Archive for April, 2010
I’ve always told people that I’m the quietest person in a loud family and Jay is the loudest person in a quiet family. At my family functions, people yell from room to room at each other and when you get 10 or 15 of us together, if someone says something funny the laughter shakes the walls. Jay’s family is exactly the opposite, where you might see 60 people gathered for three or four hours where the lulls in conversation supersede the climaxes, and the most stimulating thing you’ll say in a day is, “hi, how are you? I’m doing well.”
I’m thinking about this because I saw the following post (slightly paraphrased) as a status update on my friend Jodi’s Facebook page a few weeks ago:
If you insist on speaking in a voice that’s just a little more than a whisper, I’m going to naturally assume that you don’t want to be heard, and thus dismiss you.
I’ve been contemplating this comment a lot for the last few weeks. Both Jay and I have, over time, become more withdrawn. We visited a friend a few months ago, who lives somewhere else. We went out to a massive nightclub that was full of people (potential friends, models, etc.). It wasn’t long before our friend looked at us and said, “You’re too quiet.”
We have a tendency, now, to migrate away from people at crowded events; we’ll pick a quiet corner at a party, a table in the back of the room at a reception, or an out-of-the-way spot behind everyone else’s backs at a fundraiser or event. And I’ve noticed that in public, Jay often does speak in a whisper, to which I more and more often reply with, “What?” And on the very rare occasion when I do become characteristically exuberant, it’s happened before that I’ll feel a tap on my arm and get a “shhh” from Jay.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s comfortable in the background. I actually like it there. I think this is one reason photography works for me; I can put something in front of my face, between the rest of you and me. And I’ve noticed over the years that the bigger my cameras have gotten, the less likely I am to use them in public. As my cameras grow more obvious, they’re no longer a tool to keep me disengaged from you but instead draws your attention to me. And your attention is not what I was looking for.
But this is an appropriate mindset, any more. Jay and I are on the verge of having new things happening for us — some of which have already started, such as my membership on the board of Indiana Stonewall Democrats and our acceptance as standing artists at a First Friday venue — and some of which I’m not ready to tell you about yet. But between those that have started and those that are coming, the Fates are lining up to tell me that it’s time for both Jay and I to step out of the background, again. It’s time for us both to rediscover some lost confidence. Even speaking to the two things above, I’m not going to make a very good political activist if I can’t make conversation with the attendees at our events, and I’m not going to sell many art prints if I’m afraid to walk up to people at openings.
And so this is where I am now, feeling the need to practice making introductions and small talk, and forcing myself to step out of the background a little bit. I’m not comfortable with this, but it’s the next life lesson I need to get through. I can feel it.
I love architecture. In fact, for years when I was a kid, I wanted to be an architect. I even designed my own “dream houses.” But my dad talked me out of pursuing this as a career because of the math and engineering aspects.
But still, I love architecture so much that you’d think I’d spend more time photographing buildings, rather than hot boys. Maybe I would be, if I lived in a city that didn’t have a skyline with so many rectangular cubes — it sucks, living in a city that came into its own in the 1970s, when American architecture was as inspiring as a Soviet swimwear competition.
Going in the complete opposite direction of tall cement-and-glass blocks, have a look at the 2010 eVolo Skyscraper Contest. It has four pages of illustrations/descriptions of the winning buildings, most of which look like they’re straight out of animae.
And these aren’t even some of the weirdest ones. Have a look at the site for more.
Can you imagine living in a world that looked like this? I think it would be awesome.
- I have only read two comic books in my 43 years of life: One about Thor, when I was eight years old; and one about Aquaman, which was a gift from Jay.
- I have never been able to suffer through an entire Paul Walker movie, even though I think he is kind of cute. It’s just that those kind of “action” movies are perfectly unwatchable, to me.
- I do not have a leather/vinyl fetish. Actually, it goes beyond that; I think about 95% of people in leather/vinyl look ridiculous.
So why, then, do I think that this is about the hottest thing I’ve seen in a week?
(Click the image for a full-size version.)
When I said a couple of days ago that my Drifters and Wanderers series was a bit of a “learning curve,” that was an understatement. I know exactly what lighting I am looking for when I compose each shot in my head, and getting that exact mix of light and shadow is not always easy. On two occasions so far, I’ve spent an hour with a model and taken 100 photos, only to trash them all and sheepishly tell the model that I missed the mark. That just doesn’t happen to me.
