Mamma Lena with the background matts that I do. A low-res scan, have to be seen at full resolution to be appreciated. The matts I started playing around with the idea a few months ago, like the look and feel of the matts. I think it adds a touch of class to the image, so far no one else has them, I hope that is a good deal. About the image, she is a model of mine I first shot many years ago, now she is carrying her first child. So very nice to work with an old friend, the natural rhythm of shooting comes back.
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.
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.
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.
My lovely friend who came down after my stroke, we did a shoot so I could see if I still had what it takes to shoot. A little rust, but I was able to take hope for my future after seeing how the shoot went.
A very soft look at a study of light at play. Lit with only a reflector, all available light sculpted to fit the mood.
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.
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.
Now in her thirty’s and wife and mother. Long time has passed and she too has talked about getting in front of my camera once again. We’ll see, but even the idea that she’d come again is great.
Sometimes while I was in N.Y.C., I’d take the subway down to the WTC, down to the marina I’d go. Often just to see the sunset as it reflected on the fabulous windows of New York. That gave me ideas for how to capture the sunset like I wanted, and not at all like the commercial boys and girls. I use real film, high-speed film with lots of grain, and lots of atmosphere if you knew how to expose it correctly. Day is Done, surviving in the face of adversity no matter which side it shows.