The second time Ruby worked with me out the friends farm, we worked in and around the family graveyard. Way off
in the woods, small trials led into the area protected by its remoteness. I found it very peaceful, we worked with a respectful quiet. The mosquitoes, however were out for blood; she sprayed her front, I her back to help repel the little beasts.
In early spring the day was mild, the clouds…, like a giant scrim floating in the sky. As this was our second shoot, Rudy had no inhibitions about nudity, she worked very well…, creatively. Very playful as the camera loved her, she in turn had different looks she tried for effect.
Esperanza came into my photographic life when she was 22 years of age. She was a little firecracker of a young woman just entering her prime. So full of herself, willing to play, had that confidence only youth can bring. After that first shoot she came back to my apartment to have a bite to eat, and to talk more. She was the wife of a friend of a friend of mine, trying to find what she wanted out of life. Later as we did more shoots we went out for lunch after. She’d take my arm going into which ever restaurant we had decided to go to. All male eyes, and not a few female eyes were riveted on her, I felt so special to be the man who had her on his arm.
She was among the first women to tell me that shooting gave her all the benefits of an affair without all the compilations. She’d try different personalities to see what they looked like to others. It was fascinating to watch her as she changed from one personality to another. Like most of my models, she came without eating anything so she’d keep that slim profile. But when that alarm sounded, we had to get her fed ASP.
Even after I moved to New York City, I’d let her know when I was coming into town, we’d setup a shoot. I’d try new lighting setups I’d seen in my work with other photographers on commercial shoots. Because she loved to play, we’d try different things…, but she was hesitant to shoot completely nude. I did get a few shots of her in the all together, but her heart wasn’t into it. To this day I don’t understand her reasoning as she always had a terrific figure made for photography. But I accepted her wishes, warned her when she was showing more than she want seen.
I feel that it is important to work with the models limits, not to cop those shots the model is unaware of. In return she has the confidence in our works to give me carte blanche in using the images we have shot. I also feel that its the right way to go, to have that trust that you honor in all my dealing with my models.
What a wonderful feeling after so long a wait, to be able to buy film. Not that the things holding me back have eased, not so much, but I have enough to work on. One of my first model’s to begin working with me on what has developed into the new series. I’ve know this woman for thirteen (13) years now, (seen on FaceBook) the boyfriends come and go. Never ever thought the both of us would still be involved with each other lives this long. Like so much of my art it has evolved over time, organic, the friendship has deepened. I’ve invited the model to my shows, or tell them when a magazine has picked our work to publish. I love educating new model to the world of art, how our work fits into the show.
So too has my relationship with my other models has grown over time, the nature of our work, what to submit to magazines, websites that handle art. Those models who wish to be involved are welcome, those that do not want to be bother, I let them be. With this new series I have someone who I work with, not everyone is so open to the type of images I want to make. I keep my options open, always welcome back models who have worked with me in the past. I welcome new models, they work with what they are comfortable with, I never require models to pose in ways they are not fully behind. Trust is key to my work, something that can only be built by getting to know each other, how we think. It’s the only way I work.
I find myself in a wonderful position, two (2) models, two different ways to pose. Each with a rhythm of their own, different set of values: its exciting. So return to the subject of film I need to buy, how my choice of film, model…, each bringing their personality, moves, and desires. Then I get to the real artsy stuff, expired film, those unpredictable colour shifts. Maybe a cross-processed roll of slow film for the movement, mystery, the flying by the seat of the pants feeling. The wait for real film to return from the lab. Part and parcel of the magic of film, exposing it for results hoped for, not for the faint of heart, or of imagination.
A return to the old days, the old ways, waiting to see if the magic has stuck, or a near miss. I love the suspense, the anticipation. I’ve spent decades work with these films, I know how they work, how they are supposed to work, then with the broken rules what you should expect. Now long out of date, the unknown…, what will I get, how will my model react if nothing shows up, least not model portfolio wise. That is the magic, the curse of my art, the great unknown is the way I work, nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Checked the film vault, an old Tupper-ware container I have kept for many years now. Oh want delights! Film I had purchased in my N.Y. days, slower ISO that’s why it survived so long. All color film, all way out of date, oh the colour-shifts.
I was talking with a friend the other morning over breakfast, I told her how much I enjoys treading the needle. I want to produce a new piece from the current series, that is FaceBook pure. I do not support censorship, I will not show my work with a black bar, defused area because some white male is uncomfortable with the human body. So jerking a few chains does not bother me, I push boundary.
This image was shot in 2003, the model and I had worked together for sometime, getting to this image. She was by no means a professional model, fresh off the farm literally. When we first met I remember a very determined young woman weaving her way over to where I was sitting. As I watched her approach I was thinking like a photographer, very tall (good), a little awkward, part of the fresh face appeal (good/bad), wanting her dream…, so very apparent. For me the training, investment in time, and not if, but how soon would she be able to do nude work.
We agreed to meet for coffee, she had an unfortunate incident that morning, and was stuck at home, could I meet her apartment? My book has my look, and the models are in various state of undress, I never hide who I am. She asked, “how do you get them nude)? I ask, is the simple answer. So we set our first shoot, what I wanted as a photographer was clear in her mind. We worked very well, any misgiving she might of had, vanished in the face of my professionalism. We became fast friends, I showed her every piece of film I shot, I treated her with respect, and her trust level grew. The odd misinformation about what I shot for me, and what I was doing for her. Had a newspaper piece in her hometown press about a parade that she had a part in as a Bird of Paradise. All novice miscommunication, and the trust grew.
