ZoeFest 2008

I returned home late last night from my week spent at this year’s annual Community Zoe gathering at Twentynine Palms, California. This is a town that’s about an hour’s drive from Palm Springs in the California desert, and is located just a few miles from Joshua Tree National Park. CommZoe is a website dedicated to fine art nude photography, so the people who attend are photographers who do art nude photography and the models who grace this genre.These events have been held annually since the first one in 2002, which was pretty much an impromptu get-together from what I understand. I attended the events in 2003 near Woodstock, NY; in 2004 at Joshua Tree, CA (just down the road from this year’s event); and in 2005 at Flagstaff, AZ. I’ve always enjoyed attending, as it gives me the chance to meet old friends and make new ones (both photographers and models), plus the opportunity to create new work, too. I was unable to make it the past two years, but this year my schedule permitted it, and I was able to stay for the full week, too.Things could have gotten off to a shaky start for me, as my flight out of New York City coincided with the day that tropical storm Hannah was attacking the east coast. Fortunately, my flight was early enough (6:45 am) to avoid any delays. Things did not go so well once I landed in Palm Springs, however.

Once I picked up my rental car near the airport, I needed to pick up Madame Bink, one of the models who was attending the event. On the way to her hotel, about six miles from the airport, I noticed that the car had very poor pick-up. I’d press the accelerator to the floor but the car would barely go over 30 MPH. Then the driver behind me motioned to me, pulled up next to me and told me that smoke was coming from one of the tires!

That got me pretty scared, but I decided to continue on to Madame Bink’s hotel, where I found her sitting in the lobby waiting for me. I explained the problem with her – and then I spent a lot of time on my mobile phone explaining the problem to the rental car company and trying to work out a solution. A tow truck arrived to take the car away, but I thought I’d have to take a cab back to the airport to pick up a new car! Finally, though, someone from the rental agency drove out to pick us in another car, and then drove us back to the airport rental location to get things straightened out.

Unfortunately, another model, Ivory Flame, was also waiting for me to pick her up. She was to arrive by bus in Palm Springs earlier in the day, but when her bus was delayed, her arranged ride could no longer get her. So, she called me and I agreed to take her with me, too. By the time we finally got to her, she’d been sitting outside for a couple of hours, at least, in the hot desert heat – though for someone with very fair skin she seemed to have held up fairly well. When the three of us finally arrived at the hotel in Twentynine Palms it was pretty much nighttime – and we were all glad to be there at last.

As for photography, I worked with nine models over the course of six days, using 45 rolls of 220-size B&W film with my primary camera, the Pentax 67, but also exposing four rolls of 120 film with my Holga, a $20 all plastic camera that has a large cult following. Even though I have 58 rolls of film from earlier in the year waiting to be developed, I’ve decided to do at least one roll of film from each of the models now in order to have something to show to them and to others. I’ve already developed three and the results look fairly good.

For now, I’m posting photos made with my pocket digital camera of the first three models I worked with: Madame Bink (middle photo), Laura (top) and Claudine (bottom). I’ll write more next time.

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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3 Responses to ZoeFest 2008

  1. Lin says:

    Wow, what a trip!Hope you managed to shoot with IvoryFlame too. She’s a fantastic model!

  2. Thom says:

    Dave, you have a great blog. I enjoy reading about your travels and experiences. I’ve been trying my hand at Fine-art photography and hoping to do more. You are an encouragement.

  3. Dave Rudin says:

    Thank you, Thom, for your kind words about my blog. It’s gratifying to know that my words here have been a source of encouragement for others. I hope that they will continue to be so.Sorry, Lin, but I did not get to work with Ivory Flame this time. She told me that she should be here in New York some time, so perhaps I’ll still have a chance.

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