28 October 2007

Supporting the Arts

Something else I have been working on is posting my work on other public galleries. In August I put together a gallery on BetterPhoto.com which I mentioned in one of my blog entries. I would say that it can definately bring in more exposure to your work as well as feedback from other artist and viewers. I have also set up at PhotoClicksPro.com where I have been getting several views but not too many ratings. Stop by and rate my site if you've got a second.

Next, I opened a gallery on Altphotos.com and now you can also visit my work on Community Zoe. You can rate and comment on my images on both of these sites, but you first need to register on Community Zoe. I have contributed to some of these sites which I believe is also important. I invite you, the reader to do the same if you are not already doing so. I guess it was about 2 years ago that I decided to make more of a monetary contribution to the arts as I began donating to my local art guild. I then tried to patron any of my contemporaries when they had shows, exhibits, or help with pizza on late nights. I have also realized that I listen to NPR an awful lot and have never contributed so when the campaigns started a few weeks ago, I felt compelled to give. Ironically, I had just been discussing with my son how he can benefit from listening to National Public Radio, so now I had to back up my words with some action.

Give to the arts. Its one of the most neglected areas in our schools as well as our communities. I am just getting to really know Vegas and can't say I am all that excited where art photography is concerned and even moreso with artistic nudes. Maybe I can do something about it, or maybe I can't but I think I will at least feel better if I try. I need to begin somewhere, I guess. Right now, I am still job hunting. I have been working as a project manager for the last 6 weeks, but all projects end and this one was no different. If I can still be compelled to contribute, then by golly gee so can the rest of us. Where ever you are, help out...time, money, whatever...start contributing. And for those of you who are, keep up the good work. Support the Arts, people.

24 October 2007

The Las Vegas Art Model's Group

I hope some of my purist friends won't be mad at me but I went out and got myself a Canon EOS 40D. This brings up the whole film vs. digital argument, I know, but I just think this was right for me, that's all. I'd rather be doing film in my darkroom, but I don't have one since moving to Vegas and I am having to get my film developed somewhere else and then scanned anyway. So I broke down and did the digital thing. My initial preference was holding out for a Canon EOS 5D with the full-frame sensor, but when the 40D was introduced, I could see that it fit the bill for my requirements. This thing is built just like the 5D. I researched it well and at half the cost, I think I prefer this fully capable camera which will allow me to spend more on accessories and another camera body. Any good photog needs a backup and right now, I can't do that with the 5D. Had the 40D not been such a MAJOR upgrade from the 30D, I would not have done it. Major factors for this change of heart was due to an aricle from Luminous Landscape Blog, a chance meeting with a current 40D owner, and then there was my mom's validation of my artwork that made it seem more worthwhile to make the purchase. That said, everything I feel about the artistic nature of film still holds. I still love film and will continue to use it. I still have plans to get my hands on the Mamiya RZ ProII.

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

Conclusion to Modeling Life

First things first, Jan Knutsen of ArtNude-Blog recently posted a link to me on his blog. I contacted him soon after discovering his weblog of artistic nudes which showcases a collection of really nice work of other artists and welcomes artists to submit their work to him for posting. He also has his own website of artwork which will certainly appeal to you at http://www.janknutsen.com/.

I have finished Sarah R. Phillips' book, "Modeling Life: Art Models Speak About Nudity, Sexuality, and the Creative Process". After consuming the entire contents, I can say it was well work the read and purchase. As I mentioned previously, I can personally identify with every issue, concern, and story she presented in her findings. The last portions of her book deal with model interviews and then she gets into her discoveries on what it takes to become a good art model. I know modeling for is hard work and strenuous on the body, but she pointed out that over time, this profession can significantly have an impact on your body, especially where chronic pain and joint pain is involved. I hadn't really given much thought the long term affects of modeling, but again, it would have been better to have a larger sample size than 30 models located in Portland, Oregon to base her findings on. In sociology, you have to become a statistics nut, so I am somewhat surprised that after admitting to spending several years on this project, she didn't feel compelled to venture out a bit more.

