Tag Archives: nude

Natural Sculptures

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A few years back I met Bess Wyrick. She was doing a floral instillation in Gramercy Park’s Rose Bar — a giant hanging skeleton made from white flowers. I had always thought about flowers in the sense of arrangements but never really in the form of a live sculpture. There is something I really love about the idea of creating art that can only last and be appreciated for a short amount of time before its organic nature recycles back into the earth. An amazing example of that is in the whimsical work of Patrick Dougherty which blows me away.

Whenever Bess is in New York we try to collaborate. Most recently I asked Caroline to come by the studio and pose for me, something we have been doing together for years now. Bess, being the sculptor she is, created this spring garden nymph moment around Caroline’s delicate body which, to me, is reminiscent of the fleeting weeks when we get to dance under the pink shade of the cherry blooms before nature moves on to the green gardens of summer.

This May I’m going to be heading out to L.A. to spend a weekend retreat at Rose Story Farm (remember how we had roses shipped from them for this beautiful shoot?!) with Bess doing a workshop on flower arranging and creative expression. It’s going to be a lovely group of women, so think about joining us if you out in L.A.! More info on the workshop can be found here.

Happy Spring!

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The Female Nude

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I am a woman. I am aware of my body like any normal human being. It’s not a surprise, just look at the images served up to us. Everyone is beautiful, happy, young, thin… they have the perfect (insert your own personal thoughts here) stomach, eye brows, waist, legs, hips- sometimes it feels like an impossible treadmill of perfect we will never really achieve because of genetics, because we have real life and real work and can’t spend the amount of time it takes to achieve “perfection”.

But really, what is perfect?

I’ve always be interested in shooting nudes. I started in college. The body is one of the most beautiful, natural things about life. The way it changes, the way it gives life, the way each is our own and that is what makes us special. I wouldn’t take my grandmother’s wrinkles away, or Dad’s loving soft hugs, or seeing my sister-in-law’s body change carrying the amazing twins my family adores. I would not say that I have had body issues all my life, but as I’ve gotten older I had to learn to look in the mirror and teach myself to stop judging the way I look compared to other people.

As a photographer I look for what is photogenic from people to places to the design of a still life. I’m not going to lie, I love tall beautiful thin fashion models. They are like illustrations of illusions of an idea of who we think we are or could be. Fantasy is part of the fun, photographing that fantasy is one of the things that I love most.

However…

There is a place for curves too. Curves are incredible. When our model Jourdan walked in I was honestly first taken back by her personality. Her confidence. Confidence is the one of the greatest quality anyone can possess. She was cool, smart, comfortable in her own skin. She was one of the least self-deprecating models I’ve ever worked with. When we started making photographs a lot changed for me. Not only as a photographer but as a woman. Maybe even more importantly as a woman. Here was a human, not afraid to let me photograph her with nothing to hide behind, no character to portray, no fantasy story to tell, it was just her. In the moment. In the light. Just the way she is.

After this shoot I had a mix of emotions. Her body, so beautiful, so photographic in its shapes and contours was in one word: inspiring. She made me realize that the female form in any shape and size is incredible. To have curves, softness, confidence was true beauty. She represented to me what being a woman was all about. I understood why Renior and Matisse painted the way they did and I saw that beauty too. I was so proud to be a woman and in my personal life, more confident about the size of my chest and softness around my stomach. If wrinkles show the hand of time and the life that was lived, curves show the fertility of it and the raw attraction of humanity.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that women come in many fascinating forms and, at this sitting, I saw beauty in a way that should be more often seen.

Here’s to the beautiful form we call being a WOMAN.

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Old School Photography

Holiday_Card_2014_02 Much about being a creative is really understanding your voice and your vision, which isomething I have struggled with in the past while trying to find myself as an artist. With the passage of time and constant study, you start to see who you are, what you love and then… how the world truly looks to you. I will never be able to escape my tendency toward romance, beauty, simplicity, emotion and the classics.

So, I embrace it.

I can never ignore the soul fulfilling satisfaction of taking a photograph from concept, to composition, and then captured at just the right moment on film. That one shot, the quarter of a second pulled from time and eternalized into a physical object of study. This was the birth of photography for me, this was how you would take a picture and then agonize through your fear of mistakes in the waiting of development; a torturous process that I’m insanely in love with. In 2012 I decided that our studio holiday cards would be created in this fashion every year as a way for me to count the passage of time, to make something of an artifact for the people in my life, and to slow down from our crazy digitized lives back to where it all began for me as a photographer. I get to give the best I’ve got in this old school process; my vision, my thoughts, my mind, my passions, my skill and most of all, my time.

For this year’s studio holiday card I thought about the recurring visuals from 2014 and let my mind’s eye wash away in the strong currents of pictorial memories. What stood out to me? What did I learn about myself? What did I realize I loved? We traveled around and around the world to Bali, Brazil, Australia, Ghana, Dominican Republic, Provence, Germany, England, the American South, and Peru (more on that next week!) and you’ve been with me each step of the way these 12 months.

As I reflected on the year the place I loved most was Paris. It keeps coming back to me, as if a part of my soul is there waiting. I love the classic nature of her perfectly white architecture. The endless amounts of art and inspiration. And of course, the light. I love the way the french look at beauty and the physical form. As an adult now in charge of my own body, destiny and confidence, I’ve found that I am now enamored with the beauty of the body, it’s evolution and ever changing shapes, the softness of skin and functionality that make us human. I thought about the beautiful sculptures of Paris that dot my endless walks, the thing I love to do most there. I thought about that day I spent in the Louvre with my father and all those breathtaking halls of beauty celebrating the female form. Then that was it. I wanted to bring all of those things into my world, in front of my lens, on an early winter evening at Ann Street Studio…

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Using a dark changing bag I loaded Ilford Delta 400 black and white film into my 4×5 sheet film holders. Below our intern Sarah Rocco captured behind the scenes shots photographing model Mitzi who I previously worked with at our studio and who I knew had the type of body I was going for.  Holiday_Card_2014_07 Holiday_Card_2014_11

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Márcia Ganem

Márcia_Ganem_02 One of the joys of traveling is discovery. Discovering new food, a breathtaking view, new smellsa new skyan amazing hotel, a new way to see life and in Salvador da Bahia we discovered fashion designer Márcia Ganem. Drawing from the Bahian tradition of handcrafted lace, Marcia brings it into our modern day by constructing garments and accessories out of salvaged seat-belts! I loved how her pieces look to the eye as delicate as the finest lace but in actuality are almost indestructible. I purchased a beautiful jacket whose construction looks like the intricate and delicate skeleton of a fish in white and reminds me of the lightness of this special city and the inspiring artist we met along the way…

My travel companion Kelly and I put our pieces together at the studio on our beautiful muse Macy Nicol, turning her into something like the exotic birds we saw on our journey through South America with that all important touch of African influence whose roots in Salvador are undeniable.

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