30 September 2008


Talk about a rough week! Trouble has been stuck to me like a tick on a hound dog over the last week or so. But before I get into all that, let me get in a few points that I've made notes to cover for my next blog posting.

1. I just had another great post of mine that landed on Univers d' Artistes. Chris liked my recent post Jerry Uelsmann and Spencer Tunick so much that he re-posted it on his blog. I might also add that his posting was much better than the original post here on my own blog! The man really knows how to promote. So I know you've already read me on this blog but go check out how Chris has recyled my post into something better.

2. Candy Poses , (also her lastest work) is not Tuesday anymore, but she's definately back in the "mainstream" art nude modeling genre. In a previous post I talked about her in her dealings with Five Naked Models, where she was Tuesday. That was her day of the week to make a video log (vlog) commentary on the subject of modeling as a nude art model. She also used to author the blog Feminism Without Clothes. For reasons of her own, she had a change of heart, killed the blog and altered her priorities a little. However, I've now seen her working with noted photogs (such as David L. Le Beck) and she's got another blog up and running called simply "Candy Poses: Images from a Fine Art Nude Model". So she's back on my list of models I wanted to someday work with. That's how all this got started. I think she's beautiful, fabulous and an excellent model.

3. "What We Saw Today" is the new blog started by collaborators, Unbearable Lightness (model) and Joseph Crachiola (photographer). She was online with Iris Dassault as one of the Women of Avalon, which will hence forward be known as - ) Simply - Nude ( - . If you follow Unbearable Lightness the way I do, be sure to go over and check her out. If you author a blog of your own, do her the well-deserved kindness of adding her link. It goes without saying to make sure you stay tuned in to Iris over there with the exceptional, RJ Berry.

4. Chrome - This is the new web-browser by young behemoth, Google. It has nothing really to do with photoworks, but I've recently switched from using Internet Explorer mainly because there are times when IE gets hung up when Chrome will not. Also, if a tab on Chrome does stall, all the other open tabs keep functioning perfectly. One bad tab doesn't mean you have to close out Chrome. IE can't say that. Ease of use and simplicity round out the main reasons why I like it over IE, Firefox, or the other web browsers. I have no idea how it sacks up against Safari.

5. So speaking about a rough week. I think I previously mentioned some complaints about my blog being too edgy. A few days later, I get contacted from Meet Up.com about a nude image on my home page for my Las Vegas Art Models Group. Apparently someone reported me for having exposed breasts on a public forum. Okay, so I realized I was in violation and made the changes. This past Sunday, a park ranger drove up to my group while on an outting and hammered us for being professional photographers in the park without a permit and purportedly shooting nudes. Well now we are banned for life from said state park (not a year...LIFE!) and were kicked out effectively post-haste. I hardly got a word in edge-wise. I'll not go into details on the matter cuz I just don't need the heat right now, nor do I want to bring any more attention to anyone else.

"Mr. Tunick has been arrested five times in New York, although all the charges have been dropped. Last year, he was arrested while trying to photograph a group in Times Square". - "Court Rules Nude Photos Can be Takeng on the Street" ,John Sullivan, New York Times, 20 May 2000

Still, suffice to say, I could use some input on dealing with situations like this. I don't want to be banned from this place, although there are many other places (non-state owned) to shoot in. If I could afford an attorney, I'd consult one. For now, I'd like to get the insight from people with experience dealing with such predicaments or introduced to an open forum of sorts to get creditable input on said matters. Some of my photo heros and other photogs I watch have dealings with Johhny Law. I've never had a real desire to profit from my work or become famous for my art, but now that I've been banned from somewhere, becoming famous is the only way to make it all worthwhile. So one way of looking at this is ... I am forced to become a celebrity now.
Finally, there's just not enought that can be said about Lorelei. As much as I can use her in my artwork, I will. We worked again recently and had I left with some promising opportunities that I'd like to explore with this young lady. Its so easy to be overly-complimentary about her that I won't even try to indulge you on it any longer. Just understand that you can expect to see more of her involvment in my work. Great attitude, Great model, Great person.
On a final note, I'll leave you another interesting story. Check out this article on an artist who's self-portrait was recently banned because her nipples were too large!

