Posts Tagged: nude

The Stories Written Upon Our Skin

Billions of dollars a year are spent on advertising in this country to teach us one thing; that we are invariably Stupid, Ugly and we Smell Bad. That message starts when we are barely old enough to talk. We are taught what to buy and what to use to give us flawless skin with nary a blemish or a wrinkle; never showing a single sign that we’ve aged.  We’re told to go pay professionals to remove the scars that are the signs of our adventures and misadventures.   We’re told we must smell like flowers or citrus or spices, but not like people.  And most of all, we are told that we don’t get to decide what is pretty, or what smells we enjoy or what things we believe. The bright shining loud people in the flat box attached to the wall get to tell us that.  We’re too stupid to know, to decide, to live without their aid and comfort and most importantly, their products. The real sin in their message, though, is that it teaches us that our life’s story isn’t one worth telling.   We can write things down on paper or make movies or tell stories, but that’s only a description of a story.  The real story of our life is written in the blemishes and the scars on our skin.  The real story is in the textures and shapes of our bodies.  The real story of our lives is written on the parchment of our bodies and those blemishes and scars and shapes and stretch marks and baby chewed breasts are the words that story is written with.

The ultimate beauty of a person can only be seen when you can read that story and learn to love that story.  Why would we let some talking head in a box or manipulated lifelike manikin in a picture in a magazine keep us from letting that story show forth in our skin, our posture, every wrinkle and sag and roll and stretch mark and blemish?  Our life is sacred, our stories are beautiful, our lives are worth living and loving and sharing.

I have the incredible privilege of knowing a woman who has never been taken in by the bright people in the box.  Her life is a hard one that if written out in a script, it would make you weep.  But through that struggle to survive, she learned not just to cope, but to *live*.   She’s had spouses and divorces. She’s had children and struggled to feed and clothe them.She’s been as near destitute as you can get and nearly lost her life to a simple, common infection.  She survived all of that and lives today with that story written upon her body.   It’s as beautiful and as harsh and as soft and as stark as the marks and blemishes and scars she’ll carry with her the rest of her life.

I have attempted to capture a few short phrases of that story here to share with all of you. Her identity is hidden, by her request, and by my choice. Her name is not her story; it is a label. The photos exhibited here are purposely stark, textured, even harsh. No attempt to pretty them up and in most cases very minimal processing was done at all. Who is she? She is every-woman. She is your sister, your mother, your neighbor, your child.  She is you.

As you view this gallery of photos, look at her not as a model in photo studio, but as a book begging to be read, to be deciphered, to be experienced. I will not put my own labels on these photos. I want you, the viewer, to read this story and find your own symbols in the blemishes, in the scars, in the stretch marks.  Then, when you’re done, go find a mirror and start reading your own story and loving and experiencing your own life.   You’re too precious a being, too holy a person,  to divine a soul to do anything else.

The photos here are of the nude form and not safe for work in most places. View them at your discretion.

An experiment in low-key photography. – Part 2

I took some time recently to complete my finishing touches on the first shoot of 2015.  There may be a few more gems buried in the shoot, but I am extremely pleased with the results so far.  I hope you will be too.

As you probably already knew, the images past the cut are NSFW.

First shoot with a brunette Valkyrie.

2015 has definitely started off with a bang.  Two full days of shooting in a row behind me and now I get to edit and finish the sets.  In the mean time, here is a teaser for the several sets I shot of a new model; Valkyrie.  As always, nudity behind the cut because people are prudes.

(NSFW)

First shoot of 2015 – A Low Key Shoot.

I’ve been experimenting with low-key lighting and trying to achieve a very soft, body-molding look for a while.  Regular readers have seen some of the results of that experimentation in previous posts.

All of that experimentation came together for the first shoot of 2015 tonight.  The setup is deceptively simple with a black cloth backdrop, an SB-910 speedlight in a 24inch softbox to the right (photographer’s right) of the model.   I set the speedlight to 1/4 power and shot at F/22 or F/18 @ 1/125 and ISO 100.  This gave me a completely dark room with the only light showing up on frame being the speedlight.

