Seeing light, among the most important things a photographer does

This makes me sound like a total nerd, but my artist friend Mark Hassler, who I have done some mixed media collaborations with coined a great phrase. You almost have to be a nerd at something to be good at it. I have been out many times whether walking my dogs at a city park or on the city streets, and in the process have watched light. My favorite light, like many photographers is the beginning or end of the day, when the sun is soft and golden, unlike the harsh cold midday sun. I look at how light hits people, I enjoy the soft halo of light around their hair and bodies. As well as hitting the corners of buildings. This lasts a very short time, the fading sun hitting the texture of the building, making the perfect street photography image, where you literally may have 10 seconds before the sun moves and you’re too late.

Being able to see light and control light, and using it, are very essential skill sets for a photographer. It’s not just a tool to use, it becomes a way of life those on the outside may not understand. This is something I notice and think about whether shooting or not. Knowing a way of life for me is something many don’t understand can create some distance and almost make me feel invisible sometimes, even when in the midst of a crowd. Or sometimes 4 walls surrounding me no matter where I am, but it’s ok, people on my planet get it….those who aren’t, I can still live in Rome with the Romans but still live on my planet at the same time. I had a lady friend riding in my car after a night out, and it was dark. When she checked her phone, it illuminated her face and I was reminded how light is a gift. So subtle yet enough for me to see beauty ever so softly. Even driving under street lamps, they sent paths of light in the car as we pass by.

One afternoon I was home and under the weather. We all know how guys get when sick. I am never sick, so it makes me feel less productive and useless, but makes me all the more thankful for my good health. The late afternoon sun in the Winter can be so clear and radiant, I saw it pass through my dining room window and had to grab my camera, to see how the sun gently kissed the knotty pine wall. Old houses have such unique textures and features, wouldn’t trade it.

Nashville fine art photography

A friend soon after came for a shoot, just to use that light, and I wasn’t going to cancel, I knew I could suck it up and get some sweet results. She showed me some fabrics she bought, only for us to put them to good use and softly capture her body in the same golden sunlight, hope you enjoy!

Artistic nude photography NashvilleArtistic nude photography Nashville

Angles are important with nude subjects especially!

Just as it is important to select the right angle and lens combination for headshots, to accommodate different facial structures and shapes, etc. A nude subject is very telling and it’s critical to find the most flattering angles. It’s my job as a seasoned fine art / figure study photographer to know this, and avoid the mistakes of catching a subject with an unflattering angle and ruin her self esteem. Here are just three things I can do to maximize the best capture of each unique subject.

Bend and stretch body / midsection-

Extra stretching and position of hands and shoulders, elbows, etc, can lengthen the body and reduce the folds and creases in the skin. Skin moves, that’s just life, but why put pounds on my subject?

Shorter subjects-

I avoid shooting downwards with standing subjects, especially when shorter and curvy. It makes them look short and dumpy, makes their head bigger, and torso and legs almost disappear. Shooting slightly upward can lengthen their body, especially when stretched. Sucking in and breathing is also a good technique. It’s not always comfortable but for the love of the photo, we all go to great lengths to attain the goal, right?

Thicker thighs or flatter butts-

I try to avoid direct side angle shooting given this scenario, and in turn avoid capturing the mass of their leg and thigh. Also, an apple box is helpful for them to place their foot on, about as high as a phone book. It creates extra shape in the butt area and tightens the quadricep area, and body slightly turned, bingo!

Nashville boudoir photography

So, who’s in the images on the Farrell gallery site?

I thought this would be an important subject to bring up, because a good portion of clients getting intimate / nude photos made want to keep them private and off the web, understandably. They aren’t out to be models and possibly risk problems in their family life or career, etc. Here is an explanation of where my images on Farrell Gallery come from, and how I keep images discreet for clients upon request.

Most of the images on my site are models I either hired or decided to barter shoot with, to sell photos or art prints of, in exchange for their signing of my commercial model release. The only clients who came to me for an intimate / nude photo session who are on the site are those who specifically give me permission to do so. Those wishing to keep their photos private stay off the web and my print portfolios. Honoring clients’ requests and needs are part of what makes a professional photographer. Also I have made it a studio policy not to release any digital images or prints of that session to anyone else, including the client’s significant other, without her saying so. I had this request once from the boyfriend of the client three months after her shoot, that was supposed to be partly for him. He wanted to purchase prints or digital files, I forget which. But I wouldn’t do it until I got word from her. Good thing I didn’t, she told me they had a bad breakup and he was likely trying to use the photos as a weapon against her, even though they were artfully done, still, not a good thing. With that said, I take every precaution I can to respect the comfort and privacy of each client.

fine art intimate photography Nashville

Rest in peace Karyn Debracy :(

My friend Karyn was a local country rock musician and model, as well as a wife, a dedicated loving mother of four, a sister, daughter, friend etc. Sadly she was killed in a serious car wreck and today I attended her funeral service. I have known her for about 7 years, in fact I had attended a couple local model / photographer networking events and photoshoots where I had originally met her and briefly shot with her. The first thing I remember is that she was very creative and detail oriented, and knew how to engage her audience, whether on stage or on camera. Three years ago, she had asked me to shoot her wedding, I happily agreed and was honored that she respected my work enough to document her biggest day. But she knew I’d take care of it and provide what she wanted. It was a beautiful outdoor lakeside wedding, and I had really liked her husband Jason as well.

I had not been in touch with her regularly since soon after the wedding, except an occasional hello on Facebook or wishing one another Merry Christmas or something like that. It’s a shame sometimes relationships in life get reduced to that shrink wrapping, because of busy schedules. But the thing we must all remember is that life isn’t forever and we have to re evaluate our focus from time to time.

