Pregnancy

 

Oh to my delight plans for the new series have a rival, one of my models is expecting. As man and photographer, I am thrilled. When I was younger, friends often didn’t want to share the experience of being photographed, or breast-feeding. Time, values have changed as I have as well, older I’ve been blessed to witness the event from beginning.

First as a lowly floor cleaner, I befriend the interns at the teaching hospital I work at. They in turn checked with the doctor, gave me the all clear so I got to watch all sorts of operations. I saw people die on the table in addition to being born, saw people’s bodies stripped of parts, the gift of life, or sight for other patients. Once over Christmas, I was asked to shine the spotlight as the doctor operated on a patients brain. A truly miraculous experience all because I could talk.., think, and had a curiosity for life.

A few years later, I again returned to work in a hospital, there I made friends with the doctors as they did rounds. My photography was the deciding factor to get me in the room as the patient was worked on. Not that my exploits went unreported to my supervisor who was not my biggest fan. My supervisor was actually rubbing her hands together as she walked me into the director office. I was going to get mine, and she would be witness. Imagine her delight as the director said I had been spotted going into the surgical suite to take pictures.

Very calmly I replied that the situation had been cleared by the doctor, and any question he had could be answered by the doctor. Further, I said I was on my own time, and had violated no hospital rules…, I got up and left. It was very hard not to smile at their crestfallen looks, my dressing down hadn’t gone quite as planned.

I learned early the “the best defense is a good offense”. I had learned the hard way, to be a chameleon in dealing with people, my own parents taught me well. As much as I could, I tried to blend in, to pattern my behavior to please people. Only when confronted would I go into “good offense” mode…, that either work or got me fired.

Quite the way I deal in business, try to get along, but never show fear. In my assistance days I worked with a number of highly charged photographers. Driven, prone to a manic depressive outbursts…, the better the photographer the higher the manic in charge. Never show fear, know what you are doing or suggesting. Hold your ground, believe in your skill and knowledge. Once I corrected a photographer of his error…, long pause. Did I go too far? I challenged him about something he said. Then the exhale, “what I hate about you is that your right!” I patted his leg, said “always, remember that”. And then the winning smile.

You have to believe in yourself for all to work to your advantage. And for your sake, learn to play, not take life so seriously. I chose life, as in to have a life, to enjoy all that came my way with excitement, and joy. I chose to leave the camera home most days, so I could experience life as a participant rather than the observer, worried about f-stop, shutter speeds, and what not. This is the only life I’ll have as far as I know. Chose life for all its joys, for all its sorrow, and surprises.

New Series

I moved into the new apartment towards the end of summer 2005. I finally had an apartment big enough to have a small studio, in addition being old enough so I had some interesting features to work in. I set about making my home/studio easier to work in, sheers on the windows. I kept the living-room/studio free from clutter, like any comfortable chairs to sit in. But I had my space to grow older, to pursue my art, and I finally had my office. Life looked very good for me, I was pleased with the plans I had, looked forward to my first shoot over the winter holidays.

That October I had the stroke that laid me low. The deal I made with my self-destructive side, take your best shot at taking me. If…, if I survive, then get the hell out of my way. Little did I count on having to try to reverse the effects of stroke. All strokes are particular to the patient, mine was a blockage in the left side of my brain. Right side of my body, flaccid, absolute paralysis. Confined to a wheelchair, only left side of my body could move. Only one side of my brain was functional, I was in deep shit.

So the deal with the devil was made, I kept to the bargain, doctors, nurses were telling all my visitors not to get too excited about any progress they saw. I on the other hand, not knowing what they thought they knew, I went ahead to try and reestablish the me I knew. Took the better part of twelve (12) years, fighting for every return to body, and mind. Now the harm to my body has healed as best it can, my two sides are now out of balance. My mind…, my mind too has healed as best it can, I count on the plasticity to seek out those pathways back to me. My brain is still injured deeply, that’s where the damage still haunts.