Another thing I was surprised with are a few issues she left out of her book. She lends deep insight to sexual perspectives, which is one of her specialty fields of study, according to her university link bio. She also covers a variety of aspects in art modeling, such as older models (briefly), but three big topics to cover which were omitted are race, religion and maybe large models. I was pretty much the only black art model around. There was one black female who refused to remover her panties, but she only modeled once. No black males, other than myself even thought about doing this. With her background in observing the way people think, I wish I could have benefited from her experience. Religion is another topic I wish she could have briefly touched on to give a perspective on the church stigma and how models dealt with it or whether or not they even had to. I modeled in the Bible belt so there was indeed a certain connotation about that there. I have dealt with large models, but you don't get that many. A perspective from a model such as in these images of whom I worked with here may have been a good addition.
Overall, I was pleased with her work with the exception of her conclusions on photography. I wish she could have talked with me before writing this. I think I would have been able to offer a helpful contribution to her work with my dealings in this matter as well as my education in Human Sexuality from both a sociology and a psychology standpoint. Many sociology students had to take business statistics at some point and I excelled in that too. I invite any of you review her work for yourselves. I'd love to hear some of your perspectives.

18 October 2007

"Eloquent Nude" ...Edward Weston and Charis Wilson

I spoke on this just recently when I posted a link to the New York Times article "The Artist's Wife", but I just came across a new documentary that was released earlier this year. One of the most prolific photographers I have come to admire has been Edward Weston. I was even honored one semester by my photography instructor in college when he commented on my latest series of work as being too "Edward Weston-esque". He didn't mean it to be a complement at the time, but I couldn't help but to take it that way. Anyway, I digress....

The newly released documentary "Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston & Charis Wilson" is an independent film directed by Ian McCluskey that features actual narration by Edward Weston's former wife and muse Charis Wilson. A review by KEN DUBOIS, of REEL.com describes how Edward, almost 50, met Charis, who was only 21 at the time and how they formed a union and alliance which helped to shape modern photography as we know it. Edward Weston has been a dramatic inspiration in terms of his story and his relationship with Charis. I simply adore the photographer who is able to photograph his wife like this. Edward was able to travel the country shooting Charis any and everywhere. She loved being in his photos. As I have commented before, this would simply be my dream, only I'd like to travel the world. I have been unable to find a copy of this DVD for sale. I understand that some were available for purchase at the art theaters where it was seen, but Amazon doesn't have it. At some point, I'll also get to review "The Model Wife" by Arthur Ollman which portrays the lives of 9 photographers who readily photographed their wives, including Weston, Stieglitz, and Callahan. Somebody help me find that DVD...please.

17 October 2007

The "Modeling Life" Saga continues....

Sarah R. Phillips is very detailed and analytical as a Sociology Prof should be. That much is for sure. Facts and quotes are scattered amidst her prose work in a way that draws you into believing what she says. She makes a statement and offers proof much like a prosecutor draws a conclusion and offers evidence for which you are dared to disprove. I like her presentation and am half way through the book "Modeling Life". At this point, I can say she doesn't leave anything out. Having been a figure model myself, I fully relate to all the issues, concerns, and stories mentioned by her interview subjects. She doesn't ignore anything. She offers historical insight and elaborates on the relationship between artist(s) and model, boundaries, sex, the penis, people's ill-perception about models vs. their admiration for the results rendered by the artist.

Let me clarify, Chapters 4-7 deal with sex, erotica, and genitalia in some way, shape, form or fashion, but its cleverly done, informative, and I would stretch to say even necessary. In particular, she discusses moments when male models have that uncomfortable moment when an erection may occur and how they deal with it. She goes into how female models may feel violated when an artist constantly positions himself for the best view of her genitals or may illustrate them in an exaggerated fashion in their work. She covers instances when models may have an accident while posing during their menstrual cycle. Sarah covers it all and expounds upon it. You can tell she feels totally at ease discussing and reporting the subject which obviously bespeaks her sociology background and research on matters inflenencing human sexuality.

At the same time, I am still not totally sure I can concur with some of her findings. She is definitely an outsider looking into this world. I wish she'd have left Portland and sought out models in California, or maybe some from the Midwest. I did not like some of her associations with art models and sex work. Case in point, she speaks to the prostitute who doesn't want to be degraded by being called a whore; and then the stripper who feels the same about being associated with a prostitute; and finally the art model who resents being referred to as a stripper. I felt there was an allusion to the fact that [she believes] we are who we are despite our resentments for derogatory titles, a prostitute may not like the title of a whore, but that's still what they are...Just as art models may not like being called a stripper but in essence, that is indeed what they are. I'll keep reading, so should you. Enjoy these images of Laura.