It was the other day I received the news about when her funeral memorial service would be, and I arranged to go with friends who were also in her circle. I saw many people who I had not seen in a while, and all of us agreed it was good to see each others’ faces, and we were all sorry it took something like this for us all to come together again. I was totally humbled to offer a hug and my support to her husband and children, and other friends and family of Karyn. When we sat, the first thing I noticed in the chapel area was a large TV with a digital slideshow of their wedding, most of which were photos I shot, and some guests had snapped etc. It became VERY real at that time exactly what kind of impact photos have, and what an awesome responsibility I had been given. I had a very heavy heart looking at the slideshow with her favorite songs. Especially after learning her dad had passed away about a year after the wedding, and seeing photos from the wedding with the two of them together. I remember offering my condolences to Karyn after losing her dad. It about knocked the breath out of me seeing photos of them together from the wedding I had shot, knowing they were both gone from here, and the legacy they would both leave behind. And that neither of them will be forgotten.

A photograph done properly is a direct reflection of the person’s exterior beauty, and a reflection of their soul, and internal beauty as well. My gut was wrenching to see her children suddenly without their mom, who was a huge inspiration to them, and her husband wondering how this could have possibly happened. But I saw the support and love everyone there offered to the family, which took heart. Even in this fast paced society, love and compassion among people still exist. I really believe in living a spiritually rewarding life and positivity being my anchor. So seeing this trait in people really helps restore and renew my faith in the love people can display. Seeing those photos and knowing what they meant to her, and continue to mean to the family was the only peace I could really feel while sitting there. But then when people spoke, it showed that everyone there who knew Karyn all said the same things about her, which proves she was very real and genuine. Everyone said she was loving, giving, inspirational, artistic, talented, musical, and truly lived life and gave her all in everything she did. Many of those people knew her better than I did. But that sounded exactly like the Karyn I knew. It was at least encouraging for her family to know she would want them to carry on and never give up.

She was 34 years old, energetic and beautiful, and had touched a lot of people. The whole situation really doesn’t seem fair. But there are always greater reasons beyond our comprehension that I won’t even try to understand. The important thing is that she left a huge impression and made a difference while she was here. Just as a specific ray of light had illuminated a photo so beautifully, that same ray may not be there the next time I shoot. Sometimes the stars in our lives, whether human or heavenly, that shine the brightest, don’t shine for as long as we would like. I would encourage you to be that star for those in your life. Be well and inspired friends.

Welcome to the new Farrell Gallery blog!

Hi and welcome to the new FarrellGallery blog! Please allow me to address some FAQ’s and make an introduction, please feel free to subscribe and add comments or thoughts to this blog and any articles posted.

Who the seabiscuits am I?

Good question. I am a Nashville, TN. based freelance photographer with original background in street photography and fine art / figure study. My name is Jay Farrell, I am also known for photographing weddings, headshots, and portraiture in Nashville, and I use my journalistic roots to do so. However, in recent years, I felt it necessary to separate the intimate / nude work from the more mainstream body of work. The reasons were really simple. Many of my clients know I shoot fine art nude work, but not having it on the same site as weddings, where some clients have more conservative views and beliefs, it’s not being forced down their throats. As my demand increased for weddings and portrait work, I felt my nude work needed separation for that reason, and also so my work was less spread out and more concentrated. This way, when Farrell Gallery was created, it gave my intimate work the undivided attention is deserved, and it looks less random than to be thrown into the same site as work of other genres. I did this about 5 years ago. But only this year had my Farrell Gallery site re launched. I had the domain re routed to a P Base account for a while, until I found the right designer. So, now I’m trying to get Farrell Gallery out there again and keep it separate from my other work. No, I am not ashamed of any of my work, and never deny doing anything, my life is an open book. But again, the need for separation.

What my work’s vision is-

Long topic, but I will give the summary. My mission is to capture the female body in it’s natural and beautiful form, and create the natural and pure desire in photos. I like to use every line and curve of the body, with perfect balance of light and shadows, to create that desire your eyes don’t even always see in real life. My work isn’t about glamour or tease, it’s about love and appreciation of the female form, captured in a soft and inviting way. Desire. Bringing out detail uninterrupted. I do not rely on props or furniture to complete my work. I use light and textures whether shot in my studio, or on location. If things are there to use, great. I love a nice balance of lighting contrast, and for skin textures to remain. I use Photoshop to fix certain flaws, sure. But I do not leave a trace or use those tacky and disgusting blur or smoothing filters to do it. Natural and real. Unabashed.

What occasions are your sessions used for?-

Most sessions are nude, some are lingerie. Nude is better in my eyes because the body lines are uninterrupted, but I also understand some subjects preferring to leave some element of mystery. Either way, I guarantee comfort and discretion. That is why these intimate shoots should not be left to an inexperienced photographer. Nothing is more emotionally damaging than an unflattering photo of a vulnerable subject, or lack of discretion.

Most of these sessions are either a keepsake, because no body stays the same forever. If it’s not captured, it’s lost. Or a gift for a significant other or spouse. Many have trusted me to put together some beautiful prints for their husbands and boyfriends overseas in the military. There are also engagement surprises, anniversary and birthday, and holiday gifts. This is a gift that keeps him thinking about you all the time, and a gift that there is no price tag on it’s value. Sometimes specific storylines are used to custom tailor for the needs of the client.

What products are offered besides a disc of the selected photos?

I offer award winning prints, and am known for black and white work as well. Heavyweight archival grade paper is used, my favorite finished are matte and photo rag, as well as lustre. Custom design books also available. Gallery wraps and mixed media also available. Thanks for visiting, please inquire with any questions about any of my services or to ask about a shoot for you or someone you know.

Artistic nude photography Nashville