Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ladies and lights continued.

This is a shoot that I did on the same night that I took the shots of Liz [my last post covers that]. This is Andrea, she has modeled for me previously and has been in one of my past posts. [such as here!!] Andrea also has an incredibly natural beauty. I have gotten tons and tons of compliments about how beautiful she is just based on this shoot alone, and ton more including the first shoot I did with her. She has the kind of beauty that seems to be almost universal, everyone who sees it can understand it and appreciate it.
In this shoot I tried really hard to create very solid and deliberate lines by contrasting light and form. I think this image was particularly successfully in creating really powerful lines, especially across her face and down her neck and shoulder. That strong sense of line keeps the focus on the center of the piece. I also love how the shadow causes the skin to almost taper off, as if she was slowly vanishing. This image is also a lot about texture, mainly focusing on the skin, with parts that show a great amount of texture and other parts that are completely smoothed out by the brightness that is being reflected.
This was also an implied nude shoot. Focusing on that tension and anticipation of almost revealing everything, holding in that tension by keeping it under wraps. With these pictures I also wanted to play with different kinds of lighting, and figure out how I could make the lighting most dramatic even though all I had was a simple night stand lamp. This light was achieved by having her crouch over the lamp. We kept the lamp shade on so the light would have more direction, enabling me bring more focus to her face.
I like this shot a lot because it feels a lot more natural than the other images. It's the only one in the set that I actually kept some color in, although it has been desaturated a bit. At this point we had actually set the table lamp back on my night stand and she was about to sit up. This moment was actually, as far as I know, candid. The light hit her in such a perfect way, it even lightened her hair to more of a blonde than the brunette she actually is. Her hairs just seems to perfectly layer over one another to create this little wave of yellow that highlights her face. And her expression is so soft and relaxed... really exposing her natural beauty.
It was a pleasure working with Andrea again, and I hope she continues to have enthusiasm for modeling for me. :)

To see the rest of this set please check out my flickr site:


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Shining bright.

I did this project at the end of this summer. It ultimately spawned from just a few friends and I hanging out and thinking it would be fun to take some pictures. I ended up shooting with two of my lady friend, emphasizing the play with light. This was my first time shooting Liz [pictured above]. She is awesome. In all ways. She is totally gorgeous and has a really natural sense of how to work her body.
I have to give mad props to this girl because those lights she had on her were HOT by the time we had finished shooting. At the beginning of the shoot she tried to play it off like it was no big thing, but after awhile she started sweating, haha! I actually love, love, love! that she started sweating because they made this beautiful reflection of the light, it actually really helped in illuminating her body. It took a normal portrait and made it much more intriguing and beautiful in my opinion. I think the little details like that are what really make a picture, what bring out the true beauty. We ain't doing no air brushing here people!
I know that using these lights seem kind of cliche, but gosh darnit, it was fun and I like the images that I got from it. I have seen a lot of other photographers use this technique for lighting. The thing is, is that every single person is going to go about it differently, so even using a similar concept or even the exact same one, is going to yield different results. It's a lot about the individual perspective and execution!
As you can probably tell by now this shoot was implied nude. I completely adore the human body, LOOOVE it. I think everything about it is beautiful, the curves, the valleys, the textures, the imperfections. True beauty, in every single body. I don't have much experience doing nude shoots, but I have done a view implied nude shoots. I think there is something very sensual and mysterious about almost revealing the body in its entirety. In my art history class last year we were discussing a certain statue of venus and there was a sheet drapped across her body that was on the very brink of falling from the tip of her breast about to partially, if not fully, expose her. That anticipation and expectation to soon have the whole body revealed was much more sensual and powerful then just giving it all away. All the implications of the sensual human form beneath the sheet was what made it so stirring. Liz was my venus on this day.

This is one of my favorite shots. It gives off this feeling of the isolation of beauty. How true beauty can be realized even in complete darkness and chaos. I know that sounds cheesy, but that is how my brain works! hehe. Liz always reminds me of a modern day marilyn monroe. I also like how the sheets create these line that lead into her that draw the eye right to her face. Such a soft, yet vacant expression. You gotta be wondering what she is thinking. probably "These things are f'ing hot, hurry the butt up Havana!" heh.

Working with liz was amazing, and I hope that she will model for me again.

To see the rest of this set please check out my flickr account:


And also here is a link to Liz's blog:

The Liz Blog!

She is a fabulous person, friend, model, chef and gamer.
Check her out.


Thursday, August 27, 2009


Here is a drawing I did for one of my final projects in Drawing II.
I am completely obsessed with owls.

hoot. hoot.


