Acceptance of craft

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.

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Nudity is art?

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.

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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.

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Bodyscape angles

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.

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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.

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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.

Roadside motel series- part 3

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Roadside motel series- part 2

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. nude photography nashville

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.

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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.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed part 2 of the roadside motel series.

 

 

Roadside motel series – Part 1

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 🙂

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Movie recommendations

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

-Nebraska

-Station Agent

-Cashback

-Lars and the real girl

Take advantage of the crappy weather and curl up with these movies, let me know how you like them 🙂

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Touching subjects and models

The subject comes up many times about photographers touching subjects and models during photoshoots, not just nude, intimate, or boudoir photoshoots. It’s been discussed in various social media groups and modeling related websites and there will be a variety of viewpoints. I am here to share mine, it’s really quite simple. When I am photographing a model, or a private client for any kind of intimate work, I am asking them for their trust based on my work, reputation, and personality. Many don’t have much time to know me well prior to working with me, only feeling me out in the initial vetting process. I refuse to take part in the silly stigmas that male photographers have to automatically be up to something, always bring bodyguards, all that fear mongering horse shit. But in return, I make sure that my reputation stays above board.

Every subject that comes to me for any nude or other intimate photos comes to me for my ability to capture the female form in it’s simple but elegant beauty. I want it to be a fun, and discreet experience for them. A photographer touching a scantily dressed or nude subject can make even an experienced model uncomfortable. Usually I ask the subject to move her shoulder back, space her fingers apart, loosen her grip, etc. Just simple yet important details to a photograph and it’s mood….and that usually suffices. If I need them to do something complex or if they are having difficulty understanding what I need them to do, I simply ask if I can adjust them. I’ve never been told no. I’ve never asked unless necessary, and it’s fairly rare. And even then, it’s adjusting an arm or shoulder. So in short…touching a subject isn’t usually necessary. But if it is necessary, only do so after asking. It removes any element of surprise and only buys the photographer credibility. Part of the accountability process.

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Inspirations for your boudoir shoot

Or other nude / intimate photoshoot. A little free advice on this subject, by your friendly Nashville female form artist. Selecting the right photographer for this very personal project is very important. That you feel passionate about their style of capture of the body, lighting, mood, anything else that is distinctive about their style. Also, their level of respect and discretion towards their clients.

When making these selections, you should be able to give examples to that photographer about what inspires you about their work, whether it’s about a specific angle, lighting style, mood of a specific photo or series. That way they know what motivates you the most and be able to use that to help personalize your intimate photoshoot effectively.

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In other words, if you want a specific result or style, that you have seen from other photographers, and see none of that in the photographer’s work you are looking at, it’s a clear sign that you need to go to the photographers who created the work you are most passionate about. Usually, clients who come to me are looking or my style specifically instead of the standard boudoir photographer / pillow arrangers. But it’s happened, where prospective clients show me a slew of ideas they send me on Pinterest or from other local photographers, and most of which, are NOT even my style. In that case, it’s clear that if that’s what they are looking for, we’re a mismatch.

Logic should prevail here, but it’s not about our fragile artist egos, it’s about hiring the right person for the right job. Use that person for their strengths that you are most passionate about. If that person doesn’t have it, and you have other preferences, find a way to hire those people. Going to a photographer and asking them to recreate the work of another is limiting, unfair, and often not do-able. Not to mention rude, though most don’t mean it to be. If a client is talking to me about completing her project, I’d want to know what it is about MY style thy like and want to incorporate into my shoot. It’s a specific choice.

 

Dating observations

Occasionally I bring my iPad to coffee shops, parks, or other random place for an hour or two for a change of scenery and do some writing / blogging away from home. I’m definitely an observer as people are present on the streets and in establishments, but with my photojournalism experience, I can do so without staring or being obvious. There are also times when I don’t care to, and focus on my own projects. I can tell a lot by how people interact with one another, about how mutually rewarding their relationship may be. I stay tuned in for very limited amounts of time, sometimes what I see is inspiring and I learn from it, and other times it’s depressing.

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It’s always rewarding to see two people of any age, totally connected and tuned in to one another, just by subtle body language and a simple but loving touch. There should be someone for everyone, and it’s nice to see those people found it. Sometimes I also see the “relationship of convenience” couple, that are slouchy and look like the soul got zapped out of them. Neither exude happiness, as if both are down on their luck and they’re both over it. Perhaps, given the opportunity, one or both would go out on the other, if one didn’t monitor the other’s phone or watch their every move. Let’s not forget the shallow girl who always picks a certain type of guy, who is divided and disinterested towards her in public. After a string of them, you’d think a connection would be made and it wouldn’t be a surprise when they experience the same result with the next. Nope. Instead, oh all men are so horrible, boo hoo. Own your mess cupcake.

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Occasionally we witness other peoples’ first dates while out and about. It’s great to see two people engaged in conversation, eager to hear about the other, no bored looks while the other speaks, etc. Eye contact even while taking a sip of coffee, wine, water with lemon slice, whatever their pleasure. Not to mention natural laughter as opposed to obligatory or nervous laughter. Always refreshing to know this still exists, without having to vie for second place to a phone. I only hope for both of them that one isn’t rebounding and not ready to date just because they can’t be alone. Always my biggest pet peeve when dating, meeting someone who has no business even dating because she too recently got out of another relationship. Neither the collateral damage to the other person they bring into their mess, or them making themselves the victim helps the overall health of themselves and society.

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Occasionally you see the sophomoric dick joke guy meeting his soon to be mortified date. You’d think he’s with his buddies from high school, not a lady he is meeting for the first time. SO….either Shallow Hal is looking for an exit because her photo didn’t match up close enough for him, or he really is as smooth as sandpaper. LOL. Always see full body photos if dating online. Perhaps the girl mentioned in the second paragraph would be all over him? Hm….maybe I should offer this service, for a large fee 🙂

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Let’s not forget the first date that is more like a job interview. The woman walks in there with the same body language as she would a business meeting, trying to select a candidate for a certain position. She’s not about the idle chit chat, she wants to get to the core of the guy quickly so her time isn’t wasted, and so she can interview the host of other men on her list. This poor guy is pretty much eliminated before they sit down together. She is either jaded by the past or is taking advantage of supply and demand and enjoys that control. He’s trying to break the ice with her and lighten the mood, by asking questions about her and covering one thing at a time to keep it organic. But nope, she’s got to act like a douche bag and give him the speed dating quizzes so to speak. Almost looking for a difference of opinion on social issues or politics, or not like the way he holds his fork, coffee mug, etc. If he “passes” that rigorous test maybe he does have a shot, if he’s not turned off.

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I get it, when you meet people to date, you want to make sure something is there, but honestly, there should be an inkling of that feeling before going on an actual date. Any instant incompatibilities and red flags can reveal themselves quickly if some conversation takes place on the phone etc. It also takes time to get to know people. Loud mouthed political and religious discussions do not belong on a first date. Before any conversation like that happens, I’d want to know I’m with someone who keeps an open minded approach to all subjects and knows how to interact with those who feel differently. Of course certain core values need to match up, but what fun is life if everyone thinks the same? I’m fine with being asked some questions, as well as random interests / conversation, and I ask her about herself, it’s all a healthy balance.

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It’s pretty obvious to me when I’m being borderline interrogated, and it will not only make me think this chick is manipulative, but probably what I can offer her wouldn’t be enough. I may intentionally blow the date using a subtle approach that will seem very random but ambiguous to her. Not everyone is oblivious to, or will play your game honey 🙂 Take it down a notch, you might just find some good people. Fortunately, there are all kinds.

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