December 11, 2011

Never understood women but always loved them

Andrew Keiser can be found on deviantArt. He also has a website and writes his own blog. And he is not new to UdA, he has been featured before!

Here is Andrew in his own words:

"I’ve never understood women, and yet I’ve always loved them.  With every picture I take it seems that fascination grows deeper and deeper and enlightenment all the more elusive.  But still, I firmly believe if you strip away all that is unnecessary, all that women normally hide behind and use to define themselves, you will eventually see a small sliver of light to the soul with the click of a shutter.

My work covers a variety of mediums and methods including traditional film, Polaroid, and Pinhole photography.  In the end, it is not about capturing beauty or fantasy, but instead about creating what is human in all of us."

And this is a selection made by Andrew of his own favourite shots

I like when an image expresses joy.  I think far too often people treat artistic nudes as if they have to be some serious thing when that isn't necessarily true.

Sunshine will last

I am a complete sucker for a model staring right into the camera with confidence and strength.  I think this image captures that very well.

Tomorrow is sunday

A cold gaze
Sometimes an image can be both cold and warm at the same time.  This is one of those occasions.  

I often have a hard time what is more important; the subject or the environment that surrounds her.  It's a really rare thing when I can give them both equal weight.

Walking the line

Before it was summer
Basic shapes can often make great images.  Some women have those shapes in abundance and it never hurts to capitalize on that.

I could really make something up here about the subject becoming the photographer and what it means as an image maker to have the tables turned on him.  But in reality I'm a nerd and I like old cameras.  As such it often becomes a theme in what I do that I tell my subjects to just hold something pretty like a Rollei.  

Point and shoot

My lovely shapes
When I took this image I was thinking about geometric shapes and I told the model to mimic a triangle.  This is how she enacted that request.

Brooke Falls

Again, right into the camera.  No apologies, no forgiveness.  Just being who you are is a really wonderful thing.

Curve and Tone
A lot of times people think all I do is photograph super skinny women.  Believe it or not but I like curves.  In fact I like them a lot!  

Out of time
This is a rare indoor image that I am quite fond of.  The model's body language is very subtle but at the same time very telling.  There is an energy about it I've never been quite sure about which just draws me into it more!

Thank you Andrew! We wish you all the best for the future.

An announcement for all art nude lovers: 
Mark Varley has just published a book "Derelict Nudes" a collection of photography featuring Nudes in Derelict locations, featuring the work of several photographers and models
For your copy of the book please visit here. More about the artists here

November 5, 2011

Erik's moment

I have known Erik Flak (Phydeau on deviantArt) since I joined dA in June 2008 and we have become online friends and collaborators - we are both involved with the dA group Fine Art-Photography and the one I recently founded with Iris Dassault, Models-Photographers.
Erik has been taking photographs for some years and I have particularly admired his underwater nudes, one of which was recently awarded a Daily Deviation (a DD as it is known) on dA.


I have asked Erik to tell us a little about himself and his work.

"My name is Eric Flak, and I'm currently located in North Carolina.  I've been doing photography since I was 11 after winning a cheap toy camera in a contest.  There really wasn't much I could do with that camera, so my parents got me an SLR and a tripod that Christmas, along with some books on photography.  I took pictures until I went to college, at which point I was required to pay for my own film and developing.  I slowed down a lot after that.  Later, point-and shoot digital cameras came along, and I gave up on the SLR all together.  Point-and-shoot cameras aren't bad - I managed to get the occasional good shot - but they really just don't have the control of an SLR.

Lush love
During those years, my main artistic outlet was through drawing.  I liked to draw people, and in particular nudes.  A friend introduced me to deviantART in 2006 so I could show off my drawings.  I quickly became addicted to the site.  I had no idea there were that many talented artists in the world.  dA changed my view toward photographic artistic nudes.  I didn't know there were that many people doing that, either.  It was the first time I got involved in a discussion of art vs. pornography.  Until then, I had made the assumption that with very rare exceptions most photographic nudes were of the prurient variety.  I changed that way of thinking quickly.  The artistic nude gallery is probably the reason my interest in photography was renewed.

