows of simple, classic poses. So from this point forward, I am recommending models check out his site.

He uses redundant poses for many of the models he shoots. Many of his studio pics start out with full images on a white background and as you scroll down, he will go into a black background shot with a single light source, or he may use two for rim lighting. Either way, he still takes the model through a series of poses that are a good start at least to learn.

In a studio, just to help a model relax when shooting for the first time, I will normally take my models through a series of poses starting from prone position, working my way up to sitting, kneeling and then standing. These are some of the series of positions I would use when I used to pose as a figure model for art classes, fellow students, or for the local art guild. Its been a few months now since I have done that, but I traditionally demonstrate a variety of poses for each of these positions. I might illustrate 3 or 4 poses each in the prone, sitting, kneeling and finally standing. Once the model is comfortable, I can let her use her own creativity and I shoot what she gives me. So unless, I have a specific objective, these are what I would direct an inexperienced model to do during a first shoot. What are you looking for new pics? Well, check out my site...

If you are interested this is Doug Wade's blog address: http://www.san-francisco-nudes.com/blog/. If anyone comes up with some web sites featuring model poses, I'll be happy to post them on my page.

09 August 2007

Getting to know Vegas

I've posted a collection of my nudes, my portraits, so now I am adding a few of my landscape images. They were taken up in the mountains of Colorado, (the meandering stream and the skyscape), as well as at the Garden of the Gods in Shawnee National Park, IL (the B&Ws).

I am still searching for more area in and around Las Vegas to shoot. I am thinking of planning a trip further up north in Nevada as well as Utah. I have visited Zion National Park in Utah already, so I may start there. I'd like to find more rocks to shoot on, but I want to incorporate water.

I am also searching for indoor areas to shoot. An interesting apartment, house, furniture store, it doesn't matter. I want something uncommon, different...something that will draw you in and make you want to see more. Getting to know Las Vegas and Southern Nevada are my primary missions right now. I am getting to network all the time and am constantly meeting new people with ideas and suggestions. I come across people I'd like to shoot often times as well and many people I talk to have been very open to the idea of modeling for me, which is always a good thing. Come on LAS VEGAS...TALK TO ME!

03 August 2007

For the Model

I have given some more thought to the resources that I try to provide for models who pose for me, as well as anyone even wanting to give thought to the idea. In my Model Resources section, I believe I have a valuable collection of materials that models can take advantage of. I have been fortunate to have people trust me enough to take off their clothes and allow me to photograph them. I have done my best to never take that trust for granted. What is unfortunate is the experiences of some models whom have misplaced this trust which resulted in some unpleasant experiences.

Aside from bad experiences, this is an endeavor that should not be taken lightly. With a healthy application of wisdom, the experience can prove beneficial. I ask my models to fill out an evaluation form after modeling with me for the first time. I ask questions as to why they choose to model, what the experience was like, as well as how they felt afterwards. Many reasons are given as to why either of them choose to pose, but several seem to agree that the experience has been liberating and gives a dramatic boost to confidence levels. As any woman can attest, an increase in confidence alone is well worth the experience.

I try to make the experience fun and enjoyable, but I warn that there is work involved. Whether under hot lights in a studio or hiking trails in the wilderness, this is not a sit pretty and smile sort of affair. I have a project in mind with specific objectives, but I always like to bring in the model's perspective to the equation. This collaboration is what produces the best work. I don't believe the model is a prop used to create an artist's vision, but rather an integral and necessary partner who helps to create a permanent artistic expression. I have done the same project with different models and the resulting outcomes are no where near similar. I can be verbose at times and do not want to make this a voluminous ordeal, so I will add more on the subject later. Main point...Models or would be models, do your homework. Check out my links.

Included are warnings from 3 photogs that give guidance on what to do if you are considering modeling. There are two articles which detail experiences of first-time models. Also included are tools for getting into becoming and art model, as well as online model portfolio sites that showcase galleries for you. As always, I am available for questions. I have added some of my portraiture studies to this entry.

02 August 2007

Lets get this show on the road

This is the first entry of my blog, Terrell Neasley Artistic Photoblog. As stated in the title description, this blog is an extention of my website, http://www.tlneasley.com/ which showcases my collection of artistic nude, portrait, and landscape photography. I am in the process of settling in to the Las Vegas area and still have to get organized here. This is not an easy process.

The purpose of this blog is to keep my viewers updated and informed on my photographic activity, thoughts, and endeavors. This is what I love to do and I am only getting better at it. I study continuously and am always trying to improve what I do. I am open to any comments and will respond to any questions accordingly.
So stay tuned and keep checking back! These images are some of what you can expect to see on my website. Enjoy!