Never Smile…, Not

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The toughie, I never smile…, ever. But she did…, having a good time, teased, played with, and loved every minute because she was treated with respect. All the older men who took advantage of a kid. I admit she was no real angel, had too many problems,and many addictions. She was a very troubled young woman, her life on a downward spiral. I worried about her, she might end up DOA, another statistic to a madly run war on drugs.

You can’t save them all, I was told. I just wanted to save one little girl child/woman.

Lessons Learned

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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.

Mess

Image by Mary Kent

Welcome to a very soft opening for my website, this site is a work of love. My friend/cousin Hans Hoevenaar actually built the site you see now, in the future look for big changes, a chance to shop, and support the art. Let me also express my gratitude to Aubrey Langford for the support and belief in my work. The three of us, each of various backgrounds, ages, and each with our own skills set have worked together to make my vision a reality.

Please excuse the mess while we furnish, and get things a little more presentable.

Churchyard Fence

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Cross Processed film all the way!  I had to talk really well to capture this young lady.  Shot at Onion Creek, Texas on a family plot in the woods.  Started of well, got good images, but I gave her some advice that didn’t sit too well.  She said, ” I already have a dad!”…, ouch!

Toronto

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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.