Model: Breanna Marie, 2015
Sometimes the simplest set-up can result in dramatic results. I feel that has been achieved here with beautiful figure model (Anonymous). The idea was to backlight the model in soft light with just a reflector from the front for subtle fill. This way, I could maintain the desired amount of contrast to accentuate the lines created by Ms. Juliana.
I find it interesting how the esthetic qualities of curves seems to have universal appeal. From classic sculpture to modern architecture, curves have been used in art throughout history. I often wonder why we are attracted to the fluid energy of smooth shapes found in curves. Perhaps it is a reminder of our own organic roots. Nevertheless, I truly enjoy the discovery of what shapes can be formed while working art models.
Model: SBass, 2011
This image is from a 2009 series with Chicago based model Claudine. I really enjoy exploring model’s interactions with various shapes. The fluidity of Claudine’s posing worked so well with this unusual prop.
For several years, I have admired the work of Steve Richard, a fine art photographer from Halifax, Nova Scotia (find his work here). He creates the type of photography that is full of dark mystery and simply pulls the viewer in. When experiencing his work, I am first struck by the beauty and sensitive elegance of it all. But then several questions come to mind; “What is happening? Is this possible? How is this done?” Just recently, I had the opportunity to learn many answers behind his images.
When browsing through Steve’s website, I noticed that he was offering workshops in fine art nude photography. Though it’s a bit of a hike for me to get to Nova Scotia, I felt compelled to join his most recent workshop. So off I went!
Upon meeting him, I immediately felt at ease. I found Steve to be down to earth, practical and with no pretensions (a rarity among some artist at that level!). Also, the models, assistant and other participants were very friendly and helpful. Overall, it was a great group of people and a sense of camaraderie grew as the weekend went on.
All of the participant’s questions were answered without hesitation. Steve was more than willing to “open his kimono” (as he liked to say) and share his knowledge without holding back. One of the most impressive things about his work is that very little to no post processing is done. He gets it right in camera and refuses to “fix” things later. Many of the seemingly impossible shots are often illusions (some complex, while others surprisingly simple), not done in Photoshop, but created by clever solutions and a vivid imagination. Alas, many “secrets” of his art were revealed!
But there was so much more to gain from this workshop than I had imagined. Steve raised many more questions and made me really think about what I am trying to accomplish in my art. I felt challenged and inspired and came away with renewed energy for my future projects. I can unequivocally say that there will be changes to my approach and how I create.
The following are some images I produced during the workshop. Feel free to offer feedback, as I think you will notice a difference from what I normally do. I’m excited and very interested to see where my work goes from here. Models are Karen and Elizabeth.
I find it interesting how time can affect ones perspective. Be it due to life experiences or simply a change in attitude, one’s perception of something can change considerably. An example of this for me is how my tastes in music continues to change. I might start listening to an artist or style that at one time I found unappealing, then suddenly I have a real appreciation for it.
On the eve of working with a model that I have not seen or worked with in six years, I decided to revisit our old projects to gain new perspective on what we have done. The idea was to choose images that I originally nixed from the final edit and look at them with a fresh set of eyes. I was pleasantly surprised on the number of new images that I could really appreciate. I ask myself; “How could I have overlooked this one?” I guess time has a funny way of altering ones vision. Some of these newly discovered images are nearly 8 years old. Strangely, there’s an excitement to working with them today as if they were recently captured.
The model is Alex, a wonderfully talented and lovely young woman. After a much too long hiatus, we have plans to create new art at the end of the month. I look forward to seeing how we both have evolved and what may come of our collaboration.
I don’t get the opportunity to work with the male subject very often, but I certainly enjoy the challenge. The following are some images from my second project with model Zack. He resides in Arizona, but has ties to the Ann Arbor Area. On one of his trips to Michigan, he contacted me for another photo session. He brought a friend with him who was interested in joining the shoot for a few images as well. I was happy to oblige, and I really like the results.
A few images from my recent shoot with Houston based model Liz Ashley:
She was traveling in my area last April to shoot a pin-up project with some vintage aircraft.
I was happy that we could arrange some time during her visit to do a shoot together.
Liz is primarily a classic glamour model, but she is equally talented when shooting art nudes. It is the latter that I wanted to explore with her.
Never having worked with her before, it was difficult to predict how she would do with what I had planned.
A few of my ideas would require strength, flexibility, grace and even getting wet!
Liz took to each concept with creativity and enthusiasm, making our time together a real pleasure.
There is no doubt that Liz is in good shape, but I was really impressed by her incredible strength and sense of balance.
This made it easy to expand upon some basic ideas beyond what I had hoped for, resulting in some very successful images.
In all, it was a fun project and Liz did a great job. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time together.
Perhaps our paths will cross again one day!
To work with water, I had to move out of my studio into the garage. There, I assembled a 10 foot high canopy made of PVC pipe on which a soaker hose was wrapped around the top. To keep the water from spraying in all directions, I placed a plastic tarp over the top. This helped confine the water spray into a mostly downward direction.
The rest of the set consisted of a black background and floor. In some cases, I used a shallow pool on the ground to capture the falling water and create interesting ripples. This was constructed from wood planks and lined with plastic tarp material (as seen in the photograph below).
For lighting, the key sources were mono-lights fitted with barn doors off to each side and slightly behind the wall of “rain”, One soft box was placed in front of the model at about a 45 degree angle to act as fill light. In some cases (although not shown in the image) I placed a portable flash directly behind the model. This produced the most dramatic lighting of the water droplets and created a halo around the model.
Of course when working with water, my biggest concern is safety. I made sure there was no way for the lights to accidently tip over or even get near the water. To ensure this, I had each mono-light on sturdy tripods and reinforced with heavy sawhorses to act as blockades. These were positioned far from any source of water.
The final element of course is the participation of the model! My primary thought was to use models with a background in dance and ask them to move, leap and play as dramatically and gracefully as possible. Without these skilled models, the results would not have been as successful. Thanks to models Marlo, Kate and Heidi for all your efforts!
All images copyright © AJ Kahn 2013