mike stacey

An Organic and Spontaneous Workflow

A short preview from a video we made for the NO HANDS exhibition. Full video on my website or Lauren’s under the NO HANDS link.

The video was made for the exhibition to illustrate how we made the pictures that were in the show. The workflow of photographer and model, and very much a process that evolved organically over a long period of time. Mainly me having to find ways to shoot a model who was continuously moving, never still but also an exhibit of Lauren’s expressive capabilities. She was clothed for this demo but of course hardly ever clothed for the rest of the work.

To do this video I had to find a way to obtain the same light as at her place, where we shot all the exhibition stills. Pretty simple flagging of light on both sides to suck light from the shadows on the side and a reflector inside out used as scrim (to simulate frosted glass) pegged to the window. Choice of window was important. Sun was direct but low angle winter sun (and it was changing which made it tricky). I was shooting this on Lauren’s fairly cheap camera and lens as mine was recording the video; but the results are just as good as using a more expensive camera.

Lauren’s website: laurenmichelleartist.com

Music on this video was the track we listened to as the video was done: ‘Ride it On’ by Mazzy Star.

Both she and I have a whole page dedicated to the NO HANDS exhibit including videos, bios, text, BTS and more. Plus all the prints from the show are available for purchase, see catalogue at bottom of NO HANDS page. Hope you find it interesting.

Much much more new work coming from continuing projects.

Revealing

Always seeking ultimate photographic truths. 

Photographing yourself is revealing. Photographing yourself nude even more so. Photographing your face at close range being the most revealing. 

But photographing yourself is liberating. I don’t care about wrinkles, sunspots whatever. I try and not think vainly about it when doing it, and deliberately try and not make things flattering. This is true freedom from model photography.

I'll Shoot Anyone

Member’s only content: http://mikstacey.com/members-area/2019/2/3/ill-shoot-anyone

Another nude dude in your feed for ya. In the name of balance and variation and a host of other stuff. #boring

If you are a male, any age, any dimension, or a female with any characteristics (in fact I’m more interested in those who do not fit the social norm for ‘beauty’ and have a story to tell), and would enjoy being photographed then let me know. I will photograph anyone, big, small, white, black, old, young. Beauty is not confined to 20 to 30 year old females. .
#makemodel #shootmoremen #igpromotesphotographerswhopromoteinequality

This shot by Dr. Clayton @eric_clayton02

Am I a Puppet or Not?

It’s healthy to ask yourself this question every day, I do. Regarding the following:

Social norms say male and female body hair is unattractive, wrinkles are unattractive (ageist western culture which is now an industry), bitten fingernails are no good, neither are sun spots. So here, look at them. 
But my heart you cannot see.

Self Portraiture Project

My self portraiture is something I’m working almost exclusively on at the moment. It is nearly all nude, sometimes distressing, but this is me expressing myself. If you find it distressing, please just don’t look. The more expressive work, or more explicit work, will only be available in the member’s area. This is one of the things that you are supporting if you sign up to the member’s area.


Self Portraits

The quote doesn’t go with the images but I like it anyway.

“Sometimes the most positive thing you can be in a boring society is absolutely negative” - John Lyndon (Johnny Rotten).

This self portraiture exploration is one of the projects you are supporting by signing up to my members area. Go here to sign up.

Censored, Packaged, Damaging Beauty

The natural version of the image can be found in the member’s area:
http://mikestacey.com/members-area/censored-packaged-beauty

Censorship of both the male and female body is now more rigid than we’ve seen in the last few decades - largely due to the sheer flood of nude and/or revealing imagery via social media. It’s a complex matter. We’re all aware of the social norm fo beauty and the pressure on women to conform to that - and we’re aware of the fallout - the damaging psychological outcomes. Censorship is one device that contributes to this by essentially “shaming’ various aspects of our bodies; genitals, breasts, nipples, butts and pubic hair.

I’m currently exploring this topic, both visually and otherwise. Here’s an interesting excerpt from an article written by Esther Young in ‘The Owl’; a student edited publication from Santa Clara, California. (https://santaclaraowl.com/). It addresses various concerns from a female point of view, whereas my interest is at a higher level, irrespective of gender.

‘Media’s treatment of the female body is a disappointing reflection of what this culture deems beautiful or ugly. In American culture, body hair is considered ugly and even trespassing social media safety guidelines. Even women’s hair removal product companies, though aimed at selling their razors and shaving creams to women, do not allow the appearance of actual body hair in their ads. This censorship conveys the message that a woman in her unaltered, unshaven state is unacceptable and even offensive. This upholds a double standard of beauty. While photos of bikini-clad women in their unaltered states are censored, naked celebrities photo-shopped to glossy, toned “perfection” are splashed across magazine covers and the same social media sites that censor nipples and female body hair. Women in their natural states are censored while photo-shopped images of the female body are used to sell and make profit, while promoting an unnatural and idealized standard of beauty. Meanwhile, ads showing men with pubic hair peeking out from the top of their Calvin Klein underwear are also freely displayed.’

