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.




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.





















Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Lauren

Any photographer who says he’s not a voyeur is either stupid or a liar.  ~Helmut Newton










Saturday, February 1, 2014

Holly

Which of my photographs is my favorite? The one I’m going to take tomorrow. ~Imogen Cunningham



Thursday, January 30, 2014

On posing...

I don't like when models pose. 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. While a seasoned poser can lend themselves to a great image, usually it's just simply superficial & soulless at best, and cheesy & fake at worst. It's easy for me to get what I'm looking for out of a neophyte, but an experienced model can be a different story. Kitty (second image down) was one of those who was apprehensive at first to my demands to just keep moving without stopping to think about it, but she quickly came around- by the end she said that it was the most interesting and refreshing shoot that she had ever done. Indeed, movement and spontaneity are the most important elements to my more recent style of shooting...



























Wednesday, January 29, 2014

M & S

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. ~ Henry David Thoreau