Avoiding the Crowds

Nude, Iceland, 2014

Nude, Iceland, 2014

It’s been a month and a half since I posted any new photos from my trips to Iceland in 2013 and 2014, so I guess I’m due to write one.
That 2013 trip to Iceland was not the most successful photography expedition I’ve ever gone on, but it was instrumental in the greater success of the 2014 trip.  One of the negative elements of the earlier trip was the weather, as it was the coldest summer in memory according to many of the Icelanders that I met.  Still, as the saying goes, we can talk about the weather, but there’s nothing we can do about it.

3551_02 - Zoe

On the other hand, planning where to go on a trip is something we can definitely do something about.  The trip in 2013 was my first trip back to Iceland since 1995, so in many ways I acted like a tourist, going to places well on the beaten path that I had seen before and wanted to see and photograph again.  To be sure, these are great places to visit, but a lot of other people go to see them, too, which makes art nude photography rather difficult to do there.
One of my goals, therefore, for the 2014 trip was to find good locations for photography off the beaten path.  This I did by reading books, of course, but also by finding places not written about in books but only found by searching on the internet as well as by communicating with local people.

3551_05 - Zoe

One of the most popular – and spectacular – places that I visited on the earlier trip was the Skogafoss waterfall, by the town of Skogar.  I got a really good photo here in 2013 of one of my models, Aubrey, standing in front of the fall, appearing minuscule next to it. (See below.)  In fact, it may be my best photo from that trip.
Still, photographing nudes here would be very difficult due to the crowds, and even very early in the morning might be tough because there’s a campground right next to the fall.
On the other hand, Skogafoss may be the best known waterfall near Skogar, but it’s not the only one.  Through my research, I found out about another waterfall not too far from the town that almost nobody goes to.  There are reasons for this, in that you can’t just drive up to it, which makes a hike necessary, and on that hike there’s a section where you’ve got to scramble up a trail made of loose rocks that has you walking on the edge of a precipice, which caused me to take off my back pack and hand carry it at one point.

3550_11 - Zoe

However, getting there is not overly difficult, and when you go get there…..well, it is a spectacular waterfall in its own right.  It’s not as big as the more famous Skogafoss, but it has a drama of its own and on the two occasions when I went there, absolutely nobody else was around, even though it was around midday.
On the first occasion, Zoe West accompanied me, so here are some photos of her with the waterfall serving as a dramatic backdrop.
Aubrey at Skogafoss, 2013

Aubrey at Skogafoss, 2013

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The Reformation

Studio Nude, 2004

Studio Nude, 2004

I’ve had a busy last few days and I’ve got busy next few coming up, so I thought I’d take the time to write a quick post now while I’ve got a few minutes to do so.
For some time now, my computer here has been causing me problems.  It’s taken a long time to boot up.  It could take a few seconds for a letter to appear after I pressed the key on the keyboard.  I would frequently see the circle going round and round as it would try to do something.
More recently, web pages would simply freeze up, forcing me to close the page and reopen it again.  It got to the point where I just wanted to throw the damn thing out the window.
Reluctantly, I had considered the last resort – “the nuclear option,” as I called it – which was a reformat of the hard drive.  Just one problem:  I couldn’t find the reboot disc.  (Sure, I still have the one from my previous computer, but that wouldn’t do me any good.)  I even considered just buying a new one, as this one here is over six years old.
Studio Nude, 2006

Studio Nude, 2006

Then I did some research and read the computer makers no longer send reboot discs as people can burn them themselves from their computers.  I was able to do this and created the three reboot DVDs, but even this was unnecessary, as I was able to reset to computer to the factory settings directly from the hard drive.
So, while I’ve needed to reload some programs and set things up all over again, the machine is running much better.  At the very least I can see that the boot up time is much shorter than it was before, so the computer is definitely lighter on its feet.  Soon, hopefully, I can get back to scanning film and editing film rather than worry about computer problems.  My main worry, though, is getting iTunes to recognize my music files, which I had copied from the hard drive to an external drive with some other files.
Studio Nude, 2011

