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The project began with the idea of seeking the intersection between fashion photography and fine art nude photography. The overcoat, the last of the Marine Corps uniforms I dragged around for many years after ending my attempt at a military career, resonated with me as a subtle prop for a series of images to build into my portfolio. Although I trace the origin of the series back to 2005 (my wife was the first model to pose wearing the coat), I began photographing professional models wearing or draped with nothing or little more than the overcoat as part of a series of nudes and implied nudes in 2011. Since then more than a dozen models have posed for this project. I hope to continue the project until the coat is threadbare, or I am threadbare, whichever comes first.
The Overcoat series fits within the context of how I shoot the female nude, an approach I describe as “themed” nude and implied nudes. The unadorned female nude is a beautiful image, and I do often photograph the nude for the sake of its inherent beauty. Far more often, however, I am drawn to create images where the anonymous nude is interacting with a shape or form. The overcoat is one of several items I have used to create these kinds of images. I fell in love with the feel and texture of the overcoat that is revealed in the folds and lay of the wool when sidelights catch just right, and the way the contrasting tones of the corporal’s insignia on the sleeves serve to break the uniform lines and form of the overcoat. Each model I’ve worked with adds an interesting or dynamic element with each pose, something special and unique that she alone could add to the texture of the images we create.
Images from the project have been selected for honorable mention by several magazines and digital competitions, and a print of Overcoat #2 exhibited at Gallery 7 in Joliet, Illinois in 2014. In the words of one gallery curator, the project adds “dreamy nature” and a “sultry subject matter” to my black and white portfolio.