I have done a TON of music photography. The thing is, I rarely ever actually make edits of the pictures that I take. I think that the dilemma is that I take soooo many pictures, but most of the time they are all relatively similar. It is so easy to have this problem when photographing bands live. They are, for the most part, confined to a stage in which they sit upon, or pace back and forth on, maybe if you are lucky dance/jump around on. The shows I usually go to are not high budget groups, they have no pyrotechnics and giant teddy bears that rampage the stage and eat band members or what have you. The shows I attend are usually local or don't have a crazy huge fan base, there fore they have less money and as a result they don't really have many options as far as stage presentation / presence go. I do not blame the musicians for this dilemma, I believe they do what they can with what they have, and for the most part, put on a very satisying show. I do the best I can to vary the angles, the focus and surrounding details, but sometimes its just difficult to provie a range. It's really the elements of what is going around the band that make the picture. The way the stage looks, the people in the crowd, the groupies, the lights, etc.
With live band photography, it's all about capturing a very specific moment. A moment where you can tell that it was a very intense part in the song, or a very emotional part in the song. Capture that one expression on their face that says everything about what they are saying, even though you can't hear the words. Also capturing the movement of the hands is very telling. You can tell what chord the guitarist is playing, the symbol crashing, the keyboardist pausing, the singer breathing deep, etc. The goal is just to portray the performance as honestly as possible. You wouldn't go to a nine inch nails concert and take pictures that made them look very serene, that just doesn't make any sense! :)
Showing the expressions of audiences members can also be very telling.
The band in the pictures above is the band I have worked with the most. I shot a ton of their live shows as well as some of their promotional shots. Their promotional shots are all on my external so I shall get those up as soon as possible.

I also did the cover art for their first album. As well as a photography I do a lot of art and design. We are all from Manhattan KS and right outside of Manhattan is a military base. It is a pretty old military base and they used to test nuclear canons out there. So on the top of this huge hill right outside of fort riley is this huge expired nuclear canon. I think they really wanted to use that on their album cover because it was a solid marker of where we come from. I orginally went out and took some shots of the canon with some expired poloroid film [ I will try to put those up later as well] and also some with my digital camera. The ones with the expired poloaroid looked awesome, they looked as if they were taken when the camera was still active and have since then deterioated. If you can get a hold of expired polaroid film USE IT, it is amazing, but make sure you save it for something really worth while. We ended up not using the poloaroids. After I took the digital pictures I printed a few out and drew over them with ball point pen and permanent marker to make it look more stylized.
That is what they used for the cover. For the back I used a similar technique, but instead I used a picture from one of their live shows.
I was very satisfied with how the album turned out, and I think at the end of the day, the boys really liked it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Movies: Behind the scenes.

At the beginning of the year I found out about KU Film Works and was really interested. I started going to meetings regularly but near the end of the semester it became harder and harder to set aside the time to go. I felt bad, but still wanted to help out in any way that I could. Second semester they had a pitching session and then picked one script they really wanted to work on. "Chekov's Gun" was the victor. An awesome, awesome script about a man who gets a heart donated to him and begins to have the same emotions as the donor [who killed himself]. He finds himself repeating the other mans lifestyle. I would put it in the drama genre. Excellent script. Excellent crew. I didn't have enough experience to help out with any of the actual crews so I agreed to take some behind the scenes shots.
This is a shot of Lisa making notes in the script, I think about lighting and/or the set decor. There were so many people at this shoot, and all of them seemed to be working their butts off. But these guys also play hard. Plenty of joking around, laughing and smiling. Something I love to see!
I haven't actually edited any of these images except for the first one. I wasn't sure which ones were meant to be promotional shots, or just for fun, so I didn't really bother. This is a shot of one the actresses rehearsing a scene before they actually shot. We were in a shed that they had sealed off so they could control the lighting themselves. Video cameras are much better at picking up low lighting situations then SLR's are, or at least you just have to try harder with a camera, haha. So some of these shots look a little subdued as far as color goes because of that, but I kind of like the effect it gave to the images.
Jon blocking off the shed from the daylight.
The main character becomes obsessed with watch making after getting his new heart. They had a really awesome watch making table set up in the shed. Took this so they could maybe use it as a promotional shot or something. I use it as a background on my lap top, heh.
Alex taking a good ole' fashion grandpa style smoking break.
More rehearsal! This shot was taken post fake blood all over the actor. Matt actually made this really amazing fake blood that looked fantastic! And also... tasted fantastic!! hahah. it was super delicious, I could eat spoonfuls of it! It had chocolate, and peanut butter for thickness... and... just tasty tasty things!

