Melissa, Katlyn, and the Best Mistake of a Day

In mid-September I had the chance to work with Melissa Troutt as she was travelling with fellow model Katlyn Lacoste.  The two have worked together quite a bit and it really showed in their images together.  We spent a long and fruitful day working in one of my favorite areas in Northeast Tennessee.  The weather was perfect and we got an amazing day and many great shots including a few that I’m going to share.

I’ve actually rarely worked with two models at the same time.  One of my first nude shoots had a brief overlap where I worked with two models together between working with them alone.  My inexperience left the photos lacking and I didn’t attempt the concept again for a number of years until I’d gained more experience working with just one model.  In fact the next two attempts both had a bit of a jinx as the first was beset with problems and the second last fall came right before the personal issues that put me off photography for a while and it never got the attention it deserved.  In fact I hope soon to go back and process the photos from that shoot again as I know they deserve more attention.

Working with two models is a different experience than working with a single model.  In fact the biggest mistake that I think I made during this shoot was being too conservative in working with them.  I too often took simple compositions and centered the models in the frame instead of more interesting compositions.  It’s a lesson for the next time and a reminder to me to not be as timid when trying new ideas and concepts.  There was one place though where I did not take that conservative route and think the resulting image is amazing.

This image was the one I mentioned and that inspired my Post on Learning from Mistakes.  As I mentioned there, this image was the result of what initially was a mistake.  The image was shot with both Melissa and Katlyn lying on the rocks at a waterfall perhaps thirty feet from me.  A few shots before I’d mistakenly hit the trigger while recomposing by zooming in from a wide angle to close shot of them.  The result of that try was a mess, but I noticed the warping effect you see here in that image.  This was the best of several images that I took experimenting with creating that effect.  The dreamlike and almost vertigo like effect to it really appeals to me.


I am Bill or Thoughts on Anonymity

Wow, two contemplative posts in a row.  Don’t worry we’ll get back to photos shortly, but in fact the shoot I’m posting next is the one that finally pushed me to a decision I’ve been contemplating for a few months now.  That decision is to be a bit less anonymous about my work.  As you may have guessed from the title, my name is Bill Morefield and I do art nude photography (among other things).  The rest of this post is a bit long, but it’s about why I did anonymity in the first place and how I got back to here from there.  Some thoughts maybe for those of you on either side of the camera considering the same question.  Do I use my real name or not?

Most of nude models that I work with ask for some level of anonymity that I’m happy to grant. Almost all work under a pseudonym created using a completely fake name, a variation of their name, a nickname, or some part of the their real name with a fictional last name. In a few cases, a model has asked me to provide more anonymity by not showing her face or a distinguishing body feature like a tattoo because of their profession or concerns about the effect on a planned future profession.

The sad (to me) truth is that for many women, being found to have posed nude would be the source of negative feedback or friction from family or friends. I’ve seen that happen and had a very promising model give up on modeling because of the reactions of her family when they learned that she’d posed topless in some images that we took. In addition of course are some professions (teaching elementary school comes immediately to mind) where being found to have posed nude online could even result in the loss of a job in many more conservative areas.  Using a pseudonym helps the model have better control over sharing that part of her life.  She can choose who she lets in to that part of her life and the rest of the world can remain ignorant.

For the photographer the issues are different, but there are still factors.  I have had the occasional issue in a romantic relationship when the subject of much of my photography first comes up, but rarely is it a relationship stopping issue.  I also live in a very conservative area and there are many who I’m sure would not approve the work that I do.  Still, I didn’t start working under the Candid Vision name for anonymity.

When I first began to work more often with models I did so as just Bill and used my main email address as my primary contact.  At the time I received large amounts of email and even larger amounts of spam and I had a few shoots get delayed because the message from the model was lost in the mass of junk email.

The final straw came when I lost the chance to work with a model that I really wanted to work with because my lack of reply to her message, sitting unnoticed in my spam folder, was interpreted by the model as ignoring her.  She was insulted and I was never able to repair it.  I decided it was time to get a separate email for photography.

After writing out a few name ideas for domains I found the first few on my list already taken. Candid Vision was the first on my list available so I bought the domain and set up email and web hosting for the new domain.

A few months later I did a search for my name on Google and was surprised when the second link was to my profile on a photography web site. I admit that it unnerved me a bit to see the second match for my name lead to a site showcasing several nude photographs that I’d taken. At the time photography was still a little hobby and I was still exploring and experimenting. I moved to the name Candid Vision for all my work and updated my stuff to that and began using it on new places.

