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August Newsletter

Danielle

Model: Danielle

Danielle’s only been modelling for a month or two and had only done a couple of shoots prior to ours. One of her fave photographers is Kesler Tran so we were off to a good start. I asked her to put a mood board together, which she did, and I couldn’t have done a better one myself. It was perfectly in-line with my own style. Not that everything has to hinge around what I want to do but for TFP to work well for both parties it has to be done one of two ways:

  1. Shoot together – one style, one look, vibe, feel, aesthetic. To do this means you both want the exact same images at the end.
  2. Shoot two or more sets – one for photographer and one for model. In that case they’re probably two slightly different styles.

I hear of many photographers abusing the TFP privilege and just shooting what they want – or at least expecting to only shoot that. For some reason, there are photographers who think they're above having to pay - ever. That sucks bad, especially when the photographer's skill is questionable and the images that result are essentially the result of a very talented model. 

The absolute perfect way to shoot as far as I’m concerned is in artistic collaboration with a like-minded model/muse. You both put in 50/50 in terms of ideas and motivation. You are BOTH invested in the outcome. You BOTH suggest things and work collaboratively at shoot time. You bounce things around during the shoot and communicate. This is a very rewarding way to work and usually results in amazing stills or video. Chances of publication are also increased, which is an added bonus (and motivator) for both parties. It’s the way I normally work unless I have a specific project in mind and know a model who can do that particular thing really well – then I’ll happily pay for the model’s time and skill.

Tangent finished now. Back to Danielle.

Point is I could see Danielle and I were in aesthetic alignment by the mood board she made for our shoot. It was going to work. And it did.

Even with her very limited experience in front of the camera, I could see angles and glimpses from her handful of portfolio images that she would be able to do the images we'd planned to do.

She brought a bundle of wardrobe with her and we mixed and matched to get some slightly varied looks.

When the wind was blowing Dani's hair around, she started moving it back off her face. Apparently most photographers don't like hair over the face? After a while she got used to just letting it go and even moving her head slightly to get the effect where one eye is covered.

Danielle was an absolute joy to work with. Quiet, humble, totally invested and connected in the moment. I’m looking forward to the next time.

Zoe

Model: Zoe Rayne

Zoe was keen to shoot some pictures with BB, her ’69 VW Bug. She’s selling her soon and wanted some nice visual memories with her. I looked at the colour of BB and was in love right away – an old vintage blue, colours like that just don’t exist anymore. So some Portra 400 would be perfect as blue is rendered amazingly well by Portra. And, Zoe was keen to only shoot film – even better!

We headed up to a spot I know well but have never shot in. There’s some big pines and grassy paddocks where the car could be parked in various lighting conditions for some variety. It was one of those perfect days – Spring weather in Winter. It was fun shooting in, on and around a car, they’re actually the perfect studio with almost any kind of lighting available as long as you’re prepared to shift the car every now and then.

I’d forgotten how small these cars really are. We had one just like this as a family car, 2 adults 2 kids. Not sure if an average family could do that now? People were thinner in those days I think. It’s perfect for Zoe though cause she’s tiny so seeing her driving it is cool, cause it fits her perfectly.

Zoe hadn’t modelled for quite a while so it was a great way for her to get back in front of the camera but it’s obvious from the pictures she has a great presence and look with the most amazing eyes. I love shooting portraits with her for these traits of hers plus she just fun and easy to hang with.

We shot quite a few serious shots.

And some not so serious...

We shot 8 rolls of 120 and 1 of 35mm all up. Still scanning and editing this set but I totally enjoyed shooting this little story. Why? Cause it was fun and it was real.

 

Ivy

Model: Ivy Rose Raven

I've been working with Ivy longer than any other model. What we do works so well, she knows what my aesthetic tastes are, and she can do it very very well.

Ivy's one of those women completely empowered by their sexuality and it's exactly that that I love to photograph in her. To see that level of control and pride in any person, whether it's related to sexuality or some other trait, is essentially just humanity - and it's very powerful subject matter - for me anyway.

The first shots in the story were shot out in the elevator. These were shot on digital as I wanted that 'flash' paparrazzi effect. They'll be changed to B&W for the final set but the colour is pretty amazing.

The story we shot was designed to be sophisticated, classy and sexy but also edgy. Girl comes home, starts thinking, relaxing, drinking, clothes come off bit by bit, she moves from loungeroom to bedroom, and she chills...

Ivy has some great wardrobe for this kind for thing too, including a custom-made corset. What she does with makeup too is pretty amazing. The one thing she didn't have were stay-ups. So I went to 5th floor "Intimates" section at David Jones in the CBD before the shoot and perused the shelves with some uneasy looking women and got what we needed.

The first shots in the elevator were interesting. Ivy's left hand is on the door button to keep that door open. Initially we'd thought that the doors would stay open after just pressing the button once. Nup. Doors closed and Ivy disappeared downstairs somewhere - lucky we didn't go for the nude look in the elevator.

