Thursday, September 24, 2009

Not Pus sized, but Average and Beautiful

I have never thought of my self as a pioneer in photography. I photograph what I am attracted to, what sparks an interest in me. I have been told for years that people like my work because my women are regular people, not super skinny models.
It is about time that the mainstream media understands that beauty comes in all sizes and shapes. Glamour Magazine's, September issue features a normal sized woman, size 12 to 14, nude in a very positive article about body image. (Glamour Magazine) I guess Glamour finally understood this and hit it perfectly. They have been flooded with emails and letters congratulating them on using 20-year-old model Lizzi Miller. Now this is the second time they used her, and she is a professional model, but the image as seen above is natural and beautiful. Showing an average woman being comfortable in her own skin.

Having a 21 year old daughter I have been concerned about the media portrayal of beauty. In my artwork, especially my Red Chair Project I try to help her and everyone interested realize that beauty and sensuality is not a size but a state of mind. A person who is comfortable with themselves is a site to behold.

When I shoot my nudes, and am looking at the images one by one, I can literally see the moment when a subject has forgotten about what she considers her problem areas. She’s stopped slouching, rounding her shoulders or even posing. Lizzi Miller is shown in such a way and she is actually the average size of an American woman. It's about time the high fashion designers, who still show bulimic, pre-pubescent, children as the ideal woman, get a clue.

We all want to look our best and stay fit and healthy and this woman is just that, attractive, fit and healthy. I just hope others take a cue from Glamour Magazine and start using real people as an example of beauty and not these over airbrushed twinkies we still see on the runways.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Now What?

It has been one month since my exhibition, "Censor This!" opened in Harrisburg, PA. My images are now all safely tucked away in my climate control storage unit, hoping to see the light of day soon, either on some collectors wall or another exhibition. But as I sit here contemplating that exhibition, I am also wondering, "What's Next?".
So much time and effort was put into "Censor This!". And now that it is just a fond memory, I feel almost depressed. I was really pumped for the show. A solo exhibition in a gallery miles from my comfort zone, I was going to shock the world and make a name for myself. But now weeks after the show, the phone hasn't rung, no offers of another exhibition have come in and I am left with an almost empty feeling.
Is this what postpartum depression feels like? (For all you women out there I am NOT equating my exhibition with the wonder of child birth. The pains are totally different and I don't have to get up at 3am to breast feed.)
I find myself in a funk, a creative void, were I have ideas of what I want to shoot but am coming up with any excuse at all not to do it.
So now the search for another spark is on. My Red Chair Project is still on going (The Red Chair Project), but with it now starting it's second year of shooting I am asking myself why I started it in the first place.

So here I sit, in my office/studio, camera collecting dust, backgrounds all rolled up and wondering if I have anything left to say and if I need to actually find a job!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Giving Nude Photography a Bad Name

Last week photographer, and I use the term loosely, Zach Hyman tried to photograph a nude model at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. He had a model hiding out in the arms and armor room until a guard turned around and started walking out, then summoned her in and had her dance around as he shot for 20 seconds. The guard saw this and now model,Kathleen “K.C.” Neill faces a charge of public lewdness.
Hyman has said he’s inspired by nude paintings at the Met and his photos are not pornographic and he has no idea why she was arrested. Her attorney, Donald Schechter says the museum is full of nude art, and to call what the model and her photographer were doing obscenity “is ridiculous.” But no one has called it pornography and this little stunt was done in full view of the museum public which included children.

As a photographer who has photographed nudes in many places, this "photographer" should have consulted with the museum staff and photographed his model after hours. Unless he wanted the shock and publicity this stunt has given him. And of course that is exactly why he did it. It wasn't to create a wonderful artistic statement, it was to get his name out in front of people and get his 15 minutes of fame. His portfolio of nudes in public is nothing more than snap shots of people stripping quickly and the shock on peoples faces when seeing the naked person.
Obviously this has been done over and over again and I don't think Hyman has added anything new to it. In fact he is one of the many reasons that photography and especially nude photography is sometimes not taken seriously.
Whether you like his body of work or not it does not change the fact that what he did in the museum was wrong.
As anyone who has read my blog in the past knows, I am all for freedom of expression. But when that expression infringes on others sensibilities, then you do not have that right. What about the rights of the parents taking their children to the museum that day. Turning a corner and seeing this naked woman dancing around the armor. How do you explain to them why their visit to a prestigious museum has now become confrontational?

As for the legal issue, I do think that the model should be cited and fined as well as Mr. Hyman. She was not intelligent enough to realize that this was nothing but a stunt so she should be penalized for stupidity along with public nudity.

Actions like this do not promote the legitimacy on nude photography, they just are another obstacle.

You can watch the news video here

I am sure we will be hearing a lot more about this and he will probably try it again in another public building. Maybe he'll bring a canvas next time and get the photographers off the hook?

By the way, the image above is not one of his, it was pulled off of a voyeur website.