Time flies.

I’ve let things go here. I’ve let them go in my life. It’s time to take some things back.

More to come.


Just Another Nude Year (NSFW)

So here we are, at the close of another year, the first for the PopLifePhotography blog. To be fair, it wasn’t a full year, but, in the short time of this blog, we were able to cover a number of things without becoming overly repetitious or bland. To he honest with you, there still isn’t a true direction to this blog as yet. We’re still trying different ideas, different paths, all while sharing some of our work, along with opinions and views that stretch a little outside of the box.

Despite all the inconsistencies, breasts and objective opinionating (is that even a word?), we’ve managed to build a loyal readership, albeit small. We’re sure that number would have grown had there been a little more consistency, and not a giant dead spot between July and now (save for a couple tidbits here and there). Regardless to all of that, we’re going to make 2012 better than the one before. The hope is that soon we’ll bring on additional writers, and make this blog a much more open area for discussion and exhibition. Some of that has been stalled, some of it is still in the works, but you can be assured that whatever we do, it won’t be boring.

But let’s not sit here and pontificate on what could be, let’s send this year off with the bang it deserves.

Today is about our favorite model, Hollis Ireland. As mentioned in one of the earlier blogs, we’ve been able to witness the blossoming of this model over the years, and had the unique pleasure of being there at the start of her career as a nude model.

Years later, as you can see, she is better than ever, and recently we had the honor of shooting with her again. For us, the shoot, albeit brief and impromptu turned out to be one of the best we’ve had since PopLifePhotography started in 2006. Her skills and talents as a model have grown exponentially, and she just has the sort of figure that any photographer would kill to shoot with.

Her beauty and sensuality on camera are only matched by her quick wit and sheer intellect, something that in the modeling game places her light years above some of her competition. If she were only a few inches taller, it would be a guarantee that you would be seeing her on the runways of fashion week as opposed to the pages of this humble little blog.

To give a bit of insight into what we were doing here, it has always been our opinion that Hollis has classical chiseled features, something that would be akin to a marbled statue. The idea here was to keep the shoot as simple as possible by really focusing on the art aspect of nude photography. In short, Hollis Ireland was going to be our sculpture.

Using only two lights: a high key spotlight and a wider, brighter umbrella-diffused light, Hollis was asked to be more statuesque in her poses, of which she did an excellent job. By putting her against a neutral background, we were able to shoot her in monochrome using timed exposures (averaging 1/4 to 1 seconds, which is dangerous if the model can’t hold still). The result comes out in striking lines and a tone that leaves each of her curves looking as if they were carved from a slab of marble. We simply couldn’t have been happier with the final results, which, due to her amazing porcelain-like skin only needed minor amounts of post work.

So, as we say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012 (could it be our last year??), take some time to enjoy some highlights of our shoot with Hollis Ireland. I can promise you, you’ll be glad you did.

Happy New Year, everyone!

(P.S. if you like Hollis, be sure to like her Facebook fan page and visit her personal blog on Tumblr!)

Hollis Ireland

And we’re back…

I won’t sit here and profusely apologize for being gone…it would just take too long.

Instead, I want to come back with a bang by sharing with you the latest from DJ Benzi. Featuring over an hour of new, old and originally remixed tracks, MTVN 4 is some of the hypest of the hype, and absolutely perfect for listening, partying to and most importantly, using as a backdrop for a photo shoot. Energy like this can’t be denied.

But don’t take my word for it. Go find out for yourself.

It’s good to be back. I’ll have new stuff all next week, including adventures at FotoWeek DC.

Talk soon…

Well Hello, Nurse: Sex and Cinema, Revisited

Anyone with a pulse knows that sex sells.

However recently, in the world of posters advertising mainstream films, that adage is hitting closer and closer to home. Earlier you may remember that I wrote about one of the theatrical posters for the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with star Rooney Mara standing topless, embraced by co-star Daniel Craig. I thought that was a bold and daring shot, especially from a photography standpoint. Some of you agreed, while others thought it was pandering, with nudity for the sake of nudity.

So here we have an early theatrical poster for Nurse 3-D, a film scheduled for release in 2012 (principal photography doesn’t start until September). The star of the film, Paz De La Huerta – of Boardwalk Empire fame – is depicted as you see above, bloodied and sinister looking.

She’s also completely nude. So nude that if you take a closer look at the photo, you can see a light tuft of pubic hair.

