Figures of Grace: The New Website

Some months ago, my photography website went down. Suddenly.  Without warning.  The woman who had created my website had moved on to a teaching career and was long since out of touch, so what’s a person to do in such a situation?
Create one for yourself.  Although I had been able to add, subtract and alter content on my old website, I always felt a bit troubled that the overall site management was out of my hands.  This time, I decided to do it differently by creating a new website from one of the available online website hosting companies.
I had to wait a while to get my website’s URL to transfer over from the old site, but that has been done.  Now, I have a working website for my photography that once again bears the web address https://www.figuresofgrace.com/.
I invite everyone to take a look and let me know what you think of it.  Navigation can be done by clicking on the bars at the upper right.  Photo galleries have been divided into two sections, Travel and Art Nudes.  Right now, there are four galleries in each section, though I plan to add more in the future.  Some galleries have more photos than others, but I will again see if I can equalize those a bit more later, too.
Though there some other changes that I would like to make,  I think it’s time that I made the official announcement about the website.
One final note:  the site looks better when viewed on a desktop or laptop computer with a wide screen, rather than on a mobile device (for now, anyway).
Thanks for stopping by.
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Back to the Beach

Nude, Iceland, 2014

I’m returning again to my 2014 trip to Iceland with Nadine Stevens and Zoe West for this post.
My last posting from this trip (here) included a photo made on our return west from southeastern Iceland, and the photos here now are from our continuation west – in this case, on the black sand beach near Vik.  I had photographed Zoe here on the way eastward (see here), but this time I had both Zoe and Nadine with me.
In order to have the beach to ourselves, we had to wait until close to midnight to make these photos, but as I recall, we still had to wait a little while until some other people left.

When I had decided to go to Iceland to photograph nudes, this was the first place I had in mind to photograph.  I was unable to do so on my 2013 trip, due to bad weather and too many people being around when I was there, but thankfully on this trip I was able to do it.
Nonetheless, I still think that I have not exhausted the possibilities here, and I hope to return here again to photograph one day.
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A Hui Market

Food Vendor, Xian, China, 2016

China has changed tremendously since I first visited there in 1989.  Back then, the stores where local people shopped had very rudimentary items for sale, at best.  Fast forward to 2016, when I was last there, and one now seems lots of shops featuring all kinds of American and European luxury goods.
Still, I didn’t travel all the way to China to photograph shops selling Gucci handbags.  When I travel, I try to photograph locations that are more authentic to the place where I am.

One such place in China was in Xian, the city located near the great army of terra cotta soldiers buried there for the emperor Chin Xi Huang Di.  The interest here was not in terra cotta replicas of people, but of real people.  One afternoon, my tour group was taken to visit a street occupied by a food market run by the ethnic minority Hui people.  The Hui (pronounced similar to “we”) people are Muslim, so the men wear traditional hats and the women wear head scarves, but otherwise they seem like any other people that one meets in China.

I made some photographs on that late afternoon tour, but as the light was getting dim and as this market street, several blocks long, was a short walk from my hotel, I decided to go back on a free afternoon we had a day or two later.

The businesses on this street sold plenty of food that patrons could eat right then and there, so not only was it interesting to see the people preparing and selling the food, but the people buying and eating the food, too.
I hope to revisit this street with more blog posts in the future, so stay tuned.

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The Wind and the…Trees???