25 September 2008

Tunick and Uelsmann

"My creative process begins when I get out with the camera and interact with the world. A camera is truly a license to explore. There are no uninteresting things. There are just uninterested people."
- Jerry Uelsmann

"All eyes can see 'how a country can be free and treat the naked body as art. Not as pornography or as a crime, but with happiness and caring.” - Spencer Tunick

Today, I am going to cover some of my inspirations. I've recently posted about Iris Dassault, Dave Rudin, and Chris St. James, who by the way, just posted a piece on me for Univers d'Artistes that made me all bashful inside. So those guys, notwithstanding, I wanted to also post on some of my original inspirations that had a lot to do with me doing photo work and artistic nudes, in specific.

As far back as I can recollect, I've had a fascination with the female form. It wasn't until my military tour in Germany, however, that I was freed from the mindset which prevented me from separating the idea or concept of the nude with the notion that sex had to be implied. This then brought on a new and more liberating appreciation for the female nude, unencumbered by the notion of lust. Next came the introduction of Spencer Tunick, via his HBO special, "Naked States". He is best known for his installations of using thousands of nudes in a single photographic work. Prior to this, I had no creative outlet for my appreciation of the nude because everything that I saw that depicted the nude form was either in a museum or associated with the adult industry in some fashion. Photographic artistic nudes just did not exist to me before Spencer Tunick, who followed the original HBO special with his next one, "Naked World". I admired his sense of dedication to his artwork at the risk of his own freedom. There was one point where the cops in NY were waiting on him to release the shutter on a nude model. He gave quick instruction to his assistants on what to do while he was away in jail, took the shot, and was immediately hauled off. Good thing he had a good attorney.

That was my outlet. I wanted to see more. Who else could be doing this? The answer to that question brought me to Edward Weston. There is not another photog that I identified with more than Weston, but I have already given him several mentions on this blog. You can do a search on his name in the search box for this blog. This allows me to get to my next inspiration, Jerry Uelsmann. If Spencer was responsible for my interest, Uelsmann was responsible for my commitment to it. I shoot digital now, but I was a film purist up til right at a year ago. I was seeking my place in film and wondering what was the next step. I wanted to see something different and I wanted to do something different, but I thought I had already reached the limits of what could be done in film.

"For me to walk around the block where I live could take 5 minutes. But when I have a camera, it could take five hours." - Jerry Uelsmann

Over one Christmas break, a few years ago. I studied photography day in and day out, particularly darkroom explorations. It was while I was looking through an interesting photo book of digital artwork in the library that my commitment to photography solidified. Paging through the book, I saw interesting photos, but I knew that digital manipulation did not appeal to me. I felt the creative process was somewhat diminished with the addition of computer-based filters and processes. The thought crossed my mind that if there was a way to do this with film, that would be totally magical. As I lifted the book to return it to its proper place on the shelf, the word "darkroom" on the back cover caught my eye. I retrieved the book once more to peruse the book's back cover summary and to my utter amazement, read that all these images were done using ONLY darkroom manipulations through mulit-negative exposures! The creator...Jerry Uelsmann. I couldn't breathe, I tell you. When I began to see what was actually possible IN the darkroom, IN film, IN photography, I knew that my creative outlet could be boundless. I was released to explore again. At that moment, photography became more than a hobby or a past time. It was my thing.

"I just create shapes and forms with human bodies. Its an abstraction, its a performance, its an installation." - Spencer Tunick

Jerry Uelsmann would utilize more than 8 enlargers each set with adifferent masked negative while moving the paper around to each enlarger and only exposing a portion of the paper to that particular negative. Those of you familiar with darkroom prints know how challenging it can be with one negative to obtain a good test exposure and working print before even beginning to create the final print. I found this page with a kind of video clip on how he actually creates a masterpiece with his unique process. Just click on the IN THE DARKROOM tab when you open the page. You can check out books by him via this Amazon Link.

These images are of my original attempt at multi-negative exposures and I only used TWO enlargers, combining the image of Katie taken in a studio against a black background, and landscape images taken while scouting weeks before. Take my word for it when I say creating these images were exasperating...but exhilarating!

20 September 2008

Bringing Back Lissa

"This then: to photograph a rock, have it look like a rock, but be more than a rock. "
- Edward Weston

" Why"

Thought I'd bring back Lissa for an encore. Times are getting tougher every day it seems and she was on my mind today. I was supposed to have a visit with her today to give her a disk of out first shoot, but plans had to change. This was one of those "good time" shoots, because we had a really good time doing it. She's such a natural for posing and is very comfortable with herself. Talking with her during the whole shoot made time pass so quickly that I didn't realize that 7 hours had passed. I was in need of rest and hadn't slept the night before. I was shooting Lissa on fumes, but we had such a good time that I completely lost track of the passing hours. Before I knew it, it was time for me to shower and go to work.

