Iceland: Round 2

"Nude, Iceland, 2014" with Nadine

“Nude, Iceland, 2014” with Nadine

It’s been a year and a half since I went on my second art nude expedition to Iceland in July 2014 with models Nadine Stevens and Zoe West.  I’ve also mostly covered my first art nude expedition to Iceland in July 2013 here on the blog.
So, I guess it’s time that I began posting more photos from the second trip, having only made one post up to now.  (You can see it here.)
The photos from today’s post were made, like the photos in the first post, on our first day on the road.  They were made in the same general location, too, on our way driving east from Reykjavik.  This was also near the spot where I made the first photos on the trip the year before (see here), having followed the same route to take advantage of some photo opportunities that I had missed out on the first time.


The difference in locations between the two years was made by something that a local Icelandic photographer had told me:  don’t be too worried if people can see you from the road, as Iceland is a pretty open country when it comes to things like nudity.  (However, I did not want to cause any road accidents, either, from distracted drivers.)
Thus, the first year photos were made in a small canyon away from the road, while the second time around we were in full view of the road, though it was not a major road and we were some distance away from it.
For today’s photos, we walked even further away from the road than those seen in my earlier blog post, as I wanted to get closer to the mountains to use them as a backdrop.  I then found a nice boulder in a good spot that would allow me to align it with a nice crag on the ridge behind it.
Zoe and Nadine did the rest.





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New Book: “A View to the East”

 A View to the East cover
I just published my first book.
This is something that I had been thinking about for some time, and my first self-published volume is called “A View to the East:  Color Photographs of East Asia.”  I had finished working on it and uploaded it to Blurb about a week and a half ago, but I wanted to actually get a copy of it myself so I could look it over before I made any kind of announcement about it.  Having said that, my copy arrived today, and other than one small error to correct (a wrong date), the book looks good to me.  I hope that everyone reading this will take a look at it (and, of course, consider buying a copy) here:
So, why this book and why now?
I’ve seen other people self-publishing books, of course, and I knew that I wanted to do something like this, too. I was just waiting for the proper time to do so.  The first book that I wanted to publish was one of my art nude photography.  I’ve seen that some photographers have published books of the nudes that they’ve photographed in just a single year.  That’s not what I had in mind.  I was waiting for something bigger – a 20 year retrospective!
Followers of this blog will know that I celebrated that anniversary last summer, so I’ve certainly put in the time to publish a volume of my nudes.  Unlike my travel photography, which still has lots of lots of images waiting to be scanned, the figure work is mostly ready to go.  So, why not a book of nudes?
Well, 20 years is a lot of time, and I want to take my time to go over that 20 years of work to decide which photos – and how many – to include in such a volume.
More immediately, though, I had never published a book with Blurb before, so I had told myself earlier that I would acquaint myself with the process first by putting together a small book of my color photographs of Asia.  (Oh, and Blurb just happened to have a 35% off sale on books that people authored themselves, so I wanted to take advantage of that, too.)
Regarding the book itself, it’s in Blurb’s small format, which is 7 x 7 inches, and it contains 100 photographs that I made in Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Tibet between 2005 and 2011.   So, do please take a look.  I’ve set up the page on Blurb so that the entire book can be previewed.
Finally, as for the price…..well, like all other self-published books, it is not inexpensive.  The hard cover version with the dust jacket is $61.95 and hardbound version with the ImageWrap cover is $62.95, but the soft cover version is only $49.95.  The great majority of that goes to Blurb, as I’m keeping the profit margin low to try to keep the price down.  The good news is that Blurb does occasionally have sales, so you should look for those and I’ll mention them when I see them.  (There’s even a 20% off sale ending tonight but sadly it’s only for books that one has authored oneself.)
As for the 20 year art nude retrospective, I’m already thinking of it.
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Monitoring the Situation


