September 29th, 2014
Back in February the editor of Clear Nude magazine, Allicette Torres, sent me an e-mail asking me to review her new magazine here on the blog. She sent me a link to allow me to view the magazine without paying for it. I looked on line and was very impressed. So impressed that I decided I wanted to look at the printed version before I did the review.
I ordered the printed magazine from Amazon. Unfortunately it arrived at about the time I was leaving to attend the memorial service for my mother-in-law. In all that activity the magazine was pushed aside and I forgot about doing the review.
I was reminded of it last week when another e-mail arrived from Ms Torres thanking me for my contribution to the current issue of the magazine. This came as a surprise to me, but I soon learned that my favorite model, Brooke Lynne, had sent one of my photos of her to the magazine to be used to illustrate an interview with her as the featured model of the issue. You can read a bit more about that in the previous post here.
So, here’s my view on this magazine:
As I said, I was quite impressed at the first issue on line. However the printed copy was a bit of a let down. The reproduction was not all that great, mostly, I think, because of the low quality paper it is printed on. There’s nothing to indicate who is doing the printing, but I suspect it is printed by Amazon. I was also bothered by the many photos printed across the gutter in a way that pretty much ruined the photos because the subject was lost in the gutter.
The third issue, which I just received from Amazon, is better. The paper quality is still a problem and hurts the quality of the photos, but it appears they learned the lesson about the gutter and stopped ruining photos by printing them across the gutter. That’s good news.
But still, I think the on-line version of the magazine is a much better viewing experience. And that’s from an old guy who still likes to hold a printed publication in his hands to look at it. But, the quality of the photos is simply much, much better viewed on a screen. I’m sure higher quality paper would fix that problem, but it may not be an option for their distribution method. So it goes.
I talk about print quality first because, after all, that is a major consideration for any publication that is about photographs. And that is primarily what Clear Nude is about.
But, there’s more to Clear Nude than the (not quite) pretty pictures. There are some serious attempts at writing about the genre of nude photography. And it’s obvious that the editors are open to a wide range of opinions and approaches to the subject. I applaud them for that, even though I have to say that at least one essay in the current issue angered me. But that’s a good thing. It’s wonderful to have a publication out there where divergent views of nude photography can be expressed, even if some of them are wrong.
But I do recommend the magazine to your attention. I suggest, unless you really want to hold a printed product in your hands, that you just stick with the on line version of the magazine. You can buy it at their website here. The digital issue costs only $5.99. That’s quite a bargain for a quality product like this. As I write this Amazon is offering a discount on the regular price for the printed version. You can just click on either of the covers above to go to the Amazon page to place an order if you want the printed version.
Ms Torres and her staff are doing something good and important with Clear Nude magazine. I hope you’ll help support their efforts.
September 27th, 2014
I’m proud to announce that the photo above is published in the current issue of Clear Nude magazine. This is an excellent magazine and I highly recommend it to your attention. It’s available both on line and in print. You can order the print version on Amazon too.
In my next post I’m going to talk a lot more about the magazine. But for today I want to talk about the photo that they published. The photo was one of many illustrating an interview with my favorite model, Brooke Lynne. It is one of Brooke’s favorite photos from our trip to the desert southwest. It’s not one of my favorites. But that is ok.
I have a different view of the relationship between photographer, model and photographs from most photographers. I think differences are good. I do things my way and I’m happy to let everyone else do things their way, so you won’t hear me trying to talk other photographers into working the way I do. It’s a choice and we all get to make our own choices.
I consider my models to be co-creators with me of the photos we make together. I’m serious about that. I share copyright with my models. They get all the photos and they have full rights to do anything they want with the photos.
So, Brooke likes this photo for some reasons that don’t really matter to me. She is very pleased with her pose. I understand that. It’s a really difficult pose and was hard to get into, and even harder to get out of. She did it like the master of posing that she is. She’s an amazing model. This photo demonstrates that. But this photo does not work for me as far as what I’m looking for in a photo. My goal is to show the beauty of the model in relationship to the beauty of nature. The model has to fit into the scene and reflect the forms of the scene in her pose. That’s not really happening in this photo. In fact, to my eye Brooke stands out too much and doesn’t blend or relate to the forms around her. She’s sort of at odds with them.
