fine art

Gestalt Moment (Detail)


Crop from the image that launched my own moment of recognition here in California by the Los Angeles Center of Photography. The uncropped version of this shot was selected to appear at the LACP’s first juried Member’s Exhibition.

This is almost an example of photography that you can barely take credit for. lol. Who can claim to have created something that depends so much on the fact that this woman bought this jacket at some moment in her life probably years before I even bought the camera that took the picture.

How much does the image depend on the fact that this lady decided to wear this jacket on this day and be just at that very moment stepping from the sun into the dark shadow of a doorway? So the shot is almost a miraculous piece of luck.

That said, I think this crop captures the gestalt effect more perfectly than any photograph I’ve ever seen. I can’t take any responsibility for that because I’m sure it wasn’t my intention to make an image of that sort. I saw colors and contrast and a good subject and that was it until I looked at the image later.

Anyway. Hope you enjoy this! Thank you all for visiting!

Minimalist Mondays : Voyeurism

“The basic condition of the voyeuristic scenario is distance, an essential separation between seer and seen. Despite this distance, which is by definition unbridgeable, despite the unrequitable nature of the desire that drives it, the voyeur’s gaze is a privileged one.”

Great book I highly recommend called Train Your Gaze: A Practical and Theoretical Introduction to Portrait Photography by Roswell Angier. The quote above is from TYG. Almost by anyone’s definition it is not a book on portrait photography. It is really an analysis of contemporary art photography as well as some of the classic but nevertheless quite daring, in their time, 20th century photographers.

The chapter on voyeurism begins with a quote by Walker Evans, certainly an idol of mine and countless other photographers.

“Stare. It is the way to educate your eye, and more. Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long.”

Rocco’s Pizza, Wilshire Blvd


No $43,000,000 shot here?

20121212-L1000608-3-6Someone just paid that much for Barnett Newman’s “Onement VI”, a painting which consists of two vibrant blue rectangles neatly divided by a single, light blue line, an arrangement that Sotheby’s called “a portal to the sublime.”

Won’t someone please kindly pay Barnat Donald a million or so for this fine image taken late last year entitled “Is This Leica a Righteous Bitch to Focus Already? #10465”

Slivers of Quirk and Light

There is a fairly famous street/fine art photographer whose style is images with mostly shadow area and only sunlight to illuminate his subject’s profound humanity as displayed on their faces. His name escapes me as I write this but I think he would certainly qualify as a king in the world of those who stalk the light.

I didn’t know about his work over the many years when I would employ a similar solution to the difficult light here in the city of Los Angeles. The profundity of it all only became apparent to me after the fact, I have to admit.

I’m very often looking for some revealing expression on the face of subjects on the street. Something that reveals what I may see that someone else might not see that I can maybe photograph as proof or evidence that it exists. But somehow the combination of this natural spotlight on the faces of subjects combined with some moment of human vulnerability revealed on those faces seems to me to be over the top. It works great for this other photographer, but it wouldn’t feel right to me.

I find it works better for me in order to isolate a person or group but more from a distance where it may be something about their posture or circumstance or a gesture that I find interesting. I don’t have a lot to say about this all right now. But I hope the pictures have something to say to you.

These are all shot on film. Leica M7 with either the Zeiss 50 1.5 Sonnar or the Leica 35 2.0 Summicron ASPH

Thanks for looking.


Pin-up Nude Strangeness: Works / Doesn’t Work?

Admittedly, this is an odd one. At times I’ve thought it was great, at other times I’ve thought, don’t ever show this image to anyone unless you plan to kill them soon after. 

But I’m drawn back to it because I like weirdness in photography. Not necessarily 50 layers of Photoshop ‘arty’ weirdness, but something different. As I’ve stated in a previous post I never really wanted to be associated with glamour photography. But I think most glamour photographers would run quickly away from an image like this.

But what do you think? Comments welcome!

Classic Nudes: The Income Stream of Your Dreams

A successful boudoir photography business is probably the dream of a lot of photographers right now. There are classes and seminars on YouTube on how to shoot and grow a profitable boudoir photography business as either a sideline or as the main part of your business. If that’s your dream, then you should go for it.

But I, and excuse me while my nose goes up into the air, could never do that kind of photography. Call me a big-city snob but my own aesthetic compass would never allow me to light and shoot and grease my lens with vaseline (just kidding there) to photograph some pink chubby housewives in Sears lingerie just to earn a dollar.

Because you KNOW that’s what it’s going to come down to. Eventually and at some point. For a buck, you’re going to be powdering and blowing smoke up the rear end of some fabulously good humored lady who, and there’s not a damned thing wrong with this, wants some sexy slightly naughty images of her soft 50 year old body to try to kick start her fast asleep husband’s heart one last time.

I have another idea. One you’ve NEVER heard before, but I bet you’re going to like it.

Take the high road. If you DO live in or near a city, then you also live near educated and classy women many of whom spend hours in the gym honing their bodies into fat-burning machines that they are very very proud of.

And because they have different tastes than the ladies seeking boudoir photographers, and they don’t shop at Sears, they also might be likely to have an appreciation for the aesthetics of classic form and figure studies.

Maybe they might like nothing more than to have their own stunning hard bodies recorded for the ages via the visual medium of photography.

And, yeah, maybe it’s something that exists only somewhere in the back of their high-brow minds, waiting for someone like you to come along and offer your services.

Do I need to say more?

I think probably that most of you who are perpetually looking to maximize your income stream are probably way ahead of me at this point. I’m sure also that the wheels are turning now for some of you who, like me, just don’t want to go there as it applies to standard ‘boudoir’ photography.

My suggestion. Pick up some classic nude sculpture or drawing books, visit a museum or library, and start getting a repertoire established in your mind in terms of poses, angles, lighting, etc.

So get your noses up in the air and hang a shingle as a fine-art photographer specializing in classic nudes of physically fit women.

Do I have your attention now?

You say you want an example?

Below is a woman in her 40s. Click on it for a larger version. Please don’t ask me about lighting set ups. I supply the ideas. You have to bring something to the table. And you don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money not knowing what you’re doing.

This picture exists because of what’s inside MY head as much as it does because of what’s in front of the lens. Could the image be more perfect? Could I have cloned out the lines left from the imprint of her clothing? Diffused the light more? Of course I could have. But I chose not to. My aesthetic says no to these things.

That is why, if you get this income stream up and running, I’m going to be needing my cut! 😉