My most popular deviation at the time was actually not a drawing, but a composite image I made by morphing 32 faces together.  I did 3 of those, using the same celebrities at 3 different angles.  I decided that I wanted to do the project again, only with more control of the variables as opposed to the random weirdness I got from internet searches.  While I was at it, I thought it might be a good idea to do it full-torso.  I asked for volunteers, and the only responses I got were all along the lines of, "Eh, seems like you just want girls to send you naked pictures."  There's a dozen reasons why that was ridiculous, but I didn't argue with them.  I just said to myself, "Well.  I guess I'm going to have to do it myself.  And that's when it hit me like a ton of bricks:  "Why the hell am I NOT a nude photographer?"  I decided that moment to finally break down and buy a DSLR.

I didn't just jump into it, though.  I spent almost 2 years learning to use the camera well, and practicing hard.  Sometimes I used myself as a model.
My biggest challenge is money.  I can't afford to hire models, and the bible belt isn't exactly crawling with models willing to work for trade.  Thankfully, my main model, Cassandra, has been kind to me a few times.  What they say is true.  The more times you work with a model the easier it gets.  We're more like friends than just photographer and model, now.

I'd like to eventually broaden the types of models I work with.  Different ages, weights, ethnicities, and not just women.

My favorite photograph is one of the first I ever took of a model.  I knew I wanted a specific look, but I wasn't able to articulate what exactly that was.  I had her positioned on the edge of the bathtub for over ten minutes trying to get it.  Finally, there was this moment.  I suspect she was running out of ideas of how to pose in such a confined way, and for a second she stopped posing.  That brief moment when she was in her own head was what I wanted.

The Moment
I titled the piece "The moment" not just for that reason, but because it was the turning point for me.  Until then, I thought I wasn't going to hack it as a photographer.  I was worried that I   was wasting her time, and that I'd be percieved as the "GWC".  After that shot, I felt unstoppable, and the rest of the shoot went beautifully.  It was my moment, too"

Thank you Erik, for sharing that moment with us.

September 23, 2011

An interview of Ashok by AlexB

Ashok is from  Mumbai, India.  There are very, very few photographers in India who shoot nudes. I have interviewed Ashok for UdA

How and when did your passion for photography begin ?

I started young when in school and in the early 70’s… My first camera was a Zeiss Ikon super Ikonta IV which is a 120 roll film camera taking 12 square images per roll. This was given to me by my uncle who no longer used it. Back then it was a fairly advanced camera with a meter and if I remember right a Tessar f 3.5 lens fixed to bellows. I loved it.

I soon moved to a Minolta SRT 101 with a normal lens and started exploring 35mm mainly b/w. Medium format and large format was the accepted standard back then. About the same time I teamed up with a friend who was also passionate about photography to set up a wet darkroom to develop and make our own prints.
It wasn’t long before I kept seeing the Nikon F and Nikkormat advertisements in photography magazines and saved up just enough to get my hands on a Nikkormat FTn with a 50mm f1.4 lens. Since then I have been committed to Nikon and currently use a Nikon D100 with a 14mm, 80-200 f2.8 nikon zoom and a 24-85 f 2.8 nikon lens. This gives me all the focal lengths I need and covers the vast majority of my needs. I have not felt the need to  get additional lenses. My tripod is a Manfrotto which is somewhat heavy with a pan and tilt head. 

Do you make anything else aside from nudes ?

Aside from nudes I shoot portraits, landscapes. seascapes, and travel images. India is colourful. There are so many festivals, places and people.. it’s a big country. My favourite part of India is Rajasthan for the festivals, the desert and the colour as also Kerala for the canals and greenery. There is so much of India I have yet to see.

Film or digital ? Maybe both ?