New Mexico Nude, 1998, #4

I found out last week that one of my photos has been selected to be included in the Photographic Nude 2016 exhibit at the LightBox Gallery in Astoria, Oregon.  This is an annual show at the gallery, and last year one of my photos happened to win the juror’s top award.
My good friend Dave Levingston also had one of his photos selected, and you can see it and read about it on his blog here.
Still, I have not written about it here until now because I wasn’t able to write earlier.  Why?  My computer monitor basically died on me last week.
That old monitor came with the computer I had before the one I’m currently using.   This current computer is about half a dozen years old, and I probably had the previous one for almost as long, so I guess that monitor was at least ten years old.
Anyway, when I turned on the monitor one day last week, the screen stayed on for a second before it turned black.  I rebooted the computer and the same thing happened.  Then I tried turning the monitor on and off.  I did this about a dozen times, and on each occasion, the same thing happened – on for about a second before turning black.
The next day, I unplugged the monitor from my computer and attached it to my laptop computer to see if the same thing happened.  It did.
So, I knew it was time to get a new one, and on Saturday I went to Best Buy, where I bought a 23 inch HD widescreen monitor by Acer to replace the old 17 inch standard screen Dell monitor.  I have to get used to looking at a widescreen monitor, but so far I like it a lot.  It almost feels like I’ve gotten a new computer.
Getting back to the photograph chosen for the LightBox exhibit, “New Mexico Nude, 1998, #4” (top), it was made at a ranch near Santa Fe where I had been during some classes I had taken at the Santa Fe Workshops.  In 1997, I took two art nude workshops there – the first with a local artist named Louise Roach and the second with Greg Gorman, the well know celebrity photographer.
In 1998, I had planned to take another figure workshop with Elizabeth Opalenik.  However, when one of my travel photographs won first prize in its category in that year’s Assignment: Earth competition, sponsored by the Santa Fe Center for Visual Arts, one of the prizes was free tuition to a workshop in Santa Fe. I could have used it to pay for the workshop with Elizabeth, but instead I decided to stay for two weeks and use it to pay for the Joyce Tenneson workshop the following week.
This photograph was not made during either of those workshops.  The year before, I saw that some of the other participants had decided to stay a few extra days to work with some of the workshop models, so this year I decided to do the same, and this photo was made during one of those extra days.
LightBox 02 - Photographic Nude 2015

2015:  The Juror’s 1st Award winner

The southwestern desert is blessed with beautiful, clear sunlight.  I think we had been photographing for nearly five hours at the ranch before we came to this spot on the upper level of a two-storey adobe building.  It was late afternoon, with the sun getting close to the horizon, projecting beautiful light straight across the scene.  I saw the beautiful shadow that the model’s figure was casting on the wall behind her, and I made a series of photographs.
At one point, though, she put her hand in front of her face to shield her eyes from the blinding sun, and I knew that I had my best image right then and there.
The southwestern desert has been good to me, actually, as the photo that won first prize last year, “Nude, Nevada, 2006, #1” (above) was also made there.
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Lauréat 2016

PHOTO 2016
I have written before about the way that I enter the international photo competition of the French magazine PHOTO every year, and how my work has been published in it on and off over the years.  Well, it would appear that one of my photos is being published in it again.
As I recall, I first sent in photos to the magazine in 1996 for the 1997 competition issue.  When I say “sent,” I really mean “sent,” as in those days, I used to mail a dozen 8 x 10 inch darkroom-made RC prints across the mighty Atlantic to enter the competition.  (Can you imagine what a logistical nightmare it must have been for the magazine’s staff to handle literally tens of thousands of prints?  It’s no surprise that I never saw the prints again.)
Nowadays, we have the internet, and people can submit their photos online, which is a lot easier and less costly.  This year, the magazine has also decided to show what I assume are the photos chosen for publication – the “lauréats – on its website, and one of my photos is among the 404 shown there. (The website also lists the number of submitted photos as 29,019, but the cover of the magazine says that more than 50,000 photos were submitted from over 70 countries, so I don’t know why those numbers are so different.  Can 20,000 photos have been submitted by CD or prints?  Who knows???)


As usual, this time I submitted a dozen photos, which is the maximum.  Unlike other years, all of the photos that I submitted were made on the same day – that of my 20th anniversary photo sessions on August 19 of last year.  This was a bit of a gamble – like “putting all of my eggs in one basket,” so to speak – as there was not the type of variety that I would otherwise have, but I felt strongly about the photos, so that’s what I did.
That lack of variety may explain why only five photos made the finalist category (as opposed to ten or eleven as has happened in the past), but all I needed was for them to choose one, and that they did.


As I wrote above, my success with this contest has been on and off.  I didn’t get published in that 1997 issue, but I waited two years to try again and did get published for the first time in 1999.  I also got into the magazine in 2000, 2003, 2004 and 2007, but then started a long six year drought of being shut out. Finally, a photo was published in 2014 and then in 2015, so it looks like I’ve now gotten in three years in a row, which has never happened before.  (You can read an earlier blog post about my experience with this contest here.)
I’m also happy that my friend Dave Levingston had one of his photos selected.  You can read his blog post about it here.
You can see my photo on the website here, and the full gallery of winning images here. (Scroll down for the latter.)
So, what’s the story behind this year’s winning photo (above and at the top)?  First, the names of the models (left to right) :  Blueriver Dream, Stevie Macaroni, Kelsey Dylan, Brooke Lynne, Dane St. Clair, Claudine, Queen Dandelion, Erica Jay and Nadine Stevens.  They had all come together to help me celebrate the  anniversary of my first art nude photographs, made 20 years earlier to the day.


