Yin Yang

December 29th, 2006

Nancy5 Yin YangHere’s a real old one. Some of you may be able to identify the model by her tattoo. It’s Nancy Freshour from quite a few years ago. In fact, this is so old it was shot on film. Imagine that! I lit it with a single strobe fired through a cookie that I had made to create this effect. I was working on abstracting the figure.

Maybe this is a good time for me to talk about tattoos on models. I know some photographers really have issues with tattoos. Some won’t photograph models with tattoos. Myself, I just don’t care. I really don’t think it’s any of my business. And part of the joy of doing this kind of work, at least for me, is finding what each model brings to the shoot and using all those unique things about this particular person to make a photo. If the model has tattoos I may work them into a composition, as I did in this case. Or I may do a photo where the tattoos are not obvious, if that seems to be what works. Or I may just shoot and not worry about the tattoos. I have been known to remove a tattoo if I felt it detracted from the final composition, but that is rare. I respect the decision a model has made to put ink on her body…the tattoo has become a part of her body and in most cases should be there in the photo. It’s part of who she is and what she looks like.

The most common argument against tattoos in “fine art figure” photography (what the hell is “fine art” anyway? How about some coarse art? How is fine art different from art?) is that the photos aren’t timeless because of the tattoos. Well, why should our photos be timeless? One of the most valuable things that photography does is record our times. I don’t mind if my photographs are considered to be anchored in our current times (though I suspect some would say my photos are anchored in the last century, or even the century before that…but that’s another discussion). At any rate, the “timelessness” issue isn’t one that I’m concerned about. My photographs represent my personal reaction to my life and times. I’m an old fart from the 60s, so that’s in there. Of course, I work with younger women in many cases (though many of my favorite models are closer to my age than to their teen years) and I try to make our shoots collaborative, so their ideas are also part of the final image. Timeless? I’m reminded of the question, “Do you know the difference between ignorance and apathy?” The answer, of course, is, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”

I’m traveling and I’m on a dial-up connection…a slow dial-up connection, it takes forever just to load this blog…but I’ll try to keep posting over the next few days.

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About this Blog

Photos and comments by Dave Levingston. This is the place to see my most recent work which may include nudes, dance, landscape, nature and whatever other kinds of photos I feel like taking.

Since it does contain nude photos, this blog is not intended for viewing by anyone under the age of 18.

All photographs and written comments on this blog are protected by the copyright laws of the United States.

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