The long sigh, post launch

LATEST Fur Ink NEWS

So it's been almost a month since the launch.
My day job has been mostly keeping me mentally from the next few steps now, post launch, so apologises to everyone who has helped get it to this stage thus far.

Firstly i'd like to thank Marc at ArtBoy Gallery for all the hours of planning and preparation for the launch, including pointing me in directions for promotion I hadn't even considered.  Right through to hosting the launch itself which went extremely smoothly and a good turn out.

Thanks to all the presenters at JOY 94.9FM who have had me on their shows, a link to the podcasts below.  Also to Dean Arcuri who took photos of the launch party, again, photos below.

To all the models who participated and to everyone who turned up and bought a copy of the book, I thank you very much.  You've validated me as an artist in a way that will pave the way for more to come.

And finally thank you to my partner, Owen, who has given me the freedom to take time away from our limited spare time to pursue this passion and has stood by me the whole time.

So, I think that's the Oscar speech list out of my system, please feel free to peruse the podcast, photos of the event and to purchase your copy of the book, follow the link at the top of the page.

Podcast links
The Woods
(Podcast not up at time of blog post)

Mad Wednesdays with Dean

Sunday Arts Magazine

Photo From the Launch Party (Courtesy of Dean Arcuri)

 

An Artist's worth

A painter paints, a designer designs, a photographer photographs.
Whilst the concept is simple enough, we are what we can do, what if the resources to do what we do aren't available.  More so, what if we're expected to do what we can do, without the financial backing to simply get enough resources to do the work.
But as a photographer, you have a camera, isn't that enough?

Well fellow artist, James Gould-Bourn (graphic designer) decided to parody the responses of the commissioning people (all of whom say the same basic thing). 
Link HERE

One of my more favourite comments was:
"You don't just need money to maintain what you build, you need money to build it, too. You can't promise construction workers that they'll get paid once the tower is done. That shows a lack of management skills."

While I do have a camera and I can take a photo. The question is, how much of my time and skill are you willing to barter with to get the photo from the camera to you via editing process to you?

Roses are red, the sky is blue...

Or are they?

Whist beginning my new self training into Lightroom editing a thought had occurred to me.
The old argument of if the sky is actually blue or if it's another perceivable color in the end is kind of irrelevant if your perception of any given color is only limited to the vocabulary used to describe it.

For instance a color blind person who can see the gamut of hues may perceive say red as what others would see as grey, but if from birth if the word that used to describe it is still red, then for all the color blind person knows (unless they do a test for it) is that IS red. 

So to say that the sky is blue could also be for some people inaccurate but the argument persists that unless we all see and use the same words for the same thing, there is room for anomalies in the argument. 

Oh, and the sky is Totally Purple!  :P

Ethics - Why not to heavily edit

running through the internet as one often does, I came across this pearl of writing that, in hindsight of reading it, found I quite highly agreed with the moral.

That plus it's also a personal taste of capturing what is in the moment, warts and all, in the best possible way for the model by the photographer.

Buzzfeed Article

With a few taken quotes, I'll summarize.

A photographer specializing in sexy and risque styles was approached by a 40's-odd aged woman looking for sexy images of her for her husband's birthday.

“She came to me, looked me straight in the eyes, and said, ‘I want you to photoshop all of my cellulite, all of my angry red stretch marks, all of my fat, and all of my wrinkles….just make it go away. I want to feel gorgeous just once,’” Haltom wrote on Facebook.

So after the shoot, the editing and delivery of the photos the photographer got an email from the husband.

When I opened the album that she gave to me, my heart sank. These pictures…while they are beautiful and you are clearly a very talented photographer….they are not my wife. You made every one of her “flaws” disappear…and while I’m sure this is exactly what she asked you to do, it took away everything that makes up our life. When you took away her stretch marks, you took away the documentation of my children. When you took away her wrinkles, you took away over two decades of our laughter, and our worries. When you took away her cellulite, you took away her love of baking and all the goodies we have eaten over the years.

