28 May 2014

"Implied Nudes"? No..Not So Much

Art Model, Panda © 2014 Terrell Neasley
Nude — adj
1. completely unclothed; undressed
2. having no covering; bare; exposed

So this latest few series of blog posts have gotten a little attention. First, I started out with Why I don't do nudes for money. I followed it up explaining how I'm waiting on the right time, venue, and circumstances. I then covered details about my private sessions because I do charge for those. And after this I got a few questions regarding implied nudes, but presently I felt it necessary to decline those requests. Work for hire gets you whatever you want, of course. But integrating it into my regular artistic nude work for no charge is not as doable for me at this time.

Art Model, SuzN © 2013 Terrell Neasley

Implied nudes are just what it sounds like. These are images of women taken that give the appearance the the model is nude, however they are still covered...just not with clothing. This can take the form of using the hands to help cover the goods or strategic angles to keep everything hidden. Sometimes models might use a boa, fabric material, or any type of prop that can be used to cover the breasts and genitalia. I've seen some great work from several photographers who do implied nudes. They are Facebook friendly and can be used in more widely acceptable venues. They can still be considered adult in nature, so placement should still be a consideration. You can see this all over the Las Vegas strip and downtown area, but you'd be less likely to see it on a billboard next to a school.

Art Model, Christina © 2013 Terrell Neasley
I just choose not to do it. At least not for free as I might my other art nude work. I shoot the nude. I have a dislike for hiding or censoring my work. I started out doing this with my own work and it was actually a model, Sara, one of my original art nude models, who practically scolded me for my own self-censoring practices. She articulated to me that there will be enough people in the world who will do this for me that I need not add to their efforts. She reminded me that I am an artistic nude photographer and that is where my passion lies. So why then should I take pictures whereby the elements that qualify a work as art nude are eliminated from the composition?

“It’s the invention of clothes, not nature, that made “private parts” private.” 
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Over the years, I have received negative feedback and foul opinions for my work. I like to think that I respect people and their opinions about me. Sometimes I take it personally. In some cases, people may criticize my art, which is fine. Other times, they take it a step further and form an opinion about me personally because I am the author of what they feel to be obscene, improper for moral consumption, and otherwise simply disgusting. At times, I can't say I blame them. Artists have historically pushed and challenged the ideals that society hold dear. I have been disgusted myself by some expressions of artists who use the "art" moniker very loosely. Who am I to define loose, though? Some of my work is way more explicit that what many would be comfortable with despite my artistic editing techniques.

Art Model, Emily © 2013 Terrell Neasley
However here is my deal. We are talking about the human body. I have never understood why society needs "protection" from depictions of a penis, a vagina, or breasts especially when these depictions are non-sexualized. Our most famous art pieces and artists we consider to be masters utilized the nude form as the norm in their work and kids can see this in a museum anywhere. I take issue to the fact that we can be subjected to advertisements that imply nudity or are sexually sensationalized, but breasts in art are morally unlawful. Since when did boobs become taboo? I don't want to use this blog as a soapbox to debate why America would be better off if we were not afraid of the naked body. That's not even the purpose of this post. But I feel like I've addressed well enough on my particulars on why implieds are of less interest to me. I mislike the notion of being afraid of the nude. And if I have any last issue with the implied nude, it is simply the fact that I enjoy shooting the nude...the whole you. The nude you. I would much rather be inclined to shoot a clothed model than an implied nude.

23 May 2014

Private Sessions and What They Might Entail

Art Model, Covenant ©2014 Terrell Neasley
"Nothing is more dangerous than a friend without discretion; even a prudent enemy is preferable."
~ Jean de La Fontaine

This series of posts has a bit more depth to it than I thought. I was asked by someone who read the original post about my private sessions and I thought I'd go into a bit more detail regarding them. So in that post, I was referencing moments when I do indeed take money for my artistic nude work and I explained it like this:
"But before I go into details, let me clarify. I DO charge for my art nude work and sessions under certain conditions. Two, in fact. There are times that I simply cannot turn down a paying gig in order to shoot model nudes. So in those cases, when I need to be about my business, shooting nudes will also have to be rolled into my revenue-generating efforts. The second reason is when said model chooses not to allow me to display the created work for my own artistic purposes. In these cases, the model becomes a client and monetary compensation is necessary since this becomes a work for hire agreement. If I can't use the images for my artwork, then I can only participate in the requested session for hire."

Art Model, Covenant ©2014 Terrell Neasley
Enough people have seen my work and form their own opinions about it and me. I was having breakfast with a good buddy of mine just the other day and he mentioned a lady who spoke disparagingly about my work. Understood. I totally get it. Its not for everyone and these people have their own reasons. So that's understood and I can respect and appreciate that. I try not to take it personally. I don't always succeed, but that's cool too. I always get over it. No biggie.

From time to time, word gets out to someone who appreciates what I do. Whether from curiosity or a longing desire to be seen as an art nude model, I get calls and requests for my services as a photographer to assist in bringing these visions to fruition. I am reminded of one such mother who sought me out. She had already worked with two photographers in as many years to little satisfaction. Her efforts had only resulted in pictures of herself naked, but not artistic. She wanted to give it one last time and found me on a Google search looking for art nude photographers in Las Vegas. When she saw my work, it just seemed to fit. However she had one simple request. The images needed to be her's and her's alone. They were not for me to use for my own work. They were not for public consumption. And she needed assurances that her confidence would be honored. Thankfully, after meeting me, she felt comfortable enough to do this after I described to her how I worked. Her previous sessions were a few hundred dollar gigs with photogs whom she believed lacked the skill she believed she required. After hearing my fees, she briefly considered allowing me to use her images in my art just to avoid the costs (as many often do!), but quickly dismissed that notion and elected to delay her session for two months until she was able to accommodate my fees in her budget.

