Images with Carlotta Champagne

It’s really starting to feel like fall now.  The weather in East Tennessee the last few days has been much cooler and less humid after a long and hot summer.  That means I’m going to have to start winding down the outdoor nudes project for the year as the weather gets cooler.  While I expect I’ll be able to get in a few more shoots maybe even in as late as November if I’m lucky, the truth is that most of the shoots for this project are now done.  I’m happy as I things worked well and I had the chance to work with a number of amazing models.

In late August I had the chance to work with Carlotta Champagne, a talented model who has been featured in Playboy and Carrie Leigh’s Nude among her many other credits.  Also, thanks to Carlotta for going a bit out of her way on her trip to work with me.  We shot at a waterfall that I’d used earlier in the year with Melissa Troutt, but the months between the shoots make it look like a different location.

This first image from that shoot is probably my favorite from the work that we did together that day.  I love the curve of her body against the waterfall and rocks behind her and how she stands out against the background.

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Interview with Model Hannah Perez

IMG_1951While shooting with Hannah Perez last month I had the opportunity to site down and do an interview with her about her thoughts on modeling, the lessons she learned from her worst photo shoot, and her aspirations.  Thanks to Hannah for taking some time to site down with me at the end of our shoot.

Bill: What type of model do you consider yourself?

Hannah: I would consider myself primarily an art model.  A figure model as opposed to a fashion or commercial model.

Bill: What do you hope to get out of modeling?

Hannah: Well ultimately I would like to get into fitness modeling because I think it’s something that’s going to offer me the most opportunities at least as far as length of time so that’s kind of my ultimate goal.  In the meantime I just enjoy the experience of being able to meet new photographers and other models and just having a blast doing all that.

Bill: How much do you travel for your modeling?

Hannah: I would say at least once a month I’ll make a trip out somewhere.  It’s usually in driving distance.  If I happen to be vacationing somewhere I’ll always try to line up some work, but most of the work I do is pretty local to me.  I’d say within an hour and a half to two hours of where I live.

Bill: You mentioned earlier that this is your first travelling type shoot going somewhere with the specific intent of working.

Hannah: Yea, this is my first time going into unfamiliar territory unaccompanied for a week’s time at that.

Bill: Hannah, what do you think makes a good model?

IMG_1727Hannah: I think it’s a little bit of everything.  It’s not just someone who has a pretty face or a good body, but someone who’s mindful of their position, their posing.  Somebody who kind of tries to put themselves in the photographer’s shoes and really kind visualize what the photographer is seeing.  Also somebody who is professional and courteous, punctual, and doesn’t flake out on other people and takes it seriously.

Bill: Do you think modeling is art?

Hannah: Oh absolutely I think it’s a form of art.  It’s a collaboration of artists getting together to produce image which is definitely a form of art.

Bill: So what drew you to doing nude work?

Hannah: I don’t really recall any impetus that said you need to be a nude model.  I think it’s something that just kind of fell in my lap and to tell you the truth I can’t remember exactly how it started, but once I got started I immediately felt comfortable in front of the camera so it was something I started to have a lot of fun with and decided if I can make a living doing this all the better.

Bill: Did you get any flak from family or friends when you first started doing nude modeling?

Hannah: No as a matter of fact I kept it and continue to keep it pretty discreet particularly among family members.  I don’t really share with them what type of modeling I do for the most part.  In my immediate family, some people know some people don’t.  For the most part everybody who knows is pretty supportive.

Bill: Tell me about your first nude shoot.  Were you nervous?  Did it go well?

IMG_1873Hannah: My first nude shoot started off clothes like a lot do.  I guess by the end of it I was fully nude.  Maybe to me that was an indication to me that I’d be good for this because I didn’t have any real apprehension about doing it.  I guess if you pick the right people to work with it’s a pretty natural experience.

Bill: Now how do you do on nude shoots?

Hannah: Well as I told you before I may be accused of being too comfortable because I don’t really distinguish between wearing clothes and not sometimes.  I’m very comfortable with it and I enjoy it more and more every time.

Bill: Tell me about the worst shoot you’ve ever had.

Hannah: Oh goodness.  Well, that’s a tough question because I’ve had bad shoots but not all for the same reason.

Bill: Tell me the one that really stands out in your mind as one you’re glad you don’t have to experience again.

