Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sonia

These images might seem a little out of place with anything else in this blog. They were intentionally part of a shoot with Sonia, and I've been dedicating a portion of many of my shoots to shooting these images. They're for my bodyscape series, which I have not shown anywhere on the web but here, although some were incorporated in my body painting show at Mew Gallery a couple of years ago. btw, I hate the term body painting, but I can't seem to come up with anything better. The lighting, texture and mood are the same as everything else here, so I suppose that they do sort of belong with this body of work.







Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ajaye

Ajaye has my favorite kind of eyes to photograph. In a portrait they are soulful and expressive. In erotic images they are bedroom eyes- sleepy, yet they draw you in. From the very beginning eyes have been the main focal point in my photographs of people, and that has never changed. I can always help someone's eyes connect to the camera better with a few tricks, but there is only so much that I can do. In the end, either someone's eyes connect to the camera or they don't. That is why it is only every so often that I create a portrait where the eyes simply get a intense visceral reaction from most viewers. It's a constant frustration, but when I get it, it's such a joy. I don't care for cliches (does anybody?), but "the eyes are a window into the soul" none the less applies to many of my images. The eyes are the best non-verbal indicator of our emotional and intellectual state of mind. I don't even know if I believe in humans having actual souls (I've met a few that definitely do not), but that doesn't matter. Photographs are an illusion, and if the illusion of seeing into the soul is there, then that illusion is what matters to me.










Thursday, November 20, 2014

Di

"We live in succession, in division, in part, in particles. Meantime within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty; to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist, and whose whole beatitude is all accessible to us, is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one."   ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson









Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Meira

Bettie Page tribute. Deviating a little bit from my own style to create a more authentically vintage look. Actually all that I did differently than usual was add some scratches and some vignetting on the edges, but it works.












Friday, October 31, 2014

A & J

It is part of the photographer's job to see more intensely than most people do. He must have and keep in him something of the receptiveness of the child who looks at the world for the first time or of the traveler who enters a strange country. ~Bill Brandt





Friday, October 10, 2014

Scar.

I made a version of this where the scar has been removed, but this un-retouched version is infinitely more interesting.




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.












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...









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, as 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. They say "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.








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...







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. It does a body good.




Saturday, May 10, 2014

Jezz

The following quote is from a NY Times article that I read recently:
"No organ is more promiscuous than the eye, and no appetite more insatiable than the hunger to look. These truths go a long way toward explaining the preoccupations of a culture whose interest in imagery is defining."
I could easily have a lot to say about what I feel regarding this quote. It is probably best to just leave it here on it's own, though, since the reason I like it so much is that it sums up many vague thoughts that I have- and so well in just a couple of sentences...








Li & Carl

Photographing Li and Carl was one of the first really explicit girl/guy shoots that I've done, and it is still one the the most intense. While I've since done shoots that are perhaps more explicit, this set the benchmark for me on the type of intensity that I'm looking for lately. I often give a little direction as to what I think will work before shooting, but I don't recall saying anything to them before shooting- I just picked up the camera and started looking for angles. Well, I guess that I sometimes tend to perhaps make doing these shoots sound simpler than it is. I am constantly moving lights around. I'm also constantly thinking of making sure that these images are raw and uncensored, while striving to be anti-porn at the same time. Not that I have anything against porn, but it is what it is- it's a definitive formula for a practical use. I'm always trying to go against the formula and beyond to rise above and create something more genuine, to let people see more possibilities in sexual imagery. There are plenty of amateur photographers trying to pass off what is essentially porn as fine art- especially with the advent of digital cameras. One can even walk into an art gallery and see erotic work that is essentially, or basically, porn being poorly passed off as art. I want to get a visceral reaction from viewers, change perceptions, or ultimately have someone say that my images are like nothing that they've seen before...












Sunday, March 2, 2014

Jade Vixen

Jade Vixen is a very well known fetish model, who is also an old and dear friend. Some of my most memorable images were created with her, although they have usually been fashion or vintage looking images rather than raw and erotic. There are several good reasons for this, despite that she has a very edgy and uninhibited persona. For one thing, she typically tends to be in control and dominant (or wants to portray that in her images), whereas my erotic images tend to portray a submissive with some wild abandon. She also has an exquisite collection of latex and vintage clothes- so we've usually gravitated towards showing them off.







Monday, February 24, 2014

Sylvia

I've been doing different versions of this shot for as long as I've been shooting, which is about 25 years now. It usually does not work, as hands on the face photographs typically look either stiff, forced or fake. Often, they're absolutely painful to look at. I always think of the hand on the face scene in Napoleon Dynamite! What makes it work are the hands and their owner- the combination of photogenic hands and someone who knows how to bring them to life. Hands can be just as expressive as facial expressions. Hell, they can be even more so- think how much sign language can convey. Human hands can paint the Sistine Chapel, pluck a guitar, maneuver surgical instruments, chisel a David, forge steel, and write poetry. They can grasp, scratch, poke, punch, feel, sense, evaluate, hold and mold the world around us. No other species has appendages with such a remarkable range of capabilities. And yet I can count on one hand how many people out of everyone that I've photographed have amazed me with their hands...





Friday, February 14, 2014

Miera

Bettie Page tribute. Deviating a little bit from my own style to create a more authentically vintage look. Actually all that I did differently than usual was add some scratches and some vignetting on the edges, but it works.