As we reach the end of 2014, I'm entering 2013 in my photography blog. It's definitely an interesting juxtaposition, especially as I take into account that I'm still working on editing images from several shoots that occurred in December 2013. Still, it's interesting to realize how I changed my approach towards photography in 2013.
First off, I gained enough confidence in myself to actually proceed with holding my own photo shoots with models. Sure, being part of the photography meet-up group was awesome in the sense that I was able to bounce ideas off of more experience photographers as well as working with various models through the shoots. However, I felt that I needed to do my own thing if I wanted to bring to life several ideas and images floating around my head. In order to make that happen, I definitely needed to strike out on my own and attempt to work with models that captured my attention.
Of course, by making the decision to strike out on my own, that meant that I also needed to invest my photography infrastructure and equipment. Yeah, it was definitely an eye opener to see how much money I was spending on lighting equipment and stands and figuring out what I wanted to use a backdrops. Plus, I needed to figure out where I was going to hold shoots. So yeah, 2013 was definitely a change for me and an evolution in how I approached photography. It was definitely an important year for me.
My first opportunity to actually to conduct my own photo shoot came in June 2013. During the first half of the year, I was focused on grad school, doing well in my classes, and working. However, by the time that June rolled around, I was feeling burnt out and needing a creative outlet to recharge. As such, I decided that I needed to head down to San Antonio for a long weekend and was going to hold a couple of photo shoots in the hotel suite that I was staying in. It was definitely cool to say the least.
For the long weekend, I ended up staying at a hotel a couple of blocks from the Riverwalk. The hotel was definitely charming with a older, Cuban feeling to it with some cool retro furnishings. It definitely made for a good backdrop for the shoots and allowed me to capture some different images throughout the four shoots that I did that long weekend. As such, it was a great opening to 2013 and my approach towards photography.
My first photo shoot in 2013 was with Don Edwin, a San Antonio-based model. I loved working with Don throughout the shoot. He had an easy-going attitude throughout the shoot. He definitely has an awesome body and a stunning looks, but his personality and attitude definitely made the shoot fun and go by quickly. Actually, we were only scheduled to do a three hour shoot before his shift as a bartender, but we ended up going for four and half hours when he found out that bar was closed for the night. So that was definitely awesome as I got some awesome images during that additional hour and a half.
For the shoot, I wanted to focus on photographing Don modeling various underwear. He humored me as I photographed him posing in boxer briefs, briefs, jockstraps, and some racier underwear styles. In the gallery dedicated to the shoot with Don, there are several images of him posing in the various underwear. As I mentioned before, Don has an awesome body and definitely filled out the underwear he was modeling. Actually, I'll be highlighting one of the underwear series later on in this entry.
However, some of my favorite images from the shoot were some of the portraits that I was able to capture at various points. The image below came from within the first thirty minutes of the shoot and has become one of my favorites. I love the relaxed posed as he lies on the table with his head pillowed on his arm. I like the way that his right arm cross across his chest and leads the viewers eyes down to his face, particularly his eyes. Furthermore, I love the intensity of his eyes as they are staring off into the distance instead of looking at the camera. To me, it's a simple pose, but there is something about the image that makes me pause and wonder what he was looking at. On top of that, I love the way the light is captured in his curls, eyes, and skin and how the light brings out his rich skin tones. When all of those elements are taken together, it's easy to say why I like this image.
I love this image for similar reasons as the one above. However, whereas the other image has a relaxed feeling to it, I love this image because of the sense of defiance portrayed in his expression and the intensity of his eyes. At least, I'm choosing to read that expression as defiance. Once again, I love his skin tones and how the lighting enhances them. And while on the subject of lighting, I do love the lighting pattern. I am definitely fan of dramatic lighting and how it creates interesting highlights and shadows. As such, I love the effects of the Rembrandt lighting on his face, especially as it transitions from highlights to shadows along his nose. The image is definitely one of the better and more interesting portraits that I've captured.
