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
Wednesday, June 14, 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
Reminiscing the days before digital: I remember ogling the Canon 10D digital camera when it came out in 2002— I steadfastly clung to my EOS-3 film camera and told it... you will not be replaced by this new-fangled not quite good enough yet digital thing-a-ma-jiggy (I was already an old man at heart), and I still have important work to be done in my brand-spanking-new-better-than-ever darkroom. Then came the 20D— well, the poor EOS-3 didn't have a chance. Here is a film image from 2004. Tanya said she loved the fact that I was still shooting film and giving out real prints from the darkroom, and I didn't have the heart to tell her I was about to change over...
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...
Sunday, February 26, 2017
With the exception of suspensions, I regret spending as much time as I have in the past shooting with a white backdrop. With the suspensions, I feel that it gets rid of an unnecessary distraction, while keeping things elegant. I actually tried black backdrops first, but too much information disappeared into them— the white gives everything a nice pop and a sense of depth that black was missing. Otherwise, in retrospect, the white backgrounds feel kind of soulless. They also feel fake, like a fashion shoot— which is what I originally got them for. These two are not too bad, but I still think that they would have looked better on black...
Monday, February 20, 2017
The chemistry between them was rather intense. It was even rougher than it looks. All I had to do was stand back and keep pressing the shutter. Easy peasy. Well, not entirely easy— the hot lights and steam made it quite uncomfortable for me, and my lens kept fogging up...
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Most of my newer work tends to consist of movement and spontaneity— trying to get away from being posed and composed. This is one of my occasional returns to my roots of very formal compositions with careful lighting and a film noir essence. Of course, closer to the truth is that my newer work is a mash up of quick and sloppy— mixed with decent lighting and quick but careful thinking on the compositions. I don't think that I could ever fully embrace that lazy hipster snapshot aesthetic that is really popular these days.