It was Easter Sunday, often a day where some people go to church, or when families get together. A potentially awkward holiday in those given scenarios. I met up with a fellow photographer friend, and walked around Cheekwood with him, he likes the flowers and exhibits. I appreciate the beauty of the place, and enjoyed it, as I love walking and being in the fresh air. And it’s always nice to hang out with friends. The temperature was perfect, maybe 64 degrees. Places like that, as most well know, are not my usual subject matter. I brought my camera just in case, even if photographing flowers aren’t my thing. We fortunately got there before the church crowd piled in, there was no one on the walking sculpture trails. Good. LOL. I liked this walking path as the sun beat through the trees.
We noticed a structure that was partially underground, it resembled a storm shelter of sorts. We walked in, went through a fairly linear and long tunnel that was partially underground. I started to hear the sound of guitar in the air. I followed it, and entered a dome, with a sitting ledge around it, nothing but acoustics and a hole in the roof to see the sky. I felt a real uplifting. I saw a girl inside playing her guitar, we sat in there for a bit. No one else was around. She said she loved the acoustics in there, I could totally see that. It was great for the mood, and so unexpected and random. She gently played the guitar and was perfect background and set the mood music. It was good for my soul, I looked up at the sky through the hole in the roof of the dome, and breathed deep. I saw a jet stream but tuned out any noise except the guitar. Maybe there wasn’t any.
I have to be honest and say I miss walking around photography art galleries and seeing beautiful large prints on display. I also have enjoyed showing some of my work at local shows. It became daunting with the printing and expense and care involved, if it wasn’t going to be profitable. I wasn’t giving them away, which sadly is happening a lot these days. I’m still waiting for the right show that’s less about the wine and more about the art. I’ll do it again. I love printing and seeing work in print form, it’s so much richer. I’ve seen gallery work with titles below it. It can add to the experience and see the work from the creator’s point of view, whether an art or photography art gallery showing.
It seems a little different when viewing work online when titles or captions of work are used. Even in gallery showings, I seldom titled work. That’s just me. Maybe putting words to it aren’t my strong suit. The fine art nude photography and boudoir groups I belong to online, I see titles and captions used sometimes and often times I think it seems like seeking validation that their vision are what the viewers are seeing. I don’t understand the need to convince others of what you were saying with an image. I’m not saying this as a black and white case, this is just me.
My conceptual work and concept nudes, I like the viewer to look at it and think about it, and form their own interpretation. Theirs may be miles apart from the vision I had, other times it’s more obvious. I am inspired by how others see my work, so putting a title on it could limit that creative flow. Personally, I don’t spoon feed. I like the viewer to decide what they see, often they see it for what it is, but it’s cool when people dig deeper. I like those challenges. When work of others inspires me, I do the same thing. I think sharpening our minds and using our imagination is a healthy thing. My 2 cents.
I was out with a friend, after we saw a movie we stopped at a restaurant in a fairly trendy area. Most of the servers were young, a mix between guys and gals….our server was an older gentleman, maybe mid 50’s, long hair, but there was something unique about his personality. He was very outgoing, and helpful, wanted to make sure we were clear on the menu, etc. The drinks came quickly, you could tell he wanted us to enjoy our experience. We thought, wow, this guy is already going above and beyond, without being annoying, a hard balance to achieve for a server.
I made some small talk with him, because he had such a magnetic personality, I had to know his story. It was unusual to see an older male server, but I thought at the same time how cool it is, and he is using his personality to connect with diners. The unfair thing, is a cute young female who is average at her job will make the same tips probably, LOL. He knew that. He was healing from a divorce out of State, and came to Nashville for the opportunity and a fresh start, his 2 kids are grown. So you know he’s dealing with some pain inside, but is taking a positive approach to work through it. He gets healing through being around people and making their experience a positive one and puts pride in what he does. Something rarely seen. I believe in generous tipping, this guy got a very good one from us. All it takes is some kindness and attentiveness for people to appreciate you sometimes 🙂
I had this discussion while doing a photoshoot with a nude model about dating and relationship difficulties as a result of what we do. In her case, she’s had her difficulties finding a significant other where problems didn’t surface as a result of her nude modeling. Acceptance of craft can be a tall order with the other person not involved in the industry and not having a first hand understanding of the inner workings. Really, in her case, a professional traveling nude model, it boils down to this. You can’t be in a relationship where you expect the other person to change their life for you. Whoever she is with would have to understand and support her career choice, it isn’t forever anyhow. And not try ultimatums. This is what she does, deal with it or walk. No guy worth their salt would want his lady giving up on her dreams for him. Perhaps some of those guys were controlling or jealous douche bags, and rightly so she sends them on their way. Perhaps others are good men, that tried their best to learn about her modeling and support it, but just couldn’t feel comfortable with it. In which case, choices have to be made. Some just can’t make that separation in their minds that to them their partner being nude in front of others is a form of intimacy. Even though with our arrangement it isn’t that way, if everyone is above board.