I think digital is wonderful. The initial investment is high for someone who does not have an income from photography but the convenience and ability to instantly view your images is a big plus. It’s a great learning tool as you can correct your mistakes while you still have the chance. Digital today is better than film. The quality, color and saturation is better than film and the modern sensors have the ability to almost see in the dark. A 6 MP camera is the minimum one needs to produce high quality work that can be printed to reasonably large sizes such as 20x30 inches. I no longer  shoot film. Processing facilities are limited and costs increasing.

Every photographer has his signature, his personal touch (and yours is very clear) that makes all the difference. I know how difficult it is to do so,  but how would you describe your photographic style ?

I am not sure that I have one specific style. My work has been restricted by the environment as I explained separately here. Hence my style if you can call it that, is images with light and shadow that show the lines and shapes. They tend to be low key. I like converting my images to black white to get a range of tones. It makes the image more effective. I like simple straight forward images against a plain background so you can focus your attention on the main subject.
More recently I have tried modifying images by merging several images as well as using textures and blending modes. Patterns are also interesting  especially on a nude against a dark background. You got to try different combinations to create something new.

You wrote to  me "The conditions here are different and art nude is still a new field being explored by photographers".  From my trips to India I  remember that the celebration of sensuality is part of  Indian culture. For example one sees sensual images  on the walls of some temples...

India is a country with a long history going back well over a 1000 years. Yet we remain largely a conservative society. Most  photographers I have met have not shot nudes either because they don’t know what its all about or more likely because they are unable to find anyone to model. Even artists find it very difficult to find a model. A select few have been successful in this area.  There is a very fine line dividing art and pornography.
The Kamasutra was written in India. The temples of Khajurahao built in 950 -1050 AD with their erotic carvings are today a UNESCO heritage sight. It's in the mind and how you perceive such carvings and photographs.

In what themes do you find  inspiration ?

As far as themes go I enjoy shooting nudes.  Also travel.

What locations do you prefer to use? You seem to have a large preference for the studio

My main location so far for shooting nudes has been indoors. Many reasons for this. I live in Mumbai (earlier known as Bombay) in India and it’s a very crowded city with a population of over 20 million. There are very few places within reasonable driving distance where one can get privacy to do a nude photo shoot. I would love to try nudes or lingerie shoots on a beach or the nude in the landscape. Landscapes and seascapes are among my favourite images and combining that with nudes would be very interesting. Maybe later this year or the next I may attend a workshop abroad to shoot such images.
My images look like studio shots but infact they are mostly shot in available light. Only very few images here are studio shot in the sense that lights/strobe were used. When I  bought an apartment many years ago, one of the first things  I noticed was the window light. The apartment is high up on the top floor and the neighbouring building is painted white which reflects the beautifull light from the sky into my living room. I can control the extent of the light by moving the sliding windows to the left or right.  I also have a small window on the other side and in the evening the setting sun comes through the little window to create lovely side light or back light on the model. All this together makes the impression the image is studio lit.
I have very limited experience in studio lighting and would like to learn more. This needs practice and I plan to use the photography club studio for this. It takes a lot of practice as well as trial and error.

Tell us about  your art models 

My models are not pro models ie they do not model for a fee. After a lot of searching and persuasion I have been privileged to have friends who have an interest in art and appreciate some of my work, wether nudes,  landscapes or portraits and agree to model. Indian women are conservative and modeling is an option only a few pursue . Fine art nude is little understood  and fewer models practice in this part of the world. There are no web sites where one can approach a model. Its all by word of mouth. Most models do not want their images published as they want to remain anonymous.
I am not looking for any specific body type or age and can work with all shapes be it slim or heavier built. As my interest is more in shapes and curves, light and shadow I am not restricted to using a slim body type only.

There is a freshness and innocence about using amateur models. I don’t direct them too much but work with some basic poses, ideas and let it flow from there. I also start by shooting them dressed and slowly get down to topless images with their thong or knickers still on. There is no pressure to start by shooting nudes.  The first sessions usually are stiff and awkward but as they get comfortable I start getting better images. Needless to say there is a high rejection ratio as we work towards that special moment when everything comes together.. I have also found that with more than one session the model begins to understand what you are looking for. From time to time I let the model see the RAW captures on the camera display. It motivates them and they can also see how they look. Often they come with  ideas and props  that become successful images.

