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!
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.
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.
So, after going on about W Magazine not having any models of color on their covers, I open up my mailbox yesterday and see the above. Guess that’ll show me, huh?
But…it’s Beyonce. Beyonce is always on a cover of a magazine somewhere (end whining.)
Now I don’t have anything against the woman personally, but I don’t know if you can call it diversity for W when the last person of color on the cover was Rhianna in February 2010. Yes, yes, I know…it’s nitpicking in many ways, and as I had mentioned in the previous blog, there is an overall lack of supermodels on the cover of fashion magazines anymore, but still.
In moments like this, I wonder how Edward Enninful feels, that is, if he feels anything at all about the issue, but I certainly suspect he does.
I guess you have to pick your spots where you can find them, right?
Of course, it’s pointless then to mention that Beyonce didn’t have the sole distinction of making the cover of this month’s W Magazine alone. It was actually a split issue, with the other cover model being Christina Aguilera.
Yes, I suppose it is nitpicking indeed.
Next week, we will be shifting slightly away from fashion and talking about the coming advent of HDSLR photography. It could be that gone are the days when a photographer looks for “the moment”, because he will be preoccupied with shooting HD video instead of still images.
It’s an interesting, and potentially frightening concept. But then change and evolution have always been frightening to a certain extent.
Have a good weekend, everyone…
And we’re back.
The last few days have been spent in the Washington DC Metro area. An amazing place, to be sure, with a collection of people, places and things that have to be seen to believed. Considered by outsiders to be a place where it’s all politics all the time, there’s truly more than meets the eye for the uninitiated.
From Adam’s Morgan to Dupont Circle, there are delights for everyone, but more importantly, plenty of photo galleries that display some of the finest shots from some of the best photographers on the globe. In less than a month, PopLifePhotography will be relocating to DC, and I couldn’t be more excited. Just having a chance to get out and see that there is a thriving community of art, especially photography, makes the decision to relocate even better.
Indiana has been home for pretty much all my life, but the time to move is now, and it makes me feel good to know that there are some fantastic places display my work and appreciate the work of others. In my short amount of investigating, one place caught my interest, and seems like the perfect place to have some work displayed.
MOCA DC, located on 1054 31st St NW, is a venue designed “for artists who otherwise would have a hard time showing their work.” For a low yearly membership fee, photographers have the freedom to have their work featured in a number of shows, as well as studio services and other amenities that are meant to foster collaboration and a sense of belonging between artists, which is remarkable in and of itself.
They’re also known as one of the most nude-friendly galleries in the District, so that is always a plus for fellow nude photographers.
I think I will be debuting the above piece, titled “Temptress” at MOCA in July. A small piece I constructed last year, I was waiting to see how “Obscenity” would do at the Kinsey Juried Art Show. Just this past Thursday, while in DC, I found out just how well it actually did.
In an early morning email sent from the Institute, I was informed that “Obscenity”, featuring the lovely London Andrews, won the 2011 Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show’s Gallery Visitor’s Choice Award. The votes were taken from museum patrons during the opening night reception on May 20. I hadn’t heard anything, so I figured I hadn’t won, so to hear it weeks later was an amazing and humbling surprise. While I thought I had a nice piece on my hands, to have it voted by the viewing public as their favorite, well…to me, that’s better than winning Best In Show, but hey, I’ll take praise where I can get it.
Provided that the piece doesn’t sell while at the Grunwald Gallery of Art (formerly SoFA Gallery), I will take that piece on the road and see if I can’t get it displayed in other shows, including ones held by MOCA DC.
In the meantime, there’s lots to do, including some last minute photoshoots before its Moving Day.
One of the things you’ll learn as a reader of this blog is that the titles are only loosely related to the subject matter that follows…sort of a way to keep you on your toes, even if it comes off as slightly confusing.
The opening reception for the 2011 Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show went well, with an amazing number of people showing up from all over. The two hours went by much faster than I thought they would, which I suppose is a side-effect of getting caught up in the moment. A good number of people showed up specifically to see “Obscenity”, which made me feel pretty good.
As a follow up to last Friday’s post, I found it both strange and humorous to get interviewed for television and public radio about my piece, because once getting a real look at all the other pieces and seeing the obvious hard work that went into the creation of them, I truly felt like I didn’t belong there since it took less than an hour to create and submit “Obscenity”, which I openly admitted to my interviewers, which elicited equal reactions of shock and humor from them.
Now that, I could completely enjoy.
As for the competition, of course I didn’t win Best of Show, nor did I ever expect to. As I had said from the beginning, being selected was honor enough. The winner of Best of Show was, however, a photo. Titled “Olympia [After Manet]” by Niki Grangruth and her “Muse” James Kinser (pictured). It was a nice enough photo, not my favorite (promise those are not sour grapes talking), but as compared to many of the other works on display, I suppose the judges could have picked far, far worse.
I want to thank each and everyone who showed up for the reception, and for those of you who voiced your support and congratulations. Now that my art gallery cherry has been broken, I think I will do more gallery pieces, but not until after the move to the DC area has taken place. It was good to get this one out of my system, and I think I’ll prepare something for next year’s show as well.
