Archive | nude studies

A dilapidated hand cart on the Greek island of Milos. Mamiya c330, Kodak Plus-X, June 2012

A dilapidated hand cart on the Greek island of Milos. Mamiya c330, Kodak Plus-X, June 2012

This is a short post.  Some of you have noticed that I have updated my blog.  It is more spiffy, easier to change and I am liking the header photo idea.  I have been taking some pictures to use specifically for this image. It changes my eye, this is for sure.

I have also spent the last few hours updating my photography site right here .  There is  link on the right hand side of this page, but this makes it easier.  New to the gallery is a portfolio called ‘Kyklades Wall Project’ which is an idea I have bounced back-and-forth with Liz Carson for the past year.  It is a medium format study of the stone walls throughout the Kyklades.  I still have many islands to photograph, so this is just a beginning.  I am hoping to make the best of them into a book someday.  There is a reason for these photos, but that is my business.  If you search for ‘island hopping’ in my blog you will find more details on these images…

I also cleaned up the b/w image bank.  I have separated out the Greek from the American and the European from the Greek.  Nice and neat.  I have changed the slide show so that the photo captions can now be read and the user gets to move back and forth at will.  Overall, I think it represents a more current file of my work to date.  ‘Goodbye’ to the Bosnian color pieces and ‘farewell’ to the Roma of the Former Yugoslavia.  They were getting me down.

Christmas has passed and 2013 is just around the corner.  Then I have three more weeks before I head back to Greece, Paros, The Aegean Center for the Fine Arts, gavros, gigantes, horta and the next round of photographic adventures.


Post time…Vienna…

I haven’t posted in quite a while.  I’ll give the short-story to catch up and then expound a bit…

The student exhibition for the Fall 2012 Aegean Center was lovely.  The students worked hard, expressed their individual talents and it showed.  That’s all I have to say really, except well done to all!  I am looking forward to the spring session and all that it may hold.  Challenges, rewards, hard work, hikes, frustrations and solutions.  It all makes up the rich pageant that is the Aegean Center for the Fine Arts.

I traveled to Athens and stayed there for two days.  While I was there I was able to see an exhibit from the photographer Helmut Newton.  I was surprised.  I have seen much of his work over the years, in books mostly, so to see full-sized prints was stunning.  There was also a movie, made by his wife of almost 50 years, June Newton.  It portrayed a man severely maligned by the press and the photo-world as being a pervert and a weirdo.  The truth was eye-opening.  He worked hard, used incredible skill with no trickery and produced some of the more iconic images in fashion I have ever seen.  His CV reads like a who’s-who of the fashion world: Vogue, Elle, Yves St. Laurent…the list goes on.  His commentary was clear and the filmed interactions with his models proved beyond a doubt the level of respect for their professionalism and grace.  At one point he said that his goal was to make a fashion shoot not look like a fashion shoot, but rather something from a movie.  He also talked about the gear he uses, i.e. not much: a Hasselblad 500 and a Polaroid for the light tests.  He switched to a basic canon EOS digital later on his career for the lighting tests.  Very few exterior lights and almost no studios that looked like studios.  His eye captured the realities behind the shoot as well as the focus.   I left the show feeling like it was a good two hours spent in the afternoon. The next day I flew to Vienna and was greeted by the lights of a city in Christmas season and the weather to match.  It’s cold here, folks.  Last night it went down to 18*F.  Today was cloudy and chilly and snow is predicted for tomorrow night.

I visited the Albertina Museum today to see the Albrecht Durer show.  It was a huge event focusing on his work during the reign of Emperor Maximilian I.  Many of the works mentioned in the Wiki article were on display for the first time in decades.   I have to leave descriptions of those for the next post since I will include many links.

Tonight I dine on tafelspitz and then walk down to the Burg Kino Theater and watch ‘The Third man’.


Some Robert Henri-isms…

Here are some quotes from Robert Henri, from his book ‘The Art Spirit’.  It has given me great joy and pleasure in the past 24 hours.  His words, I feel,  are meditations…

“An art student should read, or talk a great deal with those who have read.  His conversations with his intimate fellows should be more about his life and less of paint.”

“He should be careful of the influence of those with whom he consorts, and he runs a great risk in becoming a member of a large society, for large bodies tend toward the leveling of individuality to a common consent, the forming of adherence to a creed.”

“An artist who does not use his imagination is a mechanic.”

“All things change according to the state we are in.  Nothing is fixed.”

“There is nothing in all the world more beautiful or significant of the laws of the universe than the nude human body. In fact it is not only among the artists but among all people that a greater appreciation and respect for the human body should develop. When we respect the nude we will no longer have any shame about it.”

“The art student of these days is a pioneer. He lives in a decidedly colorless, materialistic age…Sometimes in the past we shot ahead, in certain ways, ahead of where we are now…We have yet as a body to come up to the art of living.”

“If a man has the soul of an artist he needs mastery of all the means of expression so that he may command them, for with his soul in activity he has much to say.”

“It is a splendid thing to live in the environment of great students. To have them about you in person if you can. If not in person, in their works. To live with them. Great students agree and disagree. They stir the waters.”

“If you want to know how to do a thing you must first have a complete desire to do that thing. Then go to kindred spirits–others who have wanted to do that thing–and study their ways and means, learn from their successes and failures and add your quota. Thus you may acquire from the experience of the race. And with this technical knowledge you may go forward, expressing through the play of forms the music that is in you and which is very personal to you.”

“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.”


16 days, crossing things off the list and postal updates…

I haven’t been counting the days recently so imagine my surprise when I realized that I had only 16 days until I head back to Greece!  Amazing, really, just amazing.  I am very excited to return to Paros and the Aegean Center and begin working. It feels like I do no work here.  Although I take pictures and develop film I seem to spend more time combing through my Netflix queue and meeting friends for coffee and all that.  On Paros I have days full of reading, dark room work, digital work, artistic discussion and more that are much more fulfilling.  I also get more exercise which is good since I tend to loaf around here more than anything-and gain weight in the process.  This isn’t saying that I do not “get things done” because I do.  I have been crossing many things off the list recently and  am confident that I will be departing Ancramdale in ship-shape-and-Bristol-fashion.

The tree work and storm cleanup has been finished.  The place looks lovely and we are getting everything ready for spring, which is just around the corner.  No snow to speak of, but we are supposed to get some tonight and this weekend.  the ‘Farmer’s Almanac’ claims a big storm later in the month, but thankfully before I leave.  We shall see.  Mom’s care is all set-up and all the important adjustments have been made for her going forward for the next few months.  I have visited my father in Pittsburgh and followed through on that commitment.  The donations to charities have been made and I feel hundreds of pounds lighter than I as before–not so much material stuff anymore.  It has been a cathartic few weeks for sure.  I have also hired some new employees to replace my mother’s long-time home maintenance man.  He has been a good guy but in the past few years has begun to flake out due to burnout.  It is time to switch to those who have the resources and will to do the job.  I’ll bring the Mini Cooper up to the shop in Latham next week for a tune-up and then it will be ready to sit quietly until I return in July.  I’ll have someone drive it once in a while during my absence.

The boxes I have sent to Paros have all but arrived.  Three are on the island and have been delivered to the school, but four are still in customs, waiting to be released.  I have had to jump through some hoops to have them cleared but I think that they will be soon.  I’ll be charged a fair amount of money for their freedom, but it will be worth it in the end.  The other night I had to call Greek Customs at 3:40 AM to speak to the official there, but I think I have solved that problem.  It was not without a lot of help so, from the bottom of my heart, I thank those who eased the tensions and fears around this issue and acted on my behalf.  You know who you are!

On another note, I have so many wonderful interactions with other Aegean Center alums here in New York that I am bowled over by the solidarity.  First was the meeting at the Metropolitan with Jeffrey, Liz and the others and then the other day I met with some other former students at MoMA and the Met for a wonderful day of art and conversation.  Really great!  I am grateful to have had the time with them and thankful that I am able to do so.  Super photography, beautiful paintings and a lot of crappy post-modern junk have assured me that I am on the right path and that my ethics are true.

More to come…


Watching the sea from a quiet place…

I am sitting here on Paros, in a small cafe called ‘Pebbles’.  The sun is out and sky is full of big, puffy white clouds.  It is chilly and windy so the large picture windows frame the blue Aegean, the scattering of small islands and the tip of the peninsula across the bay.  Near the tip, where the rocks meet the sea is a small church.  The blue dome is darker than the pale blue sky above it.  It is the Church of Agios Fokas whose name day is September 22.  I am not sure what he is the saint of, or why he was martyred, if at all, or what miracle he performed.

I have only a small amount of work to finish in the darkroom.  Two more re-prints tonight and then I can begin the selenium process. After that I can matte the 13 pieces that will go into the flip file at the student show on December 9th and choose the one piece to hang.  I am pleased with the results and believe they show great skill, craft and an elevation of the commonplace to a higher status.

My digital work seems to be at a standstill with six finished pieces of the twelve I wish to complete.  Truthfully I am waiting to hear what the Director’s decision will be on nude figure studies among the students.  I still feel as if I have been discriminated against either due to my age, gender or sexual orientation (which is indeterminate-love is love and should follow no gender.)  To be honest, I have no desire to photograph anyone nude anymore and my current work does not contain any examples of this milieu.  A few days ago another student shot a nude figure study with a female student and for all I know this has been sanctioned by the head office.  I applaud his work for I feel that this an art school and this kind of work should exist and continue to be a part of the process.  It is not a cloistered convent or monastery.  I feel sad about the turn of events for I feel that my future here on Paros hinges on the decision to come.  If the answer is that some can and some cannot, then I will not return in the spring and, indeed, may even leave before the student show in less than two weeks.  I am willing to admit that in the past I have made horrible and devastating moral and ethical choices.  I am also ready to stand up for the fact that in the past 10 years I have not made these kinds of choices due to radical changes in my life and lifestyle. Instead I have tried to stand firmly on a rock of honesty, willing to admit when I have been wrong and trying my best to not condemn others for their own human failings.  All of this takes a great deal of work.

So this quiet cafe overlooking the ever-changing sea is good for me today.  Keith Jarrett is on the stereo and his meditative piano blends well with the sound of the wind outside, the wash of waves on the rocks and the gradual sinking of the sun to the western horizon.  I have turned over my problems to those who can help me the most and hope that the worst is merely a figment of my imagination and that this has been just a misunderstanding.