Then came the shoot that changed everything. She was getting bored with what we were shooting, any fear of being nude had passed…, and she was ready for something more challenging. I suggested a far more intimate and personal pose. Her first answer was an emphatic no, but I could see the wheels turning in her head. This was the ultimate challenge fear/fact of life she was facing. That she had consider this type of image in her thinking both worried me, and pleased me that she was considering my suggestion. To my delight she said if she was going to do this, she had to be comfortable.
So I was privileged to photograph this special moment in this woman life, freely, and without question. Oh the questions she had, that flitted through her mind, overwhelmed by wave of pleasure, and alarm. Afterwards, small ripples of pleasure came across her, and I was thinking how special this moment was for me too. I had been privileged to photograph her doing something so intimate and special. That she was a “nice” girl, a “good” girl who could be so harmed if I was not to do the right thing by her. Say what you will, it was my responsibility to hold this lady, this girl from harm by exposing her.Now years after the fact we are great friends. She never posed for anyone this way after, we’ve had the time and distance to be able to put this shoot in perspective. I have managed to assure her of confidentiality, and my respect for what she decided to share with me.
My work really is about a partnership, a working relationship that puts the model more in touch with what is happening to their images. Each model works with me in a collaborative manner, and no one is paid for their time until I sell. If they choose not to give me an email address, or choose to just ignore me, they have that right to privacy; all the rights and responsibility remain in place. I will do everything I promised getting them to pose for me in the first place. I believe that it is the only way to work. Because of the special nature of the images I take of these women we have developed a special bond that endures to this day, as do the friendship we have developed.
This model and I shot at a friend’s farm near Austin. It was out in the middle of nowhere, off a dirt road of sorts, around the fields. Just in her twenty’s, and full of herself as we all are at that age. We had a nice time of it, good strong poses, self-aware with attitude. A true red head, fiery in the way she could attack her poses…, me if I was un-wary! Wore her mother’s outfit from her days as a hot young chick.
No disrespect, young and carefree we all were, made it to this age, and you learn certain things. But at twenty you haven’t formed those connections yet, you can use someone with ethics in the profession. The term “My Girls”, has caused a great deal of consternation in the circles I run in, and getting advice from friends on building this site. “My Girls”, I have a protective arm around them spiritually, I lay out before the shoot all the details. “You will always know where your images are posted, as long as I have an active email address” I tell them, and I do follow through with that promise.
Every one of these young ladies knows about my site, and have full access to every image. Those who’s images I plan on marketing, know about my strategy, and how each image was carefully selected. We still have in place that partnership promised so many years ago, with time-off for my stroke and recovery. Now that I am back on my feet, getting back to parts of the life I knew before my stroke…., and the long, long road back.
My thanks to these young women who trusted me to do right by them. To protect their names, and reputations now that they have a life established. Each and everyone is still My Girl!
Welcome to my work. You are encouraged to stop, have a look around. Here you will be able to read my words, about my work, and what makes me tick (work). You will also get to meet my models, please treat them with respect. They are the core group of young women I was lucky to shoot with in the years before my stroke. It has taken me twelve (12) long years to get back to almost the way I felt before.., but not quite. Post stroke I still have my problems, and limitations…, but I feel more alive than ever. The background (Mattes) I crafted with the help of PhotoShop, and I have a selection to choose from. The image were created using real film, available light, and then were scanned. Please join my reinvention of a life, and the art I create.
My latest background, and model Ruby, from the Farm Shoot. First time working together, took her to an old farm some friends rented. I warned my model that I didn’t know what we would find when we got to the location. First time I had used the farm as well, not sure as to how much privacy we would have; so we might end-up having a nice lunch with cold wine to wash it down. Let them know when I was on property, that we’d say hello after.
Ruby and I set to work, getting comfortable with each other, and the way we worked. I was very pleased, relived to find she had very good poses, and looked terrific in motion. Funny how this was a “still” shoot, yet her movements were wonderful. That’s something I work hard to capture, that playful exuberance only the young have. We played with each other, or rather she played for the camera, I was just attached. I will upload them as I find the time to give each one the attention it deserves.
A word or two about the backgrounds, in a break from traditional plain white matts for each print. I craft a unique background matting for each print, or you can have that plain white border if you rather. The image was created using real film that was scanned to PhotoShop, with the traditional techniques in the handling. The backgrounds are a product of PhotoShop, and are crafted to compliment my images.
I try for a certain balance, a zen like feel; Ma the Japaneses words for, “it is the thing that takes place in the imagination of the human who experiences these elements”. Like an old friend, seen in the mind-eye wearing their favorite outfit. Get to know my works for who they represent, the creative mind behind the images.
I’ve been scanning for the new site, starting the B & W work at last. I feel my strongest pull from producing a lovely B & W, all the shades of grey. How far Jean Dawson and I have come, thank you Jean.
She was one of those “kids” that are at risk, newly eighteen, already trying out the sex trade. I saw her portfolio which featured tight shot of her pubic region. I knew I could do a much better job, and maybe show her photographs as art. She came to the studio, and changed into a really cute short bathrobe. She sat there, smoking a mile a minute, a haze of blue surrounded her head. For what seemed like 5 minutes, she when on about what questions she would answer, and never ask personal questions. She sat there, tight as a spring, and asked, “any questions?” Yeah, I asked “do you get “nekked”? She threw off the bathrobe, preening, she turn to me like “feast your eyes on this”! I studied her saying, “naw, let’s get you in a dress”!
She burst out laughing, and we were friends. That is an important skill I have, knowing what to say in the moment. Respecting my models, and having fun at the same time. And not backing down when they test the limits.