It also works the same way for me as a fine art nude photographer working with women on artistic nude and boudoir photoshoots. I have had quite a few women I dated not be able to accept that aspect of my work. In their case, I didn’t sense that it was about jealousy or they assumed that I was sexually involved with those I was photographing. But more rather that I would not consider our intimacy as special or they feel they are sharing me with others. Which in actuality isn’t true, but they’re not involved in my craft, so I can’t expect them to think the same way. I can’t write them all off and call them irredeemable, I chose this craft and they have to decide how comfortable they are with it. That doesn’t mean I am giving it up for them. But I’m not saying it’s wrong for others to, for the right person as long as the decision feels organic and not forced or influenced. As for me, I will keep hunting but as of now, here I sit writing to you.
I think most of us know it isn’t by default, but it certainly is a beloved art form for many of us. Whether artists / painters, female form and artistic nude photographers, glamour photographers, etc. or enthusiasts, we all have our own vision of what is art. Nudity is art if captured thoughtfully, at least in my opinion. I’ve seen, admired, loathed, and critiqued many nudes from other photographers. You can have a very imperfect subject captured well, as far as lighting, angle, mood, composition, etc. and you can also have a beautifully sculpted model captured poorly and generically. Art is subjective. Good and bad can be too. But being a photographer of the female form for over 10 years, I take it seriously and I know my vision before starting the next shoot.
It’s taken years of developing my craft and getting critiques, (which by the way should never end in one’s career) before being cognizant of all aspects of the photo. Whether high key or low key lighting, shadow placement, hand, arm, leg, and neck placement, arrangement of fingers, overall mood, it all works together. When you have one without the other, it seldom is a complete work (in my opinion of course). I saw one photo from another photographer with a beautiful nude subject, but her being nude was the only strong point of the photograph. Nothing interesting about the lighting, deer in the headlights expression and stiff pose. So close but so far away. When considering whether it’s successful art or not, always ask does this look like someone who appreciates the female form as an art form, or a guy who saw boobs for the first time, or is only in it for the boobs, etc. The photos always tell it. My 2 cents, worth what you paid.
Bodyscapes are close ups of a specific region of the body, as some have been seen in my previous Roadside Motel series. Depending on the body and proportions of each unique subject, angles have to be thought out. Bodyscapes aren’t usually done perfectly straight on, because that can make a body look stodgy and in some cases truncated. There are body mechanics that come into play, that any reputable nude or boudoir photographer should know! Just like when you do a headshot , pick the better side and go slightly to that angle. If the subject is heavier, shoot from a slightly higher elevation to make the face longer and make the chin area less problematic.
As the body curves, the way the lines of the body follow each other and how the photograph is composed, as well as how the lighting adds to the mystique and drama of the bodyscape, all of that adds to the success of the photo. Mystique and abstract nature of the photo are two reasons why bodyscapes thrown into the mix are a great compliment.
I chose this angle and lighting combination because the brush light from the window provided some contrast and still kept the low key lighting and shadow drama I wanted, for higher contrast and added mystique. The light followed the muscles of her upper back and the arch of her back and butt captured the fullness of her butt. This exact angle wouldn’t work with every subject but you get the idea.
With this one, I still wasn’t directly behind her but still more direct and less angled than the first one. If she had a bigger butt, this angle wouldn’t work as well, but the added directness did help make her butt more full, but not stodgy. The way the leg folded over and the torsion of her vertebrae compliments the curves of her butt. Just my thought process, but bodyscapes are cool and a good addition to any intimate photo session in my opinion.
We went back and forth about that bedspread from the 1990’s, do we leave it or not….we both agreed there would be a certain charm with it to compliment the also dated room. But also wanted to change the mood of the photos a little and a simple neutral bedspread works better for this. There is a nice mix here of contortionist poses that signify a classic artistic nude work of art, and a bit more alluring but natural candid feel of photos.
Of course with private clients who haven’t done this before, I would keep it basic but yet creative and elegant. Below is a perfect example. Candid, confident, sexy, upbeat, and easy to position the subject. I love natural looking elegant nudes where the subject feels at ease, when they don’t it shows in the photos.
