So with the Thanksgiving approaching, I thought it might be nice to revisit my shoot with AJ out in the countryside surrounding Zanesville – not too far from Columbus. So even though many of these images are a little old, they still resonate. This first image is from an empty farm house that looked like it had undergone the beginnings of restoration only to stop. Many of the walls were down to the studs, while others had multiple layers of wallpaper and paint that lent amazing texture to the scenes.
Both of these shots demonstrate the beautiful contrast of these layers – also complimenting AJ’s handsome physique. The surrounding trees with their yellowing leaves cast a wonderful warm light throughout the building. It was good that I checked the house before the shoot, we had to dodge oceans of poison ivy around it.
Thank goodness for friends. Many locations have been tossed my direction by acquaintances who’ve had the keen eye to recognize potential in strange and forgotten places. All of my Zanesville hot spots were revealed by my painter friend Linda Gall, long-time resident of the area. Some of these places have also worked their way into her canvases as well.
Of course, it also helps having friends in strange places…a friend of Linda’s also offered an empty house that he owned but had never been able to restore. Zanesville is full of these beauties. The past 3 images were shot in that home. Signs of animals and attempts to remodel were scattered about the place, but it still retained its late 1800’s design elements. There was a wonderful staircase that I’ve featured in a previous entry that wound its way to the second floor. And fireplaces in every room with differing mantels.
I’d love to return some day.
Enjoy and have a happy Thanksgiving!
Okay I know I’m off by one day, but the Election results have sent a shiver down my spine and left me in Liberal catatonia. So once again I delved into the ‘ole print file and have come out with these goodies. This time I’ll try to flesh them out a little, if you’ll pardon my pun…
A great combination of two of my favorite subjects: cemeteries and nudes! This was a fun image that was shot with my model Christopher. He had a fondness for plants and so this image of him reaching out for these blooms seemed perfect. It’s difficult to discern, but his perch was actually about 10 feet off the ground. Some bird watchers who were hanging out in the cemetery that day identified a new species!
This was an early studio shoot in my student apartment. A black cloth thrown up in the living room sufficed. The model whose face is visible was named Jeff. A fellow photography and design student; he was a wonderfully expressive young man. Very shy. I ran into him one New Year’s Eve in a bar on one of the few occasions I ventured out. He gave me a big kiss and hug telling me that he missed working with me. I never saw him again. Later I found out that he had died from AIDS. One in the first wave. His images drastically changed meaning after that.
After the break with my first partner, a volatile mix of Irish emotion bubbled to the surface of many photographic themes. I felt the need to exact suffering and revenge for my pain. Images became more violent, turning away from my dream-like idyllic desires. I know that this is probably more of a personal nature to share, but I think it’s good for an artist to acknowledge the splinters that make up the whole. It’s my own catharsis.
And finally another studio-like shot with another terrific model named Royce. Only had one opportunity to work with him, but some of my finest bodyscapes originated from this shoot. Royce had the figure that I most admired – thin and muscular, but not to the point of looking like the Michelin man. It’s a natural sort of physique that renders beautifully in the light.
So these are my visual treats for this week – each with its own mini-narrative. I hope you enjoyed them. There are many more to go.
Metropolitan Power Plant
Ever since picking up my first camera eons ago, there has been a draw to those structures that have been abandoned and long forgotten. There is a sympathetic draw to these locations harkening to some deeply suppressed emotions which bear out a brotherhood of destiny seeming so important to share visually. One such location that has taunted me with its boarded windows, crumbling brick and rusting metal is the old Metropolitan Power Plant in Columbus. Always off limits with cameras and barbed wire fencing, it too is facing its final minutes of existence.
By the Furnaces
In Main Boiler
Once again, I have been able to draw on the talents of my newest model Michael to explore these industrial bones and cast his lithe body as human contrast to these rusting entities. And these shots are not without hazard, this is still a dangerous place to work especially as bits and pieces are getting dissected. The floors heave with bent metal, piles of rust and ash from them furnaces.