But, and I can’t emphasize this enough, that’s ok. This photo is Brooke’s just as much as it is mine. I’m glad she finds something in it that works for her and I’m very happy that she has had it published in a great magazine. I am not complaining in any way and I never will.
That said, my differences with Brooke over this photo do not end with the selection of this shot. I would also crop this photo differently. In fact, nearly all the shots I took of Brooke here were cropped differently in the camera. I find the sky a distraction in the composition. It seems to me discordant. It draws my eye up to the top of the frame and away from Brooke, who is really the subject of this photo.
But that’s just my opinion. Brooke is completely free to crop it as she sees fit. Again, I’m not complaining, just commenting on how two people, both involved in the production of a photo, can have different ideas about how it looks best. I’m sure Brooke picked this frame because it has the most perfect execution of the pose to her eye. She did crop some of the sky out of the original frame, so I know leaving some sky was a deliberate decision on her part. And I’m fine with that.
I know most photographers are much more territorial about their photos. I have never really understood why the subject, who is working hard and has agreed to be nude in the photos, shouldn’t have at least an equal right to the photos. After all, the model is really doing all the hard work and I’m just taking photos of her while she does it. So, that’s how I work.
And, here’s how I would crop that photo…I get to have my opinion too, of course.
And here’s another photo of Brooke taken near where the one above was shot. This photo shows more of what I’m looking for. It’s our differences that make life interesting. We should learn to enjoy them.
I’ll have much more to say about Clear Nude magazine in my next post.
And, I’m now on Ello. Are you? Come on over there and connect with me if you want. Find me at https://ello.co/davel51
September 25th, 2014
It’s so wonderful to be able to work in such a beautiful location with a couple of the best figure models in the world. It really doesn’t get any better.
Still more to come from this great day of shooting…if I don’t get distracted again first.
September 22nd, 2014
September 17th, 2014
I read a blog post this morning that I found interesting and provocative. So I decided to take a break from posting Starved Rock photos and share that post and write a bit about it myself.
Ralph Gibson has been a “famous photographer” since the days when I was in photo school. As you can see from my self-portrait above, that was quite a while ago. Mr. Gibson is even older than me. And he’s famous, at least in the photo community. I’ve never met Mr. Gibson, though several of my favorite models have also modeled for him. I’m sure he’s a reasonably nice guy. And I often say that I’m sure he is an artist because I can only understand about a third of his photos.
But I have a pretty low tolerance for bullshit, especially the bullshit that tends to be all over the place in the world of art.
As to the whole digital vs film debate, I think it’s pretty stupid and pointless. Those are my cameras in that self-portrait. I know how to use them. The Leica was one of two that were part of my daily kit, along with two Nikons, when I was working as a photojournalist. The Leica doesn’t get much use these days, but I still use the old Speed Graphic to shoot with instant film.
All my life as a photographer there has been someone saying that the latest advance in photo technology was wrong somehow. Starting with “No professional photographer would use a camera with a light meter built in.” Of course, I started doing photojournalism with 35mm cameras when many were saying that no professional photographer would use that “amateur format.” All of that is just pointless hot wind as far as I’m concerned. And that includes the digital/film debate.
I have some very good friends who only work with film and consider digital to be an inferior way to make photos. I disagree with them, but we are still friends. Everyone is entitled to their choice of tools. That includes those who insist on using film. But it also includes me and others who have decided that digital cameras are the best choice for their use. It’s really no one’s business other than the photographer.
And I like to remind my “film friends” that it’s not really photography unless you coat your own plates. After all, if you just buy factory-made film, you are limited to what the manufacturer has decided will be the characteristics of that film and aren’t really in control of your process.
The debate is stupid. I’m sad that someone whose work I admire has displayed such a silly opinion. But I’m not really surprised to learn that he tends to talk a lot of the art-world bullshit. I guess that’s one of the requirements to become a famous photographer. It’s bad enough that the critics spout so much bullshit. It’s a shame that the artists have to get involved in too.
And that made me think of this WUMO comic from yesterday:
I also enjoyed the R. Crumb recording of Fine Artiste Blues that was quoted in Mr. Armor’s blog post. You might enjoy it too. Here’s a link to it on Youtube. I liked it enough to go ahead and buy the track.
