Thursday, July 12, 2018

Jade Vixen

My list could go on and on as to what draws me to photography. For the sake of keeping your attention, I'll try to keep it short and brief... I love the process of exploration. I love to experience new things— and examine, scrutinize and record those experiences. I love the doors that photography has opened for me— getting to see things right before me that I otherwise might not have and/or couldn't have seen. Photographic pursuit has been my way to understand things. It has been a good constant in my life. It has been my way of communicating my inner self to others in a way I couldn't imagine otherwise (I actually have a poor imagination). It is my escape. It is my way to love life by embracing and creating my own version of trying to achieve aesthetic perfection. I could not imagine my life or my development as an adult without photography. It is so rewarding to be able to present and give someone else images that represent them in a way that they can cherish, and otherwise would not of had. Perhaps its not as noble as it feels, but it does feel wonderful to bring a little more beauty into the world— and even more importantly, beauty as my mind defines it.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018


Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~Edgar Allan Poe


Great images transcend time and space. A great image makes you appreciate its impact regardless of where and when and how it was taken. I'm certainly not saying that the images here do that, but it is what I'm always aiming for...


My lovely, beloved Shag Rug. 15 x 20 feet of handmade lambswool. Classic 1970's throwback, but I somehow manage to make it look very 1940's film noir with, well, 1940's film noir lighting. Everybody wanted one, and everybody adored them at first... until you find out how easily they get dirty, and how murderously difficult they are to keep clean and properly clean completely. I found out the hard way. I actually had it on my studio floor, and it eventually got too nasty. It's perfectly undefiled again, after a lot of hard work. That's the real reason that they went out of fashion. So much trouble. I will never get rid of it, though. It's too wonderful. I just bring it out of it's hermetically sealed storage container for shoots only now and put it right back. I want to put it in my living room so badly, but I dare not...


I don't like when models pose. Typically, it creates something just simply superficial & soulless at best, and cheesy & fake at worst. While a seasoned poser can possibly lend themselves to a great image, it is usually a dead-end road to travel for me. When I see a model start to pose, I have to start on my whole spiel about how I don't want them to pose for me... just keep moving— I'm quick and I can follow along. Indeed, genuine movement and spontaneity are the most important elements to my more recent style of shooting...



Monday, July 9, 2018

Izzy & Meira

Sometimes two is better than one. This is one of those times.


I always try hard to avoid eye candy— a photo that looks fashionably attractive and sophisticated but only has exactly one layer of interest. They look great for about half a second and then there is no reason for your eye to linger any longer. Think of an ad in Vogue Magazine. But if you are a thinking photographer, you soon realize that you need to break free from the "eye candy" genre and start adding substance— without adding too much else. Easier said than done.


Never push me, because I am a very strong woman. I'm nice, but I'm very strong. When it gets down gritty, I can get grittier. Never, ever underestimate me.   ~Missy Elliott

Shower & Bath Series

I started the shower/bath series over a dozen years ago when someone who hired me asked if I could photograph her in the shower. That particular first shower shoot was actually one of the most intense and sexually explicit shoots I've ever done. Again, that was her suggestion. It's ironic, and most people probably wouldn't guess this, but shoots that I'm paid for are often the most interesting. So it wasn't really my idea (the shower, as well as being sexually explicit), but I ran with it... I've since done many intense and/or explicit shower images, as well as many rather beautiful and/or romantic ones. That seems to describe the two alternating variations in my whole body of work. Another thing of note is that once something is in my portfolio, anyone that sees it wants to try it because they can see that I can do it well. Most people do not want to be the first to try something, as they want the assurance that it will be done well. Back to the shower theme— shooting there seems to access certain expressions which can't be captured without the magical properties of warm water. The comfort of water falling just simply relaxes most people, summoning a very natural body language.

Sunday, July 8, 2018


Confession— I typically really dislike tattoos on breasts. Sometimes I just cringe. I perhaps shouldn't admit that as many of the models that I photograph have them. I might be burning my bridges. Most of the models that I photograph tend to have very interesting and well-chosen tats, though. I just think that unless you've unquestionably thought it through and chosen something exquisite, that the breasts and the neck should be left alone... or you've finished with the rest of your body and that's the last frontier. This tattoo, though, is one of my favorites. I love how the orchids wrap around and fall down, as plants are apt to do.


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. The eyes are the best non-verbal indicator of our emotional and intellectual state of mind. That is why it is only every so often that I create a portrait where the eyes simply get an intense visceral reaction from most viewers. It's a constant frustration, but when I get it, it's such a joy.


The moments of dressing/undressing are wonderful to catch, but you have to be quick. I try to catch these moments often, but usually, they don't look nearly as interesting as they seemed shooting them. Every once in a while I get something exquisite...

Izzy & Dessa

So much of what we do is ephemeral and quickly forgotten, even by ourselves— so it's gratifying to have something you have done linger in people's memories.   ~John Williams


To sit for one's portrait is like being present at one's own creation.   ~Alexander Smith

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Tanya, Izzy & Dessa

Abstraction in photography started very early on with contact prints of plants in the 1830's; later on, with Vortograpghs, Rayographs, et cetera— with the inventors' name usually attached. Most of these abstractions were darkroom processes (and later with digital effects). I tend to prefer abstraction via straight photography. Strange angles, strange lighting, strange subjects and in your face close-ups. I also prefer to leave little Easter Eggs, so that the viewer can still figure things out. I find that if you don't leave a little something for someone to find, the eye gets bored and moves on. With abstract nudes, that means a lip, or a belly button, or a nipple that says what you're really looking at. Belly buttons are my favorite detail because everyone recognizes them even when distorted, but no one takes it as gratuitous.

Percolate & Autumn

I think, in the future, people are going to look back and say, 'I can't believe that gay and lesbian people had to fight to be able to get married'. ~Edy Ganem


Something a little more elegant. I've found that violinists make the best models. At the very least, they have amazingly expressive hands— they've been unconsciously practicing on making them articulately eloquent since childhood. No posing necessary on that front...

Joe & Lissa

Burlap is a good all-purpose background (see the last post...). I think that I paid $40 around twenty years ago for a ton of remnants that I keep stuffed in an old steamer trunk (which looks like I stole it from a pirate). I can throw them over another backdrop, throw them on the floor and walk on them, stuff 'em back in the trunk... they just keep looking even better! They're pretty awesome.


My ropework images tend to have a rawness and a visceral immediacy to them. I think that these two are a bit more on the elegant side. Being tied up can be very calming and relaxing— everything is relative. Also, a side note— I think that the burlap backgrounds work best with my bondage work, as it perfectly matches the feel and texture of the hemp rope.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Sienna Luna

These natural outdoor nudes are me going back to my past. More like work from ten, fifteen, even more like twenty years ago. Definitely changing gears a bit. Slightly Edward Weston influenced. I love Edward Weston, but I have rarely taken much direct inspiration from him, until recently. Seems to work here well enough!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Tanya Dakin

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-1V 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 in 2004— well, the poor EOS-1V didn't have a chance, despite that even today it is still a pretty awesome camera. Here are a couple of film images 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 try something different...

Sunday, July 1, 2018


This image represents an example of an ongoing project that I've been working on during the past few years. I've been going back to older images and completely starting over from scratch, and finding new ways to finish them. That is the beauty (and possibly the frustration) of the potential of negatives— whether film or digital. The possibilities of what a technically good negative can be turned into are endless. In the past, my modus operandi was to retain good solid blacks, make sure that the lightest areas were not blown out- and then let everything else fall in between. This was a logical way to work in the darkroom with film, with some burning & dodging here and there to help. Using layers in Photoshop, though, allows me to exploit areas of detail that would have been impossible or at least extremely difficult in the darkroom. Rather than exploiting the possibilities of distorting or retouching images, I'm finding that instead, I can create levels of detail that inherently exist, but were way beyond my reach in the darkroom. That is to say that I'm not making detail up, but merely excavating it very carefully, much the way an archaeologist carefully excavates a dig with fine brushes and other tools. After all, that's exactly what Photoshop is anyway- a very powerful tool. Of course, all tools can be used either heavy-handedly or with fine precision. I've discovered that using fine precision is allowing me to make images that are hyper-real, instead of becoming hyper fake.

Speaking of detail, the images that I post here are actually scaled down versions in order to be viewed easily on the blog- if the image is clicked on, a larger and more detailed version can be seen...


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 the unnecessary distractions, therefore 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. This one, although one can't really tell, was after a suspension— you can see some rope marks on her legs...


It makes me happy when I can incorporate movement and have it come across effectively. It's more difficult than it seems, at least for me. It's something that I wanted to capture for as long as I've been shooting, but it's only recently that I've been achieving it.