Studio Nude, 2011

The only photo work that I did do this week did not turn out as planned.  I decided to dig out my old slide projector from the closet to look at some old slides to see which ones I’d like to scan.  Everything went fine at first, until…………..a few slides in, the projector broke.  Oh, it still projected slides fine, but the advance/reverse mechanism stopped working.  This was not just via the remote, but pushing the buttons on the side of the projector did nothing, either.
To get through the four trays of slides I wanted to look at, I needed to push the tray release button and manually rotate the tray to get to the next slide – assuming, of course, that I moved it just the right amount so the next slide was over the slide opening.  This breakdown really hurts, as I have a lot of slides in trays that I’ve made over the years.  (Sigh…………)
Well, that’s all for now.  To lighten the mood, here are a few art nude photos that I’ve made over the past 20 or so years.
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Antiquities

The Great Sphinx with the pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Egypt, 1980

The Great Sphinx with the pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Egypt, 1980

Followers of my blog will know that in addition to my art nude photography, I also like to travel and do travel photography.  Almost all of what I have posted here has been from relatively recent trips in which I’ve used my medium format cameras with black & white film, but it wasn’t always that way.
Before I switched to photographing my travels in black & white, which was an outgrowth of my decision to photograph nudes in black & white, I used my medium format cameras in color with transparency film.  In fact, the reason I bought a pair of medium format cameras in 1994 and 1995 – a Fuji 6×7 rangefinder followed by my Pentax 67 SLR system – was to get into the stock photography business, as I had read that medium format images sell better than the smaller 35 images.
Head of Ramses II at Luxor Temple, Luxor, Egypt, 1980

Head of Ramses II at Luxor Temple, Luxor, Egypt, 1980

The reason I decided to try my hand at travel stock photography (which never did work out) was that people commented so positively on the 35mm slides that I had been taking until then, beginning with a 60 day trip away from home in the summer of 1980, between my junior and senior years at New York University.
Carving and inscriptions in the tomb of Ramses VI, Thebes, Egypt, 1980

Carving and inscriptions in the tomb of Ramses VI, Valley of Kings, Egypt, 1980

That trip was quite memorable:  a week in London, five weeks in Israel (including three working on an excavation), a week in Greece and a week in Egypt.  That trip was my first away from North America and the first of my true journeys with a camera, so those photos are what I consider to be my first travel photos.
Celestial ceiling in the tomb of Ramses VI, showing the sun traveling through the body of the sky goddess Nut, Thebes, Egypt, 1980

Celestial ceiling in the tomb of Ramses VI, showing the sun traveling through the body of the sky goddess Nut (at top), Valley of Kings, Egypt, 1980

Lately I have been thinking of Egypt (for reasons I don’t have time to get into now), so I’ve looked at some of my old slides and scanned a few to post now, with more to come.  These here includes photos from Giza in the north, across the Nile river from Cairo, and from Luxor and the Valley of Kings in the south.
Two of the photos were made in the tomb of the 20th Dynasty pharaoh Ramses VI.  While the best known of Egypt’s royal tombs is that of Tutankhamun (aka King Tut), because the ancients involved in grave robbing (said to be the world’s second oldest profession) left it essentially intact, it is relatively small and close to the surface.  The tomb of Ramses VI, however, is spectacular, with its great vaulted ceiling showing the sky goddess Nut and a host of other deities, and to get to it, one must walk down and down (and down and down and …..) into the bowels of the earth.
Still, I really need to dig out my projector from the back of the closet so I can see these slides better (and as intended), but for now, enjoy these.
The author in front of the Great Sphinx, Giza, Egypt, 1980. (Yes, folks, I really did look like that back then!)

The author in front of the Great Sphinx, Giza, Egypt, 1980. (Yes, folks, I really did look like that back then!)