The full set of images we shot won't be released willy nilly to Instagram or whatever - I honestly feel they're too good for that. The continuous stream of imagery through social media channels really tends to nullify any kind of depth that may be there in the images. People aren't interested in looking for more than a second or two so what hope is there of conveying a story line and some meaning beyond the physicality and instant gratification that most social media people want? Instagram is probably the absolute worst platform to view photography - in terms of the resolution and lack of control over how the image is displayed. And then on top of that there's the censorship...

We shot nearly all the images on film and I spent more time than usual being a little more precise about things in general. I'm thrilled with the results.

Unedited straight off the scanner glass, except for the censor bar. Full edited version and more in Issue #2 of Vanilla Life magazine.

 

Vanilla Life

Today I sent the file off to the printer. I only sent out for a small number of copies in case something's not right. I've used this printer for two other magazines, but they were one off jobs done years ago so I had to relearn the magazine workflow, and also get some new software to output the right sized pdf file. They say I'll have the magazines by 11th September, then I'll be contacting those who've expressed their interest and sending them out! Cost will be $24.95 (not including shipping), and no I'm not making a huge profit, almost zero actually but that means nothing - this isn't about money.  My commercial photography has nothing to do with what I do artistically - and I'd hate money to come into come into the equation for as far as the art is concerned.

The title of the mag? Has a lot to do with some shit that happened years ago in my own life - when I first started shooting nudes actually. 

Here's some title pages from the mag...

Next?

Actually got some ambitious plans... Stay tuned. 

 

 

Updates

Here are some recent edits from recent shoots that haven't been published here before...

Panic

Something different. Draw your own conclusions. A collaborative effort between Katarzyna and myself on the story with an open minded and open ended finish.

Eyes on Fire

Featuring the outstanding Anoush Anou. Music by Blue Foundation.

Sass-Kia

Sass-Kia is an art nude model mainly but her skill with portraiture and expression is where her real talent lies in my opinion.

The following two images are from a set we shot for Sass's Patreon account. You'll have to go there to see where this series went.

Andrea

This wonderful art model - her expressive skill is really just so good.

So that's probably enough free content for now! If you're reading this blog and appreciate what I'm doing, let me know, I'd love some feedback. Each post and each shoot takes considerable effort, cost and time and these posts just go out into the ether with zero feedback. I also give away a lot of free information within these stories - most of that information I've gained from my own lengthy research and experimentation and persistence. Pretty soon I'll be winding the blog down and spending more time monetising my content! It's just too much effort. So thanks for watching, if you have been?!

Custom Portraiture Workshop

I'd worked with Damo once before when I helped him out with a shoot that he did with Anne Duffy. We had a great and rewarding afternoon that day - read about
it back here
. Damo was keen to further explore his portrait photography and obtain something a little deeper and more natural than what he'd been getting.

So this was essentially and 'Emotive Portraiture Workshop' - these are custom designed (and usually one on one) to suit the Client as they are very specific in order to tick off all the outcomes for each individual person. Damo's a great photographer. I asked to see his images from the day out with Anne. I looked at them and asked, "what can I teach you? You've done what you wanted to do right there". The images he showed me were excellent, they had all the qualities of great portraits, they captured presence, poise, beauty and personality aspects of Anne that only a stills camera in skilled hands can capture. His answer was "yes but I know Anne and she knows me, we have a great rapport so it's easy". Essentially he wanted to be able to do what he did with Anne - with any model. One of the key statements he made to me during my questions prior to working out the content of the workshop was, "my photos tend to end up looking like model posing 101".

So I engaged Flavia as the model for this. Flavia has an incredibly natural presence in front of the camera and doesn't go into auto pilot as far as posing goes. She moves and emotes according to what you want to do. But you have to communicate and connect with her so she knows what is required of course. In the end, a photoshoot is in the hands of the photographer - so there are decisions to make and there is control required. That sounds heavy, I hate directing and my style of directing is more like not directing at all!

So we would shoot near Flavia's place on the Northern beaches of Sydney. Just before the workshop I quickly scoped a place I went to years back to shoot seascapes but it was blowing a gale and showers were coming through. Not on. The other side of the headland looked OK and was out of the wind a bit.

So we met at Flavia's flat, got acquainted, had a chat, then headed down to the location. Weather was not good, but at least it had atmosphere. We shot for about an hour here doing a few varied things (for content detail you'll have to do a workshop!). Unfortunately, due to the weather, we couldn’t continue shooting outside and drove back to Flavia's flat to shoot inside. This was very impromptu and wasn't really what I'd planned for. The break in the session meant a loss of continuity to what we were doing. The up side was that we got to shoot inside and outside for variation.

Here's a couple of sneaky shots I got in whilst setting things up.

Shooting indoors, for me, is a very different workflow. Nearly all the emotive
portrait work I've done that I wanted to use as the basis for this workshop has
been done outdoors - with the wind and open space being primary components.

The variety though and the challenge that brings with it was good. We had to adapt on the spot, so important to be able to do that. Damo did get some great shots and I'll post them when I get them.

Diamonds & Pearls

Love working with Sylph whenever she's in town. So during her Sydney tour in April, we hooked up. Initially she was going to come up to the Mountains, but living in a new place that isn't great for shooting in I decided to book a room in a fave hotel in Sydney. That way, we could do the portraits we were talking about plus some other stuff - there were lots of ideas.

