End…, and a Beginning

Well that time has come, I realized long ago that I no longer had a business as a commercial events guy. Now I am getting rid of thousands of slide that are no longer relevant. A sad drawn out affair, punching holes in work that I am very proud of. A testament to my lighting skill, the ability to capture a look or mood. Of hours spent try to capture those images, the setup time I had to invest, and tear down mode while starting to decompress from the stress of the shoot. Of the hours on the prowl for those spontaneous captures of relaxed guess enjoying the evening.

Once while I was scouting by the bar looking for my next shot, a guest remarked that I looked like was hunting. Yeah I replied, next to the feed trough, and the watering hole…, they all must come here. He looked sort of puzzled, then saw what I saw, the banquet table, and the bar. I’d spot a prey, and follow them back to the main herd where I was sure to get a good shot. Or the young teens I asked to take their photo, I got them all lineup, safety shot. Then I told them they looked like a bunch of granny’s posing…, that got them. As one they dropped into a Charlies Angels pose with finger-guns drawn.

For me it is the end of an era. Little time to look back at the fun I had, the people I played with. I’ll save that for the very last part of life when I no longer get to shoot. I turn to the arts, the erotic arts…, I am finally connecting to the right model’s. Women in their forties (40’s), women who have lived life with few, if any regrets. Coming in to work with me, to capture their personalities, and beauty. Not to say I will not work with younger models, but they do not interest me as much. I value those who are approaching forties (40’s), their special vulnerability that is part of their charm. Of that special character they have locked behind their eyes.

It is said that “the eyes are the window of the soul”. My wish is for them to open that window so I can reveal the enchanting creature I have glimpsed in that moment.

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.