He concluded that receiving the photos had showed him that maybe he wasn’t telling his wife enough how beautiful he thought she was:

"She hears it so seldom, that she actually thought these photoshopped images are what I wanted and needed her to look like. I have to do better, and for the rest of my days I am going to celebrate her in all her imperfectness. Thanks for the reminder."

This the promoted the photographer to make a blanket rule that she wouldn't do extensive editing on any photos, to which I humbly agree.  You can be photographed as you are, for who you and still be sexy.  Even if you're after motivation to improve your health, editing an external person's ideal version of you may never look the same as any results you yeld.
 

Lifestyle: Fat by Choice and other bigger than life blogs

At lot of what I've been photographing in terms of models has been primarily focused on the bear community.  Mainly due to the stigma of being large is seen to equate to being unhealthy.

A few blogs I've since across have put an interesting perspective for the opposite, that being larger is actually better for self esteem.  Without summarizing it for you, here is the article:

Fat by Choice

I found this an amazing piece that speaks for the larger of us and quite proud of the author.
In other surfing of the webs, I've also come across this list of larger men fashion blogs that could also be of use to the bigger of us.

Bustle


In totally other news and closer to home, I'm now working with the local Bear community firstly as photographer, then as competitor/local ambassador in the Southern Hibearnation festival!
Photos of the event wont be posted until after the week, but fingers crossed I win the title...
Or the Men on Men art competition I've also entered.  A win either way would be awesome!

Winter 2015 Challenge

Time to launch the next challenge, get ready.... and GO!

Intent: To create images that illustrate your suburb of residence.

  • The image must not be any graffiti or contain any locational text.
  • If people are in the photo, majority must be facing towards the camera.
  • Photos are to be of publicly accessible viewing spaces. (No private backyard shots for example.)
  • To honor the origin of this challenge, you can only take a maximum of 24 photos for the whole project. 
    This is to simulate film based photography, so you need to plan your shots and take your time.
    Only 3 images may be submitted of the 24 you can take.

Conditions: In order to participate you must work within the following conditions:

  • The medium of artwork is to only be photography.
  • An artist may enter any time before the works are to be submitted.
  • All works submitted must in before 31st Aug 2015.
  • Artists may watermark their work if they wish, but only with a basic name and copyright in the bottom left or right corners of the image.
    Any links to portfolios can be included upon publishing here if you wish to provide one to me.

Psychological Benefits of photography

A post I've been meaning to write for some time now has been about how photography improved a lot about someone's perspective on life, outside of the now more than common selfie pics we over bloat our lives with in this day and age.

When the proper time is given to know a bit about a model, like's and traits, the photographer can begin to shape an image that gives credit to how they perceive the inner workings of how a person may think or feel at any time.  Sometime the trick is to complement those outward thoughts of a model, however sometimes its quite amazing what can occur by given them new perspectives from other approaches to what images the models are involved in creating.  This can be perhaps changing fashion styles, altering the viewing angle or distance, hiding troublesome unique parts of their body to highlight other and more appealing features.  Many methods have been used through the ages to present an image more appealing than the inner self often has come to see.

Part of what has developed in my understanding of late is how, from a academic view, of how to explain how this affects ones self view positively.  Let's take Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

The lowest two levels, are of material things and foundations for each of us.  The upper three are fluctuating on a somewhat minute by minute basis.  All of which supports the tier above it.

When listening to a radio podcast, the TED Radio hour from NPR, one of the show's topics was based on this hierarchy.  When going through the tier's of Love and Esteem, i started to recall and relate what some of my models have commented on through their modelling journey.  Let's explain each tier:

Love/Belonging: A big part of photography is for the photographer to make the model feel comfortable, like a psychologist would ease their clients, but in less formal and more social way.  Whilst it can be very rewarding and a lot easier to do with models you've made prior friendships with, its still quite possible to develop that space with total strangers you met on the day.  The method I start with is have a conversation, be upfront, clear and honest about what's expected; where the photos are going to be used as well as my intent where my own artwork direction is concerned.  By having a base for the new models to reflect on my style and allowing the models to have as much input as I do as the director.
et the photo session evolve naturally and not sit reworking the same pose over and over until it's done to death.  It can bore the models and unless you very clear on what look it can waste time instead of something more natural to the model.  Letting them be themselves helps get the very best shoots as well as confidence in the photographer / model relationship.