Nude, Iceland, 2014

I’m continuing today with a photo made on my trip to Iceland in 2014.  In my previous post from the trip (click here), Nadine, Zoe and I had reached our easternmost destination in Iceland.  From there, we began the trip back west toward Reykjavik.
On the way, after passing the great black waste of the Skeiðarársandur volcanic washout zone, I once again made a stop at site of historic farmhouses where I had photographed Rebecca (click here) when heading east.  However, this time I choose to photograph in the area behind the farmhouses, where I had not gotten to on the previous visit.
The scene here is typically Icelandic in some ways, with the rugged landscape, the waterfall and with Nadine and Zoe’s hair being blown by the almost constant wind.  What’s unusual for Iceland in this photo is the presence of those things behind Zoe on the right:  trees.
From what I have read – or, at least, from what I remember having read – the landscape of Iceland was once covered with trees, but they were cut down by the Vikings ages ago and never really grew back.  In fact, a joke about Iceland is that if you get lost in a forest, just stand up.
Thinking of my photographs of Iceland, I don’t think I have any others outside of this particular spot where there are any trees – so take a good look at this one.

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Otherwise, on the subject of my photographs of Iceland, I received my award certificate for the Honorable Mention given to one of my Iceland photos in last year’s Black & White Spider Awards.  Here’s the certificate with honored photo.

Nude, Iceland, 2013

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Giza

The Pyramids of Giza, 2017

Well, I have finally gotten all of my photos from this year’s trip to Egypt developed, which means that it’s about time that I began to more frequently post my photos from last year’s trip there.
So, with that thought in mind, here are some photo made at Giza, the home of the most famous pyramids of all – the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the pyramid of Khafre and the pyramid of Menkaure.  These were all kings of Egypt’s 4th Dynasty and built in (or around) the 26th Century BCE.

Of course, no photographs can truly do these great monuments justice.  Not only are they immensely large – the Great Pyramid held the record for the world’s tallest man-made structure for nearly 3,900 years, finally eclipsed by Lincoln Cathedral in the U.K. in 1311 – and need to be seen from a distance to really get a proper sense of scale, but it’s also difficult to get a grip on just how old they are.

To give you a clue, think about this:  Cleopatra (that is, Cleopatra VII, the “famous” queen of that name) is closer in time to us now in the 21st Century than she was to the age in which the pyramids at Giza were built.
As I said, think about it.

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Roughing It

Nude, Iceland, 2014

I’m going back to my 2014 trip to Iceland for this evening’s post.  My last post about Iceland included photos made at a glacial lagoon near Iceland’s southeast coast, and these new photos were made after we had traveled further east, where I met local photographer Siggi Marason in the town of Hofn.

As I had done on my 2013 trip to Iceland, which was the first time that I had met Siggi, we went out photographing together.  This time, Siggi and I went out in his four-wheel drive vehicle with model Nadine Stevens, who was accompanying me on my trip, and he took us to a gorge that he discovered inland off the coast where he lived.
It was something of a rough, bouncy ride to get there and back, but that’s what it can be like getting around Iceland, and it was worth it, with Nadine doing some fine work as you can see here.
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A Walk in Chengdu

Man with a Hat, Chengdu, China, 2016

Inertia can be a difficult force to overcome.  Once you get accustomed to not doing something, it becomes very difficult to begin to once again do that something.
That “something,” in this case, is scanning film.  Making scans of my negatives is something that I need to do in order to see my photos as positives and to post them here online, among other things, but I had not done so for quite a while.  How long I really can’t say, so long it has been, but I’m pretty sure that the last time I scanned some film was before I got my new computer a couple of months ago.  (I believe this as the custom scan settings that I had made on Photoshop Elements were no longer to be seen, indicating that I had reinstalled the software since then.)
Still, enough is enough, and having been back long enough now to have given myself enough time to mostly recover from my recent trip to Egypt, it was time to get back to scanning again – and I did so last night.

Shop, Chengdu, China, 2016

Of course, with so much film to take care of, the question was:  what should I scan?  I chose to go back to the photos from my trip to China a couple years ago – a trip during which I had made a lot of photos but from which I have scanned very few.
The secondary question then was:  which photos from China should I scan?  I decided to go with some photos that I had made in the city of Chengdu in Sichuan province.  (Yes, the same Sichuan with the spicy cuisine and where the giant pandas live.)
For this particular set of photos, I had taken a walk with a woman on my tour to visit a Buddhist temple within walking distance of our hotel and also to do some souvenir shopping.  I chose last night to scan three for this post.  One is of an interesting looking shop, with two proprietors sitting in front – one looking at me and the other with his attention engaged elsewhere.  Another shows a small girl passing the time sitting in front of a building inside the temple grounds.

