An edit from a shot taken some time ago in the studio. Male model is Justin.
Image content. What do I like, why do I like it? I suppose I’ll get back to that somewhere in the ramble that follows.
For me, much of what I do is some kind of test or experiment. I read something… a magazine, a book, a web article, a tutorial somewhere on photography and see how I can use it or fit it into what I do. I get ideas from the people I work with from time to time. Much of the time I just luck out and produce something that appeals to me or get a shot I had either planned well or had not planned and found it to work. There are certainly many images that turn out like garbage and you will never see them.
Many of the images I’ve recently produced are rich in tones and color. Some have sexual themes. Some border what some people would call pornography, even though I’m not trying to specifically show anything. People see breasts and comment on them. I feel sorry for the people that look at the image and only see the breasts. I want things to be fun, playful, pretty and somewhat twisted from time to time. The Fish series with Jill is a good example as is the other trash themes. The attempt there was to somehow mock fashion a bit and still be able to produce something interesting to look at.
There’s bondage… oh, bondage. My interest in this probably comes from several places. I like art nudes. Intricate bondage work is somehow eye candy for me. There are some riggers out there that can produce some beautiful work and then take a completely lousy picture of it. There are those who are really into the lifestyle and the intricacies of rope are not at the top of their to do list. They take pictures of that as well. So, I set out to learn a little more about how to achieve the look and not kill someone. I still am not a fan of purple blood engorged breasts or whipping or any other kinds of play like that and I do not want to display this in any image I make. This is where the real bondage people and I part ways I think. I am a photographer. I create images to look at. I create them. I am not out in the street shooting what happens, I make things happen in the studio. So… the plan is something like this: Combine art nude or even non nude with intricate rope work. The result is a study. The content is the model and the prop. The model is free (if possible in rope) to move around. The moment is captured.
Most of the time the application of ropes takes a lot longer than the shoot. I find this to be the case with body paint as well.
What you don’t see in the images is whatever the back story is that occurred during a shoot. When shooting people in rope I always try to make sure they are comfortable with things at all times. Sometimes they are not. Adjustments are made. We try again and make it or we back off and do something else. In the successful rope images more than an image comes out of it… I think. I think that I feel alright knowing that I did it right, did not hurt the person, captured images that will produce nice work later. The person on the other end knows that they could do it, placed their trust in me that I would not injure them and also wound up with some creative images.
Why do they do it? I don’t know sometimes. Maybe because I can make them look good that way. Maybe because they want to venture out from the standard portrait images that they’ve been doing. Maybe they are into the lifestyle. I have shot with all of these people.
Which brings me back to the original point. What do I like and why do I like it? I like many styles of photography. I find myself looking at images because I like them or because I want to figure out the lighting, or maybe I wonder how I could have shot the image better. I look at the work of other artists and then I look at who is looking and commenting on the work of those artists. Looking at that gives me some kind of idea of why an image is popular and the kinds of people the image appeals to. Sometimes I am shocked at some of the images I look at. Maybe that was the point and if so, score one for the artist. Sometimes, though, I just see some pretty weird demented stuff out there that really seems to have no place in my world. But that is just my world. It’s kind of like this: everyone takes a crap as far as I know. I do not know everything but I’m fairly confident that everyone craps. We don’t glamorize and immortalize taking a crap on a regular basis. Every once in a while some artist may come along and take crap to a new level – show it to us in a way we had not before considered. That is rare. Other people get on a crap kick and try to out do the artist and shoot better crap, or shoot crap better. Most of the time what they wind up with is still just more crap and we did not need to see it. I suppose we can keep on trying though.