It was really fun getting to hang out with the crew and eventually I will burn a copy of all the images for them so they can marvel at what fantastic work they do.

If you would like to see more shots, check out my flickr!



My first model mayhem experience!

A few months ago I started myself a model mayhem account! It was confusing at first but once I got a handle on it, I fell in love! For the next couple weeks I was constantly looking up models and photographers who were close at hand. I have already met so many amazing people through it.
Meet Andrea! [the other Andrea]. I was a little nervous meeting up with someone from online but I had spoken to her a lot through model mayhem and she seemed like a stand up gal. Before meeting we discussed what both of our styles were, and I asked her about what kind of shoot she was interested in doing. Andrea had not done any shoots with a similar style that I shoot with so she really wanted to go all out with this one. She was prepared to get down and dirty! [in a very clean way]
We talked about how most of her shoots to date were in a more modern style, like magazine cover kind of deal. I mentioned how I loved working with vintage looks and found objects and she was super psyched. She said that she originally got into modeling because she wanted to do pin-up style shots. So we ended up collaborating very well. :)
This location was introduced to me by my good friend Alex. He has lived in Lawrence all his life and I asked him to show me all the sweet spots. This was one of them. The first part of the shoot was taken on some train tracks and some in front of an older train station type thing. You pass the tracks then go into this wooded area and follow this winding path. Then suddenly you come into this clearing and there is this gigantic hole in the ground filled with slabs of concrete. As you crawl down into the hole there are a couple tunnels. One can be seen in the picture above. This one is most likely a city drainage tunnel. It goes impossibly far back and I would love to explore it some day! But the darkness that was in it, even in the middle of the day, contrasted amazingly with the white in Andrea's dress. The other tunnel had a shallow pool of water covering it and then spilled into the concrete graveyard. There is a shocking amount of graffiti in this area considering the difficulty it takes to get to it.
It seemed like Andrea was really nervous, but she did a fantastic job! She seems to be quite the natural at modeling! Her husband is in the army and she was telling me about how they got married really young but they are completely happy. It just really touched my heart. Things like that give me hope that the world isn't as bad as I think it is.
We did a lot of experimenting with motion, and capturing a very specific moment in time. Catching an action in the middle. I like a lot of the results! She had amazing control of her face. I think its so easy to forget about posing your face when your flailing around the rest of your body. Truly impressive!
My first experience working with anyone from model mayhem was a good one! I'm excited to work with more people, and I hope to get the pleasure of working with Andrea again! She was just a really cool girl. I got a ton of awesome images from this shoot.

To check out the entirety of the shoot, check out my flickr!



In the flood lights.

I did this shoot with my good friends Andrea and Kelly near the beginning of the school year, last year. We had been friends for awhile and they had seen some of my work and wanted to model for me for awhile. We went out and got some costumes and then snuck into the art and design building and used some of their flood lights that they use for still lives and models for the life drawing classes.
Both these ladies are super gorgeous.

This shoot was kind of difficult because the only kind of light I had access to was that really harsh direct flood light. I tried situating the light in different ways but it was all pretty unavoidable. There were a lot of images that I thought worked out in a compositional sense but the contrast wasn't there at all, or was too much. Was a real bummer when I looked back on the shots later.
So most of the shots I did like were very high contrast. I am obsessed with black and white so it is hard for me to stand low contrast images. bleh! They just don't transfer right into black and white.
A somewhat frustrating but very fun shoot :)

To check out the rest of this set see it on my flickr!



Boots and lace.

Presenting... Kaitlin! Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

We did this shoot in winter actually! It must have been 20 degrees or something stupid like that. Poor girl was shivering the whole time! She was an amazing trooper. And what is really amazing is she does not show that discomfort in any of these pictures. A natural model! Kaitlin is another one of my muses. She just has this fantastic natural notion of how to move her body. Her posing always feels very natural and not "pose-y" at all. Her body is always so relaxed, which helps avoid the chance of looking uncomfortable.
At first I was thinking that all the elements of the costume were going to be too much, but I think in the end they all pulled together to create something really visually interesting.
My dad was just storing this trunk in his office and I thought that it would be a great tool to play around with. Now we are using it as a coffee table in my new apartment :)
Haven't edited all of the images I have from this shoot either.

Had an amazing time shooting this set, even though it was freezing! At least I got to wear a jacket =p

To see the rest of this set check out my flickr account.