Girl in Buddhist Temple, Chengdu, China, 2016

However, the one that I most wanted to scan was the last photo on the last roll of film that I shot during the walk.  On the way back to the hotel, I saw a man wearing a nice hat (and the kind I like to wear), with the hat highlighted by the late afternoon sun against a dark background.  I knew that I had to move quickly before the man moved or turned away, and with just one photo left on the roll, I knew that I had to get it right the first time.  Seeing the scan, I think I did.
I’ll try to scan photos more frequently now, including more photos from China and my other travel destinations, plus my art nude work, too.
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Opening Night Tomorrow

New Mexico Nude, 1997, #1

A quick reminder that the opening reception for the “Patterns and Shadows” juried exhibition, featuring one of my photographs – “New Mexico Nude, 1997, #1 – will be held tomorrow at the Jadite Gallery, 413 West 50 Street, here in New York City on the west side of Manhattan.
I should be there, so if you’re in or near New York, please come on down to join me.
The exhibit, sponsored by the New York Center for Photographic Art, will be on display through April 14.
You can see an online gallery of the photos here.
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Ice Water

Nude, Iceland, 2014

I made my first posting in over a month last week, following my return home from a two week trip to Egypt, so to begin posting once again on a more frequent basis, here’s another one.
For this, I’m going back to my trip to Iceland in 2014.  My last posting (here) from that excursion showed Rebecca Tun modeling near and on some small icebergs, so now we move onto some photos of her modeling near some large icebergs in a well known glacial lagoon on Iceland’s south coast.

I had stopped by this place on my 2013 trip to Iceland, but the weather was very rough at the time and certainly not suitable to any art nude modeling.  Still, I had planned to go back, and envisioned a model on the shore with the icebergs serving as a backdrop in the lagoon.  As you can see, I did make such a photo.

However, I had not thought of asking any model to actually go into that freezing cold water, but when Rebecca said that she wanted to do so, I cautiously agreed.  The image of her in the water, bent over forward, has earned some accolades, including publication in France’s PHOTO magazine a few years ago.  (Rebecca, always wanting to create great images, also said that she wanted to swim out to one of those icebergs, but I said no to that for reasons of safety.)

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On the subject of PHOTO magazine, the new contest issue has finally reached the United States, and I’m glad to say that my friend Dave Levingston has had another of his images published in it.  I, on the other hand, knew for certain that none of mine would be in it – because I missed the submission deadline.
The magazine’s website said that the contest was open through November 1.  As I was working a lot of overtime at work then, I had to wait until October 31 to edit and finalize the photos for my submission, but when I tried to upload them that evening, I was unable to log in and then got a message saying that the contest had closed!  The next day I saw that the final open day for the competition had mysteriously been changed, post fact, from November 1 to October 31.
I guess the only consolation that I can take out of this is that I already have a set of photos ready to submit for next year’s contest issue.
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Up In The Air

Sunrise, Luxor, Egypt, 2018

I returned home yesterday from a two week trip to Egypt.  I normally try to write a few posts ahead of time before I leave and then schedule them to post while I am away, but I just didn’t have the time to do so on this occasion (especially as I had also gone away the weekend before this trip began).
So, although I am still feeling very tired, I thought that I would post something this evening to make up for my recent absence.
The photograph seen here was made with my pocket digital camera on Sunday morning, taken from a hot air balloon while the sun was rising over the town of Luxor – the home of famous monuments like the great temple at Karnak and the Valley of the Kings.  I chose to frame the image with the sun on the lower right and to include another balloon on the upper left as a counterbalance.
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