So today I’m ironing lace things and feminine clothes for a shoot tomorrow, whilst thinking if someone had told me 15 years ago I’d be taking pictures of nude and scantly clad women I’d have thought them to be bonkers…funny how life turns out. On the other hand I now appreciate clothes a lot more but view them in a different light than what the fashion designers intended. Second hand shops are gold mines.
However there’s a bit more to it than that, I’ve learnt so much more about various aspects of art nude photography that I never appreciated before, and I dont mean camera stuff as such. From my first nude shoot with Chrissie many years ago I learnt that sometimes ideas go wrong and you need to adapt and improvise, also shooting nudes is fun and creative, it is not scary, sexual or sleazy in the slightest. Also it’s quite difficult to do well and very technically challenging to get it right in the camera.
So when honing my skill set over the years I’ve become used to looking at things differently, sometimes its how clothes are worn or not quite worn, other times its how we interact with each other, and mostly how to capture that. And on locations its about how to deal with the unexpected and improvising when situations change. How to make use of the available light and how to shoot quickly and efficiently when speed is required.
Yet all through this there are subtle things you learn, like how to communicate effectively with the model or team without causing offence in delicate situations, how to get the shots you need without being crass, bullish and insensitive. It’s the social aspect that develops along the way, talking with respect and acting with respect. Plus and maybe more importantly being honest and truthful when dealing with the team, valuing their input and listening to their opinions and acting on them when necessary.
I also learnt from nearly the word go that some people just will not understand this genre of photography, either their outlook on life or their upbringing will just not allow them to accept that art nude is a proper genre worthy of respect. And in this I respect their outlook and although they may not respect mine I never try to justify the way I take images to anyone. It’s one of those aspects of life that has to be experienced before understanding dawns over the horizon.
Now I see colours and shapes differently, and that is always something that I took no real notice of in the past. How a model’s pose in the environment can create an interesting look or in fact ruin it, not everything works and it takes time to recognise that. I also now understand the dynamics between art nude and erotica, though I suspect that there’s lot more to learn there. What makes something sensual or not? when you begin its difficult to discern but just by taking pictures you start to see the subtle differences between the different levels of sensuality. This comes about naturally and is understood through experience.
The other thing is how the light plays across the body and where it shouldn’t and should be in order to get the best image, or should I say, the image I want people to see. To be free to be experimental and understand that some things fail to work properly, adapt and change, learn and experience. And I know its ok to come away from a shoot with very few good images but its also important to understand why I did so.
So many things learnt and so many still to learn, I often wonder when I’ll feel like a grown up! at the moment I’m still a kid in a toy store poking and touch things, making a noise and generally being a pest. Telling people what being an art nude photographer is like is a bit strange because basically we get ourselves in some bizarre situations that no-one really believes. Yet to myself, models and others in the genre it’s all so very normal and everyday. Aren’t people strange or is it just me!?
Anyway, back to ironing some frilly things!