Anyway, feel free to comment if you are so inclined. I’d particularly be interested in hearing from my friends who have met Mr. Gibson.
September 15th, 2014
So Dave Swanson and I headed back into the canyons at dawn for a second day of shooting with two of the world’s best models. It doesn’t get much better than this.
There are a bunch more photos to come from this great day of shooting. Here’s one of the other Dave hard at work with Kelsey modeling for him.
September 11th, 2014
The amazing beautiful model, Miss Macaroni, came to Ohio this week. So, of course, I took her to one of my favorite locations at dawn and she did a great job of exploiting her surroundings and producing wonderful photos. There are a ton of shots to share, and I’ve put this shoot into the que for future blog posts, but I couldn’t resist sharing a few of them right away.
There will be a lot more from this shoot to come when I finally work my way through all the other shoots from the past year. But enjoy this sample for now. Thanks Miss Macaroni for another fantastic shoot…and no falls this time.
September 8th, 2014
I love it when things fail in an interesting way. That’s what happened here while I was shooting with Brooke and Romahni. The situation was a difficult one. It was dark in the cave and a lot lighter outside. But it was still, overall, pretty dark, so the exposure was long. The exposure for this shot was 1/5 of a second at f/3.5. The ISO was at 1600. Like I said, dark.
But my lens has Nikon’s Vibration Reduction which is usually good for 3 or 4 stops of steadiness. So that gets us to somewhere around 1/60 of a second in terms of controlling camera shake. But, obviously, the VR just wasn’t up to the task for this particular shot. But I like the result. I’ve found that VR tends to produce a very different sort of blur when it fails. It seems that parts of the photo are sort of sharp while other parts are blurred in weird ways. There can even be two sharp images, almost like a multiple exposure. And sometimes that makes something fun.
Anyway, I like this photo. And that’s all I really care about.
I’ve noticed this happening before and look for success in failure when it does happen. Here’s another photo with the same sort of things going on that I shot years ago with a fantastic model, Virginia Red. The shutter speed for this one was 1/4 second. I think I may be starting to identify a sweet spot for making this happen. More failures like these may be in my future.
September 6th, 2014
I have to take a break from trying to catch up on my editing and posting things I shot a year ago. I just had the chance to work with my favorite model, Brooke Lynne, who I don’t get to shoot nearly often enough. I keep trying to get her to move closer, but don’t seem to be able to persuade her to leave Minnesota. And she brought with her another marvelous model, Romahni Rose. Romahni’s home is Australia and she is touring the US and the world. I’m so happy that I got to meet her and work with her while she was passing through.
So, with two of the best figure models in the world ready to pose for me, I decided to take them to the most beautiful place in Ohio, the Hocking Hills. We hit a couple of my long-time favorite spots and I’ll get to those photos in good time. But today I’m posting a few shots from a hidden, private spot that I’d never visited before. The place was beautiful and the models were fantastic. It was a great shoot and a great time. Thank you so much, Brooke and Romahni. You are the greatest.
The shoot went very well, despite the weather doing a throw-back to mid-summer. Temperatures in the 90s and clear sunny skies were not the ideal conditions for our work. And today, the day after we finished shooting, the high will be 72 and it’s cloudy…perfect light all day long and a temperature that wouldn’t have melted us. So it goes. I think we still managed to pull it off despite the weather.
September 3rd, 2014
I can’t remember a day of shooting that was more fun or more productive than the day when these photos and the ones on the earlier posts from this day were taken. It was an amazing day of shooting with a crew of great models. Kelsey wasn’t the only one to brave the waters to reach this last location. Claudine is always game to do whatever it takes to get a photo and she waded right in and joined Kelsey in this spot.
And, of course, I did some work with just Claudine as well.
When we finished we, of course, had to wade back out. Here’s Kelsey walking along a submerged log that kept us from having to go waist deep in the water. And you can see the rest of the crew being kept busy by my friend and fellow photographer, Dave Swanson.
The sad news is that this is the end of my posts from this day of shooting. The good news is that we did more shooting on the following day. The photos from the second day of shooting will be appearing here soon. Stay tuned.