Archive for December, 2011
If I had to put a label on it, I’d call 2011 a pretty damn good year.
Sure, not everything went according to plan: Jay and I had one goal for this year — leaving Indianapolis — that didn’t happen. Meanwhile, a lot of our friends did move. Two of our best friends moved to Sarasota and a handful of people took root in Chicago — the city WE talked about moving to first. The hardest part was watching Courtney and Charlie settle into Chicago, with Bea, our god-daughter. We had all assumed that we would kind of be moving together, and yet while we couldn’t sell our house, Courtney got accepted to graduate school at DePaul — which meant they didn’t have much choice but to go first.
Indiana is a lot lonelier without Courtney, Charlie and Bea, but in another way their moving helped us; suddenly we had a place to stay any time we wanted to be in Chicago. Frequent weekend trips made the need to be there seem less desperate. Don’t get me wrong, we still plan to live there — sooner rather than later. But now it feels okay to let moving happen when it’s supposed to happen as opposed to trying to force it to happen sooner. My gut feeling is that the second half of 2012 is going to be it.
As far as photography goes, this was my best year ever. I was published (it was just a calendar, but I was published). I had a blast at the launch party at FortyFive Degrees on Indy’s Gay Pride Day. And I had several amazing photo shoots during the summer.
In fall, I went to Los Angeles and visited several dear friends. I met two makeup artists who worked on America’s Next Top Model and RuPaul’s Drag Race. I got to see two of my photography mentors, who both used to live in Indianapolis. I met the guy who made my calendar deal come together. And then I drove off to Palm Springs with Scott — a perfect stranger — which was as far out of my comfort zone as anything I’ve done in years. But it led to one of the best shoots I’ve ever had, a game-changing photo shoot. And Scott’s awesome.
I came home from LA and didn’t even unpack before Jay and I left for New York, where I had a photo in the GLAAD OutAuction for the second year in a row. I was nominated for “Best Emerging Artist” and my photo sold to a fabulous guy. I spent quality time with another of my mentors and he agreed to help me reach one of my next goals (more on that some other time). Our friend Kevin joined us in New York, and we hob nobbed at a cocktail party in a penthouse bar, visited with some of my favorite friends in the world, ate amazing food in fantastic restaurants, and wandered New York’s neighborhoods. And I fell in love (in the photographer’s sense) with a boy from Italy.
My last shoot for the year was a total surprise. If you would have told me on the morning of the Friday before Christmas that I would spend that afternoon having a photo shoot followed by cocktails in my kitchen with a TV celebrity, I would have thought you were totally insane. But yeah, that happened. Austin and I had a great shoot, and it could be turning into a relationship that continues into 2012.
Jay and I celebrated our 11th anniversary and it feels to me like our relationship is stronger and more stable than ever. We welcomed a roommate, Jared, into our home, and he fits in like family. But home wasn’t always fabulous: We said good-bye to Lucy, which was one of the saddest experiences of my life. It’s been four months and I still miss that dog like crazy, but remembering that we found her sick, beaten, and neglected and yet managed to turn her into a confident, secure, and happy dog will always remain one of my favorite personal success stories.
I can’t say I did everything I wanted to do in 2011. I still have a balance on a credit card. I still weigh 40 pounds more than I want to. I didn’t go to the gym as often as I should have. I all but gave up two hobbies that I used to love — I don’t cook anymore (unless you count putting frozen Trader Joe’s entrées into the oven) and I think I read three books all year. Working full-time and then maintaining the photography studio left me very little time for reading. I wonder, if I buy a kindle will I read more? Probably not, I just need to find the time if it’s important to me.
Just like I need to find the time to cook more. And work out more. And sleep more. And spend more time with the people that are important to me. There will always be room for improvement.
Cheers to 2012. I can’t wait to see what the new year brings.
Here is a portrait series that I shot a few weeks ago for, To Write Love on Her Arms.
See the series here.
I separated my two photography websites.
Now on Scott Barnes Photography, you’ll see headshots, portraits (including any new portrait series), commercial work, and modeling portfolios. That’s about it.
I seem to make annual changes my websites this time of year. Any time I’ve redesigned a site, launched a new one, etc., it’s been in December. I don’t like to think that I’m one of those people that puts extra importance on a calendar year, but maybe I do. With the close of a new year and start of the next one, I think about the past year’s successes and failures and set goals for the next year.
This year, through that process it became clear to me that it was time to separate my websites. Sbarnesphotography.com is going to become more commercial, while Vir Impudicus will house all of my fine art/nude male photography.
The reason for the change is this: I like shooting fine art nude photography and I do think this is where my passion lies, but I’m not making the sales from it that I want to. I’ve spent the last few years building my portolio and developing the reputation that I have (both of which make me very proud). But for 2012, the goal is financial, I need to raise the bar on revenue. It’s that simple.
And so I may be scaling back on the number of fine art nude shoots for 2012, while at the same time picking up more creative portrait work and even some commercial work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to shoot the “hot men” that got me here, but if nothing else it’s time for a boost to the standards for which I accept a male model for artwork only (read: free).
And all that is a lot of reading to finally get you to this: You’ll have to go to Vir Impudicus to see the other two shots of Raif, in my New Gods collection.
Raif came to my studio just before the holidays, driving 6 or so hours to shoot with me. To say he’s one of my favorite models of 2011 would be an understatement. We’ve already made plans to bring him back in early January.
The next time I see him, I want Jay to be around as well. Raif likes ghost hunting, Aquaman, cooking, and a few other things that Jay likes. They need to meet.
My friend Annette and I wanted to try a new place for lunch, so we ended up in this Vietnamese restaurant that had about 7 tables total.
The movie that was playing on the TV was beautiful (as lovely to watch as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” or “Raise the Red Lantern.” Our main problem was that it was in Vietnamese and didn’t have subtitles.
Annette and I became captivated, sitting on the same side of the table so we could watch it. The best we could figure out was this:
The movie was a drama, about this young couple was in love but he was cheating on her with another girl. This caused an older man to beat up the young man, but the first girl nursed him back to health (through a series of about seven music videos — which turned into cartoons, in which the two of them stood under mushrooms on opposite cliffs while woodland animals built them a bridge to reunite them).
And then the movie returned to dramatic form, and the girl was sold into slavery and murdered.
The food was good.
Full nudity is coming below the fold. Consider yourself warned.
I found these photos on the website, Homotography. I’m especially intrigued by the first one, I can’t stop looking at it. I could almost imagine buying this as a fine art print.
What do you think?
All photos in this post copyright, Erwin Olaf. Click any photo to see a larger copy.
This is one of the things that happens when I feel like being in my studio but don’t have anyone to shoot.
Here’s a sampling from a new series of photographs I shot a few weeks ago in Louisville. They look a little bit like promo stills for a new gay soap opera, but I like them, anyway. You can see the whole series on my website.