Monday, April 30, 2007

Maxim Bumper Crop

It's the 10th week of the Maxim Hometown Hotties competition, which is the last week of the first round. The top vote getters will move on to semi-finals, which may involve more public voting, but I'm not sure. Another model I've worked with is in this week's competition, so be sure to stop by and vote for Sheena early and often before next monday. She submitted one of my shots and two from Andrew Nicholson. Andrew's look great, as always, but I'm a little confused about mine. The original image was the full-body shot (at top) and someone decided to crop it for a thumnail (at left), which is OK, but when you click the thumbnail, you just get a somewhat enlarged version of the thumnail, with an extended black background at the top and right. I don't really know what she submitted, or why they did it this way, but don't hold it against her and please take a minute to vote for her. She's good people.
Here's one of my favorite shots of Sheena with Destiny. Destiny is still in the running over at the FHM Digital Darlings competition which goes on for almost 3 more weeks, so please stop by and vote for her whenever you're surfing around online. The voting is a 1-10 scale, but it's structured so that not only can you vote Destiny as a "10" but you can go through and vote everyone else a "1" if you have that kind of time on your hands. I'm not suggesting it, but as far as these kinds of contests go, it doesn't seem like a very fair system. Maybe FHM just figures that if someone is going to go through and vote against people, that still increases the traffic for the purposes of calculating their advertising rates, which is really the name of the game. Sort of like "American Idol" voting where the big winner is... the phone companies. Nevertheless, with your help, maybe Sheena and Destiny will win big.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Tattoo You

Another model who goes by a variety of names, so I'll just call her Consuela for now. We've been talking about shooting for a long while, and finally made it happen a few weeks ago. She was really into the process, and I ended up "abusing" her a bit more than I usually do with models. Having her climb through the garbage to pose, nudes pretty much in full view of about half of my building, getting her dress soaking wet to find that it didn't really look any different than when it was dry, some tricky poses in a corset on skates (she's a roller derby queen who skates under the name "Carson O'Genic"), and even just putting on that sheer black top scraped her arm which was still tender from the extensive work done on her tattoo sleeve, so if one arm looks a bit puffy, that's why. But she was a trooper and content just to get a couple of cigarette breaks.

The first pictures I saw of her, she had longer hair, and it wasn't evident that she had such extensive tattooing. She's very proud of the recently completed chest piece, and excited by the start of new sleeve work. But I was equally intrigued by the scars, one down her stomach, and a c-section scar that intersects an older tattoo. She suggested that they could be easily retouched out, which they could have been, but I prefer leaving them in. Someone once described tattoos as something like a diary of the places you've been in your life, and who you become as life goes on. It's an attitude I like -- that there's no extra points for going to the funeral home with no scratches or dents, so why not mark the trail. But the scars are part of her, too. She's a mother of two, and I'm sure there's a story to go with the other scar, and her confidence revealing herself in front of the camera is part of who she is, and part of why I like the results of this shoot so much. Not quite the flawless figure of a goddess, but the beautiful figure of a real woman living a real life.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Borrowed the title of this entry from Lin's very scary blog post this week on Fluffytek, concerning pending legislation in the UK that would criminalize possession of so-called "extreme pornography" and allow confiscation of computers, files or other materials for indefinite periods while determinations are made. Not that I support extreme pornography, but as with any definition of "obscenity," the boundaries are blurry and open to interpretation and expansion. For instance, is this rather innocuous shot actually depicting a situation that is "potentially life threatening" because Rose is tied to the bed? Or because Charity is brandishing a whip? Under the proposed law in the UK, it would be almost impossible to know until the case went to trial.

It's a pretty complex issue, but it would definitely put a chill on a lot of UK fetish and bondage photographers, as well as further limiting personal liberty in general. (Someone visits a website that has a banner ad for the wrong site, or potentially even receives the wrong spam, and when they find that ad in your cache...guilty!) Lin does a great job of spelling it out and the potential risks to their business and indeed anyone doing work that's even a little bit "edgy." And per usual, it's probably OK to depict someone brutalizing someone else, as long as there's no nudity or sexual aspect involved. I know this is a cliché, but between this and the omnipresent video surveillance in the UK, the situation is straight out of Orwell's 1984. I guess all of England's puritans didn't leave on the Mayflower.

Just saw a bulletin from Ivy, a model I've not yet worked with, regarding the pending "six foot law" meant to end physical contact between nude "entertainers" and patrons (or even two entertainers). As she says in her bulletin, "We're not even being considered 'adult entertainment' anymore, we are (in this bill) being called 'sexually oriented business'. How degrading is THAT?!" I wonder how broadly could this law be interpreted... If I'm shooting a nude model as part of "my business," do I have to remain six feet away at all times? Can I not show two models together if one of them is nude? Who will break the news to Elizabeth and Melissa? I know the law, if passed, probably wouldn't apply directly to me as a photographer, but it could be the first step on the slippery slope. On edit: a reader commented that the petition previously linked here was incorrect. The bill seems to be real, but I'm having a hard time finding a specific citation for it.

