Canadian Sojourn Part 5

Black and White image, profile of a girl, head to knee, in shadow and light.

To continue doing something with determination or resolve despite difficulties or an unlikely chance of succeeding.”


I asked the cop if there was anyplace, like a state park that I could grab some sleep. He told about a state park that wasn’t far that I could try. I found the park without too much trouble and settled in for the night. Next morning the caretaker of the park came around to tell me no sleeping was allowed. I beat him to the punch and told him my coffee was almost ready and he was welcome to a cup, but I didn’t have cream or doughnuts. He smiled and said he’d bring some the next morning, then we sat and talked about his life. He said in the summers he worked there in New Port, winter he went to live in Florida. He got around to telling me about the state trooper who made his rounds at night, he would tell him that I was alright. Then the village was calling me to go explore the sites, so off I went.

Black and White image, young woman buttocks with shadows and light.

I drove back to that park I had tried to sleep in, walked out to the point to have a look around. I found a young blonde hippy chick was there at the point. I nodded a hello and kept walking. Next I drove out to the press site for the festival and presented the letter of introduction I had from the radio station. It said that the radio station was doing a report on the festival, to give me any consideration they could. Even thought I was a member of the press in good standing back in San Antonio, I could see that this was big time, with big coverage. They turned me down flat because they didn’t have time for small town press.

I just gave up for now, when back to the beach to look and to think. Now I had the time to think, to mull my options. Did I want to push them, was I going to Canada or not. The little blonde hippy chick was no where around by then. I did have a place to stay for the week, and a state trooper to check on me.., I was safe as possible. The caretaker and I began a morning ritual, coffee and a long talk. Next morning I went back to the point, there was the girl so I said hello. We stuck up a conversation, explored the beach at low tide. Her father lived there, she was visiting for the summer. Slowly she began to tell me more about herself, how her father would lock her out of the house for coming in too late.

Black and White image, young woman's torso , neck to knees in shadow and light

I got to drop her off at home, then went down to the church were all the kids gathered. I found the billboard where all the acts for the festival were posted. Most of the kid were sleeping on the grounds, but I had a very quiet hilltop view of the ocean to wake up to. That night I attended my first night of the festival. It was a lot of fun as you can guess, with plenty of pot going around to partake. I drove back to my hilltop, music filled my dreams and any thought of my responsibility to the radio station were soon forgotten.

To this day I still have reservations about not doing what I had agreed to, I reasoned that I was not getting paid anything, the letter hadn’t worked, and I was probably not going back for a long time, if not forever. Therefor I’d put out of mind till I was trying to get to sleep. My mind was on the festival and the hippy chick, although not necessarily in that order. I was slowly deciding that I was not going back to be drafted, this was my last chance to see the states.

Sunlight in the studio!

Jean

Red hair, sunlight, nude, nudo, michael vasquez, michaelvasquezart.com
Sunlight in the studio with Jean Dawson.

Last December Jean Dawson came by to play with the sun.  Then my image processing program decided to freeze up on me, Jean’s friend came  over to fix it.  Now I got to get back to my sojourn, but first I  have so adjustments to work out.

Erotic Work

Black and White image, two women, nude embracing

Erotic Work

I love doing my erotic work, I love the women who work with me, and I hold them in the highest regard. I consider them as co-creators to my images, without them my pages would be empty. As we work on a piece I give them the leeway to create, giving them instructions only when needed. My job is to run the camera, intrinsically how I want to capture the image before me. Same with my model’s, I give the free rein on their poses, only adding what I am trying to create. Symbiosis, a union of two minds each work on an idea, a feeling that in most cases can’t be explained, but only felt.

Recently I was work with two women, one I had worked with before, the other was totally new to me, my way of working. The new woman had her own views of what she wanted, and that was the other model. After a bit of a warm-up my models made love. No other words come close to describing what they did, I only told them what I want to see more of to be sure I had capture everything, they only too happily compiled.

