A Perfect Dilemma

July 1st, 2010

D20 0440 A Perfect Dilemma

Usually when I’m working outdoors and I find a good location I look around for a little bit and find the photo at that spot that works for me.  I often shoot a few variations and sometimes back at the computer doing editing I’ll find that the one I like best is not the one I thought would be best when I was shooting. 

D20 0517 A Perfect Dilemma

It’s good to allow a little bit of time between shooting and editing to aid in that process of finding the best photo without being influenced by what you were thinking when you shot.

D20 0618 A Perfect Dilemma

And usually I’ll only allow one photo from a given location to end up in my “body of work.” 

  D20 0704 A Perfect Dilemma

But what do you do when you are out with a perfect model and you come across a perfect location?  That’s my problem here.  We found this spot up on the Gunflint Trail.  Those fallen trees were just perfect.  And Brooke, as usual, was just perfect in her posing. 

D20 0720 A Perfect Dilemma

So I’ve ended up with a bunch of photos, all obviously taken at the same time in the same spot, but each one strong enough to stand on its own.  I guess maybe a little portfolio of these might be in order. 

D20 0728 A Perfect Dilemma

I’m still thinking about what to do about this dilemma.  It’s such a nice problem to have.  Anybody have any suggestions?

available light, Brooke Lynne, figure in nature, North Shore, nude | Comments | Trackback

6 Responses to “A Perfect Dilemma”

  1. 1Morgan
    July 5th, 2010 @ 1:01 pm

    4th from the top because the colors are so arresting.

  2. 2Morgan
    July 5th, 2010 @ 1:06 pm

    Looking back through these a question comes back that has been bugging me for several years now. Why do we frequently see the nude model with her tummy sucked in? It’s not a natural state that women tend to walk around or lay around in. And yet tme and time again we see it in nude art – the woman with her breath exhaled and tummy all sucked in. And yet we say the nude photograph is all about celebrating the beauty of the natural human form.

    I have the same question/problem with all the photoshopping that so many photographers do of their nude work. I know you don’t but there are others who use so much photoshop that the end product isn’t really a photo of the model anymore. If a photographer or model claims to be in this for the celebration of the natural human form then isn’t it a bit hypocritical to photoshop away all her freckles or her moles or wrinkles or what have you?

    Anyhow, since you know me you know this isn’t a blast at you or your lovely model but rather me chaffing and wondering at something that’s bugging me. I have no doubt that others who don’t know me will get their panties in a big ol’ wad. Sorry to you in advance if they take it out on your blog.

  3. 3dave
    July 6th, 2010 @ 6:06 pm


    I understand you and I appreciate that you are asking a legitimate question and not launching an attack. Unfortunately I’m traveling right now with limited internet access and I can’t really give you the in-depth response you deserve. I hope to be able to do that with a new blog post in the next day or two. Meanwhile I’ll just say this: People who live in glass houses should not get implants. 😉

  4. 4Morgan
    July 7th, 2010 @ 12:03 am

    Fair enough. As far as the implants go – those had nothing to do with me wanting to create art that shows the natural beauty of the human form. That’s what we hear so often from people who shoot/model nude art, yes? And since that’s the case to me it begs the question then why the unnatural poses and the photoshopping away of naturally occuring body phenomena like freckles or wrinkles or whatever?

  5. 5Robert
    July 7th, 2010 @ 11:35 pm

    I have to side with Morgan regarding our concept of natural human form in art and photography.

    Looking through many artists’ work whether photography or painting or other traditional arts there are some artists that seem to pursue unnatural extremes whether in posing or proportions. Others lean towards natural positions and emotions in their work.

    Myself, it depends on the intention of the particular work. My nudes tend to be simple, natural positions and emotions. Every nuance has a meaning, much like dance.

    For instance I hate:
    – “breasts at gunpoint”, a model with her hands straight in the air for no other reason than to lift her breasts and stretch her torso.
    – The ultra awkward “one arm across the breast” when the position is almost painful. Some girls can do this with a natural grace. Many others cannot.
    – The “Hide my breasts smash or clench” that looks like her boobs were trying to jump off of her chest.
    – And if I ever buy a roll of Caution Tape it will be to put around a hole I’m digging.

    If my model is to stretch her arms up then she should look like she has just woken from a nap. Need to cover the nipples, then it should look natural, not fearful. Unless you want it to look fearful.

    My feelings, I like to see a “story” come together no matter what that story is. The pose, location, facial expressions, all interact.

    As for Photoshop retouching, I will usually remove pimples and other temporary blemishes without question. Especially if I think the model was a little self conscious of it. For wrinkles and other signs of aging I may hold back sharpening and possibly lighten them a bit. Moles and other permanent features I leave alone unless asked to remove them OR they really impact my image negatively.

    But airbrush someone to plastic? I might as well get one of the 3-D modeling programs, create the model in the computer and save the modeling fee and release hassles. No, I prefer to have the skin texture. That is a visual sign of intimacy. That I was there, close enough to see and record the texture of the subject.

    As for implants; here in south Florida silicon and extreme shaving are almost the norm. It’s part of the beach/bikini life style. And a lot of the local girls make their money working for guys wanting to shoot bikini girls. They may be excellent in many other forms of modeling but OMP, ModelMayhem, camera clubs, etc… generate a small but continuous income.

    If the implants are no larger than C cups and done correctly they don’t impact my style of shooting much.

  6. 6Dave Rudin
    July 8th, 2010 @ 11:35 am

    Dear Morgan,

    Mr. Levingston has invited others to respond to your question in his absence, and as he is a good friend of mine. I will attempt a brief response.

    First, let me say that not all photographers Photoshopbrush their models. I use something called film. and the only digits I use to manipulate the looks of my prints are my fingers.

    Now, as I am a photographer and not a model, I cannot answer from a model’s point of view why she would do the ‘stomach in, chest out’ bit for photos. I can only say why I try to suck in my gut when I’m in a photo: because I think I’ll look better that way, because in our society, thinner is perceived as looking better.

    Therefore, I can only imagine that models may think the same thing, but also that such a pose would result in a more classical looking body line (which, I suppose, is another way of saying the same thing).

    The truth is, though, that not all models do this. I’ve recently been scanning a lot of negatives of the nude figure work I did in New Mexico. One of those photos – an image that Dave L had told me he likes and wanted to see a print of – depicts the torso of a thin young woman in profile. Rather than being flat as a board, her abdomen has a nice outward bend to it. Obviously she did not try to suck it in, which in this particular image is a good thing. Perhaps in other images it may not be so.

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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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