In The Studio

It’s Sunday morning here in the city called New York, and I thought I’d take some time to finally make another blog entry, six days after my last one. The truth be told, I’d wanted to post something three days ago, but I’ve been busy scanning negatives recently and was also just feeling too tired. I even wanted to develop some film but was too tired for that, too. (I do think I’ll have the energy to get some of that done today, however!)

The reason I’ve been busy scanning is to have enough images – and the kind of images I want – to put together my slide show DVD to be shown at the Community Zoe gathering in California in September. Putting together something like this that combines visual imagery with audio is something that I really enjoy doing, as I think the combination of visuals with music can be very powerful. Stanley Kubrick knew that, and that’s why he’s one of my favorite film directors. (Just think of how the space ship docked with the station in 2001: A Space Odyssey to the sound of Strauss’ Blue Danube waltz, or how the still images rapidly intercut with each other to the scherzo of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in A Clockwork Orange.)

Years ago, I even invited my aunt and uncle over to see a slide show (with a slide projector in those days) of the photos I’d taken at their son’s (my cousin’s) wedding a few months earlier. While projecting the slides I also played the wedding march from Mendelsohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the stereo, and the combination of the photos with the music was so effective that my aunt started crying all over again.

I’m trying to include different varieties of my nude figure work in my computer slide show, and that includes the work I’ve done in the studio. Right off the bat, I need to say this: I do not consider myself to be an especially good studio photographer. I’ve seen the work of photographers who do terrific studio work but whose outdoor figure work is only so-so. I think I’m the opposite of that – good work outdoors but only mediocre inside.

Here’s one example: I’ve recently scanned eleven photos from the studio session I did with Carlotta this past April, and I have to say that I am only happy with two of those eleven. (You can those two, with the black background, at the top here.) These images are from the first three rolls that I shot with her, and while I’m hopeful that the work from the last three rolls will be better, I had hoped to have gotten more from those first three. (On the other hand, I guess I should be happy if I got anything I’m satisfied with.)

If I don’t consider myself to be much of a studio photographer, why do I do it? Basically, out of necessity. If I want to do some figure work when it’s too cold outside to do that (which is most of the year here in the northeast), I’m basically relegated to my living room studio here at home. I don’t mind working in interesting interior spaces, but I don’t know of any that I could use. Even in the warm weather season, as I imagine I’ve written before here, it’s tough to find good outdoor spots around here with nobody around, so it’s no surprise that most of my nude work is done on the road.

Another problem hampering my studio work are the spatial limitations. I’ve seen some good studio work that looks like it’s been done in a reasonably sizable space, but here in my living room it’s pretty cramped. (I even have to move one of my stereo speakers out of the way just so I can have enough room to set up my tripod!)

I had the opportunity last weekend to photograph a recommended model here. Sadly, she had to cancel her trip to New York, but before she did, I really was pondering whether or not I should do another studio session, as I wasn’t feeling very happy with or inspired by my studio work. If she re-schedules her trip here, I guess I’ll have to make that decision again. Perhaps I just need to take some time to look over my studio work and see what works and what doesn’t. I’m also posting some photos of Natalia, made in my studio a couple of years ago as part of my mask series, that I am fairly happy with.

For now, though, it’s time to do some more scanning.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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