So the new series came as a blessing, both for mind and creativity. I have worked hard at getting the creativity back in as good a shape as possible. Enter model, muse, friend, to save me, to give me hope. It demand a model who knows me, trust me, believe in my vision…, and believes in me as a man. This my first attempt at a series of found objects in nature, and very private spaces on the female body. The working title “Natural Curves”, a juxtaposition of bark, seeds, pods…, wherever I can find in nature with there wonderful curves, set next to the bodies curves. The whiteness of her body, the darkness in the object. The play of light, darkness, enticing curves of the most intimate nature.

So with this as my background, I began setting up my home studio. It was the easiest setup I ever done, called on all my years working with the professionals. I had the depth of my living room to set the muslin background complete with a sort of drop shadow, taken from endless product shoots. I fashioned a comfortable table for my model to try different poses for the areas I wanted to use. Those areas had been determined by a test we had as to feasibility. This setup for the main event, the actual shoot where she has to hold the pose, and the object in place. We shot film as well, for the lighting, and background.

I’ve had to curb my model from posting these test shots. Next comes the hard work of the actual shoot which will be so much better, but for a test these look so good . I have to curb my own enthusiasm, more as we progress.

Changes to Site: Sans Image

Summer's Light web

Changes have come to my life, and my site, please bear with us as we make adjustments. Those life changes have come about as I prepare to enter my seventh (70) decade on earth in a little over a year. The need for recognition of my body of work, and the mindset behind the person with the camera is suddenly important. The idea of my work discovered by person’s passing by, and finding a dusty box is too much for me to handle.

I had been working with film so long its second nature to me, like scratching an itch. In the years before my stroke, I used to go into a sort of hyper-drive. Moving almost by instinct, sensing the light as it changes, sun movement…, then translating that information into usable form for my camera. The aperture set, though not in stone.., play with the light, play with the model, set her free to move, feel the freedom and the approval. Meanwhile set the camera to the changing light, flash or no? Moving in a blur of motion, words, grunts, and “Ohhhhh!”. The absolute highest form of approval I can think of.

Models know when that have reached that sweet-spot, a little smile and they are off working that pose for all it worth. That vein of gold, worked till its played out. Its a partnership of the most intimate nature, second only to the actual act. That trust doesn’t come overnight, and a sort of “Stockholm Syndrome” can set in. The model can become so relaxed, and comfortable with the shoot, that they sometimes have regrets later about how much of themselves they exposed. So often models come at a vulnerable stage of life, where they are bullet-proof against any real harm.

My response is to stay profession, yes that pose or situation was very intimate, maybe sexual in content, and now the “buyer remorse”. I keep to my word, and no release was signed until all the work was seen. Those safe-guards I talked about, and you didn’t listen, are still in place; only time can prove that I have kept my word.

Life go on for the both of us, we go about the daily routines of our lives, never giving a second thought to life we lead. Then in my case, a major stroke that nearly killed me. I was hopelessly trying to pickup the pieces of said life that lay shattered before me. Nurses and doctors were telling all my friends to not expect much from me, things were touch and go. Took me years to get back most of what I had lost, but not quite. But considering the odds I was first given, I have not done too bad.

So too life for my site has changed with the time, and time limitation on my ability to create my work. To tie an otherwise very rambling statement together, these are reality of the various parts of my life and work. Now I have reached the stage where your help is needed to get that recognition, and to insure that my work can continue. With my partner, Hans Hoevenaar we are happy to present my new website dedicated to bringing my work the recognition it deserves, and perhaps some income so I can continue.

No need for a happenstance to bring my work to your attention. I have creating a new treatment for my work, limited for now to the smaller prints. Background matte printed with the same care and attention to detail that shows in my work. Elements from your print have been used in the creation of your matte that bring the work into a feeling of Ma, the Japaneses word for harmony, best explained thus, “Ma is not something that is created by compositional elements; it is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements”.

