Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Idea Meets Creation

Here it is, folks.  It's not hanging yet, but it's done printed. I printed all night and I still have a long job ahead of me. Choosing a grid wasn't the most practical idea.  But, once I am done, I think it will be worth it.

Monday, February 21, 2011


So, my idea from last night is sort of out the window.  Well ... not all of it. I saved bits and pieces...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Prelim For Show

I finally got an idea for our show that goes up tomorrow. I think it's gonna look something like this...

I should be finished, but it's a start. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Almost Porn

So, this weekend I set out on a new venture. I set up the lighting.  I oiled up the girls and I created a bad plot.  It took me a few shots to realize that the angles were all wrong.  I am used to shots that cut off heads or parts of heads. I like cropping body parts and I like drastic lighting. That doesn't really work when going for the glossy aesthetic I was attempting.  But, I kept altering my style and I pushed through 4 hours of shooting in an attempt to make porn.

Afterward, I felt the way I do after most shoots.  I was unsure of what my work would yield.  In the same shoot, I shot with my Nikon D5000, my Canon AE-1, my cell phone and a recently purchased Holga (medium format) camera. Shooting with the intent of replicating porn was not easy. I saw replicating, because I was not making actual porn.  I wasn't given a budget.  I didn't have the right target audience in mind, my models aren't trying to make a buck or break into acting.  They were just friends willing to do me a favor that would yield nudes they could show their boyfriends.  I didn't have access to a house in Miami.  So, what I was attempting was to recreate an aesthetic that would get me as close to porn as possible. Which poses an interesting question; if the photos I took weren't porn, what were they?

The next day, I ran some text prints to see what came out.  I had an interesting finding.  The shoot started off awkward and uncomfortable.  The photos revealed this.  My angles were off.  I am used to shooting in a certain way and so I had to make some adjustments. But, what I realized when printing the photos was that there are two important factors in creating a porn aesthetic: sequencing and facial expressions. The photos I had of the women straddling each other didn't feel as much like magazine porn as the photos of them looking a book topless, because the facial expressions were off. But, once I put that photo next to the one with a doe-eyed college student studying, an overly literal narrative was formed and the photos started taking shape. Mind you, they still weren't porn, but they had more of the aesthetic of porn.

But, the whole venture left me with the question, What am I asking of my viewer? What is it about nudity in photography that makes the shots easily categorizable? What makes it pornography?  What makes it art?  What makes it humiliation? And how can I blur the lines of the intimate, the humiliating, the titillating and the informative, to offer something that poses a problem for the viewer?


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Polaroids and the InstaNude

In many ways, the nature of the Polaroid nude is a lot like the nature of the digital nude.  It offered the average every day person an avenue by which to capture their nude likeness.  With Polaroids and digital photos, alike, couples can act out fantasies.  Men and women could have the joy of having their own partner in their personal pornography collection.

The Polaroid opened the door for amateur nudes. It allowed for a personal experience with a very personal setting.  The shots could be taken, developed and viewed without the embarrassment of having to enter a photomat cloaked in a hoodie and shades.  They offered the ultimate in privacy in nude photography.  A polaroid, like a digital image has the possibility of only having one viewer.  In all, likelihood, the average Polaroid had at least two viewers.

While the personal, private nature is one common characteristic between the Polaroid and digital photo, the opportunity for mass exposure is where the two forms differ greatly.  The chances of a Polaroid being mailed off, printed and seen en masse was highly unlikely.  The amateur nude model/photographer of the 80s needed only worry about the possible embarrassment of a parent or child stumbling upon the shoebox in which the nudes were stored.  The amateur of the digital age has a whole different bag of worries.  Nowadays, it's become all too likely to open a gossip page or online news page and find the text/email/FB message/Twitpic bearing the nude likeness of a celebrity or politician.  And, with sites like Amateurs Gone Wild, even the average person stands a chance at/risk of being posted for millions to see.

The Polaroid nude and the digital nude exist for very similar reasons.  They offer an intimate way to be the voyeur and the subject without having to enter into a new profession and without having to date a porn star.  So, while the intent behind the Polaroid nude and the digital nude are very similar, the consequences have changed greatly over the years. What was once an intimate gesture stored in the shoe box under one's bed is now the intimate gesture that can accessed by anyone with a few simple strokes of the keyboard.

Even though they generally bare the same poses and images, the Polaroid nude and the digital nude have a wholly different feel.  There is a certain innocence behind the Polaroid that does not exist with its digital counterpart.  The intent is lost and the possible consequence takes on the major role.  There is a risk in the digital nude that was more minute in the instant nudes of the past.  Perhaps this adds a new allure, but it definitely sets the two categories apart.

