Working with Nude Models

Leaf, bottom, buttocks, color image, Michael Vasquez Art.

I have been blessed to have found models who trust my motives, and my photographic eye, who are willing to let me capture elements of them for my art. Sum of parts lead invariable to the whole being, those parts that are the valued by artists, and pornographer alike though for different reasons. I am drawn the pubic regions since I was a young boy for it’s mysteries. Now as a seasoned man I am still draw to this area. One young woman I knew and photographed allow me to capture her for a show I was entering. I wanted her pureness of my capture to show what photographers and pornographers alike were interested in.

Female model, torso, pubic, belly botton, B & W image. Michael VAsquez Art

I’ve been asked more than a few time if I worry about working with nude models alone. To tell the truth I have never given it much consideration because of the way I work my craft. I offer references, give the model a straight forward idea my style of work, now I give the access to my website so they can see what I shoot, and them what to expect. I am very welcoming to significant others to check me, and the studio out so that everyone is comfortable. I make it clear before any shoot happens that I expect to work with my model’s undivided attention.

Colorful image, female pubis and legs, vibrant colors, Michael Vasquez Art.

For my part I am very respectful of the models rights, and my responsibility. When I work with a nude model I realize that their personal space is much more important for them. To date I have never had a model who even thought I have done anything in the least bit inappropriate. Once I had a younger model who I plan to work with at a friend’s farm. On the way over I told her that I wasn’t sure who else would be there, I assured her that she was not going to put on any shows for anyone. That if worst came to worst we’d have the nice meal I had brought, and just call it a day. At the risk of being called paternalistic, I wanted her to feel at ease. That’s is the problem though, the same preparations I use to make my models comfortable, are the same tactics predators use to lull their victims into a false sense of security.

Female model torso, legs split, acorn over vigina, Michael Vasquez Art.

Then there is the matter of the release, I want my model or subject to see everything I have captured before they sign. I want for them to be comfortable with what we’ve gotten, after all we work in a collaborative manner. Many times I work without a release at all, preferring to be able to get in touch with the person, tell them what and were I want to use our image(s). Since I use real film this can get quite expensive, a few times the model decides to not sign. Those few times the whole shoot has been an expensive waste of resources. I can only use the images for display only, no sales are permitted, really that is fair. Now not everyone works as I do, my models work with the anticipation of sales to follow. My work is sold in galleries, or used in books, my website, or I donate it to various organizations that foster a positive sex culture.

Female, model, buttocks, Moon, night, B & W image, Michael Vasquez Art.

Again not everyone works this way, but I feel very strongly about my images, and the way I work. I work very hard at my craft, I get some beautiful images in the pointillist manner. I am proud of my work, the people who chose to work with me…, how could I not take the steps necessary to make it a beautiful experience for all.

Esperanza

Black & white image, glass block wall, topless,black panties, blond leaning against wall.

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.

Color image, cute blond, winter wear, standing in front of a silo, last of winter greenery.

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.

Black & White image, topless, long haired blond, in front of bedroom window, staring out window, wearing a white sarong.

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.

Color image, black panties, tight shot of black panties.

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.

Danish Summer: Girl l

Danish, model, Blonde, Topless, NYC Models, Danish Model,

One wonderful summer in NYC we had a Danish Summer. Many of the young women who were trying to break in as models dropped by on a “Go See” were of the Danish persuasion. The first of the ladies who pose for me, who’s name I can’t remember was a swimsuit model. We set a date for the weekend so as not to interfere with business. I arrived early to set the lights, and the reflectors I used. The model also arrived early and asked if we had an ironing board. I got her setup and continued with my own preparations.

Blond Danish model, wearing suit, Black Bra

We started the shoot with her in a yellow smart suit, then rapidly got down to business. She wore a black sports-coat with a lacy black bra…, then just the bra. I shot a Polaroid, and was waiting for it to develop. She on the other hand was ironing something wearing the lacy panties alone. I had the cured Polaroid in my hand, watching her iron…, studying how her body moved and looked. I told myself that they were only breasts, I had seen lots of breast in the course of shooting. Yes but these were lovely breasts in the prime of her life. She looked up catching me studying her, I smiled…, clutching the Polaroid to my chest and said I think you are going to love this.

Danish summer, blonde model topless hugging self.

Together we studied the image by the open window, her bent at the waist with those beautiful breast bathed in a soft light. Across the street, from the other building where anyone could see her didn’t matter. She did love the look of the image I had captured and we worked on trying different ideas we had. After the shoot a quick kiss on both cheeks as is the European custom, and she left. A few days later she dropped by again to see the film I had gotten developed. The only criticism she had was she was on her period, her eyes were too puffy and that ruined the shoot for her. I knew her eyes wouldn’t matter in the long run, it was the look and the feel of the images that make those images sing.