The results were everything I had hoped they’d be. The model was very fun to work with and I’ll be shooting her often over the coming year.  With the exception of the image labeled ‘Fire Down Below’, the only editing on these is cropping and b/w conversion and, when needed, a touch of sharpening.  ‘Fire Down Below’ had a bit of color bump, clarity and sharpening to get the look I wanted. I also brought the exposure up slightly on it.

As you probably already guessed, these images are NOT safe for work.  Click the ‘continue reading’ link to see the photos.   And as always, enjoy and I look forward to your feedback.

A Study in Stark Contrast.

Back in June of 2011, I had a fun couple of hours in the studio with two of my favorite models from that year.   I’ve gotten a higher percentage of good shots out of that session than just about any other that year.   A couple of those images even became the centerpiece of three different gallery shows.

As anyone who follows my work knows, I’ve spent a good portion of this year going back over my entire body of work and pulling out those gems that just did not have the tools or techniques to polish at the time.   I also have been revisiting the “finished” pieces to see if I can get just that little bit of extra shine from them.   This shoot is one of those that I have gotten both new images to show and been able to really refine the quality on some of the ones already deemed “finished”.

Only one of the shots I worked on tonight is work safe and you can see it up top.  The rest are behind the fold.   As always, use your discretion when viewing.

Nudes in Black and White

It has been a while since I last posted any of the nude and risqué sets I shoot. These images are from a set that was more of an experiment than a planned session.

It does not take bunches of lights and backdrops and modifiers and other gear to get a very soft, sensual look in a nude set. Often, simplicity is more effective than an “engineered” approach.

I could go on for another few thousand words, but I would much rather let the images speak for themselves. All of these but one were shot with a single speed light on a stand with a 12×8 soft box, The last one was pure available light and is pretty much a candid taken while the model was relaxing g after the shoot.

I shouldn’t have to say this but the images after the fold are Not Safe For Work. Nudity abounds beyond the fold. Enjoy.

She only wants a piece of your mind!

Half Zombie effect achieve entirely in Lightroom.  If there’s enough interest, I’ll post a tutorial on how I achieved this effect.

Behind the fold because nudity makes HR drones break out in hives.

A Beautiful Young Woman From the Deep Archives.

Digging deep into the archives this week, I came across the first session I ever shot with Jessica.  You’ve seen some photos from this set percolate up over the years, but some of these have never seen the light of day.

This set was shot in 2007, just a couple of weeks after her 18th birthday.  The original concept for the shoot was an extended series of poses for her to use as reference material in her artistic pursuits.    By the time we finished the reference shots, she was having so much fun we just kept shooting.   I think we shot for about 3 or 4 hours that day.

Jessica was a regular in front of my camera until she got to busy with College last year and I’ve only gotten to shoot her once since spring of 2013.  As I revisit the archives over time, you’ll be seeing more of what were originally the ‘cast offs’ from the many, many sets over the 6+ years between this shoot and the last full session we shot in early 2013.  And who knows, when she’s between semesters and has some free time, I may yet get her back in front of my lens to create more art.

These are sensual and classic nude poses, so I’ve put them behind the fold, as usual.  Enjoy.

DSC_0349

The Long Awaited Naked Photographer Post – sort of.

Yep, that’s right boys and girls.  Step right up and take a seat for the palest show on earth.  That’s right, I’m in front of the lens again and this time, I left all those pesky clothes in the closet.  Now, before you cover your eyes and after your gaze, understand that all these photos are safe for that bastion of purity and safe haven from all things prurient; Facebook.  Nary a female nipple, nor hint of my southerly charms shall inflict your innocent eyes.   Fear not for I those posts are not ready.   Yet.

Read on to see what happens late at night when a photographer is bored and his wife is out of town and the models have all gone home.

A whole bucket full of new edits.

Over the last few months I’ve gone all the way back to 2000 and revisited all of my shoots. With 14 years of new tools, techniques at my disposal, I thought it’d be nice to see what diamonds I can find in the rather rough ‘cast-offs’ from my old shoots.

Warning: This is a very not safe for work gallery. Male and female nudity, some quite explicit, lies behind here. View at your own risk.

I will be moving all of my work to a new gallery system soon as part of a much larger restructuring and rebuild of my photoblog and my gallery.  So enjoy the photos, but don’t let HR catch you, because as we all know, boobies make HR explode.

Click the image for the gallery.

Draped in Silk.

Draped in Silk.