Tag Archives: NSFW

Mirage 4

Mirage Anisotropic Images abstract art nude

Mirage 4

Fourth image from the Mirage series of abstract art nudes: reflections in sheet metal.

This image was done in a sheet of steel.  I’ll write about the materials in more detail later  but suffice it to say, steel makes you work!  But the results are worth it!  The images are softer, almost dream like with a painterly feel.  In this one, Emma is curled up on a couch that is a gawd-awful pink color  (think Pepto-bismal on acid).  But in the reflection it only contributes a suggestion of color.  More to come!

 

 

 

Lucas James is a fine art photographer based in Manchester, NH.

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Mirage 3

Mirage Anisotropic Images abstract art nude

Mirage 3

Third in the Mirage series of abstract art nudes.

These images are reflections made in polished sheets of metal.  This one used a sheet of aluminium that I worked and polished down the center, but left raw around the edges.  I also used different polishing techniques in adjacent and overlapping areas to create distortions.  The metal has a natural blue-ish cast that is enhanced by the lighting.

 

 

 

 

 

Lucas James is a fine art photographer based in Manchester, NH.

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Mirage 1

Mirage Anisotropic Images abstract art nude

Mirage 1

The first new image in the Mirage series of abstract art nudes.

All of these are reflections in polished sheet metal.  There is no Photoshop effect or filter applied; the only manipulation was to adjust the exposure and to clone out the clamps holding up the metal.  I love how these become windows into imaginary worlds.  More to come.

 

 

 

Lucas James is a fine art photographer based in Manchester, NH.

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Goofing off

Who says we don’t have fun?

 

Anisotropic Images

Bud Photo Bomb

Bud always gets into the act!

Taken at the SOPHA in Manchester, NH.  Copyright Anisotropic Images, 2013.

 

 

Lucas James is a fine art photographer based in Manchester, NH.

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Mirror Portrait

Mirror Portrait

Anisotropic Images Mirror Portrait

Mirror Portrait 1

 

I have a ton of images to edit, but I wanted to put this one up in the mean time.  It’s a portrait I did with Mara using a polished metal mirror.  It came out simply stunning!  I may have to expand on this portrait concept with additional mirror types.

 

 

 

 

 

Lucas James is a fine art photographer based in Manchester, NH.  Anisotropic Images 2013

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Nucleus: A New Image Series

Nucleus: A New Images Series

Its funny how you need criticism when you least expect it.  At least that is the case for me.  I can be humming along, thinking things are hunky-dory only to have someone point out how I could do something better.  Don’t get me wrong- this can be an awesome thing if you are open to it!

Anisotropic Images Fine Art Nude Photography

Nucleus 1

Anisotropic Images Fine Art Nude Photography

Nucleus 2

Anisotropic Images Fine Art Nude Photography

Nucleus 3

I had reached what seemed like the end of ideas for these metal mirror images, even though the last session with Mara was one of my most productive.  I was just having a hard time seeing where to go next, so I assumed there was nowhere left.  Thankfully I was wrong.  Last weekend I took my work to the New England Portfolio Review.  Several reviewers commented on the arrangement of the three images above and how these could form the beginning of a new series, if developed well.  All share a common composition and focus, even though they are shot through different materials.  They all have a shared feeling of looking through some portal where the viewer gets to see another world or place.  Suddenly I could see just how to develop this concept into a richer and deeper set of images.  A narrative began forming in my mind and has continued to evolve over the past week.  Funny thing is, that same sequencing of the three images had been sitting in front of me on a photo board for more than a week!  I had been looking at it, along with the rest of the portfolio, day in and day out but had not truly “seen”.  It took the reviewer’s nudge to jar the ideas loose in my brain and to help me see again.  Now it feels like the gears are unstuck and my mind is blazing a plan of ideas for the rest of the series.  I am making new mirrors and cannot wait to get back into the studio!  Stay tuned to see how the rest of this creation turns out!

Copyright Anisotropic Images 2013.  Images produced at the SOPHA in Manchester, NH.

New England Portfolio Review: http://www.newenglandportfolioreviews.com/

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Copper Mirror Art Nude 2

Copper Mirror Art Nude Anisotropic Images

Emma Copper Mirror

Another image of Emma from our Copper Mirror Art Nude shoot.  The image is a reflection in a distressed copper mirror.

Shot at SOPHA Studios in Manchester, NH.

Copyright Anisotropic Images 2013, all rights reserved.