Another difficult question : what is your own favourite photograph ?

Indeed a difficult question but before I answer that let me start by saying that my favourite lighting is window light and a fill with a reflector. This produces lovely images especially in black & white. It's difficult to pick one particular favourite as there are many I like.

What do you consider your greatest photographic accomplishment to this point, and what is your biggest aspiration ?

I am completely self thought. I read a lot and internet is great source of articles and information on photography. I would  like to do a book on nudes with an Indian theme. I don’t know if this will happen but I hope so.
Have you some challenges (publications, exhibitions) you're dreaming about in a near future ?

I have had some work published before in magazines but those have been articles and images on Indian culture, travel etc. In the early years of my photography I participated in many national and international exhibitions with some awards and publications in catalogues etc.. this was in the pre digital era. I had to discontinue this due to rising costs.
At this time I am discussing a one man show of my work in Bangkok, mainly Indian portraits, travel, landscapes and seascapes.  I am hopefull this will materialize.
This is the very first interview on a global web site specializing in art nudes and it’s a great honour to have my work selected to be viewed by a wider audience. There are many photographers on this web site whose work I greatly admire.

What is your best way to promote your work ?

I am not sure if in India galleries are  ready for a one man show of nudes. Its perhaps too early for that. But attitudes are changing with exposure to global trends. I would like to participate in group shows overseas. Both America and Europe have opportunities for such exhibitions where established artists come forward to exhibit. Specialist art nude magazines could be another option as well.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in your genre, in your country ?

Its taken me a very long time to find women who are willing to model. Its not easy. So patience is the very first requirement. Like they say…. The first time is always difficult. Once you have some work to show, people understand what you do and what sort of images you shoot. Recommendation helps greatly. I think Indian women are lovely and the beautifull eyes, dark hair and skin tones make wonderfull subjects. You just got to find them !! 
Most important is to ensure that you are discreet and that the pictures do not end up in the wrong places.

Is there a question nobody has ever asked  you and you would like to answer ?

I have been keenly watching the digital technology develop. The new medium format digital is slowly becoming more affordable and I may consider to add a 645 digital camera and a couple of lenses to my kit. I quite like the Pentax 645 AFD. Its still not available in India. A kit like that is a big decision.

Any message you’d like to leave for our readers ?

 I am always looking for models and if any readers are travelling to this part of the world then I look forward to hearing from you.


Thank you Ashok. We wish you all the very best in your pursuit of art

September 5, 2011

diversity in nude art photography

I’m not looking at you
Matt Blum
Art Model: Brooke Lynne

Dance To The Blues

David Winge
       Art Model: Nevaehlleh

White Body Paint

Scott Nichol (Silvery Stars)
Art Model: Katlyn Lacoste

Jonathan Kane 
Art Model: Chloe 

Clay Lipsky
Art Model: Nettie r Harris

Xaina for Black, White, and Red project

Mark Bigelow
Art Model: Xaina

"when all the ordinary sinners take flight
 no one will ever see your wings…"

Vernon Trent
Art Model: Candice Nirvana

Tito Trelles MADE IN NY
Art Model: Luzia

...and deliverance 
Art Model: Cwen

* * * * * editor's note:
in the past few years there has been a drastic boost to the diversity of fine art photography and specifically, figurative nude art photography.
Contributing to this phenomenon are:
~ the availability of new digital cameras and digital editing technologies.
~ The new web based "social networks" specific to this industry have also made it very easy for models and artists to find each other,
~ and in addition the collective exhibit websites/galleries like DeviantArt, Tumblr and many more have made this art easily accessible to public

Here I have selected a very small, yet accomplished collection of work from these exhibits.
I am also hoping to celebrate this diversity on a regular basis in the future.
please feel free to leave you comment below.

as well if you like to contact me personally, please send a note to: