To Rome, With Love

Behind the Pantheon, Rome, 2017

Well, I guess that most or all of you know that it’s pretty cold in much of the United States now.  It certainly is here in New York.  Yesterday was actually a fairly nice day – sunny, no wind and up to around 30 F – but today brought snow and wind and tomorrow it is expected to get very cold (beginning with 9 F tonight) and stay that way for a couple of days.
I suppose that the best way to beat the cold is to go someplace warmer for a while (though I used to have a theory that one should actually go someplace even colder than it is at home, so that when you finally return home, you can say “thank goodness I’m back to someplace warmer”).

Papa Francesco, Rome, 2017

Of course, most people can’t do that, so perhaps the next best thing is to think of a time and place where it’ll be warmer – and what better place than sunny Italy in the springtime???
With that thought in mind, here are some of the photos that I made in Rome on my trip there last June.  I had posted some of my color digital snapshots before, but here are some of the black & white photographs that I made on film.

Il Capriccio, Rome, 2017

Rome – “The Eternal City” – is a place that I can go back to again and again, with camera or without.  Having a camera, though, gives me something to focus on (both literally and figuratively speaking) and it seems that it makes me see things just a bit more clearly than if I had it not.
Stay warm, everyone.

Toward the Light, Rome, 2017

 

Gate. Rome, 2017

 

Shop Window Fashion, Rome, 2017

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2017: What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

The Great Pyramids, Giza, Egypt, 2017

So, once again, as it happens every year, New Year’s Eve has arrived.  The new year of 2018 is less than two hours away as I write this here in New York, and I’ve been spending the day doing my traditional New Year’s Eve activity of making charitable donations that I’d been putting off doing until now, or had simply forgotten to do.  I also prepared and submitted photographs to a competition which ends tomorrow night (or is it tonight?)
I’m also due to make a blog post, so I guess it’s appropriate that I do a review of the year as I sometimes do, especially as 2017 has been a fairly busy for me as far as photography is concerned.  The primary reason for this is that I worked a fair amount of overtime last year at work for comp time, which gave me more time to travel this year, and I definitely made use of it.
My first trip of the year was to Egypt in February for a bit over two weeks.  Getting there seemed a bit dubious for a time, as there was a snowstorm in New York the day I had to fly there, but there was no problem in reality.  I had been to Egypt once before, way back in 1980, and I had been wanting to go back, so I’m glad that I finally did.  I was last in Egypt 37 years before, which may seem like a long time, but to a place like Egypt it’s but the blink of an eye.  I also visited a lot of places that I had not been to the first time, and I am planning to go back another time to see more places that I have not been to yet.

Temple of Hathor, Dendera, Egypt, 2017

The second trip of the year was to Italy in June for three weeks.  The beautiful land of Italy is a place that I can visit every year (if only for the food), but I was last there in 2009, and while it may not be 37 years, being away from a place like Italy for eight years still seems like a long time.  As in Egypt, I visited places I had been before (Rome, Florence, Venice) but also went to new places like the Italian Riviera and Bolzano up in the German speaking south Tyrol region, which is an interesting mix of Italian and Austrian cultures.

Piazza della Rotonda, Rome, 2017

My third international trip of the year was to England for almost a week and a half in July.  This was a different trip than the others, as I primarily went to attend a language class in London for five days, but I also brought my camera equipment with me – not to do travel photography, as I did on the first two trips, but to photograph my first art nudes of the year.  I had never photographed nudes in England before, so it was a bit of a treat to finally doing so for three days – one working with a couple of models in a large studio setting north of London, one photographing a model in an artist’s large apartment in East London and one wonderful day spent with another photographer and three of England’s best models at a number of outdoor locations.

Nude, England, 2017

My art nude photography didn’t end there, as in August I attended a two day workshop near Woodstock, New York, run by George Holz and Kim Weston.  I don’t usually attend workshops that much anymore, but occasionally I do if I don’t have the time to organize some photo sessions of my own, and it gives me a chance to meet some new models and other photographers.   Going upstate in the summer for some photography is also a good excuse to get out of the city for a few days.

Untitled Nude, 2017

 

The following weekend happened to be the 22nd anniversary of my first art nude photographs, so I was able to set up an anniversary photo session with one of the models from the workshop, who modeled for some photos with a beautiful mask that I had purchased during my trip to Venice this year.