I am hoping to get to work with her on location somewhere soon. She's tied up with some other concerns at the moment, so her schedule is sort of hectic. Some of the best models I have shot were like that. You lock them down for a shoot one day, but good luck trying to get them back again for a while. Its been at least 3 weeks, I think since I've worked with Lissa. We've kept in contact, but I sincerely hope its not another 3 weeks before we shoot again. She's fascinating.

I stand corrected on Imagens. I reported a few posts ago that that blog was done. However, before his blog has had a chance to collect dust, he's unretired it and back to posting. Go figure. Well, its good to have him back anyway.

I noted that Iris Dassault and the Women of Avalon have now been censored by the Content Warning Cover Monster. I am not sure as to whether or not Google is being fair about all this. I don't know what criteria they use to say you are offensive and we need to protect the public from you with a one click irritating page in front of your blog. I don't know what I'll do if that occurs to me. I've seen some bloggers jump ship and head over to WordPress just on principle alone. Maybe that's what Google wants. Who knows. At some point, I think we are all going to get it and be faced with that decision. Take it and ignore it...Business as usual, OR object...close down the blog and move elsewhere. Rich and Lin Bang of Fluffytek host their own blog inside their website. Its certainly an idea. My webpage uses a template service, ifp3.com. Its a bit harder for me to do at the moment I think. Ifp3 has been making strides by leaps and bounds over the past 6 months. Lots of new features, capabilities, and services have been added that give you the option of more personized web pages. They are still adding features and growing.

I've also been excited to see Chris St. James at it on a daily basis over there on his home front, Univers d'Artistes. After being gone about 6 months, he's been catching up with a fierceness. Normally, I think he'd post maybe twice a week. Check him out now and see how many posts he has in the last week. The man is a machine. I've even gotten a few of my shots posted by him. Too cool. Thats like a shot of adrenaline for my blog and website every time he does that. Thanks, Chris.

Come to think of it, my friend Garrett, the Nikonian, has been out of touch lately. I met him when he signed up for my first photo workshop and he's taken off ever since. This big guy is really cooking in terms of managing his day job with his insatiable desire to shoot. I can't hate on him, that he's packing a D3 and has every lens you can think of, but damn, who wouldn't. Garrett has been a good find for me when I got here to Vegas. He's put me in contact with some great people and basically, you can thank him that I'm even talking to you right now. I mentioned before that he was responsible for the computer for which I now continue to entertain, explain, and otherwise regale you with photo adventures. He took my fried computer tower to his best bud, and WALLA... I'm sporting a new tower AND a flat screen. I know, he's still chomping at the bit waiting for Nikon to release the newer version, the D3x sometime soon. I've given some strong consideration to switching to the Nikon system. Garrett is all about Nikon and I get kidded by him and several of the others at our Saturday gatherings at B&C Camera for shooting Canon, but now I have to really consider the new Canon 5d Mk II, thats due to hit the shelves in November. We'll see how it stacks up.

17 September 2008

Centenial Posting, Introducing Lorelei

"Never forget that the nurturing and preservation of your own muse is job one. Lose it and you may be losing a great deal."

"True muses stay dreams forever unless artists connect them to exploratory work."- both quotes by Robert Genn

"The Latest Muse"

For the 100th time, I am addressing you on my Photoblog. Its taken just over a year, as I missed my blog birthday/anniversary on the 2nd of August. I've looked back over my posts from then and I really like where this is going. I think I've made some satisfactory progress and am pleased with my commitment to maintaining it. Oh sure, sometimes, I leveled off to just one post a week, but when you apply a little smoothing to the stats, I've been there for you. "Are you not entertained?!" (That was a Russell Crowe, "Gladiator" reference...)

Over the last year, I've made some major changes. Switching over to digital from film was the most major I'd say. Without a darkroom here in Vegas, the appeal for film lost some of its romance for me. Now, I can hardly imagine my workload if I were to begin again shooting film. If someone right now gave me a darkroom of my very own, I probably wouldn't know what to do with it. (Breathe, Dave...) Actually, I would. I just wouldn't get to put it to use much. I do, however, still have every intent on getting my hands on a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II. I am still fascinated with it and would love to use it exclusively for my landscape and special portrait work. I wouldn't use it without a darkroom, though. It was interesting, today I was visiting Edda at B&C Camera. In walks a girl from Connecticut who is purchasing medium format film. I couldn't help but ask what she was shooting and before she answered, I had guessed the 67 and was correct.

