poetic minx

Travelling Model Project

The Travelling Model Project documents the life of an international travelling model. The model is Aurora Sprengel or @poetic.minx (http://patreon.com/poeticminx). The images and videos show an intimate and behind the scenes view of what this life entails.

A selection of images and the full version of the video above available in the $10 PHOTOSETS, CANDIDS AND PROJECTS tier

Featuring Aurora Sprengel (@poetic.minx) Video & Edit: Mike Stacey Music: Gary Clark - 'Bright Lights'

See it in full on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/mikestacey

Assorted BTS from Europe, New York and Bangkok

Here’s some random shots fro travels during 2018 and 2019.

Light testing - Bangkok, Feb 2019

Light testing - New York, Oct 2018

Light Testing in New York, Oct 2018

Test shot with Aurora for an art nude shot - Bangkok Feb 2019

Test shot for some nude self portraits - Bangkok, Feb 2019

Natural portrait of Aurora, Antwerp Aug 2018

Dovile and Aurora getting ready for the duo shoot in Antwerp, Aug 2018

Minh-Ly making up Aurora during an amazing night where there were four people, everyone had turns at being models and photographer. Amsterdam Aug 2018.

Minh-Ly shooting Alex smoking a joint. Amsterdam, Aug 2018

I have squllions of shots like this, let me know if you’d like to see more.

The Act

Beneath every silver lining lies a dark cloud.

I’m interest in dark clouds because they represent reality. I enjoy the act we all stage for the world, but reality is the thing that, for me, slices through the most convincing of acts and make a photograph something timeless and of value.

Bangkok, February 2019.


As a photographer I can do no more than set up a ‘situation’. How each photographer goes about setting up ‘situations’ is more important than absolutely everything else. Not talking technical rubbish, rather an environment for the model to *freely* express themselves within. 

The expressive movement and charged facial expressions that @poetic.minx dragged from that ‘situation’ and context did blow me away.

Thank you to Bianca Wolff for this custom vintage wedding dress.

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.


So this is what was created from 1:15AM to 5:20AM on 30th November. It was the the last third of a 12 hour creative marathon - the first two thirds was shooting and editing the previous video “Anchor-less”.

The soundtrack was the inspiration and was played a lot in Amsterdam a couple of months back. The rest fell into place spontaneously, don’t know what the neighbours thought.

Featuring: Aurora Sprengel @poetic_minx
Video & Edit: Mike Stacey @staceymikephoto
Filmed in the Blue Mountains, NSW
Music: 'Haters' - Deorro & Will Sparks


This video was made last week in some of the most amazing atmospheric conditions I’ve seen. There was a front coming through, clouds were building and there were light showers in the air. The light was crazy.

We essentially made it up on the spot, or Aurora did anyway. I shot it mainly from inside her shadow, which was tricky obviously as she was moving around a lot. The soundtrack was chosen whilst driving around in the car later that evening, the song ‘Black Dress’ by Insightful came on and I knew right away that was going to be it. Later that evening when viewing the footage Aurora had the idea of shooting some portrait sequences which were used as ‘counter viewpoints’ and mixed in throughout the story. The whole video was edited that night in about an hour or so.

We we're shooting that night until the sun came up - 12 hours of creative effort all up including another video (aptly names ‘Haters’ which was conceived whilst we were in Amsterdam a couple pf months ago) and a heap of stills.

Stay tuned for ‘Haters’, which will be out soon.


Featuring: Aurora Sprengel (@poetic_minx)
Video: Mike Stacey (@staceymikephoto)
Edit: Mike Stacey/Aurora Sprengel
Music: 'Black Dress' - Insightful


XPRO - most people think that’s some kind of camera, actually it’s a chemical film development process - short for Cross Process. It means taking colour negative film and processing it in E6 chemicals or vice versa.

