Shibari with Jasmine

After a few years I'm still somewhat new to doing Shibari/rope sessions, and even though I feel like a total beginner, I can feel myself improving with each session. I'm finding better ways to continue ties, getting better at knots and managing tension, and working more efficiently. Sessions like this have some extra challenges as well: the model loses mobility so you have to plan or improvise poses that look good in photographs, likewise the placement that would make for good lighting. Of course, there's also the challenge of making something meaningful that communicates more than just "Look at this person's body!" That's always the most difficult part in photographing nudes, the mind and competency of the artist is revealed.

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TASTE: How Artists Guide Audiences to Better Experiences

This isn’t a post about food, at least, not entirely.

This is about how we learn, how we find what we like, and how we savor experiences.

Think back, to our ancient history, to an ancient pre-human primate, discovering a fruit they had never seen before, hungrily taking a bite. Upon discovering how delicious it is, our ancestor brings some of this new fruit back to its tribe, offering it to the others.

”I found this. It’s good.”

In essence, this is what the curator and the artist do. The curator finds the good things, and shares what she thinks is the best. She may be a museum director or a DJ spinning vinyl on a friday night. Her job is to develop a nuanced appreciation for what is good, what tastes good to the soul, and bring it back to the tribe.

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Bathing by Candlelight

This was an experimental session with my friend Lola. We had shot before a few times, and this time we decided to go for something dark and sensual. For me, this was a technically challenging photo session: as I was using a manual focus camera in near total darkness, and since my Leica M9’s ISO sensitivity tops out at around 1600, I needed to shoot at slow shutter speeds which in turn made it necessary for me to be completely still while shooting so that there would be no motion blur. I was very interested in how I could use the light and shadow to suggest and reveal her form, as well as explore the play of light on the surface of the water.

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M and I

This is an series I shot several years ago with M, a lover who is herself an artist as well. My goal was to make a personal memento of a passionate romance, with no intention of ever sharing it beyond a few close friends who understand what I’m reaching at with my work. I have been very hesitant to share this work since it is so deeply personal and private, but the friends I have shared it with have been incredibly supportive, and M herself encouraged me to share it publicly as well. Almost a year after promising another close friend that I would post this, I’m finally ready to share it.

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Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve "Super Bloom" (Download!)

Last weekend my friend and I drove up to the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve to see the Super Bloom in all its glory. This winter saw a lot of rain in California, so the flowers were just spectacular. While we were out, we decided to also visit Death Valley.

Here’s a link to download high resolution photos from the trip. Feel free to use them as device backgrounds, but let me know if you plan on using it for anything else. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy these photos of California’s gold!

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Belinda in Shibari

Belinda is someone I’ve known for many years, and the last time we shot, I was still a beginner, using a film camera I had borrowed from a friend. Of course, I still feel like a beginner..
For this session we went with a shibari theme. Shibari is the Japanese art of rope bondage, which has been around for centuries. It started out as a set of techniques for binding and torturing prisoners, and over time became both a fetish and an art form. This was my first time trying a Pentacle/Star harness, and the lower waist/arms tie was improvised, as were the following ties. Still a beginner, of course.

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Corset and Lace with Meredith

This was my second time working with Meredith. We wanted to make an opportunity of the cloudy weather, and the soft pink of her hair was the perfect contrast with her corset and black lace top. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoy my session with Meredith.

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Shane King
In the garden with Phoebe

Lately, I’ve been interested in how painting uses boundaries of contrast to differentiate layers in space between background and foreground. In this photo, I did something similar. Her dark hair stands out from the light behind her, and the lightness of her neck, arm, and flowers makes her body stand out from the shadows in the background.

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A note on Axe-Throwing

Axe throwing is another hobby I have enjoyed for some years now after my friend Ben introduced me to it.

One of the most interesting things about throwing these heavy, oddly-shaped and slightly sharp objects is how intuitive it is. In all my years of P.E. class in elementary school I never really got the hang of throwing a basketball or hitting a volleyball, but I’ve learned that its easy to teach someone how to throw an axe successfully in around twenty minutes.

I’ll save the explanation of how to do it for another time, but for now what I’m interested in is why? Why is it so easy to learn?

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Shane King
The Artist vs The Professional

Some time ago I heard photographer Bil Brown give a talk about what it means to be an Artist compared to being a Professional.

The gist of it is that the Professional has a set system in place to deliver the images that the client requires, while the Artist follows their own intuition, making what they are compelled to. The Professional is reliable, but the Artist is capable of innovation.

I think there’s some truth to this, even though the line between Professional and Artist is a hazy one, and probably best thought of as states of mind rather than two divisions of types of photographers. When working with a client, be it to cover an event or a boudoir session, I have had enough experience that I can confidently make good photos in almost any situation with almost anyone. That’s not special, that’s the baseline of what it means to be a photographer. The challenge is in shifting gears, getting into that Artist state of mind, where you try things that even you don’t know if it’ll work. Being vulnerable, shooting unfamiliar subject matter, facing what makes you uncomfortable. It doesn’t always work out.

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EssaysShane Kingessay

Playing with color and an older lens that gives a soft glow in this session with Jane. I think this is my favorite photo from this session, but it may take me a while longer before I make up my mind.

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Shane King