Art Model, Covenant ©2014 Terrell Neasley

She was very pleased with the results. For my fee, we did 3 different sessions over 3 different days that took about a two weeks to shoot. Two of those days were day long road trips to locations but each were distinct from one another. I took enough images to edit 100 shots for a hard-bound photo book and it was then that she realized she had gotten her money's worth. I have never used her images. No one has seen them, unless she herself has shown them. I have no model release authorizing my use of her recognizable work. Her confidence and her business is her's alone and I'll not betray it. She modeled in poses that started out ultra conservative, but which became explicit by the second session. I didn't judge her. My job was to place her in situations and poses that reflected her mood which became emboldened as time wore on. I asked and she gave. I advised and she relented. All that came through trust.

"Every man has a certain sphere of discretion which he has a right to expect shall not be infringed by his neighbors. This right flows from the very nature of man."
~ William Godwin

Art Model, Covenant ©2014 Terrell Neasley
To date, I think I've done private sessions for reasons that no longer surprise or catch me off guard. A wife taking striptease lessons for her deployed soldier husband (non-nude...just pole dancing). A mother wanting to build confidence in her own body. A lady with 4 kids wanting to give her man a Christmas present. A woman with unique physical features for which she desires to see in a more positive light with hope that my artistic view of things can help her achieve that. More commonly, its someone who sees and loves my work and wants to be a part of my art. But because of certain community standards or employment risks, they need their confidence protected. Some have elected to pose with non-recognizable anonymous poses just to be sure and more confident. Then later ask me post their work on my blog, unidentified, just to see themselves discretely published on the web. I love getting these requests from friends of long ago that reconnect with me via Facebook or who come across my name on a Google search. I once shot a girl who, who last I saw her, was TEN years old, but is now an adult. She did a Google search for my son, saw my name and work, and contacted me. After finally reaching an agreement (and convincing me to do it), I drove 5 hours to shoot her. I'll travel anywhere on the planet.

I shoot a variety of sizes, shapes and ages of women. Two of my best shoots last year were of women in their 50's. Having a perfect body is not a requirement. A good attitude, however is. Telling me you want to work with me when you lose weight is almost a "never happen". Rarely has that ever worked out. I'm an "as is" and "natural as possible" photog when I'm at my best. Glammed up, boudoir, sexy and alluring poses are not my specialty. I don't need a lot of hair and make-up. Just come as you are and take off your clothes. Let me see you. Let me find my angles, spots, and looks. Then pay me and let me go to work. That's how many of my private sessions go. If you have more questions contact me and lets talk. [PhotoAnthems (AT) Gmail (DOT) com] We'll discuss availability, your interests, possible solutions, and fees. BTW, twice I've had someone speak ill of my work and then within the same year, discretely request my private sessions. So I do honestly try to never take it personally. You just never know what their objection are or when they might overcome them. Had I retaliated, I'd have never gotten the business and more importantly, not have these two good friends.

22 May 2014

The Right Time

Art Model, Viki Vegas, ©2011 Terrell Neasley
"Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time."
~ Arnold H. Glasow

I think I've went into enough details on my last blog post about why I don't make money on my nudes. But I'll open up just a little bit more regarding things I've thought about over the last two years and what may change in the near future. Its sort of been a waiting game where I'm looking for the right deal for my work. There are simply ways I wish to conduct my affairs when dealing with my art work. Its personal. And in that regard, with as much as I know about business, I prefer to take myself out of that equation and let more objective people do it for me. At least for now, that is. I recognize my weakness. I've worked various jobs in finance, management, and marketing. I have an MBA. I also have a MS in Telecommunications Systems Management which was heavy on the SYSTEMS MANAGEMENT part and that included business applications. So I'm not saying my weakness is in handling the business end of all this.

Art Model, Covenant ©2014 Terrell Neasley
I'm just being honest with myself in recognizing that my artwork compromises my ability to remain impartial to the decisions and judgements that may be necessary for this particular moment in time, specifically these initial steps. I know the constraints and conditions as an artist that I'd place on how my work is produced, presented, and promoted. I had turned down two artist's agents in the last 3 years, but now I think I could benefit from the consultation of a professional. So there you have it. In the meantime, I don't want to do any more contests, despite some that are tempting. Exhibition is my main focus for the immediate time going forward. I have so much work that I've accumulated over the years that nobody has ever even seen. Panda remains my most prolific model. I shot her 21 times over the last 3 years. I'll bet less than 20 of her images have even been used or otherwise displayed. So we'll see.

In other news....

I think I'm about settled on Peru for the summer. I still have lots to figure out as to the specifics of the trip, fly dates, and what I want to do in South America. I'll give Central America a break for now and make Panama and El Salvador my priorities next. So at the moment, I'm researching Peru for options and have found a few good things and even met a beautiful Peruvian woman at Valley of Fire last weekend who was hiking with her accomplished photographer husband. It was really inspiring.

Anonymous ©2013 Terrell Neasley
I'm going back there with a new Fujifilm camera, the X-T1 along a few of the latest prime lenses. I'm going Fuji-PRIME! I'll have all f/1.4 or faster glass in the 3 main primary perspective formats (for full-frame), the 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm. I'd still much rather take a model with me, but I'm going to be fortunate to just squeak by taking my own self there on this trip. And as usual, I have no clue how long I'll be gone or where I'll come back from just yet, so all that's still open. Man, I need help on so many levels. Pitiful. I don't have too many travel buddies to talk to here in Vegas. I say "too many" as if I really mean more than one. HA! Yeah, I only have one.

So lots of work to do in June to be ready for July.