The 2011 Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show continues from now until July 30, 2011 at the Indiana University SoFA Gallery (Soon to be renamed the Grunwald Gallery of Art).
As I was thinking about content for this week, I’ve decided to do a bit of an overview of models I love. Some I’ve worked with, others I have yet to work with, but each day this week, starting tomorrow, I’ll be featuring a model who I think just exemplifies everything that a photographer wants in front of their camera. Some you will know, others you’ll be introduced to, but they are amazing all the same.
First up is a model who’s career I actually helped to begin by doing her first photoshoot. Known as Hollis Ireland, this lithe ginger beauty was one of the most amazing and raw talents I have ever worked with. She has gone on to even greater things, such as having print work in magazines and being featured at conventions and other shows.
So until tomorrow…
So here it is. “Obscenity”.
On the morning of such a great achievement, prestigious event or whatever you want to call it, I’m forced to sit back and wonder, am I an artist? Why did I do this piece? Was it for adoration? Was it for money? (The answer there is a resounding no) I guess I wanted to do it just to see if it could be done. Certainly it brings into question what it is that I’m trying to accomplish with PopLifePhotography.
Guess my attitude is like that of Don Davis, legendary gun shop owner who famously says, “I don’t want to make money, folks, I just LOVE to sell guns.”
I do love photography. I love creating images, but I as I formally enter the so-called art world, I find it funny just how little I think I would fit into the art world. I mean in my off time, I play video games, not sit in coffee shops. I may subscribe to V magazine, but they sit on my coffee table next to an autographed baseball.
I suppose that when it comes down to it, an artist can be anyone, do anything. At the end of the day, it’s about what you produce, not the pretentiousness that comes along with it. I don’t suppose you have to dress like a hipster in order to be regarded as an artist.
Having said that, I have to admit that I find myself nervous about going to the reception tonight. I’m entering a world that I’ve ever been out on the periphery of. How does one act? I mean I’ve seen plenty of gallery opening in the pages of Vogue or some other fashion or culture mag. But those were big time to dos replete with rock stars and actors.
Now to be sure, the Kinsey show isn’t small potatoes, but I think it caters to a slightly different crowd. For those of you unfamiliar with the world-famous Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University, they have worked tirelessly in advancing sexual health and knowledge everywhere. As part of that endeavor, the Institute started the Juried Art Show. From the Web site:
The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show premiered in 2006 at the Kinsey Institute Gallery. For the first two years, the emphasis was on erotic art, but beginning in 2008, the parameters of the competition were expanded to include artworks addressing gender issues, sexuality, reproduction, sexual politics, romantic relationships, and the human figure.
Ever since the first show, I had talked up sending in a print for competition, and every year I completely spaced out and didn’t go for it. Looking at the galleries for each year, I never thought I had a reasonable chance; thinking back on it, I don’t think I really had anything to offer, much less have something that would be worthy of competing. This year, however, I was determined to make it happen.
Only problem was, I didn’t have anything ready.
Once I decided to actually enter, the biggest obstacle I faced was to actually have something worth showing. I needed to come up with more than just a photo, I needed to do what people in art are always supposed to do, make a statement. What a pretentious way to approach such a thing, but what do I know? I’m just a guy who likes to take pictures of boobs and play video games.
Funny thing was, it was while I was playing a video game that it hit me. I realized I could just create something from existing photos. I had planned on doing some fresh photo shoot, in the hopes that I could get that special image and then from there, voila! Art.
With a day job and general laziness, I knew that any shoot I would throw together would be haphazard at best, so I went into my archives. What could I use as a blank canvas to design on/over? I realized I had an entire folder of photos of London Andrews that I could use, so why not use some? I began pouring over the folder until I saw something that stuck out to me. And then the final concept hit me: Why not create a pop art image? Maybe something that I’d like to see on a t-shirt or something. And from that, “Obscenity” was born.
The concept for the piece came from the idea that the nude image is natural, but when slapped with a label such as obscene, whether it is or not, the way in which the viewer looks at it changes. Yeah…that’s the ticket. It looked good in my mind, so all I had to do was make it a reality. After a few minutes with Photoshop, I had the image you see above. Being a guy with a background in Marketing, I decided to test the image with friends, co-workers (yeah, I know) and acquaintances. Feedback was pretty positive, and so I decided to run with it.
That’s right, I created a work of art through focus groups and Photoshop. And it was selected by a panel jury for inclusion in an Art Show.
Of course I feel like a bit of a swindler. But am I? I mean it exists, so it has to be art, right? Wow…I’m becoming one of them. Oh well, I’m just honored to be a part of the whole deal. Friends, both long-lost and recent are coming to the SoFA Gallery to see me in my moment, and part of me just wants to see who’ll show up. This convenient con I’ve created has actually paid off, and yes, I know it’s not really a con, but it certainly feels like it.
Which kind of makes it a little exciting.
Upon further thought, I realize that I’m not the first of my kind, not really. No, I’m Mr. Brainwash (well, outside of the fact that none of this was created by Banksy, but you get my point…or at least I hope you do.) or maybe just a good old fashioned anti-artist.
Wish me luck. Pictures and other foolishness from the event next week. Have a great weekend, and again, thanks to everyone whose visits have made the first week on this blog a successful one.