Sunday, August 30, 2009
A step forward
I realized a while ago that, in order for me to grow artistically, I need to make an effort to work multiple times with the few outstanding models I encounter, rather than just working a couple times with lots of different models. The images here represent one of my first steps in that journey. I've worked more times with this model than any other, save one. We had been planning an outdoor shoot, but the weather didn't cooperate, and we ended up in the studio with some general ideas, but not a solid plan. I had a few specific ideas to try, but I was aware that this was a model with rare beauty, so I essentially decided to do an exploratory shoot and just see how many unique aspects of her beauty I could capture. Though I don't always have sketches and I don't like to leave out room for inspiration, I almost never shoot without some sort of plan, so this was a bit worrisome for me. I feared that I might very well let the model down, have her give her all and produce only mediocre imagery. My fears were largely allayed once I processed the images, but I've still been through this set a couple dozen times, second guessing my work, asking if I would have done better if I had planned it out, essentially trying to talk myself into not liking them. I'm sufficiently convinced now that I did justice to this model, that the quality of my work is on par with her beauty, with the courage she showed, and with the trust she placed in me. So, I've decided I'm ready to share the images. I think this set is unique for a couple of reasons. First, all female figures contain some piece of unique and wonderful beauty, some angle or point of view from which an exquisite treasure is revealed. In most it's concealed among many pretty but average points of view, and one of the skills required to produce fine art nude photography is the ability to see and capture those one or two outstanding treasures. Once in a while, though, you find a veritable treasure chest of beauty, a model who reveals outstanding beauty from every angle and point of view. This model is definitely one of those rare treasure chests of beauty and I think this set, largely because it was exploratory and unplanned, shows that. Just finding a model like that is only half the battle, though. This model was very creatively open and trusting the first time we worked together, but modeling for and photographing such beauty in an exploratory mode, while not sexual, is definitely an intimate experience. Getting a model to drop their guard and allow their beauty to show without reservation requires a rapport and two-way trust that takes time to build. The second reason this set is unique is because we had worked together enough to begin to build that kind of rapport, and it represents a step into a new level of creative interaction with a model for me. Does that show from a viewer's perspective? I don't know. I do know that, from an artist's perspective, it's significant. Anyway, ponder all that as you enjoy the images, and keep in mind the contribution of the model, both in terms of her uniquely amazing beauty and her courage and openness in sharing it with my camera. Many people seem to have the idea that models just look pretty and follow directions. For many that's not far from the truth, but creating imagery such as this is truly a collaborative artistic effort. Please take time to view each of these images at full size and let me know your thoughts on them, either in comments here or in a private e-mail if you prefer. As I said, this is a significant step artistically, and feedback would certainly be helpful.