16 October 2007

Kodak Gallery Mini-Books

I recently tried out some mini-books, from kodakgallery.com. Photographer, Dave Rudin suggested them when he visited here last month. I ordered 4 different books and had duplicates made of two of them for a total of 6. Overall, I was satisfied with the print and binding. There were a few images where the color rendering was not at rich as what I submitted or the color was off in spots on the image. I didn't like that at all, but for the amount of work, what can you argue with for $20. The books cost about $7 for up to 20 pages and I had anywhere between 65 to 80 images. There is an additional charge after the first 20. Dave suggested I try MyPublisher.com next. Mpix.com is another possibility. I was very pleased with their business cards.

This is indeed going to be a short post. I had begun to discuss the book "Modeling Life" that I mentioned in the last post, but need more time to arrange my thoughts a bit better. I didn't like what I had so I erased it. Ever have moments like that? This image is one that I did by accident, but I liked it. I was going too fast and clicked inverse while attempting something else. When I saw the image change, I stopped, mulled it over and kept it. Maybe it just reminds me of looking at my negatives right before I place it in the enlarger. Call me weird, but I do miss my darkroom...

11 October 2007

"Modeling Life"

This is going to have to be a shorter post than usual. I have homework to do tonight which requires some research time, so I can't play on my blog like I'd prefer. I was recently linked by Nude Video Art, (...thanks, Iris), which used this image to link to my website. So, I extend my thanks and invite you to visit their site as well. More than photography is posted on this blog, as it portrays videos, digital illustrations, and music sharing. I found several of the digital illustrations to be of particular interest as they showed an air of creativity that I hadn't previously appreciated.

I am also currently reading a book by Sarah R. Phillips titled "Modeling Life: Art Models Speak about Nudity, Sexuality, and the Creative Process". I picked it up at Amazon.com. Its also been in my links section of this blog. I haven't gotten far as I am only in the first chapter, but she is pointing out a particular distinction between life or art models who pose for the big three...drawing, painting, and sculpture, vs. those models who pose for photography. I must say, her research does not look favorably upon art photo nudes, nor the models who pose for us. I intend to keep an objective perspective on this and review the book through it's entirety, though I will criticize the author for not having a larger sample size in which she based her conclusions on, being a pool of 30 models all located in Portland Oregon. For a professor, I'd expect a bit larger sample and a larger distribution. Many of the models she interviewed more than likely know each other and thus may formulate some of the same opinions.

Okay, so I lied. This isn't necessarily as short as I planned. I will include in my future posts reports of my critiques and opinions on this literary publication as I am able to review it. I think I can lend an interesting perspective having a background as a life model of both drawing and photography. As always, I'd love to hear your comments on the matter.

07 October 2007

The Artist's Wife

Whew...the Pro vs. Amateur debate sure drew some interest. I like that. Its good to exchange ideas. Univers d'Artistes has postings and relative commentary regarding the matter. My post just before this one was featured on this site as a different perspective to that of Marcus J Ranum. Iris Dassault, the professional model I am constantly harping about, also added some timely and poignant insight to the mix which was added at the conclusion of my addition. The saga continued the next day with a post from Gunther Vandenven and more commentary from Iris. Its definitely work the look, so check it out. The only element we missed was the voice of a true amateur model to provide that unique perspective. I might have to see if I can solicit some and then I will let the issue rest.

Another interesting point regards a few articles I came across that discuss figure modeling or life drawing models. I'd like to share some of them with you by way of the following links. The first one is most interesting to me, which is a New York Times article by Carol Kino written just this past week on the 2nd of October. I relate well to this particular article because I sincerely adore the photographer who spends much of his time photographing his wife. One of my initial inspirations was from a friend Malcolm Glass and his wife as I recall one image of his wife done in a spontaneous moment of unique opportunity for which they were able to take advantage of. This article is touching because, although it is referencing the exhibition of the late artist Harry Callahan, it is done from the perspective of his wife of 63 years, Eleanor, who is now 91 years old. The article is titled "The Artist’s Wife: A Constant Muse Who Never Said No", again, by Carol Kino of the NY Times.

Other article of interest that may be appealing to you includes this one which I thought was funny. "My 11-year-old is drawing nudes? What do I do?" Its an advice column done by a reader who writes in to Dr. Gail Saltz for help with her son who is allowed to draw the female form by his artist dad. The mom is hoping Dr. Saltz will take her side on this. See who's side she ends up supporting on this. I'd love to hear your comments as well. Do you agree with the Dr's. advice? Now enjoy these recent abstracts.

03 October 2007

More on the Amateur ...plus Imagens

First, let me give proper dues to Imagens for featuring me on their blog today. This is one classy site that gives tribute to photographers and thier work. You can see some of the sites and blogs of better know photogs and chances are you will find a link to Imagens. So check them out and you will see why that is.

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!