This past Sunday was another interesting day. When it comes to shooting nudes, I can shoot for basically as long as I have juice. Battery juice, that is. I've yet to have a model that can keep up with me in that regard, and especially in extreme heat conditions. Well, I've now met my match with Lorelei.

The term Muse originally refers to the nine daughters of Zeus in Greek mythology who presided over different elements of the arts. You'll find the dictionary a definition meaning to gaze or meditate on. Well, artists who use the nude figure as live models refer to the best of these as muses, who exhibit a measure of passion and commitment to their trade. Lorelei is such a muse.

We met up on Sunday to scout out a trail and do some shooting while we were out. We ended up shooting from sunup til sundown and that includes during the middle of the day. We just stayed in the shade during the hottest parts. That still didn't keep us from cooking at times. The sun was still high overhead and seemed to linger. We found one spot that was so gorgeous that we both knew we needed take advantage of it. The problem was that it was just sunny to get good shots in and trying to wait 3 hours before the sun dipped behind the mountains just didn't seem like anything we wanted to do and we were low on water. Heading back to the car was not an option. So how do we get the shot?

Well, as it turns out, we found a shaded area and decided to do some candid shots. We chatted while I shot with no posing directions. We also discovered that we had a couple more bottles of water than we thought. The next thing we knew, there was no visible sun. It was 3 hours later! So we hurried back up to our spot to get the shots we needed before we lost too much light. It was amazing. By no means do I ever want to over work a model, but Lorelei was a real trooper. She was having too much fun to stop and I never seemed to get enough shots. I've often talked about some models who I could simply shoot all day. Well, Lorelei is one of them and we did. I can tell you we've already planned some more shoots as she has a kindred spirit complimentary to mine. I think its her hair that really sets things off. During our initial interview, she had it up. When I asked her to let it down, I was floored. We did our second interview shoot and almost every single shot was a keeper. I don't mean to be overly complimentary of this girl, but damn! You can't tell me that you don't agree. The only downside is that I now have to edit all those images...some 600 plus, I think. When I have enough, you can look for more of her work on my website, hopefully soon. Thanks, Lorelei.

10 September 2008

September Art Nude Photo Workshop #1

"How many Licks..."

"Photography to the amateur is recreation, to the professional it is work, and hard work too, no matter how pleasurable it my be." -Edward Weston

I'm starting to make some headway into this backlog of photo edits. I still have a ways to go, but at least I'm on a roll and have knocked out a good chunk of all I had to do. Well, the first of my September workshops is in the record books. I keep getting from the participants that each one is the best yet. I'm glad they've enjoyed them so much, but the pressure seems to mount each time I set up another model and location. This last model, Clarissa, was one of Jeff's finds. He did a personal shoot with her and then recommended her to me for a workshop. I'm glad he did. This was a very interesting girl with a even more intriguing story behind her. She is a real trooper. This girl was certainly not bashful and she didn't mind getting dirty. As you can see from the redness on her back, butt, and feet, she was all over the place. At times I was uncomfortable with her fearlessness. She got up high once but she could handle it.

All in all the event was a success, but just like in most cases, I was glad when it was over. Just dealing with all the coordinations to set it up were mind boggling and this event brought on challenges that would have felled a lesser organizer with ease. But hey, I was up for the challenge and I prevailed! Hooah! The first image up top is courtesy of good friend and photog, J.L. Wolfe, who shot this most opportune image of the back of my head as I was focusing on the model. What a great shot!

One of my other challenges has been to figure out what to do with the overwhelming response to my casting calls when I need models. I do one or maybe two workshops a month. I get way more responses than that and end up turning down excellent models or at least asking them to wait til the next one, which is when you lose them or never hear back. These girls don't like to feel second to anybody. I tend to book fairly quickly. Most times, when a model sees my casting and responds, I've already met with someone, interviewed, and booked. Then I'm left asking them to wait for the next one.

I need more paid gigs for my Las Vegas Art Models Group. I do more TFP work for my independent art, but I put together my group to help get more paid gigs for models who might not have many nude venues to work outside of schools and universities or photogs who just want to see a girl naked. I considered acting in the capacity of an agency, but that's not really where my heart is. I get requests for models, but they are not as consistant as I'd like. I'd much rather sponsor my own events, but then you get into the area of availability of photogs who'll pay. My workshops are fairly reasonable, but in a recent lighting seminar in my other group, the Las Vegas Photographic Society, we had several people RSVP to be there and then only 1 showed up. I have my group advance pay to avoid this, but too many events will only result in less participation. I don't have the market to sustain more events just yet. I must admit, if I had the means to pay the models out of pocket, I'd be holding an event every week. I'm sure that would grow the group well enough til the numbers support the effort.

