Whew. It is always difficult to extend yourself and let someone else see your work in person. To show them your images one by one and listen to them comment on the body of work.
Good comments on some, a passing glance at others and no recognition on some of your favorites. Did they get it. Did they see the humor? The irony? The juxtaposition? Do they understand the links between the images? Before a juried exhibition with big time curators, editors, photographers and gallerists you have perhaps 5 seconds an image to impress them before they move on to another artists work. I fortunately only had one review and it told me how unprepared I was for an exhibition or review.
I had to glance back at DA to give me confidence to go back out there and continue my work.
One thing that I took from this weekend at PhotoNOLA.
Everything is connected.
So this is my new Mantra as I move forward to create a more cohesive body of work.
Nettie is a model from Indianapolis that contacted me for a shoot here in New Orleans. She is fearless, sweet, funny and creates great art. She actually gets upset when she hasn't done a shoot in a while.
The lovely Bella again, someone emailed me about using this for a tattoo. I would have never even thought about that. Of course I said yes. Oh and those vintage Bakelite welding goggles are the first item I actually won in a bid off of ebay.
Being prepared is one of those things that I strive for. It makes the shoot more productive, creativity happens but around a structured style. Today and tomorrow I have two beautiful models coming into the studio and I don't feel fully prepared. I have my typical concepts that I want to shoot but I don't have a crystal clear shot list and schedule to work with. Then there is the dynamic of two models. If they do not interact the shoot fails. Having two models is two poses that have to be in sync, two looks that have to be good, two emotions that work together and two expressions perfect.
I have a new ginormous(thanks Brittney for the description) printer that I have been struggling with for the last couple of weeks. With a gallery show in a week and 1 print of 10 done I am really behind the eight ball.
Every once in a while the model and the photographer touch each others soul. This is a brief encounter and not a romantic one. The model with her beauty and grace. The photographer with his creativity and vision. Add in serendipity, fate and a cat named Jim for something that is way beyond the sum of it's parts. The inner beauty of the model and her personality shine through transcending the medium. The model entrusts the photographer with her sensuality, beauty, and for the brief time together the photographer holds that close and protects it.
This is a quote that I heard from a photographer:
I don't photograph anything unless it's an important challenge to my own sense of being or my own sense of life or existence.
I am not that deep, sometimes I just like the pure beauty of the moment.
Great news for those following my work here. I am working on posting sets of images and adding more images to the blog to help generate some more interest. I also have some wonderful new video interviews with my models who offer amazing insight into their work and lives. Now, if I could just get YouTube to accept a clip longer than 10 minutes. Many of these beautiful and talented women have more to say than a quick 10 minute interview.
Here is Nettie an amazing young lady from Indiana who is here working in New Orleans.
My model and myself remain citizens in good standing.
I love this town. It finally paid off in my favor. I took care of a necessary evil. Righted a wrong. Cured an injustice.
An inappropriate charge for a victimless crime. What we did was neither heinous nor lewd, it was simply an expression of freedom, an expression of beauty, a capture of a second in time.
I stand appreciative yet guarded as I wonder how this will effect my creative freedom. I expect that I will be shooting in the studio more often now tethered to the limits of black, gray and white backgrounds.
Anyone who has modeled with me, knows that I have a passion for location work. Shooting nudes in the studio is good work but location nudes always trumps studio anytime. The extra element of location adds multiple layers of interaction, risk, architecture, and environment.
WTF? I have seen so many naked women in the quarter I can't even count. There are armed robberies, violent crimes and yet last night I am accused of lewd conduct for trying to shoot some art nudes in the French Quarter. We are released with a ticket to appear in court.
Will my creative passion be limited to just studio work from here on out?
I am planning another Heist shoot. Guerrilla style. Locations, Getaway cars and drivers, Security, and Wardrobe handlers. How can I capture my city of New Orleans properly and add the beauty of a nude woman to the mix? Shooting fast and being mobile is the key. Great scouting in advance is another important element to incredible images and making everything go smoothly. I can't sleep because I need to make sure everything goes as planned.
My San Francisco Trip was good. I scheduled with two beautiful models for this trip. Iona Lynn and Sarah Ellis.
Iona was wonderful to work with. She was an incredible location scout, finding great places to shoot well in advance of the project so our day was wonderfully planned with a variety of great locations. She is a photographer too, a trait that helped her spot these great areas to shoot in.
One of our first shoots was on the Beach in Pacifica, CA. Our location is now closed to the public due to the danger of erosion on the cliffs. Homes and apartments have been condemned or taken back by the ocean. The roar of the ocean droned in the background and a cool mist came from the sea. We were constantly on the watch for rogue waves that might come crashing in and soak the gear. We got some great shots and move into the mountains with the fog following closely behind.
Here is a video interview with one of my art models. After the work we did with Sarah Ellis I thought it would be interesting to interview the models and ask them a few basic questions. This is my first interview so please excuse my ums. I will do better next time.
Ginger,Elsa and I did a masquerade shoot in the Historic French Quarter. We still laugh when we refer to it as the Ginger Whoooo Shoot. When we were shooting I noticed she had a very serious expressions. I asked her to try and visualize a happy moment. She got a funny look on her face in recognition, smiled, and threw her hand in the air and proudly proclaimed, " Whoooo!"
We all busted out laughing and I kept the camera rolling. This amazing dress was a product of my incredible wardrobe stylist Elsa Broadmann.
Recipe: One thrift store wedding dress: $50.00 Removing 100 pearls and rose applicates. Hand sewing and Poofing of the dress. Gloves, shoes and model. Fine Metal mask. $175.00 One incredible wardrobe designer: Priceless.
