It's definitely been an interesting week. I believed that I mentioned that I was starting up classes this week. Of course, I had originally planned on taking two courses to help fulfill requirements for my graduate degree, but I ended up dropping the two courses that I had signed up due to work schedule restrictions. So that sucked, but it left open the door for another opportunity. In addition to the graduate degree, I'm working on a photography degree at the local community college. Well, I've been working on it for the last couple of years by trying to fit in classes here and there. Anyway, since I can't take the grad courses, I decided to take two photography courses since they start later in the evening or are on the weekend.
So yeah, I'm enrolled in an Architecture Photography course as well as an Advance Imaging Lab. I'm okay with the Advance Imaging Lab because it's basically a lab that allows me to work on images as well as get some printing done. Of course, the prof threw us for a loop by indicating that we will be learning some different printing techniques (potentially on metal as well as different types of paper and varnishes) and working on putting together a portfolio. I really wasn't expecting that and only thought that I would have to show up when I needed help with PhotoShop or needed to print for my Architecture Photography course. I'm not opposed to the idea and actually welcome the notion of creating a portfolio, but I was expecting to only show up a couple of times during the course. Still, the idea of a portfolio sounds interesting.
I will say that I'm a little intimated by the Architecture Photography course. I will say that I've only been interested in photographing buildings and other structures because they looked interesting. And those images have only been snapshots - no real thought going into composition or lighting. However, I wanted to push my boundaries and thought this would be a good idea. However, I will say that I hate working outdoors for the most part, especially due to my inability to control the elements.
However, I'm becoming more interested in architecture photography because of of Daniel Cheong. I follow his Facebook page religiously (https://www.facebook.com/danielcheongphotography) as well as his website (http://www.danielcheongphotography.com/). I really started paying attention to him after seeing his images of Dubai. He just captures these amazing images of Dubai rising from the desert and how it is affected by the elements by the nearby Arabian Gulf. I absolutely love the images of the skyscrapers sheathed in fog as well as sweeping panoramas of the city. His photography definitely makes me want to visit the city and witness its glory in person. Of course, I'm not planning on becoming an architecture photographer, but Mr. Cheong's photography definitely makes me want to learn the techniques and pay a little closer attention to the details of the buildings surrounding me on my various trips. Anyway, I think that everyone should be exposed to Mr. Cheong's photography and, hopefully, be amazed by his images as I have.
So yeah, I have a lot of hope for the Architecture Photography course. Like I said, I'm a little intimated by it, but intimidation can be a good motivator to push beyond my boundaries.
So moving on to the real reason that most of you guys are here, Ram was the last model that I photographed during the long weekend in San Antonio. As I stated in the past, prior to the trip, I went on Model Mayhem to scope out models working out of San Antonio and began reaching out to them. As I was looking about portfolios, I came across Ram's and knew that I wanted to work with him immediately. He had previously done a photo shoot with Men of Olympia, a San Antonio-based photographer, and had these amazing outdoor shots posted on his port. Unfortunately, Ram has removed his port from Model Mayhem and the images that I saw are not part of Men of Olympia's current portfolio (you can see his other work at http://www.modelmayhem.com/2271430).
Like I said, I was instantly drawn to Ram because he had a different look from the guys that I've photographed before. While several of the guys that I worked with in the past had muscular bodies, Ram had a body builder's body without the excessive veins popping out. Furthermore, his overall look just screamed alpha male to me. There was just an intensity in his eyes, confidence in his body, and sense of power that radiated from images. His shaved head and goatee definitely helped in making the easy decision to reach out to him.
So yeah, I had a preconceived notion about Ram when I reached out to him and worked through the details of confirming the shoot. Well, sometimes reality doesn't always match up with this image that you've built up. Ram definitely looked the same in real life as in his images, but his personality was a definite surprise. I guess I was preparing myself to work with someone aggressive and maybe a little domineering based on his physical appearance, but instead I was working with a guy that had a great sense of humor and an easy-going attitude that put me at ease from the start of the shoot. Ram was definitely an amazing person and I was humbled by the opportunity to actually work with him.
I love the image below for many reasons. During the first half-hour to an hour, I like to just get to know the model as well as give them the opportunity to get to know me and get use to my shooting style. During that time, I like to photograph them in the clothes that they are wearing to the shoot and then have them slowly removing articles of clothing. Yeah, you can read all kinds of symbolism into that, but it works for me and the models that I work with. So yeah, the image below is from that portion of the photo shoot.
It's a pretty straight forward shot, but still one of my favorites from the shoot. It definitely shows off Ram's muscular body and his tattoos. Plus, I like the fact that there's a sense of a tease going on with Ram pulling down his shorts low enough to show off the brilliant white of his boxer briefs. I love how that white contrasts highly against his tan skin as well as the red of his shorts. It's definitely one of my favorites from the photo shoot.
And, of course, I definitely had to get some portraits with Ram. As I'm looking back through the images and while I was editing them, I noticed a difference between the images that I had taken and those from Men of Olympia. While his images show more of the harder side of Ram, I tend to think that my images show a softer side to him. I don't really know how to properly put it into words, but when I look at the portrait below, I tend to think that captured Ram's kindness. I like his soft smile and how his eyes turned out the image as well as how the light highlighted his skin tones.