It was also a challenge utilizing the faint autumnal light that was falling through holes in the roof or small windows. Only a few spots offered brighter options with larger windows. I feel that the darkness enhances the shadow of the impending future of this industrial carcass. There was no lack of humor either as my assistant of the day, Don and myself joked with the Michael at his dire attempts to keep clean and resistant to spiders. It was quite a challenge for poor Michael!
Exciting, challenging, a beautiful cascade of destruction and a great model led to some wonderful images that, once again, will probably never get replicated. The future of this building is not totally predictable. There still may be hope to repurpose it’s shell. Only the time can shed light on that option. Meanwhile there are these interim images to record it’s transition and seal it’s memory.
On the Shoot
Courtesy of Don Sgontz
As I’ve been poking through my old silver gelatin prints, I began to realize that there are many images which warrant display and have not made the light of day. So today I’ve chosen 3 goodies from the print file and put them up for you to see.
As you can see, placing the male figure in some sort of environment to serve as a narrative has been a running theme for many years. To me, it seems like the appropriate path to follow. The last image was actually photographed guerrilla style in a very prominent location in Columbus on the Fourth of July. As the model appears to be viewing something in the distance, some intruders were viewing us from afar. This was before cell phones and I completed the shoot somewhat leisurely and cleared the area well before any authorities appeared. The arch is actually a remnant of one of Columbus’ original train stations. Gotta tie those historical elements in as well!
It’s been a long period of absence from my Blog. Travels, commercial work and the real Job have consumed my time. So now as the weather begins to change to those months of darkness and contemplation I can release new images of a new muse. Finding a model can sometimes be as difficult as finding a parking spot in New York and once you DO find one, it may not be the most ideal. This guy is the Kojak spot!
I’m happy to say that the art gods have been nice to me and have sent a young man who is witty, soft spoken and bearing an arsenal of photographic knowledge that can sometimes be disarming. I almost think that he was secretly sent by my professors from the past to check my technical base to see if I was still competent. Additionally, he’s handsome with a delicate porcelain skin that loves the lens and the light.
His name is Michael and he has been a treat to photograph. Still rather nascent to the job of modeling, he is willing to endure my requests for difficult locations and goes after the idea with timid enthusiasm. He seems to desire the concept of producing images that are unique, but he still is a little nervous about dirt and spiders. It has actually become a bit of a joke between us.
All joking aside, he has treated the whole experience quite professionally and I can see that he truly does enjoy being an integral part of the creative process. He certainly isn’t afraid of doing nudes. I’m overjoyed that he is so comfortable with the environments in which I place him. Not many handle these locales with such ease.
So I’m very happy to have a person like Michael available to document in these various urban locations before they disappear for good. I guess that is another situation in which I should acknowledge gratitude. Columbus has gradually eliminated many of the old structures I found visually exciting. Some new opportunities have presented themselves of recent and I hope to make use of them before they too become just a distant memory.
And I’ve got my new muse, Michael to assist me in these adventures! Thank you, Michael!
An old image that has received some new editing thanks to some new programs and better knowledge base on my part. I’ve always loved this shot and I just wanted to see it rendered properly…so here’s Matt by the Licking River in Zanesville…Oar Boy!
On a day where everything appears as a huge white canvas due to the blowing snow, it’s rather reassuring to turn back to the comfort of darkness and explore figures in space. I think every photographer has experimented at some point in their career with various exposure techniques. This is one of my favorites – painting with light.
It’s a simple technique – use some sort of light source to physically highlight and expose you subjects. The longer or slower you move the light, the more exposed the image so the brighter the subject. The tough part is that as the artist you are moving about in the field of view so caution is necessary to avoid becoming included in the image. The other challenge is working with film…there is NO preview. Oh and it’s good to note that this is not a multiple exposure. It all occurs in one opening of the shutter.
Of course, therein lies the fun of creation. It’s not until you have the film developed that you find out which techniques worked best. I haven’t tried this digitally. Newer cameras are so much more light sensitive, they may not be able to capture these results. I guess I need to try this sometime!