But perhaps the most disturbing part of today's entry comes from one of our own. Our friend Candy has put her excellent blog "Feminism without Clothes" on hiatus for what could only be called "freedom of expression" reasons. She writes:

Recently I’ve gotten a good deal of positive feedback regarding this blog, some of which has come from photographers. However, I can’t help but feel that for every positive remark, a negative one from someone else has remained unsaid. Modeling is how I make my living, and I’m very concerned that this blog may be making me a less-than-desirable model in the eyes of some people. I will also be removing from public viewing some of my more opinionated entries for the time being.
I think it's a pretty sad day when a photographer doing nude work would rule out working with a model as excellent as Candy because of opinions expressed on her blog. Shouldn't artists (especially nude and fetish photographers) be among the most open-minded and supportive of free expression? And she's now living in what would be considered one of the most politically liberal areas of the country, and she's feeling this pressure? When Candy has voiced opinions, the ones I've seen have been well-reasoned and clearly explained and not intended as "trash talk" or gossip. (I can see avoiding working with someone who does that.) An extremely smart woman, Candy manages to operate on a more elevated level, even when she's talking about bondage shoots or pubic hair or crotchless panties or the roles of women in society. Maybe her fears are unfounded, but that it's even a concern is what I find most distressing.

If you haven't read Orwell's 1984 in a while, I urge you to give it a close reading... War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Velvet Underground...

Yesterday, I received a gift... the gift of about 1/3 of my basement, which had previously been filled with an immovable object. After roughly six years in this house, I managed to find someone to claim it and remove it, and that is the gift.

It's a good size room...the original owners had practiced ballroom dancing there. The main drawback is a ceiling of only 7-1/2 feet. (Note to self: book shorter models) But the notion of setting it up as studio space has tons of possibilities. Take part of it back to the bare concrete... try other wall treatments or set constructions or whatever. It removes the constraint of all my props and gear needing to fit in the backseat of my car and having to be hauled in, set up, torn down and hauled out for every shoot. For models, there's a comfortable dressing room and clean bathroom--even a shower to clean up after something particularly messy. Some models raise an eyebrow at the "in home" studio set-up, but hopefully that won't be a problem. And it's blissfully cool down there on the hottest summer days. I'll probably keep the "box" downtown for a while at least, but combine this with the potential of using my garage with the 12-foot ceiling as supplemental space, and utilizing the upstairs rooms for shooting, too, and this could turn out to truly be a wonderful gift.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Catching up

The mystery illness kept me from driving to Toledo and running up and down the stairs at the Collingwood for 8 hours, but by Saturday afternoon, I did feel well enough to sit down at the computer to catch up on some editing. The top shot is Eilispidh from a solo shoot, the five pairs are Kimberly, Steph, Shaylene, Athena, and Katherine Rose, all from recent group shoots. Hope to keep up the momentum...

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Just wanted to share three more of the lovely Danaid, but I'll let them speak for themselves... the bottom one showcased on her OMP.


Here's a shot of good old Boyd in a ticklish situation with Vivian Irene Pierce and Maddy Raye. Boyd has just released his latest edition of Black Swamp Girls which includes a variety of nudes, portraits, and fetish photography in Boyd's trademark style. It's a little tricky to find his stuff on the Lulu site due to their "content rating" system, so you may need to log in to a Lulu account first. I might also suggest that you purchase the "Digital Download" version of the books rather than the actual printed copies... You can download 2 or 3 different titles for the price of one printed book, there's no shipping charge and you get to see them right away, they may even look better than the print version, plus Boyd will earn more royalties. Win win win!

Boyd also has an exhibit opening at the Collingwood Art Center on May 4th. His last one was a fine time, and this one should be even bigger and better. Bring your checkbook...

Other news in the world of high finance, the elusive Katie West is having a limited-time print sale to help extricate herself from a financial nightmare of landlord proportions. So it's a good chance to pick up some of Katie's prints dirt cheap while helping her out. Tell her I sent you. ;)

Returning to the scene

Time for another of my "where the hell does the time go?" posts...

Where the hell does the time go?

Here's Eilispidh from a couple months ago. Hard to believe...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Missing the obvious

I hate it when I miss something that's glaringly obvious, like the perfect title for the bottom photo here. Rose has it posted on her Model Mayhem page with the title "I love lamp" but in one of the comments, another photographer, Blackwatch, suggested the perfect title for it...

"Light Bondage"

Can't believe I missed that one when I posted it earlier. A tip of the lens cap to you, Blackwatch.

More voting fun...

