Burr Oak and Nipple.., Oh My!

 

 

I’ve been lucky enough to have a very unique model to work out ideas with. I have known her for some 10 years now. She is a friend who comes over not nearly enough, something that gives us lots to talk about. I love having her drop by to just talk. I get the chance to talk about what I am working with, and why, and what kind on concepts that interest my creative mind now; enough that it would warrant a test shoot.

Then the real play gets started, the day I finally get to see my ideas. I have boxes and boxes of things that I’ve collected: all things connected to nature, with all their own complexities; the curves, the shapes that only nature can make, with it’s cracked seedpod. Or the simple leaf, attached or loose, picked in summer or winter. Or the ageless rock…, spied off city-trail, sitting in the dirt.

The rest is parked in this brain of mine, filed under: Imagination. That little rock sat on my desk for a long time before I understood what its purpose was. The Burr Oak cap told me very clearly what it was for. It was up to me to find, and pursuade a model to let me show her what my idea might look like. Enter friend and muse!

As I look at some of the really great work of people in my business, I feel a sense of immense pride to see such excellent work. However, the models are not getting enough credit, in most cases, no recognition at all. I tell all my models that I could not do what I do without them. Otherwise, I’d have the pretty props and gorgeous lighting that no one can see. I quickly follow with assurance that they do have the ability to stay anonymous if they so choose.

So a peek behind the curtain with the ever lovely and understanding Jean Dawson.

Mugs

Here is a quick snap of the mugs I got from the lab.  I told them after seeing the first one to think artistic.  These were not mugs of the kids playing baseball or soccer that you sent to aunt Harriett.  These were original work of art that I was selling.  Told them to reduce the image by a quarter inch, and increase the space between the images by that same quarter inch.  Much much better, except that I wanted the insides black to match the black in the image.  Stay tuned.

Long Ago, Far Far Away

 

From the series, “Long Ago, Far Far Away,  this image is from out adventure a little north of Toronto. A cement blockhouse way out in the middle of nowhere. One of my favorite spot to work, a small complex of building that in its heyday made cement products. I took a number of models out there, I say models, usually nurses I’d met at the hospital we work at. So remote that privacy was assured, bonding was sure to happen.

Some of the “models” work out, some did not, hard to tell how someone will work. Still we had a great time out in the wilderness.

I Love what I Do!

 

In this piece I wish to convey the absolutely respect, admiration, and love that I hold for these women who trust me with their image and reputation. Because I shoot film it is difficult to show them before hand what I am after in my work. Because I shoot film I have a much greater resolution at my disposal, I can choose to use that resolution for good or harm. These women, some of them quite young in the span of what we know of adulthood choose to trust me. For me to return that trust with anything less than is unfathomable.

In the matter of a Seurat, I begin with a high-speed film, in the darkroom or Photoshop I manipulate the image. I base those manipulation off the brightest point in the piece, just as I exposed the film. Then I craft the image, lighten here, darken there…, just a touch! I love the gestalt, where “the sum is greater than the whole”. The seeming magic I call upon in “seeing” the final piece in mind-eye, of exposing and finally crafting the piece to come as close as I can to what I envisioned.

It is all magical to me, from that first moment I meet the woman for the first time, opening my book and my mind so she can judge in intent of my work. That moment when she agrees to pose…., then the time I get to see her in the eyepiece of my camera. All is magical, the way it happens, the actual shoot, all that goes into to making it a magical experience.

I love what I do, I love and respect the model’s…, most of all I love the trust. These women trust me to do right by them at that moment, and for those moments to come. Film last forever, reputation does not. I choose to do the right thing, the magical thing. I choose to let me my work stand for an idea, and not a graphic representation of womanhood.

Ms Traci James

 

I watch as you move in an elegant way…,

unplanned, spontaneous…,

uncontrived movements

of you.

Unconsciously you move, hands just so

arms just so,

and your legs held…, just so, elegant.

Putting on makeup, unconcerned with the way you look,

but the way you are perceived, the way you relate to the world.

The footing for the foundation of you…,

who you are, and who you wish

to become in this moment in time.

Unconvinced of the gift of you, the treasure

of you…, the worth of you.

Taught, tortured from youth…,

the child inside of you disbelieving…,

basic value that I see shiny in your eyes.

The basics of your life, uncomplicated, easy in your skin,

mind and body; held just so…,

elegant in the beauty of you…,

Elegant in the you of you.

21 December 2010

Traci James (The You)

Holiday Season

 

File under long ago and far away, my friend before she was Jean.  From our 2nd shoot, much more relaxed and poised just a nice nude young woman enjoying being photographed.  We’ve know each other for some 7 years now, and I still enjoy working with her.  As the old cliche goes, “like a fine wine she has aged very very well”.   Thank you Jean.

Trust

 

Latina Angel a new treatment of a softer variety.  She was having fun and being treated right so she could relax with me, be the kid she really was.  Now about the piece, my work is meant to appeal to everyone, specially women.  So a softer approach was suggested, hints offered…, I’d have been a fool not to listen.  I value the women who choose to be in my life, both professionally and as a more personal nature.  Women are my friend, always have been, always will be.  Thanks to you all!  Ciao

“Moonlight over Atlanta”

 

From the files of long ago, Willow “Moonlight over Atlanta”.  One of those darkroom magic to an otherwise vanilla image.  My friend whose darkroom I was printing in saw the original print at near the end of a long day of printing, suggested it might make a better print darker.  Did a test print…, hours later in the wash I had this.

Latina Angel “Girl”

 

A freshly minted 18 year old, so full of herself (as we all are at that age). Her shell was tough, but after we made friend’s she was just the kid she was. She had other photographers she worked with, some even put film in they’re cameras. Her online model site was filled with images of mainly her pubis, just a very few showed the person who owned that pubis.  I showed her that there was an art to photography, and that some men would treat her with respect.  I asked for permission to shoot any sensitive areas, she agreed, but not for publication she said.  I agreed, I had no real plans for the images at that time.  Years later when I discovered the images, and how I could manipulate them I sent her finished pieces so she could see what I’d done.  Again I asked for permission to use them, to donate them to organizations I support.

In this day and age, new age of harassment and outright rape in the industry, I have kept to my belief to treat people fairly, with respect.  I have been granted the privilege to explore my art, and freely create images both my models and I can be proud of.  I feel that this is an honorable way to create the images I do, it’s the cleaner way, if not always the easier way to operate.