What’s also important is the location, as this particular spot – behind one of the studio buildings at the Woodstock School of Art – is where I made those first photos 20 years earlier.  I had contacted the school to ask if I could rent some studio space that day, but I was told that all of them would be in use.  However, when I explained my situation, the school’s management very kindly allowed us to spend some time behind this building to make our photographs.
The other thing of note is the photograph that the model in the middle, Dane, is holding.  It’s an 8 x 10 inch RC print of a photo from my very first roll of art nudes, of a model named Gabrielle, that I had made there on that day 20 years before.  (Oddly enough, that is exactly the type of print that I used to send in to the magazine in years past, so perhaps it’s appropriate that they chose this one.)


Still, it is a bit odd that they chose this one for publication.   I don’t think the composition or the positioning of the models is the strongest of the ones that I submitted that were made at this spot.  What does make it interesting is that 8 x 10 print, which I had brought with me to include in one image to show what I did in the same spot 20 years earlier.
Of course, it’s an interesting photo to me because I know the story behind it, but what could the editors in France have thought?  None of the other photos that I submitted included it, so why select this one?  Did they recognize that the location in the 8 x 10 print is the same as where the overall photo was made, and did they think that there was a larger story behind it?  I guess I’ll never know.


There are a couple of other things to mention.  You’ll see that my cropping of the photo for web posting is different than that of the version on the magazine’s website.  I cropped out most of the windows for my own use because the main focus of the photo is on the models in the lower part.  The windows in the upper part don’t add anything, but I left them in for the magazine submission so that the photo would be more of a standard size, which I felt might make it easier for them to use in their layout.
I’m also wondering what the size will be in the magazine.  Typically, most pages of horizontally oriented photos include eight images per page, each about 2 ½ by 3 ½ inches.  At that size, though, the print that Dane is holding will be almost impossible to see properly, so why use it?  Either the editors weren’t thinking of that when they decided to go with this photo, or (could it be?) that this will be one of the few photos that they have chosen to be printed at a larger size?


I’ll just have to wait until I see a copy of the magazine.   In days of yore, this issue of the magazine would reach newsstands in New York around the second week of February, but now it normally doesn’t get here until middle or late March.  Still, I have asked some people I know in France to try to take a look if they can to let me know.
Until then, I guess I’ll be on pins and needles about the size – but that’s better than not knowing if one of my photos was chosen at all.


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2015: What a Long, Strange Trip It Was



It’s been several weeks since my last post.  These long gaps between posts are never planned or anticipated, but they happen nonetheless.  I’d been working a lot of overtime recently, which lead to the double whammy of not being home that much and feeling tired when I was.  The overtime has ended, but I’m still trying to catch up with things here like cleaning up my apartment, matting photographs, etc.
I had initially planned to scan some photos from my trips to Asia for my next post, but as it was getting closer to the end of the year, I thought I’d just write a year-end posting (as I used to do each year) which has, of course, turned into a year-beginning post.
So, what was 2015 like for my photography?  Well, the truth be told, I am a photographer who rarely ever picks up his camera.  I guess there are some photographers who feel the need to photograph on a regular basis.  I am not one of them (though I sometimes would like to photograph more often).
This year, I only photographed on three occasions – but I will get to that a bit later.
Rebecca in Iceland (In PHOTO)

Rebecca in Iceland (In PHOTO)

The year began on a positive note in January when I found out that one of my photos had been published in the annual contest issue of PHOTO (France) magazine.  This was the second year in a row that I’d gotten one of my photos in the magazine, and the seventh time overall.
The photograph was one of model Rebecca Tun in the iceberg filled waters of the Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in Iceland in 2014.
The Juror's 1st Award

The Juror’s 1st Award

More good news came the following month, when I found out that another of my photos, “Nude, Nevada, 2006, #1”, with Carlotta Champagne, was awarded the Juror’s 1st Award – the top prize! – in the annual Photographic Nude jurored show at the LightBox Gallery in Astoria, Oregon.  This was a great honor, as there were a lot of very fine photographs selected for this exhibition, so being chosen as number one was special.
As for actually doing some new photography, the first – and the briefest – came in April, when Nadine Stevens was in New York and I shot three rolls of 120 film with her.


After that, the next two photo ventures were a bit more substantial, the first of which was a trip to Ireland in July.   My last lengthy travel photo trip to a foreign country was a trip to Vietnam in 2011, so it was good to once again by making some photos that didn’t include nude models in them.
Fat Tony's, Galway, Ireland, 2015

Fat Tony’s, Galway, Ireland, 2015

Still, the idea of photographing nudes was the primary theme for me this year, as August 2015 saw the 20th anniversary of my first art nude photographs.  When I began doing that 20 years ago, at a workshop in Woodstock, New York,  I had no idea that I would still be doing it so many years later, so for several years I had been planning a celebration with as many models as I could get together.
Believe it or not, it actually happened, as I got together with my good friend Dave Levingston and nine models for three days, including a trip back to the place where I had made those first photos 20 years earlier to the day.