Basically the shoot was divided up as follows:

1. A set for Sylph's Patreon account - boudoir/strip.
2. Some smoking portraits - yep Sylph smoking :)
3. Diamonds & Pearls portraits (inspired by Marc Lagrange)
4. Something a bit sexier and edgy. 

1. Patreon Boudoir/Strip Set

We had the use of two rooms! Such a nice manager, he knew we were shooting and offered us one of the other rooms for a couple of hours before the guests arrived at 1PM. It had different décor and a different vibe so this was great for variability in our images.

I can't share these shots here except for one - a black and white version - the final set is in colour with lovely warm tones. The set starts with Sylph in some really stunning new lingerie she purchased recently and proceeds slowly as she takes it off, piece by piece until nude. You'll have to go to Sylph's Patreon page to see them when they're released - soon. Why not support a hard working dedicated artist while you're there? I do.

2. Smoking Portraits

Yea they're smoking hot and she is smoking :) Shot on film with the Pentax 67 loaded with Tri-X and also digital. We did a quick practice run before lighting one up, luckily the smoke alarms didn't go off. Although, I've shot some smoking shots in these rooms before with no adverse reactions.

3. Diamonds & Pearls Portraits

What's a Diamonds & Pearls portrait? Check out the series and the book by Marc Lagrange.

My ADORNED series of portraits were heavily inspired by Marc Lagrange - whose work I love. Imagine my interest when Sylph mentioned she'd been reading a copy of his book 'Diamonds and Pearls' and wanted to shoot some portraits along those lines. She brought with her some elaborate jewellery and of course she brought her elegant form along too, so evident in these images.

4. Something a Bit Sexier and Edgy

OK so Malcom Grant, Sylph's host, had given her a studded collar and said see what you can do with that. So we shot a heap of stuff with the collar being used in various ways. Most of these are probably for Patreon too. We also shot some fashion/nude portrait stuff against the wonderful slate coloured wall paper. I lit these shots so they'd have that edgy, almost Polaroid look.

As usual, there's lots more shots to edit from this shoot that will slowly appear around the place. If you're a photographer and Sylph's in your town - go book her now, you won't be disappointed.

 

 

 

 

Romp: 'To Play or Frolic Boisterously'

So this was a big one. Flavia and I had been plotting for this shoot for a while. Lots of planning, purchasing of outfits and searching for a location etc. And she had a new second hand film camera and she wanted to shoot too :)

We finally settled on a hotel in Sydney - and I'm glad we did, this place is perfect for the stuff I do, and the light, well it's something else (I've been back and shot there again since then).

I bought a couple of dresses and brought along some other stuff too. Flavia brought a crazy collection of amazing things packed into a small bag, but what a gold mine it was in there.

Basic plans were to shoot some video and a few sets of images.

So we started shooting at about midday with an hour or so for lunch in the bar downstairs - that's one of the benefits of shooting in a pub, drinks and food are real handy. Much craziness and lots of laughter later, it was 7pm when we wound it up.

Rather than waffle on about the day's activities, I'll post some shots with captions to tell a bit of the story. Many shots from the day won't be published publically yet - until we sort a few details out, and then they'll most likely be available through patreon.com.

First up here's a 'making of' or BTS video.

Compilation Video - Behind the Scenes

Model: @smartcookiecookie
Video: Mike Stacey

Rich Bitch

A set based around a distinguished, classy theme but a highly irreverent attitude and juxtaposed to the style and class of the wardrobe and the setting - Flavia would be perfect for this. In other words, a 'fuck you' attitude - she's good at saying that :) She's also a good actor - being able to emote and express without the need to be 'posed' - to be able to carry a storyline - all this is perfect for a more realistic and cinematic style of photography, also great for video of course. And... more challenging for a photographer, which is great. Challenge me please!

This is a preview, full set coming soon...

And the smoking video...

A bit of an idea as to who rich bitch is. And don't smoke in hotel rooms kids.

And another short clip

Video and Styling: Mike Stacey - Model, Styling and Acting: @smartcookiecookie

Romp: 'To Play or Frolic Boisterously'

Synonyms: antics, pranks, larks, escapades, stunts, practical jokes, tricks, romps, frolics, fun, fun and games, skylarking, mischief, horseplay, silliness

A crazy set with crazy wardrobe (to be submitted for publication).

A Sexy Set. Of course.

All the sets of images contained a sexy element, this was very much part of the intent and the idea. No hiding behind any kind of 'art' premise, yes this is about provocation, about the art of being sexy and alluring, a skill and a talent with so many dimensions around control, power, pride, desire and all the rest. No shame in that. It's called Eroticism. And it's art, whatever that is.

Previews only - full set coming...

 

Flavia's Film Pics of Me

Eeek. See her photographer account on Insta. for more: @cookiepixpix

 

A Story Set - Waiting

This is a video and some stills of a girl waiting for her boyfriend to arrive, but he never does, so she starts drinking and smoking and getting a bit wild.

Conceptual

This is Flavia's thing.