by Mark Laurie Published 01/10/2011
I would love to say that out of each set emerged a fine art nude print. Sometimes, in some settings, that was not even the goal. A lot of the images taken formed the basis, a progression would be the polite term, to the images that worked as ideas evolved and were 'polished'. Of the images that appealed, of which there was an embarrassing wealth, some would develop into really cool portfolio or competition images while others would hold very interesting possibilities for postproduction. Under critical consideration, only a few would emerge as rich fine art nude possibilities. That is the reality of the fine art image quest. Keep in mind that 'Fine Art Nudes' is a pretty broad description that covers a very wide range of collector preferences. What sells at any point will boil down to taste and perspective. I must admit that some fine art nude images just confuse me. The one in the dark grungy alley way with the spilled can of beans in the foreground, a nude model huddling in an upper corner with a feather hat on her head just loses me but will sell for more than three of mine combined. On the other hand, when photo artists such as the Yerburys and Damian McGillicuddy offer up images with such style and grace there is no confusion that their timeless pieces are fine art nudes.
In the end, no matter how incredible the setting is, it comes down to the model as the essential element. Ours were really hard working, good looking girls. I have not doubt there is more effort in modelling than in photographing. Any idea we came up with they were game for, adding their own energy into our request. They were fearless and a lot of fun because of it.
You don't have to worry about what a client wants, but you do have to decide what you want. Recreate an idea you saw; play with a photo tool you rarely get to use. Experiment without regard to failure because there is no client who will make you redo it if you do.
And collaborate, with the other photographers and with the models. It is a very fun process where often you wind up in a creative place you never imagined. Being aware of another photographer's creative process or approach is an eye opener
Jolts like these opportunities not only expand your thinking and skills, they breathe very fresh air into your portfolio. Because you are in such a foreign and unfamiliar situation, you tend to become hyper-aware of possibilities. The two images with the striped light is an example.
We were doing the pool shoot; one of the models taking a break had grabbed a chair and retired under the slated sun shelter. The effect was wonderful, even more effective when I cropped in so close. That led to one model, Erika, lying on the grass and by the time we were done we had all four models posed under the canopy. Now the shelter is not very high so I was balanced on chair, my head squished into the slats, my wide-angle lens creating the illusion of distance.
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