Danish summer, blonde model, topless, scarf and painted stripes on face

I have recounted this story many times since to many women. Only after I mention being on her period do they see the puffy eyes.

Near color of a model in black tights, sitting on a cube,

 

Another young woman I shot with is this young lady, she did swimsuit modeling. She was a little older than the other girls, she knew the score. We had a lovely time shooting, and some days she would bring her own makeup person. We were shooting some lingerie, I started laughing, she asked me what so funny…, I replied that she was the only woman I knew who had stayed in their lingerie for that long! Her makeup artist even smiled as he was touching up her breast to minimize the tan lines. Her little breast was shining like a beacon in my light.

She had a problem with where she worked that she wanted help with. So I met her for lunch, a 50 dollar lunch I might add, I had to use the last of my traveler check to cover that lunch. The swimsuit owner and maker told her that he would use her more if she got breasts implant. I felt that she might be hurting herself if she got them because back then a report had come out on the safety of implants. Beside I said her body was balanced as it were, I told her that nothing was missing from her body.

It’s hard to remember, but we shot together for maybe about 3 times before she disappeared. The most productive shoot was the last one did, she really put herself into those shots. I even got permission from the owner of the studio to use his background. He had this beautiful background made that was to be his centerpiece. He did a lot of his creative work on that background, I loved the look of it. Photographers are a creative breed of the most anal of people, they guard their secrets well. Well this was the height of my lighting skills. You have to practice to keep your skills up to snuff, in New York City I practice my skills regularly. When I moved back home though that skills got me a lot of jobs working with local photographers who wanted to up grade there own skills. But with any skill you have to keep working with it, use it or lose it as the saying goes.

Female model, nude, tasteful, sitting on a mulin fabric against a cloud patteren backdrop.

 

I lost the practice, and my touch from disuse after my stroke.

 

Ruby in the Churchyard

Female model, churchyard, wooden fence, redhead, shirt.

I saw this eloquent post the other day, and I just had to share it with you. With the permission of the author, and kindred soul The Nude Blogger, find her here. She detailed how the reality of being nude is not an invitation to act badly with another person. I always treat my models with the utmost respect and dignity in any situation.

Attraction is still normal in a non-sexual nude setting. This doesn’t just switch off because we see the words ‘non-sexual’…nor should this be expected of you!
So, just like nudity, attraction, too, is human nature. Meaning, yes, it is just as natural. To deny attraction would be defying human instinct.

It all comes down to the way in which you conduct yourself, should you find yourself in this situation. Clothed or naked, consent and respect is always a MUST! Act with sensitivity and respect your fellow nudists.
What is expected is that you approach the matter with utmost respect, integrity and dignity.

Whilst attraction is human nature…there is a difference between attraction and objectification and sexualisation. You can be attracted to people without objectifying them. You can appreciate someone’s beauty without sexualising them. You can be attracted to others whether you’re clothed or naked…BUT! Being naked does not mean you have permission to be creepy, perverted or inappropriate. Nor is it an invitation for you to project your energy in a way that would make others feel uncomfortable! Social nudity is NOT a green light for unsolicited remarks and behaviour. NUDITY IS NOT CONSENT! Nudity DOES NOT mean somebody is ‘asking for it’…let’s get that f*cking straight!
Boundaries and consent are still a must.
Nudity does not, and should never, disregard or compromise this.

Just because there is nudity involved does not mean it is of an exhibitionist nature, nor does it mean that people are asking for sex, nor to be sexualised…make the distinction!

My mixed naked yoga classes are a prime example that you can practice non-sexual nudity and have it empower and liberate you…and they are a great success because there is a mutual understanding that it is not a sexually-charged event so as to create boundaries and safety.

So, it really is in the way in which you conduct yourself and approach the matter. This makes all the difference. It is not about whether or not you’re allowed to be attracted to others in a non-sexual social nude setting. As I’ve reiterated…attraction is natural, normal and even expected.

BACK-LIT: MS RUBY

 

 

A twenty year old college student, so full of herself and her sexuality, she had dabbled in the porn industry a bit. When we met to discuss a possible shoot she came off as a world weary pro. But the quality of my work and the ideas I present intrigued her.

By the second shoot she was comfortable with me, the way I worked, and the way I respected her space. I’d told her that we would again be working out at the farm, but way off in a very rustic area.  Took her to the family graveyard, three old graves, a wooden fence surrounding the plot. This was to be a completely nude shoot. She worked very well, good poses, good movement. These are among my favorites, back-lit, motion, and soft focus. Arty shots.