On a side note, I liked what ended up happening in the background. I mentioned that the hotel that I was staying had this awesome wrought iron bed. I loved the details in the headboard and foot board. In the image below, I love the depth of field and how the details of the headboard are blurred out. That's definitely cool, but I love the happy accident that occurred with the shadows from the strobes. I loved how the strobes created a shadow on the wall behind and is almost perfectly centered between the actual wrought iron details. Like I said, that was definitely a happy accident, but it created an awesome pattern in the background.
I did capture a series of nudes with Ram and have included some of them in the gallery highlighting the photo shoot. I end up liking the image mostly for the expression on his face. It's not a typical expression that I end up capturing in my images, but it's just a moment. A moment of what, I'm not entirely sure of. And I think that why I like the image; it makes me stop and wonder what was going on at that moment to create this expression. Hell, I was the photographer and I don't really know.
On top of that, I like the implied nudity and the fact that he's holding his boxers in front of him with the illusion of modesty. On top of that, I love the fact that I was able to capture the details in his hands. There's definitely a sense of strength in his hands with the pronounced veins. Yeah, I definitely ended up liking the pose and how it demonstrates Ram's muscle definition. Plus, I like that his body is turned slight away from the camera and off centered. To me, it makes for an more interesting image.
I knew that I was definitely going to photograph Ram posing in a variety of underwear. However, I also like to let the model choose what underwear they want to model in. Sure, I have some control over it by picking out pieces that I think they will look good in, but I also like to give them the choice and get further buy in from them. As such, I have several pieces for him to model in beyond the white boxer briefs that he wore to the shoot. For both of us, we were definitely drawn to the Empirio Armani purple checkered briefs. I definitely am drawn to color and think that certain models can definitely pull off the color. I'm definitely happy that Ram was one of those.
I definitely love the image below. I like the expression on his face and how there's a sense of amusement and a subtle smirk gracing his features. I also like the intensity of his eyes in the image. However, it's definitely the pose that captured my attention while I was photographing him, when I was working on the images, and then again when I was selecting images to highlight in the blog entry. There's a sense of provocativeness in the pose that is further highlighted with the placement of his left hand. However, there's a sense of confidence and a comfortableness, which I think was helped by the rapport that we developed throughout the shoot.
On top of that, I like what is going on the left side of the background. The placement of the light definitely worked some wonders with the shadows cast on the wall behind the bed. Don't get me wrong, I like how the shadows are cast on the right side of the image, but it's definitely the left side that is more interesting to me. Again, that's all a happy accident since I was more focused on lighting Ram in an appealing way. Still, I'm happy with happy accidents when they create something interesting and work with the image.
And the image below is my second favorite image from the entire shoot with Ram. Taken during the same series as the image above, I love how this position and turn of Ram's head created some interesting shadows and highlights. For me, it's just one of those images that I love how it all came together.
Now, we come to my overall favorite image from the photo shoot. As you guys know, I've been fascinated with shower images since I captured the two images of Porter Wescott (http://reyjphotography.com/porterwescott/e331fe61 and http://reyjphotography.com/porterwescott/e6acccb2) and have sought to capture some of that magic again. While the image below is not the same as those two images, I definitely love the image below and rate on par with those two images. To me, it's definitely a moment of time. I love how the water is interacting with Ram's body as it cascades down his head and face, how drops and streams are falling from his eye lashes, and, finally, how it makes his chest glisten and capture the highlights from the light. But, I definitely love how the water seems to be dancing on the right side of the image as it cascades off his hand. I guess it's that sense of movement created by the water that I love in the image; well, that and the expression on Ram's face. Like I said, it's definitely my favorite image from the photo shoot with Ram and is one my overall favorite images in my catalog.
Overall, I like how the photo shoot with Ram turned out. It was definitely a fun shoot to end my long weekend in San Antonio and actually helped to settle me. I originally went to San Antonio because I was stressed out from work and school and just needed a creative outlet. I'm definitely glad that I was able to work with four amazing guys in San Antonio and center myself enough to get back into the grind of things. Of course, working with Ram at the end of the weekend was definitely a delight. He would definitely be one of those models that I would love to work with again if the opportunity ever arose again.
So, I was definitely excited to finally get through this photo shoot. On my Model Mayhem page (http://www.modelmayhem.com/2478044), I had posted images from all of my photo shoots since I started. Once I decided that I was going to set up my own web page, I wanted to hold off on actually posted any additional images on there. So yeah, I'm excited about finally being able to share images from my October and December 2013 photo shoots. Yeah, I'm excited about finally sharing and posting some of the best images from the twelve remaining photo shoots from 2013. On top of that, I'm hoping to get images posted from the 14 photo shoots from 2014 and the single photo shoot that I've done so far in 2015. Who knows, maybe I'll get to the point of being somewhat current and posting images within the same year that the photo shoot occurred! Ha! That's the dream! Of course, if you been following my Instagram account, http://www.instagram.com/reyj.photography, you been getting teasers from my current project. But the dream is still to have images edited and posted on my website as soon as possible.
On top of that, I think I'm going to start writing a series of blog entries on my endeavors with the Architecture Photography course. I figure I'll base those specifically on assignments with a quick background on the project, the resulting image, and then then maybe some critiques received from my prof and classmates. Got to keep myself honest somehow.... It should be cool. But yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to it.