Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Serena

This is from a series that remind me of old-timey boardwalk photographs- except that they more resemble actual vintage images, rather than being campy or hokey. I find it interesting there is such a fine line between being genuine versus stereotypical, and I like trying to walk that tight rope...







Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Jezz


For anyone remotely interested in Henry Miller but have been put off by the intense tangent-rambling in the Tropic books, I would suggest picking up a lesser-known edition- Quiet Days at Clichy. Miller, in his masterful way, gives us an account of Paris like it once was. Far from the visual clich├ęs of a saccharine city as portrayed in fairy tales like "Amelie", "Quiet Days at Clichy mingles the picturesque with the down-and-out for a portrait that would have pleased Emile Zola. Whores and cafes, breakfasts of Roquefort and white wine, poetry and squalid prose, Miller dissects Paris in the brilliant way Roman Payne writes about Paris in the novel Crepuscule, the way Zola writes in Therese Raquin... presenting a city that is a filthy beast deserving not less than all our love and praise. It's straightforward, hilarious- and at times shocking, but undoubtedly it will continue to be an inspiration to those who long to live life to the fullest. I've been a big Henry Miller fan since I was a teenager, but his infamous and banned books (the Cancer and Capricorn ones) are not my favorites. I far prefer this one, along with The Colossus of Maroussi and Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch. Quiet Days in Clichy is a memoir, a nostalgic love story of life in Paris before WW II, a celebration of the Bohemian life Miller lived when he was a poor unknown writer. It's wonderful, rollicking, hysterical, and introduces fans to a whole cast of characters who became Miller's lifelong friends, people who influenced his writing and his art forever.





Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lady Lazarus

I shot this in a cold, dirty, and actually very unexceptional basement space. Yet it doesn't look much different than my usual "spiffy" studio shoots. I've always said, since I starting photographing twenty years ago, that I could probably shoot anywhere and make it look striking. I tend to get very close in on people, so the only thing that matters are a couple of small details of the background- fancy settings tend to go to waste.








Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Valentina


"I don't photograph life as it is, but life as I would like it to be."  
~ Robert Doisneau




Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lady Lazarus

Granny panties are awesome. Personally, I can't understand why anyone might think that they are "uncool" or "not sexy", or "ew". Frankly, I think that thongs look stupid and cheesy- why would someone wear a rope up their butt? It doesn't serve a purpose; you might as well wear nothing...










Thursday, August 14, 2014

Laura

I've been looking at a lot of Modigliani paintings lately. A Modigliani nude is not that far removed from a porn cliche- the kittenish pose with libidinous intent. The key to what makes it great art is that it holds a tension between the real and the abstract. The abstract qualities include coloring that is not natural, distortions and simplification of forms. But the catch is that then, suddenly, on these unreal beings are very specific and sexually evocative detail- armpit hair, pubic hair and teeth. Then, to top it all off is a unambiguously erect, and naturally colored nipple! In the midst of some dreamily abstracted aesthetic, we are suddenly offered things to be touched- a coral necklace, hair, teeth, a nipple. The wonderfully disturbing qualities of his nudes are that they work on two levels at once, keeping the viewer unbalanced. Intellectual pinups!





Saturday, August 9, 2014

Izzy, the Headless Girl

This was shot shot on a windy rooftop in January. It was about 20 degrees outside.



Sunday, July 27, 2014

Katy & Kitty

The second image was a carefully arranged homage to a Bettie Page photograph from the 50's- it pretty much looks exactly like the original. The first image, however, was not based on anything at all- I just gathered up some items and arranged them a bit. I did have something literary in mind, though- I was thinking Henry Miller as a woman. I really like both of these, despite than the first one is much more original. Studying and copying vintage photographs goes back to my roots as a photographer, and I used to do it so often that it's become part of my DNA- that's the reason that I can do it without preparation or forethought now...









Friday, July 25, 2014

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Valentina

I often do shoots where the model wants to remain anonymous in one way or another. One way is that I do not ever display their images on the internet if they are in any way recognizable. I'm not particularly fond of that that method, but I can respect it. Another way is getting creative with obscuring the face just enough to make recognition of the person in question impossible. Yeah, her name isn't Valentina...









PXE & Lyndsay

Shower stares.









Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Manchester

Tattoos may not seem out of place among other images posted in this blog, but they are something relatively new to my body of work in general. The reason that tattoos are conspicuously absent from much of my work is certainly not because I don't like them- I do, actually. The reason is that most of my influences come from classic masters, and I've always wanted my images to have a timeless feel- so I've always either avoided using models with tattoos, or made sure not to show them. I've always had the same policy with contemporary clothing, hair & makeup- I've seen some otherwise great images from the 80's & 90's that look painfully dated simply because of the clothes, hair or makeup. Lately it seems that all of the most interesting models, or models that are the most uninhibited, have many tattoos. Not to mention body modifications, body piercing's, scars, et cetera. So I've kind of given up excluding these things from my work, and I've actually embraced them. I still tend to stick with vintage looking hair, makeup and lingerie, though. I honestly don't think that there have been any great new strides made in those departments in the last 30 years. I'm very happy with the recent work I have been doing, but only time will tell which will hold up better- my newer work (which is also digital), or my older work in film...









