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Most of my work eventually comes back to portraiture. Having worked in and around the theater most of my life, as a photographer I like to create unexpected moments through play and experimentation.
This time around, the plan was to move away from focusing on the person and play with abstract composition— diagonal cascades of delicate limbs, or a tight crop of shoulder blades lit to suggest soft anvils.
I created several complex light setups which included Mole Richardson fresnels and soft lights, a projector with my own graphics, and some jewelry accents I'd made out of sculpted plastic.
I did create some images that were new for me and I liked them (probably only for their newness). Some abstract compositions that might look good over a couch. But-- the longer we worked-- the more I realized the props and lights were irrelevant.
What I finally decided was that working with nudity was important because it can give us a glimpse of who we think (italicized) we are. The subject (and I) can't hide under the fleecy hood or giant lapels— or the molded plastic jewelry. We’re committed to create something from nothing under a hot light in an empty space. We both urgently need to find meaning in the moment.
So, I began removing all the distractions and it eventually came down to a quiet conversation between Alex and me. All the tech it took was one light and a prime lens.
This is my favorite image we created. And-- it’s more about Alex and what we wanted to say— rather than just her shapes. Or the props.
For me, nudity and the body— even when tastefully abstract— must be about the person I’m working with. And about what they have to say in that moment.
So again—it all comes back to portraiture.