Studio Nude, 2017

That was all of the photography that I was able to do this year, but there was some more activity on exhibition and awards side of things.  The year had gotten off to a good start with one of my photos being accepted into the annual Photographic Nude exhibit at the LightBox Gallery in Astoria, Oregon.  This was the fourth year in a row that I had gotten a photo in the show, and I am now hoping for fifth.  (One of my photos had won first prize in 2015, too.)

LightBox Gallery

I didn’t enter many juried shows this year, but I had submitted some photos to the annual Black & White Spider Awards competition at the end of last year, and when the awards were announced in October, I saw that one of my photos had won an Honorable Mention in the amateur/nude category –  the second time in three years that one of photos had this distinction.

Black & White Spider Awards

Most recently, one of my  photos was chosen to be included in the “Patterns and Shadows” exhibit, sponsored by the New York Center for Photographic Art, to be held at a gallery on the west side of Manhattan in February.

Patterns and Shadows

Finally, in March I published my first book or art nudes via Blurb, covering 20 years of my figure photography.  (You can see it, in two sized, by clicking here.)

So, there you have it.  A year of photography for me. What will be next?  Time will tell.
Have a happy and healthy new year, everyone.
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At Long Last………China!

Imperial Palace, Beijing, 2016

Once again, it’s been a few weeks since I last made a posting here.  This is due to my having been away last week visiting family and my having worked a lot of overtime at the office recently.
I had been thinking of posting here, however, and with that in mind, I scanned a few photos from my trip to China last year before I went away.  (That trip was in July 2016, and yes – 2016 was still “last year.”)  That trip to China lasted about three weeks and yielded a lot of good photographs, but for some reason, I had never really gotten around to scanning them, other than a couple of random images.  I am trying to change that now.

As my trip began in China’s capital, Beijing, I’ve decided to begin scanning the photos from there.   The images I’m showing today were made at the Imperial Palace (aka the Forbidden City).  On my first trip to China in May 1989, I was not able to enter this place due to the student protests that were going on at the time.  I was able to visit for a short time in 2007 on the way home from a trip to Tibet, but last year was the first time that I went on a proper tour.
As it’s a popular place, filled with lots of visitors (mostly Chinese), it’s difficult to get photographs of the architecture there without a lot of people in the way. Instead, I decided here to concentrate on photographing some of the ornate art work that’s carved into the ground, without any people walking over it.
I do, however, have a lot of people photos from China, and those will be coming up in future posts.

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On the Edge of Nowhere

Nude, Iceland, 2014

I see that I lost wrote about my 2014 trip to Iceland over two months ago, so it’s about time that I wrote another post.  That last one (here) included photos of Rebecca Tun at a canyon called Fjaðrárgljúfur.  Now we have some photos of Rebecca from that same day but at a location farther east.

This particular spot is historic, not just for the turf houses that you see here, but for the importance of the site and the people who used to live there.  This particular settlement was the last place that one passed going east before reaching the great Skeiðarársandur – a huge black mass of barren nothingness (“sandur” is actually an English word, too, meaning “outwash plain”) created by the nearby glacier Skeiðarárjökull when the volcano beneath it would erupt, releasing vast quantities of water and debris to wash away everything here that stood in its path.

In fact, this area is so treacherous that it was the last part of the ring road that circles Iceland to be completed, in 1974 (which is not really that long ago).  Before the road was completed, the only way to get to the other side (and to southeast Iceland), without having to circle around the very long way in the other direction, was to do so on horseback – and the family that lived at this settlement were experts on the area and would be able to guide you across (as you sure didn’t want to go wandering across on your own).  Even after the road through here was built, some sections had to rebuilt in 1996 when three bridges were washed away by another volcanic eruption.