Destiny has been chosen for another online contest, this time FHM Online "Digital Darlings" and again chose one of my shots for her entry. Please take a moment and go vote for her... a few "10" votes from this blog's readers should help put her over the top. And believe it or not, this time they actually gave me a photo credit!
In a few weeks, we'll find out how Destiny did in the Maxim Hometown Hotties contest, but in the meantime, another model I've worked with is in this week's voting, so please stop by and cast a vote for Jenna, even though she didn't use my photos in her entry. :) Here is a shot from a group thing early last year. Well, I didn't say I worked with her recently.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Way of the Gun

The shootings at Virginia Tech have been much on my mind. My sympathies go out to all the victims' families, friends, and the students of Virginia Tech. But it's also prompted me to think about a few things.

Before the bodies were even cold, the media was awash in political discussions about the role of guns in this country. On one side, it's been almost 8 years to the day since Columbine, and little has been done to make it more difficult for anyone to acquire multiple high-powered weapons. In fact, parts of the "Patriot Act" and other legislation have made it nearly impossible even for law enforcement to know who is buying or selling guns. The event at Virginia Tech is yet another wake-up call to the problem that the US has more deaths by guns than most of the rest of the developed world combined, and that guns are more plentiful and easily obtainable than ever.

On the other side, some are quick to say that if others on the campus had been armed, they could have stopped the killer(s) from inflicting so much carnage. That this is proof we need "concealed carry" laws, and armed marshalls everywhere, and fewer restrictions on gun ownership due to the need for self-defense. And the familiar refrain of "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Plus, the fact that the shooter was an immigrant will no doubt be politicized, even though he was here legally and had lived here since age 8. And like so many who commit these sorts of attacks, he was "a quiet guy who kept to himself" so maybe society is to blame?

I don't know who's right... it seems that someone determined to get something will usually find a way, legally or illegally, but to my mind, it seems that as a country, we go out of our way to make sure anyone who wants a gun can get their hands on one... or two... or fifty. It reminds me of when Homer Simpson stormed into his local gun store Blood Bath and Beyond only to be informed of the five-day waiting period: "Five days? But I'm mad now!" And also, to my mind, the term "civilized society" is practically defined as one without guns or the threat of violence -- but when was the last time anyone suggested the US was a civilized society?

Personally, guns make me nervous. I've used them as props a few times -- usually a toy pellet gun that looks pretty realistic. One model had her boyfriend bring an actual gun to the studio -- the middle two pictures -- and even though we'd checked that the gun was empty, and that the safety was on, it still didn't feel right when I took these two shots. It's kind of unfortunate that photographers usually speak in terms of "shots" and "shooting models" and the like. As Robin Williams' character Sy Parrish in the creepy film One Hour Photo noted: "According to The Oxford English Dictionary, the word 'snapshot' was originally a hunting term." Or when I mention to Andi that I have a shoot, she usually reflexively replies "bang pow!"

The top photo here is Barbie from what we called our "NRA Porn" set where she posed with the pellet gun and the flag in a variety of positions, some rather disturbing. (Maybe I'll post those elsewhere.) The bottom image is Andrea from the same day, where she also played with the toy gun and did some dramatic role playing as well. (Ditto.) I've heard models and photographers express opinions on this issue covering the entire spectrum. Generally, I believe guns cause far more problems than they solve, but at the same time, I wonder if I'm playing into the "glamorizing" of guns to a degree with "shots" like these?

Monday, April 16, 2007


Just scrolling through the posts on this page (the previous 20 entries or so), it occurred to me to do a quick inventory of what the models are wearing in the shots. One skirt, One pair ballet heels, two pairs of heels, one pair fishnets, one pair panties, one sheet, and a picture frame... out of 24 images. Guess I'm officially now a nude photographer.

Here's Diann... overdressed a bit with her belly-button ring.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Just a quick image to brighten up a cold, grey Sunday, although there's possibility of a bit of sun later. Tomorrow is Tax Day in the US, and mine were sent in last week -- I'll be getting a small refund that I'll be sorely tempted to spend on photo gear, but should probably apply to more practical demands.

This is Kiki, from our only shoot (so far--we've had a couple near misses, too). If you look closely, you can still see rope marks on her arm... I opted to leave them in, just to add a little extra layer. Kiki's actually expecting at the moment, so I'm hoping to do some pregnant nude work with her once she's a little more "great with child" for maximum effect. It's tricky timing, though... the last time I thought I had lined up a shoot, the model was put on bed rest about a week before the shoot, so I guess the idea is not to cut it too close.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

"The Princess"

A few implied shots of LaPrincess, a beautiful young model from Louisville I was fortunate enough to photograph at a recent group event. The one with the frame has been getting her a lot of compliments for some reason. :) She's working hard to make it as a commercial model, and I'm sure she'll have lots of opportunities come her way. Hope I can shoot with her again before she gets too big time.

Funny thing about group shoots is the potential for overlap...I looked at some of the other stuff she'd shot with a couple of the other photographers at the event, and it turns out we had used pretty much the same locations in the building... a chunk of wall, a particular stairwell. I guess they just happened to be nearby, but that's one of the hazards of such events. I luckily was able to get access to one of my neighbor's studio spaces to do these shots, so thanks Scott for the loan of the space and the art!