I'll 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

Project Status

The Work You are Supporting

If you have pledged to support me financially either through a monthly subscription, or a one off donation, then I’d like to report back to you on the status of that work - the full list of projects you support is on my website at mikestacey.com/projects

Project Status

  1. Lake Eyre Book: A book is underway containing images created during a week-long road trip to South Australia with former art model Loz Lightyear, or Lauren Michelle. None of this work has been published anywhere before

    Status: The book layout if roughly 2/3 finished. Further image selection to be completed, image post production and importantly; the choice of publisher and printer. This will require significant funding.

  2. Another book: or multiple volumes, containing a large amount of unpublished work completed with former art model Loz Lightyear, or Lauren Michelle. This included numerous artistic concepts and themes

    Status: Very recently we’ve started sorting images into categories and conceptual themes. This will allow us to begin layout design and again, selection of printer/publisher. This will require significant funding.

  3. An ongoing documentary project tracking the life of travelling model Aurora Sprengel, or @poetic_minx. The project takes candid behind the scenes look at many of the ‘unglamorous’ aspects of the international travelling model lifestyle.

    Status: Some work was completed in both Europe and USA during 2018. Further work will be shot in Thailand during February 2019. Whether this project is stills or video is yet to be decided.

  4. Multiple video projects created with former art model Loz Lightyear (Lauren Michelle). The videos have been shot but not yet edited. There is much writing and post production to do before they are completed.

    Status: As of today, we have now begun collaboration again and I have started production work one of the video concepts. Initially, I’ll select the soundtrack and hopefully complete this within the week. At present, we haven’t decided on how to publish it.

  5. Current Transgender Project: This is a stills project in collaboration with Kate Adamson. Kate’s initial draft statement is listed on the projects page - link above.

    Status: One shoot completed and most of the images have been completed. The second shoot is schedule for a week from now. I will be deciding on how to shoot it over the coming week and communication with Kate about it. Publication - some will be available in the member’s area here. This project has the potential to be exhibited.

  6. Portraits from the Edge: A book of carefully selected portraits which have been shot in a certain light with a particular style. The models were also chosen for their ability to portray the ‘feel’ required for this series, which is sometimes very present and direct, sometimes distant and engaged in their own feelings. The book will be a showcase of my finest work as a portrait photographer. I will publish a full statement soon.

    Status: All of this work has been shot and most has been edited. It’s now a matter of having available funds to create a book. The publisher/printer will most likely be the same as the above book projects. This will require significant funding.

  7. An Investigation of Censorship: 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 for 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.

    Status: this project is in it’s infancy and as yet, I haven’t decided which arm of this very complex topic to take. Initial stills experiments have been done on myself and already published in the member’s area.

  8. Self Portraiture: Essentially I am tired of model photography. My expression requires a model though, and it is often very difficult or impossible to express my true self via another person. Hence the basis for this experimental journey using myself as subject. I have numerous themes I’d like to explore, one is sexuality; and I feel more comfortable using myself as the subject for this, than another person.

    Status: Again, this project is at an early experimental stage. I will publish work as it develops to the member’s area.

Censored, Packaged, Damaging 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

Elements

This shoot was down at my favourite coastal Sydney location. I know the light here well and it’s varied from soft reflective through to strong backlight and low angled sunset lighting. Sarah had expressed a desire to concentrate on her portrait modelling and these images show her versatility and skill with expressive portraiture. We only shot from 3pm to 5pm and that included half an hour or more of walking so I’m amazed at how many great images there are. Always a sign of a great model.

Portra 160 (expired), Pentax 67, f3.4

I always begin in this location inside a large south-east facing cave. It’s elevated off the wave platform so receives beautiful reflected light from the sky. Catchlights are always great and the deeper back you go into the cave the more light is sucked from the sides (the dark walls of the cave) - giving nice cheekbone shadow and definition. At this time of year the shadow edge from the cave is out toward the front of the cave - a few metres outside it.

Portra 160 (expired), Pentax 67, f3.4

Portra 160 (expired), Pentax 67, f3.4

I had a selection of film to use including expired Portra 160 (11 years old), Fuji PRO400H, Ektar 100 and Portra 400. The camera was the Pentax 67. I have two of these bodies, each with the amazing glass of the 105mm F2.4 lens. There is no lens like this - other than a selected few in the large format 4x5 range. I’m able to load both cameras and then shoot 20 frames without needing to stop and reload. For my way of shooting this works best as I usually work my way ‘into’ shots, meaning I shoot and look carefully, generally finding something that I can hone in on and capitalise on - it’s easier to do this with 20 available shots than just 10.

Nikon D800, 50mm f1.8

Portra 400, Pentax 67, f3.4

Portra 400, Pentax 67, f3.4

Portra 400, Pentax 67, f3.4

Portra 400, Pentax 67, f3.4

I usually start with comfortable sitting-type situations and move to standing with movement. The model moves, and I move, looking for angles and shots. This is quite hard with a big manual focus camera and there are always some out of focus shots but I like those - they have potential to be different and to create something extra in terms of ‘feel’. The above shots were all from one roll of film, same aperture, same shutter speed (which I don’t remember), but you can see how Sarah’s skin is much brighter than in the previous shots - they were taken toward the front of the cave. Also, less shadow on the sides of the face etc.

The next sequence were shot on digital out the front of the cave and using the backlight of the sun. Exposure is always tricky but I just use the preview on the back of camera to get it right in the first few shots then leave it. Often I’m working inside the model’s shadow alternating out just to the edge of the shadow where flare exists and then back in again. Apparently this has become somewhat of a trademark look in my work.

