I've been taking at least some completely blurred/out-of-focus shots on just about every shoot since I started shooting over 25 years ago. I've always liked the dreamy look of it. If I wanted to be indulgent (and make people roll their eyes), then every other image in my body of work would be one of these. To my mind, it always works— but of course, most others just see it as fooling around. I get away with incorporating blur into just about every image of mine by keeping at least a little bit of focal point and shooting at f1.2. The mind tends to see completely blurred as an accident or incompetence, but a razored edged focus at least somewhere in there takes a lot more effort. Which, well, tends to be true. I try to keep from showing the completely out of focus stuff to a minimum. I just look at and appreciate them on the contacts. It takes a lot of effort on my part, though, not to show them. Seriously.
Monday, August 21, 2017
Sunday, August 13, 2017
For those that may be curious, they are quite a few images on this blog with film grain. Well, I shot film for many years— late 1980's to present day, although I mostly stopped by the late 2000's. I still have a full darkroom and many film cameras. For the most part, I find using film to be too tedious and limiting unless it's larger format and/or a special developing process. I've scanned many of my film shots— some from negatives and some from prints if they were unique or noteworthy. The negative scans I reworked in Photoshop because I really wanted to see the difference from original prints made from them, and the print scans are as faithful as possible since that was the point of scanning them. So images on this blog that have grain are mostly from those scans of old work, although I typically make them look like my newer work. That makes sense to me since this is a showcase of newer work— and with photography, old work can become new work. The old versions are in print portfolios. I make new prints as well so that I can eventually compare the difference. It is a project in and of itself. Lately, I've been applying Photoshop grain to newer digital work just to see if one seems more interesting than without. Not surprisingly, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. This doesn't seem like a dishonest thing since they are virtually indistinguishable from their film counterparts in web version form, despite the fact that I'm not always noting what is what. Hell, you can hardly notice the grain until you click on the image for a larger version. There is no truth in photography! I've written about that before. If there is no truth in photography, then it can't be dishonest— with the obvious exception of an image being falsely used as documented evidence in a newspaper, book or court case. Not that photography really has had such weight as being inherently truthful since its beginnings. To make a long story short (too late?), these two images are new and digital. Just to let you know ;)
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
I've always felt a deep affinity with Egon Schiele, an early twentieth-century Viennese artist. His world was not the glittering & hedonistic world typically depicted by his contemporaries— but rather instead a grubby, base & seedy world. Schiele's erotic art is not as sensuous as that produced by his mentor, Gustav Klimt. As with almost all of Schiele's work, his erotic figures are twisted and distorted. His pictures convey the idea of sexual experimentation, often tinged with disappointment or regret. His work is not easily defined by any single artistic movement. He was a unique talent who created a truly unusual style, decades ahead of its time.
Saturday, August 5, 2017
One of my favorite photographers is Keith Carter. His images are timeless and enigmatic. My favorite quote from him is "Make the picture, just make the picture. You've got the rest of your life to figure out what it means." That sums up in better words than I could say about the mindset of what I've been doing for 25 years— I don't like to think too much about meaning as I'm shooting, as it would slow me down. I've got plenty of time for that later...
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
For me, trying to capture a genuine & intimate portrait is the ultimate challenge. I'm constantly driven to keep experimenting with different styles and ideas. Portrait styles have become extremely diverse and a lot of the old school rules no longer apply. Anything goes nowadays, really. No two people are alike, and one person alone can be captured and/or represented in so many ways. Yet, none the less, I tend to be most successful when trying a classic approach— although as in most of my work, I find that infusing a bit of underlying sensuality helps make them just a little more involving. I try to do that by taking my time... making people feel comfortable in my presence. I become their motivator, confidant, and advocate. It’s a great feeling when it is all working. It's an even better feeling when a final image works as well.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
I based this shoot on images from vintage underground bondage magazines from the 1970's, which are interesting in that they are serious and lame at the same time. The setup is usually the same— dingy basement or abandoned factory scene, with damsels in distress tied to found items like chairs or pipes. I remember getting my hands on a copy as a teenager and thinking that it looked like porn for serial killers. The images were purposely amateurish as if they were photographed by the perpetrator himself. I'm not a serial killer, but I have had a keen interest in them ever since. Doesn't everybody? Anyway, as I mentioned, many of the images from this shoot looked like that, but this one stood out as a little more elegant. Those magazines never had any images that resembled this one at all.
Friday, June 16, 2017
Monday, June 5, 2017
I've tried this peeing shot before with someone else— but I deemed it unsuccessful due to the fact that the background was gritty, which made things blend in too much like camouflage. The spontaneity was nice, but what was actually happening got lost. There were some other minor technical issues as well. It's a hard thing to pull off since the subject matter can be difficult to represent well. Armed with the knowledge of past mistakes, I was determined to make it work this time. I'm much happier with these images.
Monday, May 15, 2017
The past year or so I've been doing something that I've never really done before— shooting nudes in public. Well, in public spaces anyway. There is just the occasional pedestrian walking by, late at night, somewhere. Shooting at night for me has to do more with that I like the mood, rather than privacy. Privacy does typically make things easier, though— and that by-chance passerby gets a story to tell. I have always done those semi-public window shots, but the ability to duck back inside made models feel comfortable enough to do just about anything. Those windows often gathered quite an audience, because no one is calling the cops because of a naked girl in an open window.
Monday, May 1, 2017
These images may not be as erotic or possess the sensuality of most of what I typically post here, but it seems to fit in with some of what I've been posting lately. It does show my 1940's Hollywood glamour and film noir roots, which was my main inspiration for years. That still is my main inspiration— but with my newer images, I employ very contemporary subject matter (tattoos, piercings, slightly graphic sex) mixed with genuine spontaneity. My newer images now seem to bear my own fingerprint, rather than just emulating an old style very well.
Sunday, April 9, 2017
Sunday, March 26, 2017
This is one of those images where a story behind it is just as interesting as the image— and the picture doesn't really tell the story. Kati is a contortionist, among other skills that she possesses. She was not only thrilled with the idea of being tied up but she also claimed that she could get out of whatever I put her into, within reason. Indeed, it took her less than five minutes to get out, and this documents a point towards the end of that process. It was fascinating to watch. The ratty wig and nice bruises (she always seems to have nice bruises) only add to what I consider one of my favorite shots. Of course, a happy memory or an engaging anecdote tend to bolster my own feelings towards a photograph of mine. I'd like to believe, though, that this stands on its' own well enough even without that all that being known.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Lee is pretty serious and experienced with ropework, so I wanted to do something both different but well executed. This tie is fairly traditional Kinkabu, although the use of cheap twine definitely is not. Kinkabu usually employs quality jute rope (or hemp rope). I tend to be more concerned with my own aesthetics rather than being proper. I think that the twine gives a wonderfully rough look- practically falling apart as I apply it. It's difficult to work with, and it's not comfortable- but I none the less want to try some more of this. It really digs into the skin and leaves nice marks, too...
Friday, March 3, 2017
I'm pretty happy with this series on suspensions. I think that it's ironic, though, that their appeal seems to be in their visual simplicity— suspended model/ white backdrop and nothing else, while the actual setup is pretty involved. It takes about 12 feet high and 15 feet deep of white backdrop, with me being positioned about 20 feet back to get the shot. The lighting is more complex than anything else that I do— two heavy duty Mole-Richardson fresnel spots, supplemented with a pretty good array of Smith-Richardson photo flood lights. The nice thing is that once everything is ready to go, all I have to do is press the shutter. That's good, because the most time I have to get the shot is ten minutes tops, and sometimes as little as a minute or two...