Project #1: Life, at Home

I’ve never previously set myself photography projects in the art sense. This nude self portraiture project “all a blur” took perhaps 15 years before I even realised that it was a project! It will now continue towards its 30th year. The environmental nudes “elemental” project also evolved, becoming a well defined diversion from the self portraiture involving other people but rooted in my passion for the nude.

So for me to determine that I am going to carry through two new defined projects over the next year or two is indeed unusual. I’ll probably write about why another time but for the moment it’s important to get these projects defined so that then they will happen.

The second project will lean towards my street photography but this one is about my interest in the more personal nude.

MikeMike is an artist who I have photographed at home with his work

I have found myself building up a group of life model contacts, not by design but by accident, and would like to shoot life models at home, nude & also clothed should they wish. This will be done predominately on black and white film in a personal style bearing the imprint of the model’s personality. You can hopefully see this style in some of my existing work.

Being a life model is quite an impersonal activity. For life artists there is often little or nothing that can be known about the personality of the individual model in front of them and the poses are often intentionally contrived. In what I will be asking for I am concious that the project will take many life models out of their comfort zone, indeed some may never have been photographed nude and perhaps few in images that I hope will create an emotional connection with the viewer.

These are portraits, not figure studies. The face is all important. Reflecting my use of the word ‘personal’ I intend to to follow the principles I apply to myself to preserve anonymity when naked where desired.

I still have to work out the detail of how it might work, but models will be very welcome to have other people about during the shoot, even in some of the images. The fundamental is that the subject must be a genuine life model willing to be photographed nude at their own home.

Don’t scratch that!

I have been using film a lot recently for street photography, have posted some results but have lots more images to come. Yesterday I had three shots left on a roll (you will have to wait a few hours to see Croydon!) and for the first time in perhaps 12 years decided to use them on myself. With just three shots, no review, no concept (other than to quickly use up the roll) and zero preparation, the result was never going to be high art.

Now my memory goes back 27 years because that impromptu way of finishing a roll was perhaps how the first nude self portraits were captured. Then I did not develop the film myself. This time I did, but rather stupidly used a squeegee on the film. The softness is due to my use of a scratch removal filter. Lesson learned.

The title is a mixed reference – the thought went through my mind of not showing the image because of the alleged lack of ‘high art’. But (at a risk of boring those who have read this before), the art is in the long term project! It’s nice to return to film.

Nude self portrait captured on Ilford FP4 film.

Captured on Ilford FP4 film. Pentax ME with 50mm f1.4 lens.