Some would say that my shoot had been hijacked, I see it in much different way. I knew what I wanted to capture. I had to concentrate on running the camera, all those little details that make the image. For them this was the first opportunity these two women had to be alone with each other. They took advantage of that opportunity, and then some. But when my camera was finished so were they. They both had other plans for that night, bang like curtain coming down they were finished.

They stayed around to finish their wine, to dress. And then were gone like a small summer breeze on hot summer day.

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.

Young Model’s

Color, nude, naked, arroyo , dry creek bed, dark haired beauty.

The problem is that young women are not prepared to understand or handle a situation like this, an older man with power and influence was carrying on, saying this is the way its done in the business. To me its not surprising because the higher functions of the brain aren’t developed until later stages of development. That is the concern I have about expecting young models to think through all the ramification of posing nude. I also have problem with thinking these “kids” as full grown women. That they should be treated with all respects as fully grown people at any age is a given, early twenty are still kids. I don’t want to take advantage of them at that age, I run the risk of being seen as paternalistic, yes I will shoot young women, but my preference is 24 at least. Yes I do get a release, but to think that gives me the right to ruin someone life because they agreed doesn’t mean I can use the images indiscriminately. Maybe because of my younger man’s experiences, kids don’t make the smart moves at that point. That’s why I still ask the women who are in contact with me if I can use their images for whatever I am trying. Having developed my own brain has given me an appreciation of the not yet developed brains. I know a lot of photographers who say “well I have a release!” To my way of thinking, yeah you do, but you should ask first…, maybe she has a reasons (like kids) not to want to be exposed like that, or to use identifying information with an image.

Young model nude, naked, white shirt, red haired, boots.

I had a model who was 24 at the time, but a young very naive 24 yeas old, She came from a farming background, wanting to make up for lost time. I could see that she was testing herself, testing her limits. We’d been shooting nudes, she was tired of that, too vanilla.., so I said, partly in jest why not masturbate for the camera. NO she said, but I could see she was thinking about it, was she brave enough. Now don’t go jumping to conclusions, I knew she was ripe for someone to take advantage of her. I also knew the way I worked, knew that I would be willing to protect her and her images. She said yeah but I have to get comfortable. So I got some really lovely stuff mainly because she didn’t know any better than to fake it, so when she left she was happy as a clam. Only after she had second thoughts, asked her friends, they told her she was nuts, that her job was in jeopardy. I told her not to worry, I wasn’t going to do anything without asking first. I kept my word, but still doing that was her concern, what did I think of her really.., she wasn’t that kind of girl. Finally a few summers ago we had the chance to really talk. That I had thought of all the ramifications before we actually shot, that I was willing to protect her, while someone else might not. Told her that I didn’t think that she was that kind of girl either, that I respected her, that I was still protecting her and her images. She was so relived that I didn’t think poorly of her. We went though the images again, told her how proud of was of the both of us, that she needed an outlet at the time that wouldn’t harm her. So all is good between us at long last. Spideer blouse, young model, class of champagne, toast blond, black and white, see through blouse.

Not everyone works the way I do, with my past mistakes of my own, made when my brain wasn’t fully developed, I have learned a hard lesson. I think of a shoot a little like the Stockholm syndrome, a model gets so comfortable with a photographer, that she wants to please him or her. Then has second thought, but its too late by that point; any damage has been done if she has signed that release. I don’t want to be that photographer…, ever! I want to do the right thing by my models then and now. I think that’s the reason I haven’t had problems. I do the right thing, even if it cost me money. I have found that the rewards far outweigh any monetary harm.

Young model, red panties and red shirt ,smoking, look down, color ima

Youngest Model to Date

Easily my youngest model, and most at risk. Just turned eighteen (18) with a toughness beyond her meager year. Already getting involved in the sex business, her portfolio was full of images that featured very intimate images. We made arrangement to meet, look over my work to see if she was interested in working with me. I told her point blank that her portfolio was showing too much of her, that no one was looking at her face. She very frostily informed me that she already had a manager. She agreed however to pose for me.

