Posts tagged black and white
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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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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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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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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Self-love & Self-Portraits

It's almost Valentine's Day, so how about a moment of self-love?  Last year I made the resolution to take more self portraits because I often don't like how I look.  Last summer while traveling in Europe I decided to make use of some dramatic window light and take some nude self portraits as an exercise in accepting my self/body as it is. 

The experience was a nerve-wracking reminder of how difficult it is to be vulnerable in front of the camera, but eventually I found my groove and made a few soulful and erotic photographs I'm proud of.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you take a moment to love yourself as well.  

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Seeing in Black and White

Seeing in black and white is all about seeing things in terms of shapes, both in terms of a three dimensional form, such as a person’s figure, and in terms of a two dimensional field, the graphical composition of the photograph itself.

For seeing the form, you’re working with light and shadow with the goal of representing your subject in terms of volume, highlights, shading, and so on. Like drawing with a thick slab of charcoal, it may help to think about things in broad strokes without worrying too much about the details. One technique I use is to half-close my eyes so I am mostly looking through my eyelashes in order to blur my vision so that I am not distracted by the sharp details and textures of what I’m looking at— just the light and shadow sculpting the shape. Let the light or shadow carve out the shape of the subject of the photo.

For seeing the field, you must learn to re-frame how you are perceiving the subject, and regard the real life scene before you as a flat photograph. This is all about seeing shapes, thinking about how the eye will travel across an image (generally starting at bright areas and faces, following lines and curves, etc).

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