Hannah: Well when I first started doing this I answered a craigslist ad against my better judgement and a guy had represented himself as the owner of a web site similar to natural nudes or natural babes or something.  I can’t remember.  When I got to the shoot at a hotel, it was an upscale hotel, but her was a little too touchy feely, he offered me wine, he tried to kiss me goodnight.  By the end of it I really felt he should have paid me a lot more to do what I had to suffer through during that shoot.  It was very unproductive.  I never got any images from it.  He wanted to work with me again and needless to say I didn’t give him that opportunity.

Bill: So what did you learn from that shoot?  What did you take away that helped you in the future?

Hannah: Well what I learned is to be very skeptical of Craigslist ads.  Do some research.  This is for photographers and models alike.  You never know what you’re getting.  Not to say that there are all frauds on Craigslist.  You always want to do your research and make sure this person is legitimate.  Do they have a work history ?  DO they have a web site with samples of their work?  Do they have references, etc?  That’s something you should really take the time to look into before working with anybody.

Bill: How do you define art?

Hannah: I think art is anything that really inspires or is thought provoking to somebody.  Anything that makes you stop and think.  Anything that captivates you.

Bill: What is the most controversial thing you’ve ever created?

IMG_1857Hannah: Not any more controversial than what a lot of models do which is dabbling into the adult side of the industry.  I don’t think I’ve done anything too outrageous.  I have worked in some bizarre environments.   Off the top of my head I can’t think of the most controversial thing.  Probably the involvement of some kind of adult toy.

Bill: Tell me what you think is too far to go?  Where do you draw that line?

Hannah: For me I will not work with male models period.  I will work with female models, but there are limitations there.  I’ll do sensual, artistic, or even erotic scenes with females.  I will not have sex with females.  I will do some more explicit solo work and that’s pretty much where I’d draw the line.  And of course no animals.

Bill: That’s a good line right there I think.  What’s something you’ve not done to this point that you’d really like to do someday in modeling?

Hannah: Oh gosh there’s so many.  I really would like to get into alternative type modeling.  Not really alternative, but I really want to work with photographer who produce really in your face thought provoking images.  There are too many concepts to mention here.  I think I would also like to try my hand at Playboy or Maxim or something like that.  OF course that would be quite an accomplishment.  Ultimately I’m really more focused on the fitness type modeling.

Bill: So a fitness magazine is your goal?  The day you’re on the cover of a fitness magazine you’ve made it.

Hannah: Sure, sure I think that would be a pretty definitive moment in my modeling career.

Bill: What’s one question you’ve already wanted to ask a photographer?  Anything you want?

Hannah: Most photographers I work with are pretty forthcoming.

Bill: You don’t do too long in this business unless you’re pretty open toward people.

Hannah: Yea.  There hasn’t been anybody I’ve sat there any really had to wonder about and come up with a story for because they were that mysterious.  Most photographers I’ve worked with have shared a lot and in some cases a little more than I thought was necessary.

Bill: Too much information.

Hannah: Sometimes.  I find it interesting.  I don’t think that question really applies to me because a lot of photographers if there’s anything I want to know, I ask them.  You know what they do for a living, how they got into photography, how long they’ve been in it, etc.

Bill: Last one silly question.  What do you sleep in?

Hannah: I actually hate sleeping nude.  It really bothers me.  I like to wear a nightgown or a tank and at least some undies if not a comfortable pair of shorts.  I’m a big fan of flannel in the wintertime.  There’s nothing sexy about my sleepwear.  It’s the truth it’s what’s most comfortable for me.

Bill: Thanks for taking some time to talk today.

You can see more work with Hannah in my gallery.  You can also find more about Hannah on her profile on Model Mayhem.

Shoot with Hannah Perez

Had the chance to shoot with Hannah Perez back in mid August.  We had a great shoot in spite of me falling and pulling a muscle and getting caught in an absolute downpour of rain.

The first photo from that shoot is this one taken pretty early in the shoot in a natural pool along a mountain stream.  There are a series of small waterfalls like the one seen here that extend over toward the right as the water comes through a series of rocks.  This little pool is perfectly located and posing her against the rock I think perfectly fits with the quiet and serene feel to the location.

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A Slight Change of Direction and More Melissa

I’ve always seen this blog as a bit of a journey and after pondering for the last week I’m making a minor course correction.  In the past I’ve posted a number of photos from a shoot together.  Sometimes I did this with commentary and other times I left the photos stand alone.  I preferred posting with some thoughts about the image and think that I’m going to try to do that more starting in this entry.  I’m also going to move away from posting as many images and concentrate more on a set of a few chosen images.

I’m only posting one more image for now from that shoot with Melissa back in July that I call Last Night.