Lady Lazurus

I've always found just focusing on lips to be rather erotic, but the trick for me is to avoid making it look like an ad for lipstick...




Meira & Mara

Mara had seen some of the photographs that I took of Meira, and mentioned that she would really, really want to shoot with her. The feeling was mutual for Mer, so that was easy. In fact it always seems to be easy to get two girls to do a shoot together- I can't recall ever getting a decline after suggesting it. It's actually much harder to get a guy to do a shoot with a girlfriend or wife. The woman is always game- it tends to be the guy who is apprehensive. Guys tend to not like having their performance documented. I actually had a few shoots not materialize because the guy got cold feet. It was something that was a bit frustrating at first- getting guy/girl shoots was something that I really wanted to add to my portfolio for a couple of reasons. One reason was aesthetic- I wanted some balance, since a lot of girl/girl looked unbalanced. The most important reason was that I knew that once either a woman and/or couple viewed my portfolio, and saw some images like that, then they would be inspired to try it as well. Which is exactly what happened. People don't always know what they want until they see it. Not everyone has the imagination to envision possibilities, nor do they necessarily want to be the first to try something new. But when they see a good example of how it will turn out- it definitely breaks the ice. That's how I wound up doing so much erotic photography in general. It's a domino effect. When people see my work, they often get a very visceral reaction- "Oh, I want to be involved in that!".










Meira

A new favorite that many might find too gritty, or a bit unflattering- but I feel that it is quite exquisite. Too pretty completely bores me anymore- I prefer to find beauty in inelegance nowadays.








Owen & Regina

Regarding whether an image is art or porn, "I know it when I see it" is a complete cop-out. That is what stupid and unoriginal people say when they can’t construct a proper thought, retort or even a sentence. Simplifying it into a label just avoids the effort of actually thinking about it. Instead of debating whether a work is artistic or pornographic, a more meaningful and honest question would be: What or how do I feel about that photograph, and why? It is possible for sexual activity to be artfully portrayed. Erotica represents human sexuality in a way that makes the mind think, as opposed to pornography’s objective- whose usual sole concern is not being artistic or creative, but in making money from an audience.











PXE

This image is from a shoot with a model who goes by the moniker PXE. It's pronounced pixie, which is fitting due not only to her petite size, but her squeaky voice. Her voice is a dead ringer for Carol Kane's voice (from Taxi). She's definitely one of a kind- a fascinating person, capable of switching back and forth between a bubbly cartoon character and and intense sexual persona.




Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Heff

Heff is one of my favorite models- her skin has an exquisite and perfect texture, which photographs beautifully.













Lyndsay

Although it's obvious what this is an image of, I find it to be somewhat like an abstract painting in a certain aspect. Perhaps because the combination of angle, lighting and focus take it far from the way we typically look at things with the naked eye...




Lady Lazurus

I love the point of view on this one. I don't see this point of view often in images, and that's a shame. I can see why you never see it in fashion mags- the focus needs to be on the clothes rather than the face. Blurry clothes don't sell well. I suppose the same goes for porn- everything needs to be more straightforward and real. Formula always trumps what may be more interesting when an agenda is involved...




Izzy

Izzy is a photographer who happens to model for me on occasion. Izzy is her nickname. All of her work is erotic, and she is very good at it. We share a strong affinity for photography, which certainly helps with shooting together. Or perhaps it's just that she likes to take her clothes off. Seriously. She even likes to be undressed when behind the camera.

I've noticed from commentary that people either love this image, or they are upset by it. Those upset seem to feel that it disturbing to treat someone's breasts like this. While I admit that it is an extreme use of rope work, the fact is that this was her idea and she apparently enjoyed every minute of it. She certainly does not have a look of anguish in her facial expression. I think this may be a good example of how something comes across versus reality can be two very different things...










Sonia

This is an image from a shoot with Sonia, a very versatilely talented musician. A classically trained cellist, she often records music inspired by dreamy soundtracks. Her most recent effort, though, is a hip hop album that she is finishing up. For these shots, I was trying out my third bathroom studio- and I thought that I'd try something different, considering this bathroom has a tub.




Meira

This is so much happier than any of my other work- quite the rarity!









Monday, May 12, 2014

Tanya Dakin

This is an old one, from back when it was so easy to shoot at Eastern State Penitentiary. You could just wander around and shoot anywhere you wanted, and no one bothered you. Now it's impossible to do nudes there, and they confine you to one place. Thinking about it is like a golden period that you wish you could revisit...







Lee

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...




Key

This is the combination of texture & lighting that I've been searching for and wish to pursue. Hopefully most models will not mind the scratching and resulting welts, not to mention bruises that are necessary for it. Most already show up with interesting bruises and bite marks already. I've always employed fans (in winter, preferably) to achieve a tightness of skin and goosebumps- most do not particularly care for that, but suffer through it- for the art. Of all the ways that I can think of to torture people, apparently fans in my cold warehouse studio are the most evil. In fact, just last week was the first person who said that they actually enjoy being cold and getting goosebumps. Ironically, I think that the scratching and bruising are going to go over much better than the fans in winter...






Sunday, May 11, 2014

Lady Lazurus

"Billions of photos are shot every year, and about the toughest thing a photographer can do is invent an original, deeply personal, instantly recognizable visual style" ~Jerry Saltz



Natalie

Milk.