Although an important site, it is also fairly small, and I even drove past it when I was looking for it.  It wasn’t until I saw the great wasteland ahead of me that I realized that I had gone too far, and so had to turn back to find it, which – as you can see from the photos – I am glad that I did.
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Another Print on the Wall

New Mexico Nude, 1997, #1

I found out a few days ago that one of my photos has been selected to be part of an exhibition right here in New York City.  The photo, “New Mexico Nude, 1997, #1,” was chosen to be exhibited in the Patterns and Shadows 2017 show, sponsored by the New York Center for Photographic Art (NYC4PA).  The juror was Stephen Perloff, editor of The Photo Review.
I don’t know how many images were selected, but the e-mail notice said that over 1,100 images were submitted, so I’m happy that one of mine was chosen.
The exhibition will be up from April 3 to April 14, 2018, at the Jadite Gallery, 413 West 50 Street in Manhattan.  The opening reception will be held on April 5 from 6 pm to 8 pm.
As for the photograph itself, it was made at a workshop at a ranch about an hour’s drive outside of Santa Fe, in just my third year of photographing art nudes.  I had a few minutes left to photograph the model, and as I liked the shadows coming across that were cast by the wooden railings, I asked her to lie down so that the shadows created a pattern across her figure.
I still consider this to be one of my “signature” images.  It’s hard to believe that I made it 20 years ago.
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Winning the Ivy

A boy looks up in awe at Yale QB Kurt Rawlings

I just looked at my last post and I see that it was made nearly a month ago.  Where has the time gone since then?  For me, much of has been spent at my office, working overtime in the evening and on weekends, too.
So, I have decided that my next post will be something different, harkening back to a time before I began photographing art nudes and before I had done much travel photography.  As an undergraduate student at New York University, I was the sports editor of the school newspaper, the Washington Square News, for a couple of years.  Although I primarily wrote stories about sporting events (and other news, too), I did bring my camera to events to photograph stories myself, even though we had some staff photographers who covered sporting events, too.
Now move forward to this past Saturday – November 11, 2017 – when I drove down to Princeton, New Jersey, to see an Ivy League football match-up between the defending co-champion Princeton Tigers and the team of my other school, the Yale Bulldogs, who were on the verge of winning the title this year.
The game did not get off to a good start for Yale, as Princeton’s high powered offense made some big plays, running up a 24-7 lead in the second quarter.  After that, though, the tide turned, with Yale coming back for a thrilling 35-31 victory to guarantee the Bulldogs at least a share of the Ivy League football championship for the first time since 2006.  (A win over Harvard this coming Saturday in “The Game” will guarantee Yale its first outright Ivy football title since 1980.)
After the game ended, I saw some other Yale supporters jumping down onto the field to join the team, so I decided to follow, and before long the photographer in me began to take over, with my pocket digital camera in hand.  It harkened back to my days photographing sporting events at NYU, though I had never seen a championship celebration like this.  At NYU, I also knew the people who I was photographing, while here, the Yale players were just guys who I had read about or seen on TV.
On the other hand, however, this wasn’t much different than the travel photography that I like to do, put in an unfamiliar situation, with unfamiliar people in front of me, but I still have to go out there to frame as many interesting images as I can and try to find those moments of humanity shared by people that bind us all together.
Here are some of my favorites from this event.
Boola boola.
(To see more images on my Facebook photography page, click here.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Another Honorable Mention

Nude, Iceland, 2013

The results of the this year’s Black & White Spider Awards competition were announced yesterday, and two of my art nude photos made in Iceland – one in 2013 and one in 2014 – were nominated for awards this year.
Not only that, but the 2013 photo (above) was given an Honorable Mention, too.  (Another photo from Iceland was awarded an Honorable Mention a couple of years ago, hence the “another” in the title.)

This particular image was actually the second to last photo that I made in Iceland on that trip, and it was a candid.  I was with the two American models I had brought with me to Iceland  (Aubrey Z and Brooke Lynne) plus two local Icelandic models (Bjorg Halldorsdottir and Hallgerður Langbrók) who had been brought by Bragi Kort, an Icelandic photographer who I had joined up with.

We were working near a power station in southwestern Iceland, and the models had been in the warm, naturally heated waters that the power station had been processing.  It was getting late, though, and the tide was coming in – bringing with it the cold waters of the North Atlantic, which were beginning to mix with the warm water.  As the four models were beginning to leave, I saw them in what looked like an interesting grouping, so I made a photograph of it.  The steam can be seen rising from the heated waters, too.