But it’s nice to see that I can still learn new things with photography. I know that sounds ridiculous, because I’m not even close to knowing everything I could know. But I do I think I’ve spent about the last year in status-quo mode; I wasn’t trying anything new or testing my own limits or comfort zones. I’m pushing past that now and it feels good.
Ross also posed for my New Gods series, so you can expect to see more of him on this site and my photo site. And if you’d like to see the full, unedited version of the above portrait of Ross, you can do so after the jump.
On a recent visit with my Dad, he started pulling out some very family photos, some of which I had never seen before, including a few of my mother in high school and younger.
This is my mom, with my grandmother, who I never met. She died about a month after I was born, and just a few days before my mom was supposed to take me up to see her.
My mother grew up poor, during the Depression, the youngest of a family of nine (Arthur, Iola, Edith, Edna, Bob, Bill, Alma, Dudley, Mom). Her father died when she was 10. They lived in the center of Michigan, in a town that may have had 600 residents in its prime. Here is her senior class photo.
I can’t even imagine going to a school this small. There are 17 of them; if memory serves me right, I think there were 484 in my class.
Here is another class photo that belonged to my mother. I think this is the youngest that I’ve ever seen her. I’m not even 100% sure that I know which girl is her; I am pretty sure that I do.
I can’t remember where I found these two photos the other day, but they’re on a site called, Gana Art, which seems to be a gallery in Korea. These are two of the best fine art photographs I’ve ever seen. I just love them. Click either image to see a larger version, the beauty is in the detail here.
Both photos copyright, unknown.
I’ve been working on a new series of nude artwork for the last couple of months, tentatively called, Drifters and Wanderers. This series is unlike anything I’ve shot previously, first of all because I want most of the photos to be shot at night (well after dusk), and second because I’m using a much heavier contrast of light and dark in the images. There’s definitely been a learning curve as I’ve experimented with the light that I want to find.
My goal is that each photo will tell a story individually, and the whole series will tell one collectively.
I’ve shot three guys for the series in the last week, and I think it’s starting to come together now. My friend Victor has been an artist’s model for years and he’s always willing to pose for anything I want him to. He’s also a really sweet guy, and I appreciate every opportunity to hang out with him. He was one of these three guys to pose for me recently, and if you’re interested you can see his photo after the jump.
Oops, I meant, Violet.
We still call her, “the kitten,” mostly because she still acts that way. But I think we’ll be doing this until she’s 16 years old.
Jay is definitely her person. But in his absence last night, Violent slept on the bed, in the bend of my knee.
Life Ball 2010 will take place in Vienna, Austria on July 17th and launches the 18th annual World AIDS Conference. Below are a few of the promotional photos for this year’s Life Ball, and if these are any indication, those Austrians seriously know how to put together an amazing shoot.
I love these more for the makeup and costuming than for the actual photography. I want to know who’s artistic director was.
Just from what I’ve seen, the Life Ball looks like something I’d like to attend, just once. And in case any world travelers are reading this, you can get tickets to Life Ball 2010 here. A VIP table for 12 people in the main hall is 14,400 euro (a mere $19,176.34 in US currency). It’s a good cause, though.
If you love these, you can see three more promotional photos, after the jump (including one with some very tall shoes).
Here’s the result of one of my more recent portrait jobs, two newish friends that Jay and I are getting to know, Sandhya and Tyler. They are great fun; they enjoy wine, good food, and political fundraisers (kind of a lot like me, eh?). It’s just a pity that they’re both so damned unattractive.
Two of our fucking cats got into a fight (at 2am, no less) in my studio a couple of Friday nights ago, and pulled over and broke one of my best lights. (You may have noticed Jay posting a Facebook status asking for good homes for free cats?) Of course, we’ve calmed down since then and decided that all three miscreant felines can stay; and I had planned on ordering a new light, anyway.
My order got delayed because of a warehouse mix up, and as a result my lighting distributor gave me a better set of lights for the same price. That means I now have 1200 more watts of light in my studio. I’ve always considered myself more of an artist than a “photographer” and so I’ve never been hung up on buying expensive toys and the latest gadgets, but trust me, these lights are HUGE. And after I got them both installed, I wanted to jump up and down I was so excited.
Now, with Jay going to New Mexico for the weekend and me having scant plans, I need to find a model or two to come over so I can see how they work.