Youngest model, topless, young, work for trust, tough, street kid.

She came out of the bathroom in the cuties little bathrobe, smoking a mile a minute, her foot beating out a quick tattoo. Let out a burst of blue smoke and read me the rule for working with her. When on for at least five minutes, “any questions” she asked, taking in another lung-full of smoke. “ Yeah do you get naked?”, sure said she throwing of her bathrobe, giving me the feast your eyes on this look . While she preened for my benefit, “naw” I said, “lets get you in a dress!” She burst out laughing like the girl she still was, having been caught. In taking her down that peg, we became friends…, I showed her I could play as well.

Young, model, transpant dress, home stuido, sitting stool

We began in that dress as promised, soon she was nude, and man she could pose.., interesting stuff with very good moves. I asked her permission to shoot more anatomical shots, she agreed, but she didn’t want me to show them, they were for my own benefit. I had an idea, just in the formative stages of what I might like to do with them. She probably thought I was going to use them for my own enjoyment if you get my drift.

Young model, topless window in background, smiling.

Many years after, after I had a stroke, many long years recovery I finally had worked out that vision of what I wanted to do with the more intimate images I had captured. I worked over those images getting them just right. Then I sent them to her for her approval, want her to know that I wanted to donate our work to some groups who work for a positive sex culture, asked her if she agreed. To my great relief she agreed to let me use them. Working in a collaborative fashion is not for everyone, but I feel great that it works for me and my models.

Young, model, topless recline posel Black and White image.

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.

 

Rest with Peace at Last

Young red haired model, white top, against a old wooden barn.

It was with great sadness and shock I learned of the passing of one of my model. I will always remember her as a very talented, and bright person, I thought she had a great future. When I met her I really had to sell myself as a photographer for her. Over coffee I showed her my book, told her in general term what I wanted to shoot with her. I was amazed what a difficult sell she was, though I knew she was worth any trouble.

We agreed to shoot at a friend’s farm, the old milk barn. On the drive over I told her that I didn’t know if anyone would be there visiting. I told her that we might just end up having dinner that I cooked because I did not want to put on a show for anybody’s benefit. We took our time to warm up, for her to be comfortable with what I was shooting. Went the sun was the right position for the light that I wanted we started at the barn. I got her in the transparent dress that I had just bought for this shoot. At one point I had moved in for a tight shot, asked her to lean back against the barn. She just let herself drop back against those rough boards. Without thinking I reached to grab her, she was so tall I grabbed her lower back and buttocks. She shot me a dirty look for having touched her without asking, I told her quickly “it’s the dress…, I’m saving the dress! We both started laughing over that, and all was forgiven.

 

Black and white image, wooden fence , young model, leather belt, boots, wooden fence, other worldly, looking into camera.

 

Then over a vegetarian dinner I had made just for her we met the boy’s that lived there. They were on their best behavior, and drunk on moonshine. It was so funny to watching them both so impaired, yet so formal with her. But Taz the dog just wanted a taste of what I was serving.

About a month later we had a second shoot out there in the family graveyard with the lovely old wooden fence. The setting really appealed to her, we worked really hard to get the shots I wanted. We worked with a man’s shirt for the most part, I got her down to boots and a belt at one point. Dressed or not she carried herself very well, and with a fluid motion. Not shy in the least she carried herself with a grace and pose that belied her few years.

We had a falling out over some advice I gave her, she told me that she already had a father. I figured that after she had put on a few more years we’d manage to become friend’s again. But she never communicated with me again, over time I tried less and less. Then last weekend I was just curious to see what she was up to now. I expected great things from her in business and beyond. It was great sorrow I learned that she had taken her own life, then it all made a kind of sense. While very open about parts of her life she was very guarded about other parts. Those parts that caused her hurt and pain that I couldn’t comprehend.

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.