World Famous Canal Street. I want an image dead in the center of Canal street. We coordinate at the next meeting spot by Odyssey records on Canal Street. We arrived and our videographer had gone to the CBD location. I shot a couple of shots by the Record store because one of my clients is the owner. We moved onto the middle of Canal Street, and setup Sarah in the middle of it.
Further down the street we spotted a police car so we decided not to go to the full monty here. It was funny to notice in the images It appears the row of cars did not seem to move for at least three or four lights. We did not see that until later when we were looking at the finals.
So we left Pirate's Alley and walked over to Madison street. We were still in the French Quarter. As we walked down Charters we noticed a young black guy sweeping the street. He was just going about his business cleaning and sweeping the sidewalk as Sarah begins to get ready for her next shot.
Wardrobe moves in and I walk down the street getting perspective on the shot. I start shooting and here comes our little street sweeper just working that broom on the sidewalk. I wasn't watching but I don't even know if he looked up. Some guy walks out of a door at the end of the street on the right. He is wearing a pair of red running shorts and gets his newspaper. He looks down the street at our team shooting and then just goes about his business.
There isn't much traffic on this street so shooting goes well and we decide to move on to Canal Blvd.
With Sarah covered in a trenchcoat, which later she emailed me and said she left her bra in, our "entourage" moved into the alley next door to the cathedral and set up the next shot. Ozzy, an English bull dog, was going to be our star for this shot. Sarah lost the trench coat and I fired off a few frames. The shots were good but I had a vision in my head as to what we were going to shoot there.
Kenny was preparing Ozzy, because he really didn't like the new spiked collar that I bought him. I guess he was used to harnesses but those don't look good in photos. I had purchased Mardi Gras costume mask with a rose on one side, on that same side a large feather plume extending above her head, and three ribbons that hung down about two feet. Add Mardi gras beads and we were ready to go. Did I forget to mention that we were 20 feet from the Police station. Oh well it is the French Quarter. If they arrested everyone who was naked down there the jails would fill up every weekend.
Kenny's job was to keep Ozzy focused and moving forward. Sarah looked stunning as always and with Ozzy pulling ahead things were looking good. I got low, stopped down and tried to keep both of them in focus but there wasn't enough light available for that. I adjusted the iso on the D3 to 800 and continued to shoot. The composition, dog and model lined up for the perfect shot.
So far our day was going brilliantly, scouting ahead was the key and planning. Now onto Madison Street. I can't post the pirates alley image here because it's just too good and the agreement with blogger is that they can have your image once you post it here. That said if you randomly run across this blog and you want to post a comment or get me an email from the definitionsofwomen site. I will send you a password to take a look at the image.
In a departure from studio work I hit the streets with a crew of six early last Sunday morning. Lots of emails and a fairly comprehensive list of what we were shooting and where. Planning it felt like it was a Heist. Getaway drivers, muscle, the computer guy, the director, the last minute guy all of the players were there.
5:00 am I am up grabbing my coffee so that I can make it to the studio to meet Karl, the videographer, Britney, my assistant and Kenny getaway driver, muscle and animal wrangler. I had another shoot the night before so I packed up the gear last night knowing that I am not a morning person. I look out the window to check the weather. Great news it looks like fog. I look again, damn, it's just humidity on the window.
6:00am I am at the studio getting ready and Britney is there just after me. She is sooo reliable. Karl and Kenny arrive shortly after. We load up softboxes and lights that we need for the shoot.
6:20am I get a call from wardrobe/models assistant who is supposed to pick up the lovely model Sarah from the hotel. The model is at the international hotel, right? Is this the right hotel he asks? No the intercontinental. Damn a snafu first thing in the morning, but wait I hear a female voice and laughter in the background. Jokes, my friend has jokes this morning. I hear Sarah say,"It wasn't my idea!"
6:45 am Jackson square parking lot. behind the canon. You know where the president said he would help out New Orleans. We decide to nix the wedding dress because it too hard to get off. Sorry Sarah for making you lug that all the way from S.F. Trenchcoat ready we get Sarah into Jackson Square in front of the Cathedral. The homeless guys are asking a lot of questions like who are you? What are you shooting? Then Sarah walks up and loses the trenchcoat. Silence. Then applause. One of the homeless guys insists he wants a picture to send to his buddy Howie. Stay away from the the model I say shaking my head, nervously clicking off frames. From behind me I hear a booming authoritative Voice. "Sit down Sir!" It's Kenny the muscle, getaway driver and animal wrangler. I hear it again "SIT DOWN SIR!" then I hear the homeless guy apologizing profusely. I am trying to compose the picture and do something but the cathedral is too big the angle wrong and I decide to move on.
I guess that I have fallen off of the blog wagon, I had no idea that it has been so long since I posted and image or thoughts or any thing here. This is Sarah Ellis, a wonderful free spirit model. She was professional and willing to do whatever it took to get an amazing image. I pretty much tortured her trying to get a certain bodyscape look that I hadn't been able to get before. After about 3 hours of shooting she asked me for a cushion or something because the wood floor was grinding into her hip. I was so focused on the image capture that I hadn't even thought about it.
This look that she gave me just exuded vulnerability. I remember it because I told her that I felt bad clicking the shutter, I felt like such a voyeur capturing this look.
We are working together again in June. Full guerrilla. Our entourage is going to be shooting nudes in the french quarter and downtown New Orleans. I usually don't travel with that many people but we have lookouts, a videographer/photographer friend of mine, my assistant Brittany, a getaway driver, and an english bulldog named Ozzie, I wanted a Makeup artist but I think it's too eary in the morning to make that happen.
Check back for this one as I know it is going to be great.