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Liberation in Prison (or: Forgetting Facebook)

eBay ad on Facebook

eBay ad on Facebook

“When I think of all the good times that I’ve wasted having good times
When I think of all the good time that’s been wasted having good times
When I was fighting
I could’ve done the right thing
My useless talking
I couldv’e been walking
Instead of complaining
I couldv’e been gaining
Talking ’bout good times!”
  –  Eric Burdon and the Animals (“Good Times”)
A few weeks ago, I had a three day suspension from posting or communicating on Facebook.  Some people have referred to this as being put in “Facebook jail.”  My crime?  A web link that I had posted on my Facebook page announcing a new blog post had also posted a photograph that included artistic nudity in it.
So yes, as has been noted, while people can post all kind of hateful stuff on Facebook, showing some bare skin in a photograph can have you hauled off to prison.

eBay on FB 02a copy

Of course, it’s not just the hateful stuff that Facebook allows that shows the Zuckerberg hypocrisy.  It’s the fact that Facebook allows advertisers like eBay to post nude photos in its advertisements without impunity.   You can see several examples here that I’ve copied from my Facebook page.  (Yes, I know that these ads only show things similar to the things that we’ve looked at on those advertisers sites, but hey – ignorance should no excuse in the eyes of the Facebook law!)
There is another saying:  “absence makes the heart grow fonder.”  Yes, being away from something can make you want it more, but there’s something else to consider:  being away from something can also make you realize just how much you don’t need something.

eBay on FB 04a

So it is with Facebook.  Three days in lock-up made me realize just how much I DON’T need it. As the song by Eric Burdon and the Animals says, there are better things to do with one’s time than simply having “good times.”  Sure, it’s fun to see what everybody else is up to and checking out the links to things they’ve posted, but is it really time well spent?  Can I be doing something better?
Yes, I think I can.  I’ll be better off not having to spend so much time sitting in front of this computer trying to make sure I see everything that everybody has posted.  I’ll be better off doing things more constructive like working on my photography, cleaning up my apartment, doing some reading or even watching a good film or television show.

eBay on FB 03

I had considered totally removing myself from Facebook, and I have already deleted the Facebook app from my iPod.  Still, I don’t want to go that far.  Mark Zuckerberg and company use Facebook to benefit themselves, so I will do the same for myself.  I will still use Facebook to communicate with people and I will still make notifications of my new blog posts (without posting any “offensive” material to avoid prison simply so that I can stay in touch with others).  I have also been checking Facebook occasionally and very briefly just to see if anything actually IS worth looking at.
However, the days of staying on Facebook at length to check everything out are gone.  The days of posting things about and arguing about politics and other things are gone.
They will not be missed.

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AIPAD: The Photography Show 2016

George K. of the Staley-Wise Gallery with a David LaChapelle print

George K. of the Staley-Wise Gallery with a David LaChapelle print

The annual display of photographs put on by members of the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD) is one of the highlights of the photography year here in New York and an event that I look forward to attending each year.
This year’s event was held from April 14 to 17 at the Park Avenue Armory and I did indeed have the pleasure of attending the show’s opening night preview. I normally like to return one day on the weekend to see more, but unfortunately, as I had other plans that weekend, most of what I saw were photos placed and the walls and less so those that were in the bins (where one never knows what one will find).
Robert Mapplethorpe prints at Weinstein Gallery

Robert Mapplethorpe prints at Weinstein Gallery

So, how was this year’s show?  It got off on a good note right from the start with a nice presentation of prints by Robert Mapplethorpe by the Weinstein Gallery on the wall to the left right inside the entrance.
"Untitled (Oscillations)" by Peter Keetman at Kicken Berlin

“Untitled (Oscillations)” by Peter Keetman at Kicken Berlin

Another wall with a fascinating series of  images on it was presented by Kicken Berlin, with a 1950 series of oscillations by Peter Keetman (1916 – 2005), a German photographer who I was unfamiliar with but whose work definitely warrants looking into further.
A different European photographer of note whose work was new to me was Gilbert Garcin, represented by the Stephen Bulger Gallery.  I was told that Mr. Garcin, a Frenchman who is now 86 years old, makes photographs of himself and others and places them into other photos via collage.  The results are quite whimsical and very charming indeed.
A photo by Gilbert Garcin at Stephen Bulger Gallery

