Last weekend, I did a nude shoot with the lovely Tania, as pictured above.
I’ve published one nude book so far and done numerous shoots but most of them are kept private as the models are sensitive about families / partners and what they’d think.
So, it’s great to babe able to actually publish these shots, LIVE, on the nets! Woohoo!
I was nervous because it was a paid shoot, we had limited time and I have very definite ideas about what I don’t want to do. For a start, you will never see retouching on any of my pics. You will see digital cropping, levels, colour vibrancy and the very, very occasional spot removal at the request of a model.
What you won’t see is the plastic-faced Stepford Wife ideal that is, apparently, sponsoring a whole new wave of how women can feel bad about themselves.
I regard women as naturally beautiful. It’s my quest as a photographer to try and capture how *I* see women and share that with the world. In my non-nude portrait work, models will regularly say to me, “Oh, you’ve made me look beautiful!” And I have to correct them, no I didn’t. The beauty is all theirs; all I did was stand at the right spot at the right time and capture the right rays of light.
Fundamentally, if you’re retouching the shit out of your portraits or nude work until the women look like bizarre Uncanny Valley replicants, then you are doing something wrong. Here’s my advice to you:
STOP. CONSIDER THE DAMAGE YOU ARE DOING. WOMEN ARE SEEING YOUR IMAGES AND WONDERING WHY THEY DON’T LOOK LIKE THAT. YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM.
Look, I’m a sociologist, I’ve read enough Kristeva and Barthes and Bazin to realise that every photographic image is not only a construction, it is an argument. I’m not arguing from some naive stance of ‘realism’ or ‘essential truth.’ I believe every image is a semiotic hand grenade, fling them around without concern and you will be hurting people.
To stretch the metaphor past breaking… this nude shoot was a minefield for me! I want to represent Tania’s beauty and personality, I want to show how the light hugs her hips and kisses her abdomen. BUT I don’t want to be part of the same old bullshit discourse where all naturalism is lost in the effort of creating an ephemeral, anonymous ur-female, in trying to capture the immanent.
So, have a look at my pics of Tania. Question how they make you feel. Question why I made them – what the fuck am I trying to say? What can I say in nude female photography that hasn’t been said a million times already?
Then, when you have the answers… write a book about it, don’t send it to me! 😛
As a birthday pressie to myself, I bought the Sigma 85mm f/1.4 Art Lens.
Most of my portraiture is shot at 50mm, either with my f/1.8 or f/1.2 Canon lenses. I’d thought about getting an 85mm for a while now but the price of the Canon versions made me baulk. Then, along comes the Sigma, highly rated in reviews and I only have to sell the one kidney to buy it ~ RESULT!
When it arrived, I was struck by two things: first, how well made it feels, easily comparable to the silky smoothness of Canon L-series lenses. And secondly…. boy, is it made out of fucking neutronium or what? This is not a light lens (although it is a light lens as it’s a f/1.4… hehhhh). The 85mm on my Canon 5D Mk 4 is untenably heavy, I would want to use at least a monopod if I was shooting for longer than ninety minutes, preferably a tripod. Mounted (via the Sigma adaptor) on my Sony A7R3 and it’s lot more heftable, though the Sony looks slightly ridiculous hanging off the back of it. Like a chihuahua shagging a hippo. If I was tripod mounting this combo, I’d definitely want it to be via a lens ring rather than the camera body.
Luckily, my mate Nat was free to do some test shots and this is some of what we got:
I recently got an LX15 to replace my trusty Sony RX100Mk3 which, sadly, has been dropped one too many times and is a bit grumpy and temperamental, like a certain R2 unit.
So far, I’m loving the LX15. It’s rocking the same 1″ sensor that all the high-end compacts have been forced to move to by the success of the RX100 line. But it has pluses like a very usable touch screen and a slightly wider maximum aperture.
I just took the above shots after clubbing one night, expecting them to be blurry, fuzzy, hideous messes. But, with a little tweaking, I got something quite lovely and a little spooky.
I’ll try to post some more average test shots soon! 😀
Sooo… I went to town for a wander and came home with an M5…
Yeah, I know. Like I need YET ANOTHER CAMERA.
But, in my defence, it’s very tiny and basically an 80D crammed into a minuscule chassis.
I am going to test the shit out it this week at the anti-Trump protest and at HDIF on Saturday night when I’m DJing.
Whoop! I do love Festé, when it rolls around, it’s always the sign that autumn is here, next up is Halloween!
This year, I didn’t get to see as much of the festé frolics as normal as I’ve been snowed-under with video editing work (the results of which will appear on here shortly).
I got into town just in time to see FlameOz at Cathedral Green and they were very impressive. All manner of fiery, very dangerous-looking dancing and twirling and whirling.
Thankfully, no-one ended up as a flaming kebab.
Then was DJ Yoda. I was a bit wary about this because I thought it sounded a bit passive. After all, essentially we’re just watching a massive screen while a bloke twiddles some decks off to the side, Wizard of Oz-stylee. But I was wrong, Yoda created a performance of live video/audio scratching that got the hundreds of people there singing and dancing and whooping. The best bit for audience involvement was when he played the chiptune version of Blur’s ‘Song 2’ and the crowd filled in the singing.
Alex and Nat turned up and had a boogie along with me.
Then we headed to the Market Place where I got some of the tasty grub above and we caught a tiny bit of the Indian drummers:
After that, we were a bit too cold and went for a coffee before heading off home. Wish I’d got to see more but it was still a great night and another reason to love Derby. 😀