I can still hear Gomer Pyle’s voice ringing in my ears as I think of that phrase that he seemed to say so often, and that’s what I kept thinking about last week after I paid a visit to the Barnes & Noble bookstore near my office one day last week. I had an event to attend that evening, but it didn’t start until almost two hours after I finished work, so I decided to take a stroll over to B&N to look around for a while.
The first thing I did was to look at the magazine section, and there I saw some copies of the January/February issue of the internationally distributed French magazine PHOTO, which is its annual contest issue, for which thousands of people around the world send in work to be included. I have been submitting photos to this competition since the late 1990’s, when people needed to actually mail prints to France, though now photos can be uploaded online.
Nude, England, 2017
The first time one of my photos was printed in the magazine was in 1999, and since then it’s been on and off, including a long six year drought from 2008 to 2013, followed by three straight years of getting in. (Go figure.) I knew that I would have nothing in last year’s issue, as I waited too long to make my submission and was unable to log into the magazine’s website on the last day for entering – and the website appeared to have changed that final day to a day earlier, as well.
I made sure that I submitted on time for the current issue. As is usual, I had to wait until I – or someone I know – actually saw the magazine once it’s been published to know if any of my work was included, as the magazine does not inform people if any of their photos have been selected. Although it’s released in France in January, it typically does not seem to reach U.S. newsstands until sometime in March these days, so I was rather surprised to see copies of it in February.
I had no expectation of seeing any of my photos inside, however, as I had written to a Facebook friend in France who had told me that he had looked at the magazine – twice – and had not seen any of my photos included. He had, however, told me that my good friend Dave Levingston had gotten a photo in, so it was to see his photo that I picked up a copy (thankfully not wrapped in plastic as it sometimes is) and flipped through it.
I eventually reached the section for nude photographs (“Nu” in French), and sure enough, there was Dave’s color photograph on page 76. I wanted to see more of the magazine, so I looked onward – and there, on the very next page, and to my great surprise, was one of my own photos, as well! You can imagine how I felt upon seeing this, not having expected to see any of my work included, but obviously I was very happy and pleased by this rather pleasant surprise. Why my friend in France did not notice my photo I do not know as I have not asked him yet. Perhaps he was looking at the photographs, rather than the names of the photographers printed beneath them, and simply didn’t recognize my photo. (Whatever the reason, I do not hold him at fault.)
As for the photograph itself, it was made in England two years ago, when I was working with an English photographer who goes by the name Imagesse. I had seen him and his work on a model/photographer website, and had decided to write to him because I liked his photos and to ask for recommendations about models to work with. (I had gone to London to attend a weeklong language class there, and decided to try working with models the weekends before and after the class.)
I had also suggested that we perhaps try to meet to work together with some models, and this we did. Ultimately, we chose to work with three of England’s finest – Rebecca Tun, Ivory Flame and Ella Rose – and they are the three that you see in the photograph here. It was a full day outing, beginning at the ruins of an abbey (seen here) and continuing on to some other locations where we unfortunately had to dodge other people much of the time, finally ending up at one of England’s most famous Neolithic stone circles. Despite the difficulties, it was nonetheless a fun day, and in addition to working with Ivory and Ella for the first time, it was very nice to get out of London to see some of England’s bucolic countryside and some charming small villages.
I hope that I will have a similar opportunity again.
(Oh, and if you want to hear Gomer Pyle, click here.)
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.