Saturday, June 15, 2019

Izzy

"It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera... they are made with the eye, heart, and head." ~Henri Cartier-Bresson




Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sylvia

While I have always been mostly a perfectionist when it comes to many of the technical aspects of photography, I am typically not a pixel peeper (although, sometimes I am). A complimentary definition of a pixel peeper would be a digital photographer who magnifies images to critically evaluate image resolution at the pixel level. A pixel peeper could also very well be described in derogatory terms: a snobbish photographer who erroneously believes that the worth of a digital camera is determined solely by having the most megapixels, and/or the latest and greatest sensor. Pixel peeping has its place, but an image technically perfect down to the level of each individual pixel will still look terrible if it is poorly composed, or contains a boring and/or lifeless subject. It has its place, but it is the least important to me in the hierarchy of details. The majority of the work posted here is also represented by a portfolio of prints that are only 4 x 6 inches— at that size, it really wouldn't matter if I shot them on a half decent digital camera from 2004 vs a brand new 100 MP medium format camera. I feel that the smaller print size is a good size to intimately handle and view the work, and they are kept in a larger hand-crafted wooden box with a linen inset that makes them kind of jewel-like. The way that I arranged the lighting of these shots is something that, for instance, I value over the quality of the camera, since if the lighting was crappy you would easily note that even in a 4 x 6 print... everything is relative.






Li

This image is not new— I shot it about a dozen years ago, although I just tuned it up a tiny bit. This image was important to me personally, as it was a definitive turning point where I knew what I wanted to achieve in my aesthetic going forward. It ticked off all of the boxes... showing real skin texture with razor-sharp focus, yet depicting movement in the softer bokeh areas; detail in the lighter areas, but mystery in the darker ones; gripping, twisting and body tension as opposed to static posing (later adding facial tension and mood to that); realistic sexuality as opposed to romanticized; realistic messy hair as opposed to perfectly coiffed (later adding bruised, scratched or scarred skin as well); compositions that look like they want to bust out of the frame. I thought that this was one of the strongest images that I had shot so far. This is one of a handful of past images that I tend to think of when I'm shooting, as a guide to what I'm currently trying to achieve.






Monday, May 27, 2019

Tali De'Mar

"Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else."  ~Margaret Mead








Sunday, May 26, 2019

Ajaye

One of my favorite sources of lighting and shooting locations are windows. Window light is an excellent, free light source. As an indoor light source, it can achieve the same effects as much bigger, more expensive lighting equipment. A large window is essentially a huge softbox. The earliest photography studios didn’t use fancy electric lighting. They just used big windows.






Thursday, May 23, 2019

Freikörperkultur

The abbreviation FKK comes from the German word "Freik√∂rperkultur". It roughly translates to Free Body Culture. It endorses a natural approach to sports and community living. Behind that is the joy of the experience of nature or also of being nude itself, without a direct relationship to sexuality. The German nudist movement was the first worldwide and marked the start of an increased acceptance of public nudity in Germany. Some of the early pioneers of FKK were avant-garde intellectuals in the late 19th century who wanted to challenge the uptight Victorian morals of mainstream society, while other proponents advocated a more natural, healthier lifestyle, at a time when the syphilis-ridden working classes lived in cramped, squalid conditions.

FFK still very much exists, but these days anyone who runs around naked in public in Germany risks a fine because of the administrative offense "harassing the general public". At bathing lakes or beaches, however, nudity is now tolerated almost everywhere and has become the normal appearance. Nudity also occurs in places such as a closed off nudist campsite. Hence, there are signs posting "Naturist activities only in fenced terrain". So now you know what is going on in this particular diorama— enjoy!





Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Finger Self-Portrait with HO Scale Miniaturplastiken Nudist Figure

Accessories for HO scale train sets include figures of all kinds from railroad workers to nudists, because what train set would be complete without a nudist colony? I hid the face at the request of the model...





Friday, May 10, 2019

Ash

I'm a ridiculously harsh critic... of others work. Judging by how quickly I can dismiss work that is very similar to my own, I can only assume that if I came across all of my own work without knowing that it was mine (photographic amnesia?) I would probably only be drawn to a few images. I'm pretty sure that I only like my own work as much as I do because it's a form of navel-gazing. I often feel that I'm pursuing styles that I'm going to really dislike in the future. I say this for a few good reasons. When I come across someone working in a rather similar vein I'll say to myself things like "it's too much HDR... too much Photoshop... too much re-touching"— even though I'm perhaps utilizing the same amount. Ouch. It's probably the psychological effect not being able to objectively look at yourself or your own work. I often wish that I could step outside of myself, temporarily possessing an analogous but different mind that could be more objective. If everybody could do that, it would most likely have an amazing effect on humanity...