Now we shift to a vertical base, all relatively easy looks to pull off for any client, done uniquely with each unique subject of course. These are all as primal as photography can get. A model, a camera and lens, and a window.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this roadside motel series, be on the lookout for more 🙂 To book your personal session, trust Nashville’s fine art nude and boudoir photographer for a fun and flattering photoshoot!
Welcome back to the Bates Motel sister location 🙂 Before we even began shooting, we looked around the room, and took it all in. Similar how I do abandoned buildings. The dated bedspread, the tv straight from 1993, and a very old coat or garment rack half heartedly screwed into the wood paneling walls. We were thinking, PERFECT! We’re going to use this! For a location intimate photographer, it’s important to notice every detail of your surroundings, no matter how slight the detail, and use what grabs your attention. Not every eye would see this room the same. This is another exercise of making a beautiful photograph with capturing the female form in it’s elegant simplicity, even in a motel room most people wouldn’t want to stay in.
I told you we’d find a use for that wall rack 😀 Shape and the artistic nude female form, light and shadows, it all comes together.
Another very random feature if this room was a fairly long nook in the back of the room, very linear, maybe 8 feet deep and 4-5 feet wide. There was nothing in there except a table and no chairs. So, we made a use for it. I’m sure those walls could tell a lot of stories, but probably none like this. Such a linear space, to keep some mood in the lighting, was a challenge. For this shoot I used a continuous ring light that mounts on my stand and has a flexible mounting neck, so I placed it directly above her. The rest of the shoot was done with the ring light strategically placed for some lighting contrast along with the little bit of available ambient through the window. But this worked to keep it moody and soft lighting, yet not be flat like on camera flash.
I hope you’ve enjoyed part 2 of the roadside motel series.
Recently a traveling art nude model who I hadn’t seen or worked with in 10 years, yes 10 years, passed through Nashville for an impromptu shoot. Back then, I was doing some mixed media photoshoots with an abstract artist friend, who body painted her. Then with the photos, I would print, he’d divide them and mount to canvas and paint around them and clear over them. I still remember how fluid and graceful she was in her motions and she only got better with time! After several recent private nude photoshoots for clients that we are keeping anonymous, it was time to work with Melissa again to update our respective portfolios.
Anyone who follows my work knows I shoot and style for the occasion, and often like abandoned houses and other buildings for the textures and overall contrast of beauty and distress. Too damn cold for that now, LOL. If it were a private client and she wanted an elegant boudoir shoot, I’d probably go with a boutique elegant hotel. But I picked a local roadside motel, most would call seedy. It is. But I wanted some distress and the feel of the dark lonely motel room where guests could be passing through workers or down on their luck. BUT we can bring beauty to the shoot with this location just as if it were an elegant branded hotel. That is a fun and unique challenge. Anyone can make a beautiful location photograph beautifully. In this case the subject stood out enough to not draw the eye to the studio. I just went with a more low key lighting than I would have elsewhere. But I love this almost film noir style. Welcome to the roadside motel series part 1. Where the beauty of the female form meets a 1970’s -80’s motel room 🙂
Not long ago, I had a private client come to Nashville from out of state for an artistic nude photoshoot at a beautiful luxury hotel. I wish I could share those photos with you, but she’s a pretty high profile career woman, and can’t have it leaked. I just finished a beautiful album for her, that would be an anniversary and Valentines Day gift for her husband. She felt comfortable trusting my work, and confidentiality and deemed it worth the trip. I’m so glad she did! When doing any kind of intimate photoshoot whether boudoir, implied nude, or nude, I like to break the ice to make the situation comfortable and fun. And help the subjects feel less vulnerable and more excited and inspired.
We’re in the middle of Winter and I hate cold weather, and during any holiday downtime, and cold nights, I have done some catching up on good movies. We got on the movie subject as we were talking and working on the shoot. She was saying her and her husband have a great appreciation for the arts and wish they themselves were more artistic, but the right movies inspire them. We had the best time at our photoshoot, and finding that conversation kept the positive momentum going and prevented awkward silence. PLUS, my client said she didn’t even feel “naked” because it was a fun and comfortable experience, even though she had never done that before. She asked me, as an artist, what movies I have watched lately have inspired me because they would probably like them. Without giving it away, I made a few good movie recommendations. The movies that have been forgotten or never got much press are sometimes the best ones, IMO. Let’s not forget about Indy films. Some I stumbled upon, others got recommended to me by a friend who knows what type of movies I like. Here are a few recommendations, can be found on Netflix or on demand, possibly Red Box, or even a used DVD and music store, that often works out cheaper than rentals. All drama films.
Indy- Me and you and everyone we know
-Henry Poole Is Here
-Lars and the real girl
Take advantage of the crappy weather and curl up with these movies, let me know how you like them 🙂