Of wood nymphs

Gah! It’s taking me way too long to get these posts up. Between getting my paying work done, back to school, the list of models that still want to shoot, and life in general I’m finding myself overwhelmed. When I finally do make time to work on what inspires me I find myself hobbled by artist problems.

Rabbit mask fantasy

What lies in wait in the forest of our minds?

The first is the paralysis before getting started. I can be totally amped on a shoot while doing it, but by the next day artistic paralysis has set in and I just can’t do anything with it. Eventually, I force myself to sit down and get to work, but it’s more a response to the pressure of needing to show something to those involved rather than being gripped by inspiration. Once I get going everything is fine, but it’s the getting going that’s so hard to do.

The second artistic hamstring has to do with granting myself permission to do what I want with photos. This shot is a perfect example of that. We got some amazing shots from this shoot, but when I got back home and looked at them again I found myself groaning over wardrobe. I’ll just come right out and say it, Nudity.

I think this shot, and many others from this set would have come out better had they been shot in the nude.

To be fair to myself, this was my first time working with this model and as I’ve noted before, I pretty much give the model free reign on the first shoot so that we’re both working within the confines of our comfort zone, but if life has taught me anything, it’s that amazing work doesn’t come from within the confines of our comfort zone. When I look at it from that perspective I can ease up on myself a bit, but damn it all if I don’t long for a redo.

So what’s important about this shot is that I gave myself permission to go well beyond anything I’ve ever done before in the name of art. Sure, I’ve put UFO’s into pictures, composited different shoes onto brides, and an entire host of other edits, but never have I been so bold as to say, “You know what this shot needs, for this person be nude.”

At first I tried to come up with creative ways to cover the duct tape, symbiotic black tar like the comic book character Venom, conveniently located smoke, even fur, but nothing looked right. Then I struck on the notion of a creepy, elongated form wondering through the woods.

Maybe it was latent impressions of the wood elves in the foreign film Thale that I’d watched a few weeks before, but I suddenly wanted my model looking more surreal. With pen in hand I set about painting away tape and doing my best to quickly disguise ruffled underwear.

All in all, I’m very happy with the result. I’ve learned some new techniques, and take with me lessons on shoot organization. Now it’s time to submit the rest of the shots to something more gothic so that I can share the rest of them with you.


Model and HMUA: Korah on Facebook and on the web