A lot has changed in the years since then. I’ve gotten more experience, worked with more people, and gotten better at craft of photography.  What’s changed more than anything is my desire to better network with both models and photographers and continue to push myself artistically.  I now feel that photography is a large part of my life and while I realize there are people who will disapprove of the fact I do nude photography, it stopped bothering me that this is the case a long time ago.  Candid Vision is not going away, I still like the moniker and that will stay, but the anonymity is gone.  I’m Bill, it’s nice to meet you.

Learning from Mistakes

We’re generally taught from a young age to avoid mistakes.  In early school you learn information and feed it back the same way you heard it.  For all the comments by parents about trying your best being the important thing, few people or places reward making mistakes no matter how much you tried or why the mistake happened.  Even fewer will ask what you learned from the mistake and treat that as valuable information.

In spite of this there is a long and storied list of inventions and discoveries that were the result of a mistake, error, or accident such as post-it-notes and penicillin.  In most of these case the mistake was met with someone working on a problem and instead of tossing the mistake out, they investigated it and found a use for it.

What does this have to do with photography?  I was reminded of this when processing some images a few weeks ago.  I’ve developed into a person who has little fear of making mistakes. It’s not that I don’t get embarrassed or frustrated at them or that I don’t want to do things as well as I can. What I’ve learned is that to progress in any skill from business to photography you have to push the edges of your abilities and in doing so you will make mistakes.

I think the key is that when you make a mistake, try to figure out what went wrong.  An example for me occurred in one of my early shoots with a model.  It was a disaster. We didn’t connect, the model’s poses came out looking stiff, and we had different expectations going in about what content we’d be shooting.  As frustrating and wasteful as that shoot seemed at this time, I learned the importance of establishing rapport and connection with the model and the need to ensure that we both had the same expectations before the shoot. That shoot didn’t work well at all, but from that experience I learned lessons that have improved every shoot that followed.

A mistake doesn’t have to be that dramatic to teach you something. It can be something that your initial reaction is to shrug off and just delete off the back of the camera.

At a recent shoot as part of the outdoor project that I’ve worked on most of the year I had two models posed on a waterfall. While zooming in to change the composition of the image my finger accidently hit the trigger. It was completely unplanned and the resulting image was a terrible jumble of blurring from lack of focus and bad exposure.

Except one thing about it appealed to me, a warping effect that had been created from the movement of the zoom while the shutter was open. I decided to try that effect intentionally a couple of times before moving on with the rest of the shoot. One didn’t come out well, but the other image was exactly what I wanted. When I showed it to the models on the back of the camera once they were back on level ground both liked the image and after I processed it, both loved the result.

If I hadn’t paid attention to my mistake, then I’d never saw the interesting effect and tried to replicate it resulting in an amazing image.

Pay attention to your mistakes, they may just create some of your best work.

A Few Final Images from Shoot with Carlotta

A couple of final images from the shoot with Carlotta Champagne in late August.  I do think that is probably my second favorite location that I’ve shot at this year.  It’s a relatively short hike from the trailhead to this falls, but the trail is rugged enough to keep the traffic down for the distance.  I’ve shot there a number of times and rarely been disturbed even after a lengthy shoot.  The only disadvantage is that the rough terrain and noise from the falls generally means you’ll have no idea someone’s coming until they are on top of you.  It can make things a little exciting when working without a lookout.

The first image I like for the different perspective.  It was done late in the shoot and actually in the rocks that are a probably forty to fifty feet from the base of the falls.  The rock that Carlotta is sitting on here lies above the stream that flows out of the base of the falls.


The second image is a black and white taken among some fallen trees near the falls.  The water from the falls is visible in the background and the falls itself is to Carlotta’s right.


More Images with Carlotta

A few other images from the shoot with Carlotta Champagne last month.  As I post this image taken on a warm day just over a month ago, today really felt like fall for the first time.  We had a dreary day with temperatures in the 50’s and a cool, light rain much of the day.  I still hope to have a couple more shoots before the weather makes them too cold and have one more shoot that I’ve not posted anything from yet.

This image comes with Carlotta at the base of the falls.  The sun was at the perfect angle to provide a nice highlight on her as she posed here and I was able to capture that fleeting light.  A lot less water comes over the falls in late summer compared to the spring, but the depth of the pool here didn’t differ by more than a few inches from when I’d shot here in March with Melissa.  The difference showed more in the size of the pool as the spot I’m taking this photo from would have been wet in March, but was dry in August.


As a bonus, I’m also posting a variation of the image from my last post.  I think that I like it better in black and white.