At one point, I thought about creating a blog for my LVAMG in addition to this one. That's a no-go. Maintaining a blog is not the easiest thing to do. Content, time, and the committment to maintain it can be extensive. So this makes me wonder why another fairly prominent art nude blog chose to shut down. Imogens, just made its last post recently. I have no idea why, but I did notice they moved their operations from Blogger to Wordpress, then began posting less frequently. No explanation was given, but I kind of wish someone else were allowed to take it over and maintain it. There was some good stuff there.

And I'll end with a new link to a fabulous to the website of a young painter, Erin Jones. (Also, Click ->Here for her blog link). She's a good friend of mine and has become the best living artists I know. I don't make that statement lightly. The girl is good. I haven't seen her do any nudes, but you'll like her work nonetheless. Erin proved very inspirational to me despite her young age. She's a 20-something emerging artist with the wisdom of someone another 20 years her senior. I miss our long talks, debates, and conversations. She's got excellent insight and is someone good to bounce soul searching questions off of. Trust me, I take full advantage.

03 September 2008

Welcome to TNAP, Lissa

"Lissa in Portraiture"

I really love what I am doing in photo right now. I'm still behind on my editing. I'm getting the crap beat out of me working the night shift. I'm short of cash on hand. And I'm still transitioning from the lifestyle of one residence into that of a new one. I can't tell a Thursday from a Tuesday and right now, I should be in bed. But what am I doing instead... trying to entertain and share with you on my blog. Why, *coming back full circle*, because I really love what I am doing in photo right now.

One of the reasons I like this is because right now, I don't have any expectations. I have dreams, desires, passions, and loves. I crave some new equipment. But I don't really have expectations. This is not income driven. I am not under someone else's deadline. I'm not prepping for contests trying to beat submission deadlines. I have the option to shoot what I like. Though its not always easy, I get to shoot a model most any time I need. I love that women are comfortable enough with me to pose for me. I know part of the reason for this is because when they look through my portfolio, they can see themselves in it. Its not full of all the high fashion glamour. I mainly use the girl you might see driving past your car on the interstate on her way to work at the local Five and Dime. They can identity with what I do, is what I think.

I've got great mentors, like Dave Rudin, Iris Dassault, and Chris St. James; all of whom have had integral involvements in launching my site and blog. I might add again, that its good to have Chris back. He's got to make another trip to the hospital, and has given me permission to post on Univers d' Artistes! I don't know what I'll do with all that power. All I can think of is Uncle Ben telling Peter Parker, "With great power comes great responsibility!". Anyway, since then, I've made several other connections via the web, my Las Vegas Art Models Group, The Las Vegas Photographic Society, and more. I've held figure drawing venues in the World Market Center that were perused by people of influence who eventually commissioned work from some of the attending artists and established deeper connections for more paid work and sales. This, all in just my first year.

So photographically speaking, I really have nothing to complain about. Well, maybe except wanting to do it more and have the time to do it. I just need to be patient with it and learn to better work with what I have. My personal life has left me unable to think at times. Even then, I've had my good friends Felix and Summer to think for me. I kid you not: I've been so exhausted lately, I've made some blunders. Felix and Summer have been there to smack me with a good one across the cheeks to wake me back up. Jeff has been a blessing to allow me into his home when things got too dicey at my own, even though money has been tight as hell. So what adjustments has he had to make to living with a new roommate, well twice just this past week, he's come home to discover naked chicks lounging around the house. Not bad, huh.

Speaking of which, this is Lissa, one of the naked chicks lounging around on Jeff's furniture. I think she's a pretty remarkable woman. I contacted her because she's a member of the Group and we don't have many group members model who actually model. I've been going through deleting out members who are inactive or never do anything or make any contributions. Lissa had a pic posted and I asked her about doing some actual modeling. She's done a little bit before, but nothing on a regular basis. We interviewed last week and I shot her in Jeff's place. That was the longest shoot I'd done in quite some time. It was the way she looked into the lens that had me releasing the shutter so many times. I was doing this without ANY sleep from the night before. Maybe it shows in my work, but I think I got some really good shots. As soon as I get half way done with her edits, I'm getting her back out here for some more. She's a lovely muse.

Oh and my website doubled in traffic for the month of August! Yeah, I'm lovin' it.