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Paying Art Nude Models

Paying Models

 

The topic of paying nude models comes up a lot on forums such as Model Mayhem and elsewhere.  Nobody thinks they should have to pay and thinks they should always be paid- model and photographer alike.  Well, here’s my two cents on why you should be paying art nude models, especially if you are serious about creating art rather than naked photos.

Art Nude Anisotropic Images

Emma

First is talent.  Sure, you could get a brand new model to work TF for your first shoot.  Good luck with that.  As my friend Dastardly Dave likes to say “Newb + Newb = Fail”.  If both you and the model are uncertain, nervous and hesitant, it’s going to show in the images.  Experienced models know how to pose, know their best angles and have usually worked with beginners so they are comfortable even if you may not be.

 

Second is confidence of someone who has posed nude previously.  I want someone who can assume a particular pose and is comfortable while I move around them with a camera.  If the model is nervous with my every move, then I end up nervous about spooking them.  The last thing I want is for a model who “wants to try nude modeling” to realize that it isn’t their thing five minutes into a shoot.  It’s a waste of time for us both.

 

Third is reliability; experienced (and paid) models are far more reliable in my experience.  I spend a lot of time planning and preparing for photo shoots.  If someone bails on me it is a lot of effort wasted.  Give me someone reliable any day!

 

The fourth reason for paying models is a Karmic justice thing.  Let’s face it;  most of us have a day job.  Unless you are a true starving artist-as in living illegally in your studio space and using the gas station on the corner as a bathroom- you are probably funding your photography/art gig with another line of employment.  Even if you are a professional photographer, I’m going to bet art nudes are not paying the rent.  We create art to compensate for the dullness of our real jobs.  Many art nude models work out of sheer love for the form, to fund their own art, or to pay the rent on that studio space/illegal apartment.  By paying experienced models you contribute to the entire artistic ecosystem.

Body light.

Body light.

Finally, ask yourself if you really want to grow your portfolio.  If the answer is yes, try this test.  Open the B&H catalog to that lens or body you have been lusting over.  Now ask yourself whether spending that coin on the fancy f 2.0 zoom or on sessions with an experienced model, is more likely to result in a better art nude portfolio?  Get out and shoot!

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Working with Nude Models: Part 2

Working with Nude Models: Part 2

 

In part 1 we talked about keys to successfully creating a strong artistic image with nude models.  In this post we’ll talk more about the nitty-gritty.

Personally I work with only a couple of models.  That way we build a working relationship through photographing together over time.  Those models understand my working techniques and my artistic aesthetic and as a result we are very efficient in creating images.  With Mara, who you can see on the previous post, I almost have a psychic link.  She understands my work on a very deep level and knows what I am looking for before I can say it.   When you have that type of working relationship with a model, creating art becomes almost easy!  But it takes some effort to get there.

Anisotropic Images Nude Models

Mara

 

As I mentioned previously, I had the pleasure of co-teaching a workshop on Lighting the Art Nude at the SOPHA in Manchester, NH earlier this year.  One part of the workshop was a round table discussion with the day’s nude models to get their input on successful collaborations with photographers.  Trust ranked number one on the list of things that make for a good shoot.  If a model and photographer feel they can trust each other, then all kinds of good things happen artistically.  A universal sentiment for maintaining that trust- there is no reason to touch a model- EVER!  If you need a model to change their pose or adjust something, there are lots of ways to get that across without touching someone.  As one model put it “I’m pretty smart and pretty creative.  If you can describe or demonstrate it, I can do it.  If you can’t describe it, point- as in, put your leg here”.  To really work well with a nude model requires trust and touching someone without permission- even innocently- is a sure fire way to destroy it.

Art Nude Anisotropic Images Nude Model

Margaret art nude

 

I usually ask a model to hold a pose while I work around them.  That can sometimes mean that I am coming in very close to isolate a line or curve in the image.  Even when working with models that I know very well I ask them to tell me if I am too close for comfort.  This does two things.  It establishes that I am concerned for their comfort and safety.  It also frees me somewhat to concentrate on creating art- since the model has agreed to let me know if I am too close, I can think focus on composition and lighting.  I also let the model know if I am about to move or change position.  This is especially important with physically strenuous or vulnerable poses.  I also let someone know if I have to move behind them where they cannot see.  Clear communication about your actions and intents goes a long way toward establishing and maintaining trust.