Esteem: For a photographer, I find this comes from validation from the models in the moment, when you know chemistry and creativity are working well.  In post production from the critique from model, public and fellow photographers alike, helping hone your skills even further.
From models I've been working with over a few shoots now, I've got a lot of positive feed back.  From the validation of feeling wanted, right through to the increased attention from other people, the photography sessions have improved the models lives and in turn their own image of themselves.

I hope that the last and intended part of the graphic book I hope to finalise by the end of this year will impart this love and sense of belonging onto other people who haven't felt as attractive and wanted as it has the models and myself.

Post Southern Hibearnation Review

It's been a while since I was asked to be a running photographer for the VicBears annual Bear run.  I skipped last year to take a step back and see things from a regular punters perspective, only to find i was still closer to understanding what happens than most.  This year I decided I'd take up the mantle again, only to find out a month or two beforehand I'd be shooting alone, unlike previous years I've worked with another photographer to get the best of two angles.

After 8 days, countless hours or mingling, help preparing venues and nearly 1000+ photos taken it's all over for another year.  The tears flowed for the winner of Mr Australisia Bear, Erin O'Neill, who was new to the gay and bear life within the last 12 months himself.  Many new connections were made, both local, interstate and thank to the Where The Bears Are crew, internationally as well.  It's my intention to get interviews with them for the podcast when it begins.

One of the hardest parts to wrap my head around, before, during and then realize soon after, is that its a week where everything becomes hyper sensitized. The sexual prowess of people going, be it at the sauna or other events in hopes to be having an evening rendezvous with an out of towner.  Or the looking glass of how we perceive what it means to be a bear, masculinity and brotherhood.  These elements are taken out of everyday context for many and in the end there is often a euphoric sense of being able to achieve anything. But when faced with real life burdens and necessities, these often well made plans seem to crumble or at least not be as fulfilled as we'd hoped.

On the other hand on of the big benefits of being a photographer or at least not a committee member who orchestrates each and every event, has let to a deep countering of the stresses my day job had burdened me with over the past 6 months.  A chance to escape the expectations of those who except much, to seek enjoyment and praise for something I have less a burden and more creative enjoyment doing.  If I could trade one for the other without the lack of financial reward changing, I'd seriously consider it. 

 

If it hasn't been covered before, when someone is physically hot in a way that clearly requires effort to maintain, I often wonder what's behind the physical veil, the drive to make someone mind tick enough to maintain a routine to reap such reward?  

I found myself wondering that exact think with the show pony of sorts from the Where The Bears Are visitor, Ian Parks, actor and the character 'Hot Toddie' on the show.  I had seen more than enough to know what he looks like via the internet over the years without thinking i'd ever met him.  So it was no surprise every time i saw him topless when he had to be for stage or camera.  But it wasn't the body that intrigued me so much as his mannerisms in the crowd.  Often he would hang back, be reclusive if not avoid the sea of people all together.  In the briefest of dialogue we shared I often felt he did not feel like he fit in, initially it can across what I interpreted as arrogance.  I was not the only person who got this feeling and over the week, i heard comments reflecting the same thoughts i had.

It wasn't until I'd spoken with a wiser if not similarly troubled bear who'd been following Ian's twitter for a while who'd given me an insight into Ian's own dialogue shared via his Twitter.  It would seem to the outside person, as i had felt it was arrogance that Ian showed, was actually reservedness and shy in an aloof way.  After I'd realized I'd been harsh to take the negative viewpoint to justify any level of self-superiority, i felt somewhat foolish and empathetic to him beyond that.

 

All in all was a wonderful week for me and new resolution to not look for the cracks before looking for the light in people.  The authorized sample photos to be added soon.

So it begins...

Today i wake up to realize the website launched without me knowing. Oh well, Welcome i guess.

Over the next few weeks I'll be lining up the portfolio of photos and getting a few more models sorted for new shoots.  Among my work schedule that is.

Please comment with some positive and CONSTRUCTIVE suggests.  Thanks!