Concept and Set-up: @staceymikephoto
Photographer: @shotbyminx

Photographic 'Art Nude' is Not Always Artistic 'Art Nude'

There is a large difference between photographic ‘art nude’ and traditional art nude (painting, life drawing, sculpture etc). One of the differences is the gender split between numbers of male and female models in each and also the gender split of the ‘artists’.

Photographic art nude is virtually all female models and male photographers.

These images are available as prints in my online store here.

Artistic Collaborations


Introduction

This article is written inline with my part time work as a personal mentor. I base all of the below on my own personal experience with numerous project collaborations, many different collaborative partners and numerous project exhibitions. Every artist’s experiences will differ, but I believe the article that follows includes aspects that should be ‘generic’ to any true collaboration.


Collaborations between photographer and model, and the photographs that result, have always been in my opinion a 50/50 credited effort - for the work I’ve done anyway, which has spanned a decade or so now. I’ve always said that, and made a sincere effort to acknowledge my collaborator. Even when exhibiting a complete series of works, where the concept was mine (the model had zero input at concept initiation stage), and I had payed the models for their time; I still added their names, personal information and credits below the prints on the wall and in the project statement.

‘DONE’

Self Portrait

“Retreating into yourself is never a solution on it’s own and I’m done with it anyway. Professional help is another option - but I’m done with that too. The only thing I’m not finished with is drugs.”

Even when a concept originates from one of the two people, that concept is then bounced between both people; and if you have a good cohesive collaboration, the concept then becomes bigger and better with each bounce. So for one of the two to say they own the concept, is plain wrong. That’s just one example.

Often the concept has been derived from a conversation or ‘off the cuff’ thought that the other person expressed. So where did the idea really originate? And where did ‘realisation’ of the idea begin. Is artistic ownership of the outcome (the print) then to be credited to either the model or the photographer? Think about all the things that go into the production of the final art piece (the print).

Concept Development & Presentation

  • IDEA/CONCEPT: It usually begins here. But not always. It can begin during a shoot done for some other purpose, or a purely experimental and spontaneous shoot. Here, there can be equal input from both collaborators. If it began with a thought then the thought may have originated via a simple conversation about some unrelated matter or it may be connected to the personal thoughts, politics or history of one of the people. The latter case requires very careful navigation, as ownership of the concept can become very easily skewed.

  • DEVELOPMENT OF CONCEPT - This can go on for a long time and include:

    • Numerous conversations where the idea bounces and develops between the collaborators. Both have equal input at this stage of development.

    • Many shoots before the final print is made. This will be where both people work at a practical level in getting the concept realisation right. The input here can be weighted one way or another. The model may or may not have the ability or skills to model the concept or the photographer may lack the skill, vision, experience to enable a satisfactory capture of the image. The converse of those situations exists too of course. There’s actually four different combinations of these two aspects (basic combinational maths theory) - and I’m sure there are more base level aspects of concept initiation and development

  • PRINTING OF CONCEPT - Sizes of prints, framing, decisions on ho to possibly lay the prints out on the walls of the gallery in order to get your concept across in the best possible way will be a part of this phase. Still, at this phase, the concept can be refined based on what you see when the prints arrive and how they look in your dummy layouts - which would have been done often on a computer first an then after the prints arrive.

  • PRESENTATION OF CONCEPT - How will you both present what you have made? Again, this will involve conversations and ideas. and again, the goal being for the concept to ‘go across’ in the best possible way. You will make decisions on print sizes, framing, gallery selection, and then finally, curation of the work onto the walls. There can still be some development and refining of concept at this stage.

  • SALES - Do you split the sales 50/50?

Summary

All these aspects, and I suspect many more, require some very careful thought and discussion between collaborators before you begin your ‘collaboration’. Neither party own the project that you’ve both invested time - and usually a lot of money into. Things can get out of hand at any time, either before, during or after the project ends. But, if everything above has been discussed, agreed upon and acknowledged, there can be no reason for post project disagreements. Future collaborations with your collaborator depend on ALL these things, and more, should be part of your project communications.

Bottom line. If you are a photographer or a model, then realise and expect the credit you deserve for your 50% part in the outcome.

#ownership #credit #ownershipissues