Whimsy

Star Falls

 

Welcome to the first of my flight of Whimsy.  When working as a photographer, I am like hunter, seeking…., trying to let nothing escape my notice.  Glittery objects catch the eye, I am lost in my own creative world.  I focus attention, lost in the curls, and the stars.  My eye seeking out the proper angle, let the curls lead…, no the stars.  The idle part of my mind creates a story, birthplace of stars, curling down to earth…., each little sharks teeth, one following another down…, till the ribbon snaps…., star free.  Curl…, rebounds give each star that little snap, and away.  Curl rebounds…, re-curls, springs back…, yoyoing, till the tension catches each curl in it position.

From the King William Fair held in San Antonio, Tx each April.  Used to be free, got too popular for its own good.  A nice family weekend, children welcome, their strollers not so much.   Gets pretty packed, people are looking for other people and not little ones at tripping height.  As photographer/hunter I get freedom of movement so I can stalk my prey, get a clear shot.

A dad asks, can he buy a roll of film off me, so I give what is a fair price for me, considering what I may loose not having that roll of film.  A bit of attitude at the price, I tell him that if it too much fine, I’ll keep it.

Toronto

west-college

 

Low Res Scan from my early twenty’s, West College Street.  I had just broken up with the girlfriend, new digs, new adventures.  That water tower in the background is the Hershey Plant were once a month they make chocolate.  First month it is heavenly, by month three you can’t stand the smell of Chocolate!  I was around twenty-five, and so full of myself.

Michael Retro

Welcome to a retro look at my work, you are invited to stop, look around and see what you like. Polite comments are welcome, but remember your manners please. A few words about how I work, I use traditional film, where possible available light. I come from a photo-journalist background so my work is only retouched the way I would process in the darkroom; darken here, hold back the light there, spot the prints. With real film what is on the negative is what you get, so NO special effects are being used in the manipulation of my negatives or prints. In the end my product is really just a matter of time and light.

This, more personal side of my work as well as some of the model’s who have worked with me. I have been shooting intimate photographs of women for what feels like all my life. I am very motivated by the sensuality of the body and mind. I truly value each of the model’s I’ve had the good fortune to share a collaboration to produce the work that you see. These young women trust me to do right by them, and I am very protective of their rights. My model’s each get a percentage of the sale price for each and every piece of art sold of our work. Each of my model’s privacy is respected, anonymity or the use of a stage name is entirely at the model’s discretion.

Good model’s work hard, sometimes under trying situations , nekked to boot. It’s an investment of time, both hers and mine, and that indescribable chemistry that may coax the magic to strike. One can never tell, sometimes the most promising of model’s: no spark. The fact that they are unclothed should matter as an afterthought and not the primary focus. A final word on the term “my girls”, its not meant in a paternalist fashion nor does it imply ownership any sort. A very fragile and very special bond is formed when a man and a woman work together so intimate a manner, and that trust should never be violated.

So once again welcome, get to know my girls. What it is that makes them tick, to carve out a space for them to be them. I invite you into their lives and minds at a particular time and place.

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Latina Angel

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Easily my youngest and most vulnerable model ever.  After getting comfortable with each other, we settled to the business of art.  That small chip she carried on her shoulders fell off, and she began to trust me.  After the session when I showed her what I had gotten, she turned to me and said this like “real art”.  I told her there was a difference to working with me, I have your back still.

Blue

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Second in my trifecta of images and my sense of play.  The first part of the game is to get a model who is on the same basic page that you are.  The second is to turn that creative energy loose and give magic a chance to happen.  Third in my trifecta of play is just that, play to your hearts content.  Unlike most game of chance, odd favor the players, and the magic just might strike.

Then you have to give the work some time to age, and settle…,  revisit those old images, see what treasures you may have missed the first time.  Its like making love with an old trusted friend, you both have been down this road before.  What your there for is to rekindle the magic and see what part of the forest you end up this time.

NYC Sunset

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When I lived and worked in Manhattan, I made a point to get to where I could see a sunset.  Because of all the big building there, I had to get where I could see a sunset, and where better than the water.  Grab the train to the WTC, over the sky-bridge, across the atrium, and out to the marina I’d go.  Nothing better than NYC windows to liven up the show.