This is a film that will be distributed wide by Lionsgate. Looking into it more, the shot, which first debuted in a recent issue of V Magazine, is the brainchild of Lionsgate Marketing Officer Tim Palen, who, I was not surprised to discover, designed some of the awesome posters for the annual blood drives sponsored by the Saw franchise, a few of which I’ll post here.


The images and design are all striking in their own right, and it is clear to see the level of influence that has carried over to the Nurse 3-D poster.

Now of course, it’s highly unlikely that this is the final poster that you’ll see in theaters, but it seems that there has been a shift in marketing where now sex must sell as all costs, and the mandate is clear that almost nothing is left to the imagination anymore.

Personally, the shot is amazing. It’s an instant souffle of sex and violence all wrapped in a pretty package. With the stark lighting and the off-white background, the look is almost saccharine in nature. With a start as strong as this, I’m very interested to see where they go next with the posters for this film. Nurse 3-D is certainly a horror film with a twist to it, and regardless as to the quality of the film itself, the ad campaign will be sure to turn more heads than stomachs.

Happy Birthday, Giorgio…

My first designer, and frankly, still the best.

Happy birthday, Maestro.

Busier than ever…

I’ve not forgotten you, I promise.

Life in DC has been a chore to set up, what with networking and learning my way around. Luckily for me, I’ve secured some future shoots, and even have an opportunity to get some work exhibited in a couple galleries…fingers crossed on that.

This truly is a beautiful place, full of even more beautiful people. It’s tempting to ape The Sartorialist and just go out and shoot random strangers just to show that fashion, in its many forms, is just as strong in our nation’s capital as it is up the coast in NYC.

I may just do that, actually. Not to copy so much as to share. The Metro area is remarkable on its own, and certainly deserves some praise for all the colors, the looks and the styles openly available, without being exceedingly pretentious on its own.

I hope this week, wherever you are, starts off wonderfully…

In the meantime, here’s an earlier shot of one of my favorite models to work with…

Happy Birthday, Val

As today is a big and busy day here for me in the DC Metro area, I decided to keep today’s post light and use the space to wish Happy Birthday to one of my favorite models, Val Renee.

May the coming year be everything you want it to be and more…

We’ll be back on track with the blog tomorrow, so whatever you do, make sure it’s amazing.

Reputation Management 101 (NSFW)

…And we’re back…For real this time.

The move to DC was painless, but absolutely exhausting. It’s an exciting time, to be sure, but enough about that, it’s time to get back on the horse and set up new shoots, even if I can’t help but feeling a bit like a fish out of water. Challenges can be exciting, you know…

As I sit here and parse through the last couple of weeks that were, all attention goes to model Amber Rose. Yet another victim of having her trust betrayed in some way or other, she has explicit pictures of her, pictures that were meant for someone she was seeing (while I love some gossip sites, I want to not make this site one of them) or interested in appear on the Web.

In this day and age, where “leaked” photos of celebrities regularly appear in places they shouldn’t, what would make Amber, with a profile as high as hers, think that pictures of herself masturbating wouldn’t make it online some way or some how?

But I suppose that isn’t something you think about in the moment. Some would argue that this could be an intentional “leak”, ala Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian, but I don’t think so. Amber is no stranger to public nudity on the internet, but these pictures certainly have a much more personal tinge to it.

While the concept of no news being bad news, this particular leak hasn’t been all that kind to Amber, with an unnamed company splitting ties with her.

To be sure, she is who she is, and frankly anyone who likes her look will continue to hire her, so in this day and age of luridness for the sake of luridness, her career is in no real danger. Regardless of that, it goes without saying that when you create a brand, even an organic brand as oneself, it’s beyond important to ensure that missteps are minimized on the outset.

While it’s certainly a joy to view Amber nude, the stream by which that happens has to be controlled (by her), and not as a result of grainy cellphone pictures. If she wants to pose in Playboy, I’m all for it, because like it or not, it extends her personal brand, and makes her money at the same time. All she gains by giving explicit pictures to people she thinks she can trust is just a ton of headaches.

When not working with photos, or commenting on various things here, I’m in my day-job as a public relations professional. If I’ve seen anyone in need of through PR, it would be Amber. As a brand, I think she’s still slightly undefined. Sure, she has done high profile modeling gigs, working for Louis Vuitton, amongst others, however, because of her voluptuous stature, she certainly doesn’t limit herself to just runway work.

But it seems these days, it’s more about who she’s dating than how her career as a model is progressing. For all we know, that could be how she wants it, with her legacy as being arm candy for the Hip-Hop star of the moment. If that makes her happy, then who in their right mind would begrudge her?