A photo by Gilbert Garcin at Stephen Bulger Gallery

Of course, the AIPAD show has plenty of photos by the familiar “greats” of photography.  One of those is Edward Weston, and while many of the examples that one sees of his work were printed by his son Cole, it is always good to see prints that Edward made and signed himself, such as the two nudes of Charis Wilson on display at the Scott Nichols Gallery.
Vintage nude by Edward Weston at Scott Nichols Gallery

Vintage nude by Edward Weston at Scott Nichols Gallery

Other figurative photos of interest included Flor Garduño’s classic “Vestido Eterno” at Throckmorton Fine Art, and a couple of charming photos of Bettie Page by Joseph Hanson at Henry Feldstein’s booth.
"Vestido Eterno" by Flor Garduño at Throckmorton

“Vestido Eterno” by Flor Garduño at Throckmorton

On the bizarre side of things, I don’t think anything topped Douchenne de Boulogne & Adrienne Tournachon’s vintage “Terror Mixed with Pain, Torture, 1855-56,” showing a man apparently being shocked by electrodes, at Hans P. Kraus, Jr.  On the other side of the spectrum, Kraus also had a beautiful photograph of the Roman forum, made by an unknown photographer in 1857.
At Hans P Kraus Jr: Douchenne de Boulogne & Adrienne Tournachon's "Terror Mixed with Pain, Torture, 1855-56"

At Hans P Kraus Jr: Douchenne de Boulogne & Adrienne Tournachon’s “Terror Mixed with Pain, Torture, 1855-56”

While my own particular taste in photography leans heavily on the monochrome side, there were some color photographs that I liked too.  Perhaps the most notable of these was Jeffery Milstein’s large aerial photograph of an amusement park at Coney Island at the Kopeikin Gallery.  Other color prints that caught my attention were a large, fun David LaChapelle work at Staley-Wise; a large color portrait of a Chasidic Jewish family (with a bunch of bored looking kids) by Frederic Brenner at the Howard Greenberg Gallery; Ralph Morse’s “Seven Mercury Astronauts” at Keith de Lellis;  Simone Rosenbauer’s 2014 series of ice cream pops, “ Like Ice in the Sunshine,” at Laurence Miller; and a beautiful large 1947 work by Horst at Robert Klein Gallery.
Jeffrey Milstein's aerial photograph of Coney Island at Kopeikin Gallery

Jeffrey Milstein’s aerial photograph of Coney Island at Kopeikin Gallery

For some well done photographic works using non-traditional methods, there were the glass gellage pieces by Michael Macku at Paci Contemporary.
Glass gellage works by Michael Macku at Paci Contemporary

Glass gellage works by Michael Macku at Paci Contemporary

Of course, these photos mentioned are just some highlights of the show, so I’m presenting them here with a few other photos that I have not written about.
Enjoy.
Works by Joel-Peter Witkin at Baudoin Lebon

Works by Joel-Peter Witkin at Baudoin Lebon

 

 Horst's Mainbocher Corset reflected in Southworth and Hawes' vintage "Young Girl with Chair" at Contemporary Works/Vintage Works

Horst’s Mainbocher Corset reflected in Southworth and Hawes’ vintage “Young Girl with Chair” at Contemporary Works/Vintage Works

 

August Sanders' 1914 "Young Farmers" at Deborah Bell Gallery

August Sanders’ 1914 “Young Farmers” at Deborah Bell Gallery

 

A unique Lillian Bassman print from 1947 at Edwynn Houk.

A unique Lillian Bassman print from 1947 at Edwynn Houk.

 

Photographer Judith Stenneken with some of her prints at Galerie 5,6

Photographer Judith Stenneken with some of her prints at Galerie 5,6

 

An 1857 view of the Roman forum by an unknown photographer at Hans P. Kraus, Jr.

An 1857 view of the Roman forum by an unknown photographer at Hans P. Kraus, Jr.