And here are some film shots using the same technique. I actually prefer the digital camera for backlit situations - I’m always aiming for flare and the old Pentax lens tends to spread the flare across the image (even at small apertures) whereas the digital lenses create sharper more intense flare. I had left the 70-200 f2.8 at home - and that’s my usual lens for this kind of movement and backlit stuff. The lens used here is the cheap 50mm f1.8. Using that I need to be careful of distortion negatively affecting the image in terms of enlarging body parts closest to the camera. I need to look at the model’s physique and check which areas would be impacted and by which camera angles. Every model is different.

So after working inside the cave and toward the edge of the cave (both situations in the shadow) and also on the very edge of the shadow using backlight as above - we moved out into the full sun.

Sarah changed her outfit to a lovely vintage skirt and striped blouse.

Portra 400, F11

Again, I had Sarah slowly moving in order to find the best shots. Obviously the model needs to feel very comfortable and also confident in your ability to find the shots with this style of shooting as they are not holding static poses that they know will look good on camera. It’s up to the photographer to ‘find’ the shots and for the model to trust that they will find them! The following sequence is all digital, D800 with a very old manual focus 35mm lens. I really love this set.

As you can see, this spot is always windy - another aspect that I love to incorporate into my work.

35mm film, Nikon F100, 35mm lens

This next shot was maybe my favourite image from the whole shoot. I was lucky to catch it. When Sarah went into this position it looked amazing so we repeated it a few times to make sure I got it but the first shot, this one, was still the best.

The above images were all shot within a radius of 100m or so. After this we moved off toward the small pebbly beach where we shot another expressive movement sequence. Again using the 35mm manual focus lens and some amazing backlight. The backlight always works well on the beach as the background is a dark cliff face which increases the drama in the images. makes them a little more cinematic in my opinion.

During the above shots Sarah had picked up a shell, a round one with a hole in the middle. Observing her looking at it, I asked her to hold it in various ways as I photographed it. Her expression and the way she held it struck a chord in me somewhere.

Fuji PRO400H, Pentax 67

And a digital too…

It’s always a nice change to work from a lying position too. Sometimes it requires some agility to get into the right positions. Again, backlight lighting and digital camera with 50mm F1.8.

And finally, we started walking back toward the car but still had only been shooting for less than an hour and a half. The last shots were done by some old containers which are right near the carpark, and quite public.

FUJI PRO 400H

FUJI PRO 400H

and a digital too… These were done quite quickly due to the public nature of the location.

Oh, here’s a couple I missed from out front of the cave…

Photography - The Difficult Art

A photograph is technically a literal interpretation of what's in front of the lens. With all other art forms, there is a large component of the artist in the final work, due to the nature of the medium. Think about sculpture for instance. With photography this is much, much harder to do, simply because of the realist nature of the medium.

If I'm a painter, I can make a ton of choices in terms of how I portray my chosen subject matter. Brush type, paint type, specific colour palette, abstraction or not, etc. All these choices, and the way that I paint, become a rich part of the final work which is heavily imbued with my own artistic skill and vision. 

With a camera, when I press the shutter, the image that was in front of the lens is transferred without any intervention on my behalf, through to the film (let's stick with film, not sensors). That's what I end up with, a literal interpretation of reality. It's much harder for me to insert some of myself, and my own vision, into that image, than if I were a painter or sculptor. 

So this is the challenge and this is the one big area that separates photographers out. For good or bad, whatever, it is one of the the things that creates categories inside photography. 

Many photographers find it hard to realise what their own style is. Their efforts often go into the visual side of things - how the picture will look in terms of colour or a particular editing style. But everyone else has already done that. Pretty much every different type of look you can think of  has already been done. So how do you create work that has artistic value and also reflects who you are as an individual and an artist?

Coming from an analytical background of mathematics and engineering, that question was very hard for me to find any answer for, for many years! I still don't profess to have concrete answers but I have found ways of creating work that has 'me' in it - as far as I'm concerned anyway.

Really, this is the defining point for many photographers - to make the move away from the mainstream of their particular genre and start moving in their own direction. It's risky. Your following of regular viewers may not like you're new vision. This happened years ago when I switched from arty landscape and architectural LF work to portraiture. I lost virtually ALL of my followers - this was pre-Facebook, pre-Instagram - most of those followers were on Flickr and some on Tumblr and they just didn't like portraiture, period - or the fact that I wasn't using a LF camera anymore :) Silly business really. They couldn't see the continuous thread between that previous work and the new work. But there definitely was one.

At the time I made that transition between genres, I was asked to give a talk and presentation to a local Blue Mountains camera club. That was based on this topic of how to invest yourself in your work and create something of artistic value.

The guts of that presentation hinged around human emotion. For me, the key was finding topics and subjects that moved me in some way and created some level of emotion inside me. Whether it's awe, anger, amazement, rebellion whatever - there had to be a strong internal emotional response - or the work I produced would always lack depth and artistic value. The visual side of things is important but it's secondary to this. I had to have something to say with the work. Sounds simple but it took me ages to realise this - I kept looking toward the technical and visual side of things - new film, new camera, new lens, new technique blah, it's nothing, absolutely nothing. The development of the visual side will follow and develop of it's own accord if the emotional side is developed first - this is strictly right brain. And if you have a background like mine, there ain't no right brain in there.

A Bit of Everything - Anne Duffy

For the first post to the new Member’s area I’ve chosen this wonderful set of images of renowned art model Anne Duffy The shoot was out at Henry Head near La Perouse in March 2015.

Model: Anne Duffy
Styling and Assist: Gina Ananiadis

What Anne calls ‘Conjuring’

Paperbarks

White Shirt

Nude

Fashion Nude