Having said that, however, if she does want to build and extend the brand beyond being known for who she’s dating, then the first step would be to save the sex shows for a more intimate, in-person situation.

Many models I’ve shot over the years, especially those who don’t wish to pursue a career in nude modeling, have always been more protective of their image than others, because even with professionally shot photos, no one wants to have that nude image haunt them going forward. It’s taking responsibility of a situation in hopes that it never comes back to bite them. So just imagine how less control one can have with taking photos on phones which have been proven to be easily hacked.

Sometimes, you just have to plan better.

As we proceed…

Pistol Series

Last couple days have been busy ones. Still busy, really.

I got the news that when I make the move to DC in just over a week, I’ll have a job to go to, which is nice. The process of settling in will have an effect on my photo work, to be sure. It’s going to take some time to get acclimated to the area, and even more time to find a new group of models to work with.

No big deal really.

Leaving Bloomington, I realize there were some amazing times with amazing models here. This is the place where my talent was developed, and where I helped to develop talents. I’ve loved, laughed and created beautiful images for some or all to see.

The crowning achievement would have to have been getting my work displayed in the Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show, and actually coming away with Gallery Viewer’s Choice. Honestly, for someone who does this for the sheer fun of it, there can be no better honor.

Now it’s a bit premature to write an elegy for my time here, but this is what has been on my mind, and it helps to remind me of the journey ahead and the good times to come. In the meantime, enjoy the above piece, shot a few years ago, during one of my earliest shoots.

Brings back memories.

The future will have you seeing RED.

Depending on who you ask, this is the future of photography.

The EPIC M, by RED, comes in a package one third the size of a RED ONE, carrying with it a 5K Mysterium-X™ sensor and a 27 layer ASIC, the most advanced processor of its type in the world, enabling EPIC to capture up to 120 frames per second, each frame at full 14MP resolution. EPIC both a Digital Still & Motion Camera, and that is what could be what changes everything…again.

Photography, over the years, has gone through a recent evolution. With digital becoming the standard that is wiping out the use of film, just about anyone with money and adequate desire can become a photographer. Now don’t get me wrong, this is an absolutely good thing. I have always been of the mind that photography should be something you do, as opposed to who you are. For far too long, photographers have tried to maintain this aura of superiority because they were this guild of magicians with their control of apertures, f-stops and light metering that regular people could never really understand.

Then came the advent of the digital camera.

All of a sudden everyone (including myself) were becoming camera enthusiasts, and while there was and still is push back from pro shooters, the walls were thinning and from it came a new cadre of photographers who were making images just as good because their cameras were doing much of the heavy lifting for them. All these shooters had to do was capture the same thing as the pros…the moment.

Capturing the “moment” is something that auto setting cannot compensate for. It’s the thing that truly separates the pro from the consumer. That one image, culled from shooting multiple images, and in the case of model photography, it’s achieved by knowing your subject, working with your subject to put together that one in a hundred shot that will grace portfolios, magazine covers or billboards.

Well, cameras like the EPIC M will change that.

Now to be sure, DSLRs have been moving towards more hybrid action between motion and still; even the most entry level of Canon Rebel series cameras have HD camcorder ability. But not like what you’re getting with the EPIC M on the professional end. Now the impetus doesn’t have to be on getting the “moment” shot, because technically, you can just take this camera and do a motion shoot on a set, and an EDITOR can go through the footage and pull out an extremely hi-res frame and there you go. Folks, this camera shoots at 128 fps, something that practically guarantees than any single frame will generate a shot just as good as anything that can be shot on a still camera.

(c) 2011 Vincent Laforet

Have a look at that shot.

This is a frame grab from a video shot at 96 fps on an EPIC M by photographer Vincent Laforet. Look at the depth and definition, something that would only seem to come from a still camera. Laforet wrote about his experience with the EPIC M, and he feels this has the potential to cause radical change within photography.

Now make no mistake, still photography certainly isn’t going away, not by a longshot, but think about the implications for commercial photography. Consider how this camera could be used at weddings, where a photographer would simply need to just take sweeping shots of the scenery and then go back over the video and pluck choice frame grabs later on.

What this also means is that now the relationship between photographer and editor will take an even more dramatic turn. Instead of using an editor to retouch photos, now you can use an editor to help you select the shot from the video footage. The possibilities are many, and once again, the paradigm is shifting.

Welcome to the future.

For more on the RED EPIC M, visit their Web site.

For an interview with Vincent Laforet on the convergence that will come with cameras like the EPIC M, visit APhotoEditor.

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