 

Bettie Page as photographed by Joseph Hanson, at Henry Feldstein

Bettie Page, as photographed by Joseph Hanson, at Henry Feldstein

 

Chasidic family (detail) by Frederic Brenner at Howard Greenberg Gallery

Chasidic family (detail) by Frederic Brenner at Howard Greenberg Gallery

 

Gordon Parks' "Harlem Neighborhood, 1952" at Howard Greenberg

Gordon Parks’ “Harlem Neighborhood, 1952” at Howard Greenberg

 

"Seven Mercury Astronauts," a 1960 photo by Ralph Morse, at Keith de Lellis

“Seven Mercury Astronauts,” a 1960 photo by Ralph Morse, at Keith de Lellis

 

Lewis Hine's "Russian Jewess, 1905" at Alan Klotz Gallery

Lewis Hine’s “Russian Jewess, 1905” at Alan Klotz Gallery

 

At Laurence Miller Gallery: Simone Rosenbauer's "Like Ice in the Sunshine, 2014"

At Laurence Miller Gallery: Simone Rosenbauer’s “Like Ice in the Sunshine, 2014”

 

Photographer Earlie Hudnall, Jr. at PDNB Gallery

Photographer Earlie Hudnall, Jr. at PDNB Gallery

 

Baron Adolph de Meyer's 1920 portrait of Mary Pickford in her wedding dress at Richard Moore Gallery

Baron Adolph de Meyer’s 1920 portrait of Mary Pickford in her wedding dress at Richard Moore Gallery

 

At Rick Wester Fine Art

At Rick Wester Fine Art

 

At Robert Klein Gallery: Horst's "Suit and Headdress by Schiaparelli, 1947"

Horst’s “Suit and Headdress by Schiaparelli, 1947” at Robert Klein Gallery

 

Man Ray's 1935 "Portrait of Dora Maar (with Porcelain Hands)" at Robert Klein

Man Ray’s 1935 “Portrait of Dora Maar (with Porcelain Hands)” at Robert Klein

 

Ali Attar's photo of Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson at Throckmorton Fine Art

Ali Attar’s photo of Muhammad Ali and Floyd Patterson at Throckmorton Fine Art

 

The author at the event. (Yes, it’s shameless self-promotion, but a lot of people said they liked the hat and bow tie, so why not?)

 

 

 

 

 

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More from Day One on the Road in Iceland

Nude, Iceland, 2014

Nude, Iceland, 2014

My last post was of some photos that I made on day one of my 2014 road trip in Iceland with models Zoe West and Nadine Stevens, so here are some more photos from that session.
This was actually our second day in Iceland, as we had arrived the day before in the morning and spent much of the day walking around the windswept capital city of Reykjavik.

3548_11 - Nadine and Zoe

Wind can be and often is a very big problem when photographing (or simply walking) in Iceland, and when I stepped off of the airplane onto the top of the rolling steps that lead down to the tarmac, I felt the cold wind blowing and I thought to myself, “Oh, no.  Not again!!!”

3548_12 - Nadine and Zoe

That’s because my trip to Iceland in 2013 had been made very difficult because of the coldest summer in memory that year.  I returned in 2014 in the hope that the year before was an abnormal aberration and that I would get better weather.
That first day put a scare into me, but things did get better. While there were a few occasions when the weather was cold, on most days – including the one on which these photos were made – the weather was mostly cooperative.

3548_08 - Nadine and Zoe

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In The News

Nude, Iceland, 2014

Nude, Iceland, 2014

So, Iceland is back in the news again.
It’s not about a volcano erupting as the news from there often is.  This time, it’s about how the prime minister is caught up in the “Panama papers” financial scandal.  The guy even walked out of an interview when he was asked about a shady company that he’s involved with.
Still, for me, I prefer to think of Iceland as a place with unparalleled scenery,where I made two art nude photographic trips in 2013 and 2014.  In one of my recent posts I began in earnest to show the results of the second trip (here), so I will continue that now.

3548_03 - Nadine and Zoe

Like the photos in that earlier post, these photos were made on the first day that I hit the road with my two models, Nadine Stevens and Zoe West.  They were also made close to the location of those earlier photos, though a little bit further up the road.

3548_05 - Nadine and Zoe

The photos made at this location were a little difficult to handle as far as the scanning and editing went, due to the great difference in brightness between the sky and the ground.  It was difficult to get detail in both because of the contrast, so I decided to emphasize the ground, especially as the two models were down there.
I’ll post more from this series in the near future.
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