The other nominated image, with Rebecca Tun

The coming of the tide not only made the water colder, but higher, too.  When we arrived, I was able to walk from one rock to another to get to where I wanted to be.  Now, though, the water level had gotten so high that in order to get back, I had to take off my shoes and socks, roll up my pants legs and wade back through the water.
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In the Dog House

Dog House, Dingle, Ireland, 2015

Dingle is the name of a beautiful rocky peninsula in southwestern Ireland, but it is also the name of a town on that peninsula’s southern coast.  In fact, it is the only town on that peninsula, and with a population of less than 2,000 people (in 2011, anyway), it is not a very large one.
Still, it is a pleasant place to visit, with some interesting things to see.

When I’m traveling, I often look for unusual or amusing things to photograph, and so it was on my 2015 visit with this portable hot dog stand, the “Dog House.”  The sign across the top says “Best in the West,” but as I didn’t eat any dogs there, who am I to contest that claim??? – along with the other sign that says “Ireland’s Only Chili Dog!”  (If you don’t like chili dogs, I see that you can get cheese dogs and classic dogs there, too.)
For what it’s worth, I have read that the best hot dogs to be had in all of Iceland (yes, Iceland – not Ireland) are sold by a street vendor operating near the port in Reykjavik – so perhaps there is some merit to the claims made by this particular Irish establishment.
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Rebecca at Fjaðrárgljúfur

Nude, Iceland, 2014

My trip to England in July of this year was primarily to attend a week long language class, but while I was there, I took advantage of the opportunity to photograph some English models, too.
One of those was Rebecca Tun, who I had photographed for a couple of days during my trip to Iceland in 2014.  I’ve posted some photographs of her previously, and here are a few more of her at the canyon named Fjaðrárgljúfur.

I had been to this canyon on my trip to Iceland the year before, but I decided that it was worth exploring again with a camera.  The weather in 2013 was not very cooperative when I was there (as was the case for pretty much the whole trip), but things were better the second time around.

While I did not get to photograph in the bottom of the canyon the first time, as this involves crossing the river that runs through it, I again chose to keep my feet dry by photographing from the rim of the canyon.  Rebecca did her usual fine job, so much so that one of the photos (at the top) won an honorable mention in the Black & White Spider Awards a few years ago.

As for Fjaðrárgljúfur, I still hope to be able to photograph in the bottom of the canyon one of these days.

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The Road to Santa Margherita

The Tower of Pisa, 2017. (Yes, it leans.)

I last wrote about my June trip to Italy with a post in July about Florence, which included some color photographs made with my pocket digital camera.  Now it’s time to continue with that trip.
Following Florence, my tour group headed north to our next overnight destination, the seaside town of Santa Margherita Ligure located on the Riviera.  Before getting there, though, we made a stop in one of Italy’s must see locations – Pisa – to see the famous Leaning Tower.
As for Santa Margherita itself, it’s a pleasant, fairly quiet town, and it provided a nice respite after the hectic days spent in the crowded centers of Rome and Florence.  Especially interesting are the facades of the buildings painted with the figures of statues and such things. (Apparently the building owners could not afford to commission real statues to be made, so instead they had them painted on.)
We also made a short visit by boat to the somewhat ritzy, very small town of Portofino – a place which the jet-set used to call home and which still seems to see a lot of yachts visiting.
Finally, on a free day that we had, I went via train by myself to the city of Turin.  It took about three hours to travel each way from and back to Santa Margherita, but it was worth it to have the chance to see the recently renovated Egyptian Museum there, which is said to be the finest museum dedicated solely to Egyptian antiquities outside of Cairo.

Cathedral and Tower, Pisa, 2017

 

Painted statues, Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Pasta for sale, Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Egyptian influenced door knocker, Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Sign, Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Statue of Santa Margherita, Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Harbor, Portofino, 2017

 

Restaurant, Portofino, 2017

 

Portofino, 2017

 

Bakery sign, Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Olive oil, Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Restaurant, Turin, 2017

 

Statue of Ramses II, Egyptian Museum, Turin, 2017

 

Figure of the god Amun with King Horemheb, Egyptian Museum, Turin, 2017

 

Ushabti figure, Egyptian Museum, Turin, 2017

 

Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Marilyn, Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Flags in the breeze, Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

 

Retro-fashion, Santa Margherita Ligure, 2017

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