The photography didn’t end after three days at Woodstock, as Dave L and I both had work accepted into the “Reveal” jurored show at the Darkroom Gallery in Essex Junction, Vermont.  We decided to drive up to Vermont for the opening reception, accompanied by model Blueriver Dream, who we photographed one morning and then along with Kelsey Dylan in the afternoon.
My print (on the right) at the Darkroom Gallery in Vermont

My print (on the right) at the Darkroom Gallery in Vermont

Blueriver Dream in Vermont

Blueriver Dream in Vermont

That was all of my photography for the year.   As it is, that was enough, as I still owed a lot of prints to a number of people coming into 2015, and I have even more now with all of the prints I need to make and send out from the Woodstock event.
The last piece of photographic news I got was in November, when I found out that another photo of Rebecca in Iceland – this one at the Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon – was awarded an Honorable Mention in the year’s Black & White Spider Awards competition.
Honorable Mention in the B&W Spider Awards

Honorable Mention in the B&W Spider Awards

So, that was it – a year when the camera was idle for most of the time, with a couple of major bursts of activity in the summer.  That’s  just the way it is with me these days.
So, what lies ahead in 2016?  Well, I have one trip planned for the springtime, though it will be more of a cultural rather than a photographic focus.  I am planning a photographic venture in the summer,  but I am only in the early phases of planning for it.
As for creating photographs outside of big trips, it’s something I’ve been thinking about, as well, but if anything happens in that regard it remains to be seen.
For now, have a happy and healthy new year, everyone!
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More from Woodstock

Untitled Nude, 2015

Untitled Nude, 2015

I hope that everyone (in the U.S., anyway) had a good Thanksgiving holiday and weekend.  I myself have been busy working quite a bit of overtime at work.
Part of the problem with working so much is that you don’t have much time at home to get things done.  Another problem is that you can feel so tired that when you are home, you don’t feel like doing anything. Still, some thing need to get done like shopping, laundry and (in my case) bringing your car in for an oil change and to get a flat tire repaired.


Alas, I finally have both the time and the initiative to write a new blog post, but not totally so.  I had wanted to scan some photos from Asia to post, but as I haven’t yet gotten around to doing that, here are some more photos from the morning session of my 20th anniversary celebration on August 19 of this year.
As I have written about the event, we were at a nice waterfall near Woodstock, New York, when the area was taken over for about 45 minutes by a summer camp group from Latvia.  (Yes, Latvia.)


While having to wait that long to resume photographing was annoying, to say the least, the campers did one thing beneficial:   they found the long tree branch that you see in some of these photos.  They moved it out of the water in which it had been hidden and left it on some rocks nearby, but when they left, I decided that it could make an interesting prop to tie all of the nine models together.
More photos from that day and the days after will follow (in time).


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Honorably Mentioned

BWSpider Hon Ment 2015

This past weekend was the first one in four that I didn’t go away somewhere.  For the previous weekend, I was at the “L.I. Who 3” convention for Doctor Who fans.  The weekend before that I made a day trip to Philadelphia to attend the Photo Review benefit photo auction, driving down there in mid-afternoon and returning home very late at night.  Before that, I spent several days visiting family in Nevada.
So, the most recent weekend was one to stay local and try to catch up with things here at home, though I did go into my office on Sunday to work some overtime.
Saturday was the key day, however, as the winners of the annual Black & White Spider Awards for monochrome photography were announced.  I had entered a dozen photos in several different categories for last year’s competition, with four being selected as nominees, but nothing beyond that.

BWSpider Nominee 2015

For this year, I entered only half a dozen, all of them nudes.  I had wondered when the winners would be announced, so I looked it up earlier this month, but on Saturday, I had totally forgotten that they would be announced on Saturday.  I only remembered when I got an e-mail telling me about it – but that was on Sunday!
So, I missed seeing the live online reveal, but when I did finally look, I saw that two of my six photos had been selected as nominees.  Then when I looked at the winners’ page, I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of them had gotten an honorable mention.
So, I was not among the three winners, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.  I think I counted 67 nominees in the amateur nude category, with three winners and 13 honorable mentions.  Of course, I don’t know how many total submissions were made to the category, but I imagine I will get an e-mail in the next few days that may say something.

BWSpider Nominee 2015 b

By the way, the honorably mentioned photograph depicts model Rebecca Tun at Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon in Iceland during my trip there last year.  (Another of my photos of Rebecca was also published in PHOTO [France] magazine earlier this year.)  The other nominated photograph was made during a workshop in southern Colorado in 2001.
To see all of the nominated images in the art nude-amateur category, click here.  To see the winners, click here.
To see all of the nominated and winning images (including the professional nude category, won this year by Gary Breckheimer), click here.
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