And, as promised, below are my favorite two images from one of the underwear series from the shoot. As I mentioned earlier, the hotel that I was staying at had some interesting furnishing that made it an awesome backdrop for several images. For this portion of the shoot, I decided to use the sitting area with the red vinyl chair, hanging artwork, and the retro fridge as background elements. On top of that, I had Don posing in these interesting briefs that had a zipper. Like I said, Don humored me as I had him modeling some racier types of underwear.
I love the image below for the relaxed pose and the contemplative expression on Don's face. It sort feels like a moment of time, even if it's totally fabricated. Like I said, I like posing and figuring out how to present the model's body in the best like. Sure, I try to work organically and let the models getting into various poses on their own, but occasionally I will see something interesting and work with the model to get into poses that will create an interesting image. This is definitely an example, in my opinion, that highlights Don's body in a positive light.
I love the lighting in this - the Rembrandt lighting pattern on his face and how it plays across his body. I even love the shadows cast from his body and the refrigerator on the wall. And once again, I will say that I love Don's rich skin tones. Of course, I am none thinking about converting some of these images into black and white to see how amazing they would look. Yeah, I am definitely a fan of black and white images - including black and white images with a splash of color.
Finally, I love the background props in these images. Lately, I've been working with models and just photographing them against white or black seamless paper, which is cool, but there is definitely something to be said about having interesting props to photograph with models. I think that's probably one of the reasons why I liked photographing models in some hotels that had interesting furnishings. For me, using these retro feeling furnishings at the hotel definitely made for interesting images. Like I said, I definitely loved the chair in all of its red vinyl glory, but there's also something to be said about the small retro refrigerator that was also in the sitting room. So yeah, I definitely loved how to props looked in the image.
This is the second image from that underwear series that I ended up loving. It's definitely similar to the image above, which make sense. However, I love the way the lighting pattern changed on his face with the turn of his head. Still, it highlights the serious expression on Don's face and the intensity of his eyes. Yeah, I absolutely love the lighting in these two images.
On top of that, I like the depth of field used in the images. I love how the refrigerator in the background on the left side of the image is completely blurred out while Don's body and the edge of the red vinyl chair are completely in focused. Details like that definitely capture my attention and helps to bring my attention to main subject matter of the image. As such, I'm glad that I was able to do that in this image.
Finally, I love the fact that the image is not your typical straight-forward shot. I absolutely love that it's in an angle and has a somewhat unusual sense of perception. I have tried to do something similar in other images, but didn't look natural or was thrown off by something in the image. However, in my opinion, it completely works in this image. I think it's because I was able to photograph it with Don's eyes serving as a plane that I could center on. Either way, the different perspective is one of the reasons why I stop at this image each time and have fallen in love with the image.
Finally, we come to my favorite image from the photo shoot. It was captured at the very end of the extended photo shoot. As such, we were both tired since we were finishing the photo shoot around 1 am. Nonetheless, Don was a trooper and worked with me through the very end.
Once again, I love the lighting in the image. I love that he's completely facing the light while I'm off center from it. As such, I was able to capture the amazing shadows at the edges of his body as the light tapered off. It definitely added some interesting contrast, which definitely made the image more dramatic. What can I say, I love some drama in my images.
On top of that, I love the pose. Of course, I love the tease that Don's providing with the careful placement of the white mesh shorts. Actually, I love the line created by the shorts quite a bit and how it serves to stop the line created by his right him as it leads diagonally down to the shorts before it's halted by the shorts and leads the viewer's eye towards the bottom of the image. Again, it's those details that make images for me. And I'm ecstatic that I was able to pull them off in my images.
For my first solo shoot, I definitely am amazed that I was able to pull it off successfully, in my eyes, and create some amazing images with Don. It definitely helped that we were able to mesh our styles together and work together to pull off the visions that I had floating around in my mind. Either way, I'm definitely happy with several of the results that stemmed from the shoot, as I've highlighted throughout the blog entry. And finally, this shoot definitely gave me the confidence to continue with holding my own shoots, working independently with models, and moving with confidence as I tried to make concepts and ideas a reality. It definitely gave me great hope that 2013 would be an awesome year in terms of photography.