New York Congressman Resigns Over Shirtless Photo

Representative Christopher Lee, a Republican from New York, in 2009, and in a photo obtained by Gawker that he allegedly sent in response to a Craigslist ad.
This is a reprint of an article from the New York Times. By Raymond Hernandez
Representative Chris Lee of New York, caught in the midst of a scandal involving a shirtless photo he reportedly e-mailed to a woman, has stepped down, according to a senior Congressional official.
Mr. Lee, a two-term Republican who is married, notified John A. Boehner, the Republican speaker of the House, of his decision in a letter he sent Wednesday afternoon after the scandal erupted.
Mr. Lee’s office released a statement late Wednesday in which he asks for forgiveness. “I regret the harm that my actions have caused my family, my staff and my constituents,’’ he said.  “I deeply and sincerely apologize to them all. I have made profound mistakes and I promise to work as hard as I can to seek their forgiveness.’’
Mr. Lee won his district, located in Western New York, in 2008, when he ran in place of Thomas Reynolds, who had announced his retirement.
Last year, another upstate New York congressman, Eric J. Massa, a Democrat,resigned amid accusations that he had groped a male aide.
Mr. Lee’s decision to step down came after a photo of him without a shirt appeared on Gawker along with e-mail exchanges that reportedly took place between him and a 34-year-old woman from Maryland who had placed a personal notice in the “women seeking men” section of Craigslist. The woman’s posting complained about the lack of attractive men on the Web site: “Will someone prove to me not all CL men look like toads?”
Mr. Lee responded, saying he was a lobbyist and a “fit fun classy guy.” He describes himself as 39 (he is 46) and divorced and writes, “I promise not to disappoint.”
When the woman asks if he routinely sends shirtless photos of himself to women on Craigslist, Mr. Lee responds, “Sorry, it’s all I had.” They later exchange e-mails discussing unsatisfying dates with others, and Mr. Lee mentions a woman who did not live up to her description. “She was not as advertised,” he says.
The woman told Gawker that she cut off communication after searching for Mr. Lee online and concluding that he had lied about his age and occupation.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Time, Light And Movement

This is a new shoot I did.  I wanted to work with extended shutter times and multiple flashes.  We were in a completely dark room.  I set the shutter speed of my Nikon D5000 to 2 seconds and I released an external flash, instructed my model to move and released the flash again while the shutter remained open.

Click image to enlarge.

... And That American Apparel Girl In Just Tights ~ Nekkid For Pay

The following are all ad photos from American Apparel.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

From Porn To Historic Erotic Photography - The Work of E.J. Bellocq

E.J. Bellocq was an early 20th century photographer.  He shot photos of the women of the New Orleans' Redlight District.  He shot them in domestic settings. This wasn't his job. For a paycheck, he shot photographic records of landmarks and of ships and machinery for local companies.  Along with his erotic photos of the prostitutes of Storyville, he took photos of the other aspects of the underbelly of the New Orleans social scene, like the opium dens in Chinatown.

But, this is a blog about nudes, so without further adieu, the "erotic photography" of yesteryear...

All photos are by E.J. Bellocq - Untitled c. 1912 -- Lee Friedlander purchased the glass negatives, printed and showed them in 1970.  And Susan Sontag published a more extensive collection in 1996, titled Bellocq: Photographs from Storyville.

Looks like it's time to pull out the film cameras and holler at some robust ladies. I feel some old school porn shoots coming on.

W Magazine Says Nude Photos Of Kim K Are Art, Not Porn

"[I was told] this artist will put images of architecture and buildings and stuff on top of me so you will see my body shape and the outline but not actually my boobs or anything… [But] I'm more naked here than I was in my Playboy!" - Kim Kardashian 

Kim K got quite upset recently when she realized that the photos she posed for were actually the ones being used in the magazine for which she was posing.  Kardashian claimed she was wronged and that she was told there would be buildings in front of her. But, the W spokesperson said the following ... "In keeping in line with the theme of W Magazine's November Art Issue, Kim Kardashian's cover was conceived as an artistic collaboration with well-known artist Barbara Kruger, and was a meditation on the influence that reality TV has on contemporary culture."

So, W Magazine is defending the photoshoot as art, not porn.  Which begs the question, What's the difference?  Apparently the difference is art nudes have buildings in them. While porn has no buildings. 

Here are the photos, you decide. 

Sexting: The Noisy Nude

Recently, I served as the Guest Curator for the Sex Issue of Hater Magazine.  The magazine had many components and covered issues from birth control to the sexual liberation of women ... and it also had a centerfold.  There were nude photos throughout the magazine. Some were simple shots, back and white. Others were in color and full of noise. These shots included a couple close to penetration and another showed a woman bent over with two penises resting on her backside. These shots were clearly on the side of porn.

But, in the centerfold, there was a spread of cell phone pictures. The editor and creative director sent out mass texts and FB messages and had women text over the nudes they had of themselves in their phones.  The photos flooded in and this became the gray area.  In the words of Supreme Court Justice, Potter Stewart, "hardcore pornography is hard to define, but I know it when I see it."  The pictures of the penises on the rear and the couple in bed were, in my opinion, clearly crossing the line of pornography.  But, the areas that gave me trouble were the black and whites and the texts.  Most of the text photos were breasts, some in bras, some without.  Had they been shot in the same pose, with better lighting, less awkward angles and a better camera, they could have been art.  The noise in the photo and the poor lighting show that the photo is intended for personal use.  And the intent of a photo has a lot, if not everything, to do with it's categorization.

Here are some pics.  You decide if they are cell phone art, cell phone porn or preliminary ads for a new underwear advertising campaign.

Nekkid In The Snow

Tonight I did a shoot with a model that was brave enough and kind enough to shed her clothes and trek into the snow with me. We both experienced some pain on this one.

The purpose was to work with the white backing of the snow against her dark skin.  I have been looking at Man Ray today and I wanted to work with some harsh lighting and some dark shadows.  Here's a sneak peek at what the project yielded.  It wasn't a total success, because I kept sinking into the snow and my subject and I were both freezing.

I shot with a Nikon D5000, using an detached Canon flash circa 1981.  It was about 13 degrees outside. We lived to tell the tale.