I’ve done this plenty of times before, but usually it was developing C41 in E6 chemicals. The feature image below was part of two rolls of E6 (slide) film that were processed in colour negative chemistry (Tetenal). Typically going from E6 to C41 its trickier.

I like colour, but only a selective palette. I’m not keen on ‘real’ colour. Much of my work is black and white, which immediately provides an abstracted view of the subject - obviously because there’s no colour. This abstraction can be used to great advantage as part of an artistic process or concept. So, how to abstract the subject in colour? And, how to do it ‘tastefully’? I know, it’s subjective, and a ‘matter of taste’ anyway.

The film I experimented with was Astia 100F (RAP100) and Velvia RVP50 (kindly donated by Brad Page who slipped me two boxes of it - 10 rolls, 100 shots).


The model was Poetic Minx. These were shot just the other day.

The magenta based film is the RVP50, the cyan one is the RAP100F


Two Pentax 67 bodies were used, one loaded with Astia, the other Velvia.


The renowned Pentax 67, 105mm F2.4 - one on each body.


Epson V800. I always scan straight onto the glass for most purposes - have never had problems with Newton rings. Although, the final scan for the featured image below was scanned as a single frame using an old Epson 4990 film holder.


Was calculated with a Sekonic spot meter, spotted off the skin - not the brightest patches but more mid tone values. Using the Astia 100, I set ISO to 200 to overexpose by one stop. Exposure was 1/125 second at F2.4 The Velvia, being a stop darker, required 1/60 second at F2.4.


A single fresnel 300W positioned behind an upright in the house so as to cast a shadow. Even studio light is generally boring to me. Light was set at about 45 degrees to the model and positioned about 3 - 4 metres away.

Extra Effects

I opened the back of the camera in indoor ambient light just after the film was wound free of the spool (about three cranks to go). This produced the light leaks you see across the roll of film ( not so visible on the contact sheet due to black point being set).


Home made painter’s canvas.


I use a Jobo TBE2 tempering unit to to accurately get the 38 degrees C required for the C41 process. Chemicals are Tetenal. Development time was 4 minutes and then standard times for Blix, Wash and Stabiliser.


The first thing I always do with film scans is set the black point using the black eyedropper of the levels control in PS on the black film edge. This time I didn’t do that, preferring the higher key look. The contact sheet does have the black point set, and you can see the general effect on the palette from doing that. It tends to bring the colours ‘into line’.

Some dust spotting and voila.

My Art

What I do best. No one other than Lindbergh and some of the classic portraitists like Penn, have influenced this type of work. And it’s ALWAYS been the mainstay of my work as a photographer.

Various people I’ve worked with have helped move some of my work to different areas and techniques but my default and most personal, and most personally satisfying work, and what I think is my best work, has not changed.

For me, the best work I did in Europe was based around this particular project and I’m proud of the work. It’s MY art. These are not model shots They were taken candidly.

@poetic.minx Antwerp, 27th August 2018


The other thing. The other thing, which is probably more important than anything is the photographer’s ability (or lack of) to capture moments within moments. Only a photographer, probably a documentary photographer’s (James Motty), could realise this aspect. To be able to seize moments out of life that tell a whole story, a whole movie, at the click of a shutter is an art in itself. Not every photographer can do this, and that’s fine, photography encompasses many things, many of which I don’t/can’t do.

So concept or idea aside, it’s irrelevant if the photographer can’t do this bit. Even where there is a defined concept, the approach and skill required is exactly the same. The photographer is a hunter, who is constantly ‘hunting’, for moments, of and within life itself - which is playing out in front of him/her. The unadorned beauty and fragility of life itself. You can either see and react within a thousandth of a second to that, or not.

For me, this is what I do best. It is irrelevant to me what or who the subject is, when I’m shooting like this I’m not thinking about the subject, at all. People need to get that. Look at the photograph, not the subject. If I’ve managed to capture a moment like this one shown, I’m a satisfied and completed photographer. My job is done and dusted.

@poetic.minx Amsterdam 2018