 

Understand that everyone has boundaries.  That applies to shoot concept obviously, but also to minor things.  Sure, the model is about to be completely naked in front of you, but give them space while they change clothes.  It’s about respecting moments of vulnerability.  Likewise, there will be poses that accidentally “show too much” especially if your model has expressed boundaries such as not showing their genitals in photographs.  Show respect and delete those.  Understand that your relationship is a working one and don’t intrude on your model’s life outside of the photoshoot.  It keeps your interactions professional and there is less chance of someone accidentally getting “outed” to folks who may not know about their nude work.

Speaking of getting outed.  I always ask how, when and where it is OK for me to credit a model in images.  Yeah, I have a model release but I also respect people’s personal lives.  A lot of models use stage names, but even so they may not want some images linked to something like Facebook.  By the same token I publish under a pseudonym to keep my professional and artistic lives separate.  I always make sure models are clear how to credit me if they post images.

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Working With Nude Models

Working With Nude Models

Mara Art Nude Anisotropic Images Nude Models

Mara 1

 

 

Earlier this year I co-taught a workshop titled “Photographing the Artistic Nude” at the SOPHA in Manchester, NH.  It was a great opportunity to put together key points for successfully working with nude models, or really any photoshoot.  For those of you familiar with the SOPHA, these draw heavily on the Tao of Bud.

 

First, and arguably most important is to have a concept.  Without a solid idea of what you mean to accomplish in the final image you are likely to spend the session meandering.  Lacking some vision of what the final image (and message) should be, you risk producing nothing more than a photo of a person without clothing.  That’s fine, but I am looking to create something more with my art- hopefully to convey some feeling or message.  So I start with a concept.  Now, your concept can be pretty vague- something along the lines of “let’s explore this cool old building and look for interesting light” can work just fine. But you should be able to articulate it in some way, which brings us to the next key-communicate your concept to your model.  Seems simple right?  But many photographers neglect to do this.  Communication can take many forms, whether it is rough sketches, example images, a verbal description or you acting out the pose for your model (which by the way can be a great ice-breaker/comic relief).  As great as many experienced art nude models are, I have yet to meet one who can mind read!  They need to know what you are looking for and how you work best.  For instance, I tend to shoot slowly and to explore multiple angle on a pose.  So the typical rhythm of pose, click, pose, click doesn’t work for me.  I ask models to hold each pose for a minute or two.  We then quickly establish a new working rhythm.  Working with a nude model (or any model) is a two way collaboration.  Models, especially those who have worked for art classes, most often have a very well developed sense of pose and aesthetic.  They know their good angle and how to produce a particular shape with their bodies.  Their input can be invaluable to creating the final image, so utilize it to your best advantage.  If you are not quite getting the image you want, show the model what has been produced so far and describe what is lacking, even if it is something descriptive like “more angular”.  Also, be open to suggestions.  Some of my best images are a result of a model looking at the camera back, then asking “what if I did this?”.

Mara Art Nude Anisotropic Images Nude Models

Mara 2

 

With a concept well established, the next question is how to light it.  Take a few minutes to imagine what the final image looks like, then consider where the light is coming from and how to manage it.  This is true when using natural light as much as when shooting with studio strobes.  In general, less is more when it comes to lighting art nudes.  Shadows play an important role in defining the human form.  (I’ll post more later on my favorite lighting techniques.)  Consider color and exposure carefully.  Classical portrait photography has tightly defined rules governing “correct” exposure and color management.  Who wants to look green in their family photo?  But in art, there is nearly infinite room for experimentation.  Choices of exposure and color can be used to express the artist’s concept in addition to the subject matter.  Take a look at how Robert Mapplethorpe or Thorsten Jankowski use extreme contrast to sharply define the body.  Then compare their approach to that of Edward Weston– same subject matter but an entirely different feel.

 

Finally, pay attention to the composition as a whole and reduce excess clutter in the image.  Look at how lines flow through the frame.  The best way to do this?  Slow down!  In workshops I see far too many photographers in “rapid fire mode”.  Having the highest frames per second is not an advantage here.  Consider each element of the composition and ask “is it necessary?” then remove everything that is not essential.  One thing I see repeatedly in nude work is a lack of care to background or environmental details.  It’s easy to do, especially when it is something small like a stray leaf or gum wrapper, but if you can catch it removing detritus before is easier than photoshopping it out later.

 

Hopefully these points will get you thinking about how to maximize your next photo shoot.  In the next post I’ll talk about hiring nude models and how developing a strong working relationship contributes to creating strong images.  Stay tuned for part 2!

 

 

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