Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Dreams and Daring

This is probably my most brave and open post yet. Last year I had the opportunity to attend a workshop with Kim Weston in Carmel at Wildcat Studio, Edward Weston's home. It was an opportunity to both learn about fine arts nudes and to soak up some history including a day of shooting at Point Lobos. Little did I know how much fall out and prejudice this would bring when people found out I had done the shoot including some of my own family members. I didn't have much time to work on the results of the workshop as it was late in the college semester and then I didn't return to the college so the negatives have been in limbo, waiting for me to work with. Now scanner in hand and burgeoning Photoshop skills I have begun to revisit them.

Many people ask why do you want to photograph nudes? And then proceed to offer their own ideas on why. Ironically the two most common perceptions is either I'm a lesbian or some sort of sexual pervert. Neither could be further from the truth (not that I see being gay as a bad thing, you are what you are). One factor is I have a basically earth based spirituality, the second is that it's a factor of recovery of my body after some issues have occurred, but most importantly and the final reason lies in some of the finely crafted words of Ruth Bernhard....

"For the artist to identify with the subject, whether it is a shell, a leaf, a face, or a body, is to identify with beauty. These are not sexual feelings. These are cosmic feelings; to marvel at the beautiful line of a leg, a torso. This is not creating with power, but with empathy.....

...to achieve an ideal harmony and to be emotionally connected through photography with the universal idea of the body as a work of art....to convey innocence, the innocence of a tiger or cloud in the sky: a picture without desire."

And finally:

"If I have chosen the female form in particular, it is because beauty has been debased and exploited in our sensual twentieth century. We seem to have a need to turn innocent nature into evil ugliness by the twist of the mind. Woman has been the target of much that is sordid and cheap, especially in photography. To raise, to elevate, to endorse with timeless reverence the image of woman, has been my mission-the reason for my work which you see here."

That is why I love this picture. I had a few moments to capture this model away from the whole group as we had been working in teams. This was taken while she was relaxing in an outside bathtub, a sprite who had taken a moment with nature or simply someone who was relaxing after hard work and who hasn't had that innocent pleasure at the end of a long day.

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