I have a lovely new model coming in a few weeks with whom I hope to take this shot again this time with pubic hair. Models do have lives of their own, it may or may not workout. Stay tuned to find out! Also on tap are some loving shots of her and her gentleman, and the baby she is carrying. Part of the joy I find in photography, that and the terror till I get film back and see what and if I got what I saw in the viewfinder. Once again I have to thank my models for working with me, and sharing my vision.
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!
Still north of Toronto, she had never posed before for this kind of photography. She had a natural way of moving and thinking. Shortly after I ran head on with a pile of problems, most of my own making, we never got the chance to work together again. Huge loss.
We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
We worked in the same hospital, she a nurse, me a lowly floor-cleaner. Always the friendly sort, we made friend’s, and she agreed to pose for me. Took her far north of Toronto, to an abandoned cement plant. Beautiful sunny day, but in the bunker like interior it was cool. We shot several rolls of film, and both my cameras needed reloading. As I grabbed my camera to reload, it was so cold I almost dropped it. I looked at her body, and it was all goose-pimply,we went outside to enjoy the sun, and that was it for the day. Shot about late 1970’s.
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.
I was recently referred to as elderly in an email I was privy to. Elderly…, me…, elderly…, although I do resemble that remark, I never considered myself as elderly. Or as the other more acceptable euphemism goes, “your not a spring chicken anymore”. Okay…, not a spring bird, that I can see…, say mid-summer at least…, early August at the latest. Not a roasting bird, but a fine stock material, and not something that you worry about its expired date.
I have reached that time of life where cops, in the groceries store call me “sweetie”, usually they want me to lay down, and I’m not even tired! But its a question that has befuddled us for a long, long time. Me…, I’m of the opinion that the term “elderly” denotes someone of greater age that I am, and will stay that way until I have real problems getting around, and thinking clearly. That to my mind is were the term “elderly” begins to be applied. Beyond their expire date, but not yet expired, if you know what I mean.
I know I am older, I am reminded that every living minute of my life. Every time I reach above my head, or bend over for an extended period of time, every time I turn my head, to the random pains that I get, and ether go away, or at least go someplace different. I am older, but not decrepit yet, I get pains from living my life to its fullest extent. Truth be told, sometimes I pushed my body past its limits. Having five (5) pounds of camera slung around your neck for any were from two (2 hours to seven (7) hours a day. That kind of stress on the neck has got to take its toll, and when you are older you feel it. When you’re elderly, you live in chronic pain everyday, and your body grows into such a tortured posture. But damn it, I’m not that old yet, and the classification bother me immensely.
I tend to see things in a continuum, still moving ahead, still involved in life and love (though to what extent, I’ll never tell). I have plans for my future that involve new apps, and the current way we do things in our new world. I remain a vital part of life, with things to say, and knowledge to pass on to those who want to learn.. Most of all I have art to pass along, to create, to bring a new/old way of see the world through some other person eyes. To wonder who that person is, wants, and lust for. I see this person, I know this person…, I feel for this person. That is what my art is in the final annalists, what you see in my photographs, who you see in my photographs.
That you can make a connection to a two (2) dimensional object, most often without color, or those outward signs of rank or privilege. That’s the magic in what I do. That is who I am, I ask the magic to move me with another person. To take two people into a creation of our minds, the same wave length , and that art will come out of our endeavors. And sure, its a wonderful feeling I get to see that magical look in my models eyes when she see the work for the first time. But my main target is you who comes to shows like mine. Those of you who admire art in all its forms, to those of you who collect it, and who knows, value it more. My art was created with you in mind. To the people who value my work, and you alone.
My lovely friend Esperanza, akin to a blonde tornado she has been in my photographic life for many years. First came to me at age 22, she has always been a very private person, unless she isn’t.