Last Night 

Really it’s a combination of five images combined to tell a story.  Sometimes you go into a shoot with the specific idea you want to capture, but not in this case.  This was more experimental where Melissa and I started shooting with her in lingerie on a futon and I just let the idea evolve during the shoot.  Melissa is great to work with like this as she brings a lot of experience and her own ideas.  This image was a result of following those idea through.  In fact one of the images making the final photo (the bottom right image) was shot the day before in a completely unrelated context, but I think it makes the result better.  With that final image, the other four take an entirely different meaning and it elevates it above a standard erotic image.

I also like how much is implied even though she is alone and without showing anything explicit.  I much prefer to imply sexuality instead of being blatant with it and I think that this accomplishes that well.

Wacom Intuos Tablet Fix

Ran into an issue tonight where Windows 7 did not recognize that my Wacom Intuos4 tablet was attached.  In fact the tablet didn’t seem to notice it was attached either.  The power LED lit, but nothing else showed.  I tried updating to the newest driver with no effect.  When I went into the Control Panel and tried to open the Wacom Tablet Properties I got a message “Tablet Driver was not Found”

After reading a number of forums that seemed similar issues, I finally found something that fixed it for me.  I went into the Devices and Printers and right clicked on the tablet device there.  I clicked on Tablet Preference File Utility and then under All User Preferences selected Remove.  Immediately the tablet returned to life and I was able to get back to photo editing.

Hope that helps anyone running into a similar issue (or myself if it happens again).

Melissa from July, Part One – Artistic Nudes

The second set from my vacation time.  I was able to shoot with Melissa Troutt again in mid July.  We’d planned some more outdoor work, but the weather did not cooperate as rain filled much of the day.  The rain was needed after several dry weeks, so I’m not going to complain about it so hopefully Melissa and I can do more outdoors next time that she’s in the area.  Trapped indoors by the weather, we decided to go in an artistic direction for the shoot and then finished with more glamour styled images.

The only problem in working with Melissa is that you get so many great photos that it’s hard to pick the best.  So I’m going to split them up a bit.  This first set will consist of what I’d consider the more artistic nudes while the second set will consist of the more glamour styled images.

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A Couple Shoot

A bit behind due to some good (vacation) and bad (loss of a family member and health scare with another who’s now fine).  While on vacation I managed a few shoots and some images of those are coming beginning tonight.  I did a couples shoot with a local model (which is a rare thing) and her boyfriend.  She’s still fairly new and this was the first time he’d ever modeled.  Overall I think they came out pretty nice.

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A Few Thoughts on A Loss

This post is more personal and has little to do with photography.  For those here for just photography related subjects you may safely skip it.

Death is the one thing that I think defines humanity more than any other.  Alone among the inhabitants of our planet we are aware of our own mortality.  Animals feel fear of the things such as predators that may hurt or kill them, but only humanity is aware that we will never avoid every ill and someday we will die.

The reason that I think death defines us is because much of what we do is a degree a defiance of the inevitability of it.  We know that we cannot live forever, but we insist on creating, learning, and building.  We build friendships and love each other though we know that some day the loss of some of those we care for will leave us with an absence and the pain that comes from knowing a part of our life is now gone forever.  We know that the joys of the time we have together will more than compensate for the loss we may someday feel.

We also strive against this inevitability by creation.  People have children in part as a way to pass part of themselves on to the future.  Most of us try to leave the world improved in our time on it so that those who come after we are gone will benefit from the work we’ve done.  Artists create works of art do try to capture the world as it is or how we wish it to be for the future.  We all wish to leave something behind when we pass on as a marker on the world that we existed and that our time here mattered.  My personal photography is partly an attempt to capture the vitality and beauty of life knowing that it is a precious gift that should be cherished.

An uncle passed away a few days ago and I write this after attending his funeral earlier tonight.  He was a good man and lived a long and good life.  The funeral home was filled with his family, friends, and the friends of his children and grandchildren tonight.  When I say it was filled, I do mean that almost the entire chapel was full.  In the end that is perhaps the best indicator of the value of a life.

I grew up very religious, but have lost some of my faith through the slings and briars of life.  I still believe that something awaits us beyond this life and do believe that he is in a better place beyond the pain and suffering of life.  That said, I think when one is gone and is missed and loved and remembered in the hearts of those he touched in life, then one has truly cheated death by living on with those who remain.

So to my uncle I big a fond adieu and the thanks that I had the chance to know him in this life.  I also have the knowledge that I am a better person for having him in my family and knowing him.