Posted New Years Weekend, 2000
Personally, I prefer web sites that feature pictures, not words.
But I'm often asked about how I find models & what happens during a
sitting. So, I propose to walk you through my most recent sitting,
with Karina. I'll tell you a bit about what happens before &
during a photographic session, and I'll share some of my thoughts during
my time in the darkroom. While not all of the 100 exposure from
that sitting are shown, the ones that are shown are in the order that
they were made.
I found Karina on Tom Mayes' web site. Over the years, I've photographed several models from Tom's site, including Mindy, Lexus, Olivia, and Anna. In each case, I've had a good time, and we've made some interesting pictures. I like to think that I treat each model very well, with consideration & respect, so I enjoy a good reputation. Tom has been kind to recommend me to his models. And having made some decent pictures & having a web site helps -- models can see my style of photography & read my FAQ for prospective models. So, by the time we talk, we actually know quite a bit about each other -- that makes life easy. Tom -- I haven't thanked you enough.
Making Arrangements: As you can see from the previous Karina pages, Karina & I have worked together a few times before. She is a terrific model. Her physical charms are obvious -- she has a strong, athletic body and a glorious face. More importantly, she has an adventurous & uninhibited attitude, and she is totally reliable. Despite a 45 minute drive to my studio, she has always shown up on time or early (which I really appreciate, because I can get very anxious when a model is late).
Karina dances at an erotic club (The Lusty Lady) up in San Francisco; she also does some serious modern dancing. I love photographing dancers -- they have a great body awareness & great posture. Some (especially Karina) seem to have this wonderful taper to their bodies -- a strong chest (as in ribs, not breasts) that taper to a curvey waist. Karina & I have done lots of pictures where I try to glorify her ribcage. In addition to dancing, Karina does a lot of modeling, including some serious erotic modeling. We've explored more erotic themes a bit, but mostly, we've done more sensuous fine art themes. But I have to admit that I'm tempted -- here's a gorgeous model who is willing & enthusiastic, so ... who knows?
Both of our schedules during December were busy, but after a few e-mail exchanges, we set up a date & time (4:30pm, on Thursday, December 16th) for a 2 hour sitting. This time of year, we had to plan 2-3 weeks in advance. Those 2-3 weeks are glorious anticipation.
I like to communicate a few ideas to my models before the sitting. In previous sittings, we had done a lot of figure work, but any inclusion of Karina's lovely face was incidental. For this sitting, I wanted to do some more intimate & personal pictures that included or featured her face. We talked about doing some serious flirting, and we talked about making some pictures with some bits of clothing.
The Sweater Pictures: Our previous sitting was the one with Karina's friend, Tracy. When she arrived, Karina was wearing this huge dark sweater, so I asked her to bring that sweater to this sitting. I left my real job early & arrived at my home studio exactly on time, and Karina was there waiting for me (she hadn't been waiting long).
I had had a bad few days at work, so I wasn't up for the flirty pictures we had planned, and I told Karina about this. We decided that we'd still strive for some interpersonal pictures, but we'd tone down the flirty/erotic stuff. It was interesting -- in describing the kind of mood I was looking for, I had used the word "intimate". I had meant that to mean "familiar"; she took it to mean "erotic", but in any case, because of the work troubles, we decided to shy away from the erotic -- we were just going to talk about our lives while we made photographs.
Karina checked to see what I wanted her to be wearing under her sweater. What a silly question!
I like to start slow, even with experienced models. For the most part, I designed simple & straightforward lighting for these pictures. It's quite a challenge to find a lighting set up that was good for both the face & the figure.
Like I said, I appreciate Karina's timeliness -- I get nervous waiting. So, I purposely don't do too much lighting set-up before a model arrives -- that way, I can be busy in the studio while the model is doing her make-up & changing in the dressing room (which is a fancy name for my guest bedroom).
Here are some more sweater pictures. I like playing peek-a-boo with clothing, towels, and other things. I am definitely of the opinion that "less is more" -- it's more exciting to be thinking that the model is just a towel-drop away from nudity than to see everything all at once. Anticipation is key -- after all, "tease" is an integral part of "striptease". I've always had in mind doing a picture with the model facing the camera holding a towel up in front of her, but with a mirror behind her, revealing a bare back & butt. I haven't been able to do that, because I haven't been able to figure out how to control the other things in the mirror. I think I need a bigger mirror & a bigger studio.
But I'm not crazy. I definitely want to see more than the sweater. I ask Karina to take it off.