Sonia

"I like myself better naked. I don't mean that in a vain way... When you put clothes on, you immediately put a character on. Clothes are adjectives, they are indicators. When you don't have any clothes on, it's just you, raw, and you can't hide." ~Padma Lakshmi











Ajaye

I've always been fascinated with the idea of creating a large body of work dedicated to just close-ups of O-faces. The idea that of representing something very intimate, yet not really explicit at all, yet at the same time very genuine & erotic is an appealing challenge to me. The range of expressions that one sees in O-faces is compelling as well– everything from serene, to sexy, to even grotesque. It's a psychological smorgasbord!





Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Ajaye

I love the simplicity of this— it took about a minute to do this rope tie.











Sunday, May 5, 2019

Ajaye

"I think a scarf is the most versatile item. It's good to wrap around yourself when you're cold or have someone tie you up with it. I love scarves." ~Martha Stewart








Saturday, May 4, 2019

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.

These two images show a shibari rope bra, a bit tight. I've noticed from some 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...





 






Li & Carl

"What I have tried to do is involve the people I was photographing... if they were willing to give, I was willing to photograph." ~Eve Arnold











Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Jade Vixen

$20 IKEA rug paired with very expensive 1940's vintage lingerie.






Sunday, April 28, 2019

Ajaye

"Blinding ignorance does mislead us. Wretched mortals, open your eyes!"  ~Leonardo da Vinci







Saturday, April 27, 2019

Meira & Mara

This is an older shot that I've re-worked from scratch. There were some details that I think I overworked, and some details that I added which I now think were unnecessary. Sometimes it takes me a few years to realize that I didn't get it right the first time. Actually, it often takes me a few years to realize mistakes, and I rarely get it right the first time.





Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Ellen

This is a shameless homage to Edward Weston's Pepper #30, which has long been one of my favorite inspirations.






Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Natalie

Film had/has this thing called grain, and back in the day some photographers hated it— but accepted it, if not embraced it. I, in fact, used either a film that had little visible grain or went with the opposite— employing & loving something with a serious grain (I would actually amplify it in the darkroom). Film has always had imperfections that are easy to embrace. Since the beginning of digital, noise has sort of been the equivalent of film's grain, but almost no one has embraced— mostly because it lacks the inherent charm of film grain. The holy grail has been pristine quality, despite the fact that quality like that has never been necessary for artistic ambitions— commercial ambition, yes, but not necessarily creative ones. Ironically, we’re starting to get to a place in digital photography where we’re becoming less obsessed with megapixels and more fascinated with “look.” Camera sensors from different companies each reproduce subjects in a unique way, and to many photographers, that’s starting to matter more than how many pixels are crammed into their cameras.






Friday, April 19, 2019

Ajaye

I love photographic prints; I love viewing them; I love making them and I love sharing them. There are certain qualities to a great print that simply cannot be accomplished when the image is viewed on an electronic display (and sometimes vice versa, I should add— color images can greatly benefit from the glow of a screen). It’s well known that photographers have been printing less and less over the years. Part of it is because they don’t need to, and instead, distribute images online through communities. This is inherently built into the current crop of younger photographers coming up these days. They understand Polaroids, but they don’t understand prints. They don't understand the point. Of course, not all are of this mentality— but I have definitely noticed that many are. It used to be that prints were the ultimate end process for a photographer. It seems odd that, in an age when the technology to make superb prints in one’s own home or studio is within reach of almost any photographer, so many choose not to. It's so weird to me. Objective qualities aside, it should also be mentioned that the satisfaction of seeing your own print materialize in a development tray or rolling off a printer exactly as you intended it to look, is among the most satisfying experiences that a creative photographer may have. Here is a tangible thing made by you, encapsulating your vision, emotion, and skill; something to present to others with pride and with the knowledge that it is unique and touchable... to keep for the rest of your life, and even (perhaps most importantly) pass on to a future generation.





Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Emily

This is a serious re-cropping, as well as a re-working, of an image that I posted a couple of years ago.






Friday, April 12, 2019

Izzy

These were single shots from the past (and posted as such a few years ago), that I shot consecutively and always meant to treat as a diptych... it just took me about ten years to get around to it.






Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Jezz

"In the beginning, it was all black and white"  ~Maureen O'Hara





Natalie

In real life, we typically have a brief amount of time to see things, then we move on. But photographs aren’t reality, they’re an illusion. So I get closer, and explore, and make up my own story. To really understand something, we need to sit still and get close. Really close.











Saturday, April 6, 2019

Lucy & Nathalia

"I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have nothing
else to learn." ~ Pablo Picasso





Friday, April 5, 2019

Miera

Joel: Wednesday, do you think someday you might want to get married and have kids?
Wednesday Addams: No.
Joel: But what if you met just the right man, who worshiped and adored you, who'd do anything you say, who'd be your devoted slave? Then what would you do?
Wednesday Addams: I'd pity him.




Thursday, March 28, 2019

Lee

Yeah, full disclosure: I (like many photographers) have a fetish for cameras. When the B&H photo supply catalog comes in the mail, my wife lets me know that my camera porn has arrived. I have a pretty large camera collection— film cameras greatly outnumber the digital ones. I love just looking at them, picking them up and giving them a feel... often. If I didn't actually shoot as often as I do, I would definitely consider it pathetic. Ironically, when it comes to what I actually shoot with, though, I treasure pragmatism over aesthetics. I value the ergonomics over anything else since I'm actually holding the damn thing for hours at a time, not to mention that I like to have quick control over all options. It seems silly, but there are a lot of cameras that I like to look at, and then there are the few that I actually use...









Tuesday, March 26, 2019

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...




Saturday, March 23, 2019

Ash

There are so many reasons why a photographer would use, or a viewer would appreciate the use of, B&W in photography. I myself could go on & on listing and expounding on the reasons that I personally employ it... but there are definitely a few concise reasons that I use it here: It tends to add drama, it tends to add mystery, and it tends to remove time. These are all mostly self-explanatory— although I've always really appreciated the aspect of trying to make an image timeless rather than being instantly dated.






Monday, March 11, 2019

Natalie

I never get bored of playing with mirrors. I don't mind that it is typically just a variation on the same shot. Yeah, this is one of my go-to's...





Friday, March 8, 2019

Claire

Looking down is symbolic of dominance, so I tend to us that point of view for images like this. I'll even get on a ladder to hype that up a bit. Conversely, when I want to make my models look fierce (like my window shots), I tend to lay down on the floor and look way up. I'm always fascinated by the potential to employ psychology in my photography. Commercial photographers and the advertising industry, of course, figured this out a long time ago...





Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Lady Lazarus

I made this gag out of a Nylabone years ago- it's finally found it's home. The brilliant red of the Nylabone gets a little lost in the B&W translation, but I still really like that it's readable.





Sunday, March 3, 2019

Sienna Luna

"Who sees the human face correctly: the photographer, the mirror, or the painter?"  ~ Pablo Picasso










Sienna Luna

"Look up from what you're doing and look around for a minute. See what a beautiful world you're in. "  ~Ralph Marston





Sunday, February 24, 2019

Ramonita

"Black and white is abstract; color is not. Looking at a black and white photograph, you are already looking at a strange world."  ~Joel Sternfeld





Saturday, February 23, 2019

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Ash

More Triangles, Twists & Turns. Triangles are my new cowbells— never enough.




Sunday, February 17, 2019

Ramonita

"Throw off your worries when you throw off your clothes at night." ~Napoleon Bonaparte











Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Ash

Perhaps the most difficult task of photography is finding and holding a balance between the technical and creative. Allowing the technical aspect of the process to dominate is a mistake, as the final result will ultimately lack genuine inspiration. Letting the purely creative take over can also be unfortunate, as there needs to be some technical control involved in any artistic undertaking— otherwise, it's just crap. All photographers worth their salt have complete technical control over the medium, but after learning their craft, they tend to move forward into the uncharted areas of instinct. This is a step that requires confidence in one’s inner (and often sub-conscious) resources. After studying the technical aspects of the medium, this leap of faith revolves around a photographer's willingness to put that learning behind themselves and, in essence, forgetting it. Of course, a technique cannot be truly forgotten but must be forced into the recesses of the mind. A process that I have developed involves relying on visual intuition during the compositional phase and then adding technique during exposure and post-production. Pre-visualization, or coming up ahead of time with pretentious ideas, is odious to me— and I find that it tends to completely block intuition. The balance between instinct and pragmatism is so important to my work.





Monday, February 4, 2019

Meira & Heff

I'm sorry, but all I see in these are triangles. Actually, that is a big theme in my work— triangles are everywhere. Just take a brief scroll down the screen, and you'll probably be annoyingly distracted by how many triangles you come across...