My first nude shoot.. NSFW.. clearly

I originally posted this on the 16th September 2014 on a different blog site. Only three years have passed, and I guess this was my first statement to everyone around that I would start shooting nudes and wanted to do exploration pieces. I've just deleting that old blog now, so what lies below is said post with maybe a few corrections to my poor typing and probably with some fresh mistakes thrown in for free. This truly was a warts and all shoot, and doing it without the experience I have now with more 'correctly' lit stuff in my port made it easier to punish rather than it being legitimate lighting choices to affect. I'll try not to correct too much so it doesn't lose any integrity of where I was at etc, but I think this is a good starting point for the new blog before I write about future shoots and cover some classics as it's the blog I always remember posting and one that best reflects the footings of where I am at now in terms of what I like in photography. I'm also pleasantly surprised that all the links still work with in it!

Anything written in this colour will be new additions - 2017 stylie.

I didn't originally pick up a camera to obsess over lighting and damn images to the uninvited eternal critique of every pixel for the rest of time, and those who know me from the Myspace days may remember my penchant for a good blog rant, especially based on exploration of morality and philosophy. So armed with a projector pointing straight at a willing model in Neena (then Allex.. hey, models love to change their name), I pushed up the ISO and cast aside all the bullshit... well almost.

There's a 60" umbrella continuous source camera left and likewise killing the shadows behind the model in a soft box. New habits die hard and it's probably better to break good lighting ideals for effect than getting lucky. Anyway, for my first nude shoot the aim was simply to explore the perception of nude modelling based on hugely contrasting opinions, some off shoots like censorship and then to utilise the projector in general.

Having sat on the idea for a while I just had to find the right model. In that time a few apt articles passed through my social media wall that piqued my curiosity... "Keira Knightley's Topless Picture Is Not Empowering or Feminist, As Proven by the Sun's Page 3" - interestingly opening with the writers own insecurities. This is brave as it's the age old go to for those suggesting your reasons for not approving of something span from your own insecurities, yet she's challenging an opposing opinion of another female writer championing it. Another i came across - "Why it's easy for fashion photographers to abuse models - even experienced ones like me" - is slightly less apt, and i'm not sure why a fashion model is being invited to do nudes, plus not all portrait photography has to conform to an editorial standard; in fact I prefer stuff that poses questions and isn't painting by numbers. However it's awareness it brings forth to the potentially really seedy side which at an amateur level I guess would be GWC's (Guys With Cameras who pay nude models for the sake of photoing them nude despite no technical expertise or artistic merit) that put models at risk, is invaluable. Anyway it also explores vulnerability, but what it doesn't question is who may actually be getting their kicks out of the scenario. This isn't fashion modelling and I don't doubt there's plenty of models who enjoy exploiting their own 'vices' or that of others at that? It equally puts photographers in a tricky situation as it's not uncommon for genuine photographers to use hotels for boudoir, so ultimately as both a photographer who is inviting a stranger to be aware of the fact they have thousands of pounds of equipment on them in a strange place, and the model who is putting her trust in a total stranger - you have to call it as you see it and air on the side of caution while trusting your instincts and any minutiae amount of insecurities and psychological second guesses in between.

As it was an exploration piece and as I tend to blog my portrait shoots, I thought it would be interesting to accompany the photos by asking Neena some questions regarding it all and her opinions on the above articles to maybe challenge mine, yours and even her ideals and see if there was any 'truths' in outside perception of how she is viewed for doing what she does or if she's encountered any risks from her years of experience.

For a lot of it I genuinely have no opinion. I don't interest myself in most commercial media stories and I believe in higher consciousness, so menial trivialities about what people do with their lives doesn't concern me enough to resonate any kind of stance on it.

I model because I like to be naked and you can make money from it if you have the basic ability to be able to get along with another human being, not get lost in one's own ego, and learn to see beauty in places you didn't think or know you had it (inside and out).

That's why I model.

Anyways, the shoot..

Tea, I always start a shoot with tea, and then have one in the middle too. Keeping it apt with the celeb selfie leak, midway through our session I set up some pretty universal light and asked Neena to take selfies while I make the tea. I think the point here was to see what a model as open as Neena would do without the constraints of a photographer/stranger in the studio and without any direction. I did however tell her that I wanted it to tie in with the theme, so she may well have second guessed what that could mean, but ultimately I wondered where she'd go with it and if any so call 'vices' would surface. It turns she just took some funny head shots which mostly show how comfortable and playful she is in herself while knowing full well they'd be published. (I may have to try this with some one new and see what happens.. if anything.)

The rest, people, is solely down to your interpretation, your opinion and your voice. (a philosophy i've clearly carried through to 2017!)

Feel free to reblog, cry, bitch, moan or champion it. I obviously have nothing against shooting nudes or this shoot wouldn't have happened, yet I once dated a glamour model and fucking hated it. I dislike Terry Richardson's approach, his work and seemingly his lack of professionalism (I can confess to have never properly researched him however.. i since have! I really like his shoot with Rita Ora, and for every terrible photo of Obama he took there's some decent stuff. In fact i recently did a flash on camera, no nod to lighting shoot too. I think it's natural for photographers to 'fight the light', ironically, as edgy more down trodden stuff suits the legitimacy of a harder narrative and shock doc. Nikola Tamindzic, a photographer I found last year via his epic Fucking New York project pretty much summed up... and this is a gross misquote, but roughly the right wording and certainly sentiment... with a few photoshop filters and tricks, anyone with a budget and a production team can light and shoot a fashion editorial or beauty images, you have to be inspired to do what i'm doing - and he does both. I remember reading that, probably in an interview or his book, and instantly connecting with it. ), but I have to whole heartily agree with his sentiment of wanting to push for more from a shoot. Who doesn't want to be the photographer where celebs feel so comfortable with you they'll go that extra mile? Admittedly a celeb has a public profile and is much more self aware, so it's far easier for them to make that decision and air on the side of caution as a result, where as a model who could otherwise be easier 'manipulated' (or just simply be read wrong by the photographer wanting more) may feel more obliged to push the boundaries in hope of opportunities from a photographers stature. I can however honestly say that in all the shoots i've done, the models tend to want to push the levels more than I do. Short of pre-comms and discussing quirky ideas with strangers, this still holds true on the day too. For me a narrative dictates the levels anyways, nudity for nudity sake may be subjective but the photographer probably know whether it's right or not for a shoot depending on what they've pictured and are trying to say/question. The decision on said levels should always be decided before the shoot, but if the narrative allows it and the model wants to push it, then that's fine. I'm not a prude and have met and array of different models with different vices and kinks since, but they aint doing them at my shoot unless 'it works'. Three years on and while I love what this shoot represents and the lead shot (tape over the mouth compilation), some really still don't get it because it's not lit to industry standards, let alone it's quirky nature... which is kinda ironic and always give me a giggle. The cross processed nearly symmetrical mask shot however often crops up still and captures more peoples imaginations, but most likely without any meaning.

#perception #exploration #nudity #moral #nudephotography #nudemodels #FighttheLight #photography #artnude #provocative #provocativephotography #provocateur #quirky

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