This lighting was simple -- a medium light box off to Karina's left, a reflector on the wall to Karina's right, and a hair light above & behind her. I use the medium (about 2 by 3 feet) light box so that I can still have some shadows -- the light box was almost directly beside her). Add a terrific body stretching, and you have magic.
I know we set out to photograph Karina's face, but this is my favorite picture of the set with her sweater. In fact, it may be my favorite picture from the whole sitting. What do you think?
(I wonder if Karina
is smiling in this picture).
My Shirt Pictures: One of my first and most favorite models was Michelle, and the photographs we did with her in my shirt are among my favorites. Since that sitting several years ago, that shirt has sat in my studio unused (yes, I did wash it), I'm liking the lighting from the sweater sitting, so I ask Karina to lose her sweater & put on my shirt.
Meanwhile, we are talking a bit about her work at the Lusty Lady. She talks about working in a one on one booth. She is protected behind a glass screen. Her rates vary, depending on what the customer asks. I ask her what she does, and she says that she starts talking provocatively. She says that her nipples are very sensitive and the slightest touch makes them erect. I ask if that's really true, and she says yes, and then she demonstrates.
I soon steer her away from the topic, despite the possibility of disappointing our fans. Karina & I have a good relationships -- professional & honest. We aren't exactly close friends, but we are on the same side enough to giggle about what goes on at the Lusty Lady.
Here are some more shirt pictures:
This is my favorite picture from the ones in my shirt. It's funny -- I love photographing hands & I got to great lengths to avoid photographing feet.
I wonder why. That's the great thing about photography, at least to me -- you find out things about yourself & your preferences, and you've got to think about them.
Meanwhile, Karina is having a little bit of a hard time talking. It doesn't feel right to her to talk as she would to a Lusty Lady customers (for which, I am secretly thankful). She is open & comfortable, but she tries to figure out what I want her to say, while all I want is for us to have a conversation. After a while, we relax into a conversation ranging from her experiences with other photographers to her relationship with her "sweetie".
I've been doing nudes for a few years now, and for the most part, I haven't been doing much portrait work (although I did have the pleasure of photographing lovely 19 year old identical twins, but that's another story). Anyhow, I'm rusty doing portraits, so I resolve to work more people pictures into my work. But not now.
Okay -- this is weird. I kinda think of this picture as okay, but
kinda ordinary. I normally would have not included it on the web
Look at Karina's ear. What does it look like to you? To me, it kinda looks like a happy peasant woman in a shawl.
I know, I know ... here I have a nude, beautiful woman before me, and I'm finding faces in ear patterns. Pretty sick, huh?
Cuffs: Karina and I add some handcuffs to the previous lighting setup. After confirming three times that the key worked, we did a few pictures with handcuffs. Karina was totally natural in the cuffs.
I don't know why I like using handcuffs, but I intend to think about it some. I have some ideas:
Here's one of my favorite pictures with the handcuffs.
Karina appeared at the Rouze.com web site as one of the October models (photographed by Tom Mayes). Do her a favor -- go to the Rouze site, click on this week's pictorial, and look for the link where you can vote for the pictorial of the month. Vote for her in the October contest.
I remember looking that this picture in the contact sheets. I was thinking that I had rarely had the privilege of being in the presence of such a perfect breast.
I like that Karina is all natural. I'm not the only photographer to avoid augmented breasts, or tattoos, or such.
Here are some more of the handcuff pictures:
Do you agree that Karina's face has taken on a more serious demeanor?
Final Lighting Setup: I have been thinking about a certain lighting set up for a while, and the following pictures are my attempt to execute it. I didn't get it quite right, but these pictures have a little merit, and they helped me understand what I had to do next.
The set up was this: Karina was positioned in front of my giant soft box -- I had intended to use it to create a pure white background. Karina was lit by a harsh light head on a boom that was positioned above her. The light was also closer to Karina than the camera was. The intent was to create a shadow line all around the edges of her figure. As you can see, it almost worked:
Like I said, these are interesting pictures, but they aren't quite what I was trying to achieve. Oh, well, I tried. Next time, I'll try some variations -- I'll try a brighter light on the background, and I have to experiment more with positioning the main light. Perhaps I need to use my mild telephoto lens. I got some work to do, but that's the fun part. Thinking about solving the problems.
Karina has great dancer's legs. I don't know why I don't photograph them more. I guess I'm not a leg man. That's something else I can work on.
Next Time: I don't think Karina & I are done working together. We discussed some ideas for future sessions, including the following:
Do you have any suggestions? If so, Contact Looknsee.
Take a bow, Karina. We did well in this last sitting.
Happy New Year, Everybody!
(Remember -- feedback is always appreciated)