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.

Vulnerable

 

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!

Day is Done

Man Against the Elements

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.

Young\Old

My Work LA No C

 

You know sometimes you meet an old soul trapped for now in a young body, and you must help them.  Came into my world with a portfolio of shots of her crotch, and an attitude.  Just 18 and living life in the fast lane, working at a strip club.  Over time I really wanted to help this girl to see there was another path that was better for her.  Now 30 with a husband and a sweet young girl of her own, life is made.  She says next time she is down she’ll get in front of my camera again.

At the Window

Ms James Window

 

My lovely friend Ms James again, I do owe her a debt as a friend, and as an artist in trouble. About 2 years after my stroke, I was wondering if I still had it in me to do my art anymore. She came down to work with me to give me the chance to have a live model working with me. I was rusty as hell, and the issues with my hand control was not what I wanted it to be. But, I was a gracious host plying her with wine in abundance, and food so she wouldn’t have any unfortunate meeting with law. Friend to friend she was there for me, and that meant the world to me. Thanks Ms James.

The Lovely Ms. James

Ms. James

 

After the stroke in 2005, I found out quite quickly that I could not longer shoot the commercial grip & grins anymore. I just didn’t have the stamina to stand for two (2) hours plus. While reloading at a political shoot, I had to squat down, and if there hadn’t been a piano so I could pull myself up, I was in trouble. When it came to my art, I was very worried that I didn’t have the eye anymore, and I worried that the stamina was going to be an issues.

Late in the 2004 I met a model who was very interesting, she was marching to the beat of a different drummer only she could hear, so we became fast friend’s. She offer to pose for me, and in 2007 I took her up on her offer, to see what I could or couldn’t do. Though there were limitations to my shooting, things I should have remembered, but didn’t…, the session went really well and among others I got this lovely image.

Photo For Sale

B&W Image taken at Onion Creek property.
B&W Image taken at Onion Creek property.

B&W Image of a girl in a white shirt by the family plot. Two (2) gelatin silver process made by hand with pre-stroke signature. 4 1/4″ x 6 5/8″ matte 101/4″ x 15″ shrink wrapped.

This girl was a difficult sell from the first, then she decided to pose. We had a couple of good shoots then I gave some fatherly advice, I have a father you know, then it went downhill from there. Still hasn’t forgiven me yet. But still I got some good shots of her. M