September 17, 2017

E. E. McCollum - Photographer Interview



This is the first of what is hopefully and ongoing series of interviews with models and photographers. EE McCollum is my first.  I hope you enjoy it.  I've sprinkled a selection of his photos throughout the interview in no particular order. All images (except the one by Willy Ronis) are copyrighted by E.E. McCollum.






Are you a professional?
I think of photography as a major part of my life and approach it professionally, I think, but it isn't  a money-maker and I don't do commercial work, weddings, and so forth.  In other words, it doesn't pay the bills.








How did you become interested in the fine art nude genre as a model/photographer? 
Like most boys my age, I was exposed to the traditional pinup style of Playboy and Penthouse and so on as a kid.  However, as I looked more deeply into the field of photography, I began to find images of the nude that went far beyond the clichés of pin-up and glamour photography.  The list of influences is too long to name but Edward Weston and Wynn Bullock certainly stand out from my early years.  

When I returned to fine art photography using digital technology, I immediately thought of working with the nude figure.  I find the subject challenging, moving, inspiring, at times erotic.  As time has gone on, I have come to see my work more as creating a coherent series of images rather than single images.  So I try to tell a story or play with a theme in my work.  I do still enjoy, however, a strong and inspiring single fine art nude image. 
















How long have you been shooting/modeling for?
I was first exposed to photography when I was around 6 if I remember right.  My parents gave me a Kodak fixed focus TLR camera and a developing kit.  My father and I learned to develop film and make little contact prints.  When we were able to find a darkroom to use, we made enlargements.  Unfortunately, I was never very good at the technical end of film photography and became more and more frustrated with my inability to make prints that matched my conception of the image.  I gradually left my attempts at fine art photography behind and turned my attention to a completely different field of study.   

However, a camera was always near at hand and I shot lots of Kodachrome documenting family events and my travels.  With the emergence of digital technology, the technical side of photography became less of an obstacle and I returned to my efforts to make images that had a deeper intent than snapshots. That happened about 12 years ago. There was still a lot to learn but since I am largely an experiential learner, the ability to try different things on the computer and see how they affected the image was much easier for me to master than working literally in the dark with film.  All that aside, I've recently gone back to shooting film part of the time, at least.  

I think I am drawn by the "hand's on" aspect of analog photography, by the process that I find to be slower, more intimate, and by my wish to finally master something that I had given up on years ago.









How many shoots do you do per year?
It really depends on whether or not I am engaged in a project.  

I have come to think of my work not as the production of single images but as comprising a series of related images, or projects.  

That's not to say I don't find single images meaningful, and even important in my overall body of work, but they usually occur as sidelights in work on projects.  So, I may be involved in regular shoots for a period of time - 1 - 2 a month,or not be shooting figure work for a longer period of time if my current projects are focused on something else.  I try to shoot something daily.

Does fine art photography pay your bills? If not, what does?
Photography doesn't pay the bills.  Having worked my tail off for more than 40 years so I could retire is what currently pays the bills! 

Where are you based out of?
I live in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC.

Do you travel much? If so, what is your favorite place you’ve ever shot?
I travel regularly for a variety of reasons.  I used to travel internationally more than I have lately.  I always carry a camera when I travel but I rarely come back with images that I consider my best work.  For me, good work is anchored in familiarity both with the environment in which it occurs and with the people involved.  I like to explore a familiar, and often fairly circumscribed, area, seeing it in different seasons, different times of day, different moods that I am in.  I did a project that involved making images of a small pond in my neighborhood.  I shot images for that series for more than a year and the final edit is about 20 images.  I also like to shoot regularly with the same models for figure work, and to do so over a period of years.  















Briefly, what’s your favorite photography/modeling story?
I was shooting with two wonderful models - Blueriverdream and Mary Celeste - in an old building in Baltimore.  The building is a former industrial space that has been made over into artists' studios and lofts.  Everyone who leases space in the building has to have some connection to the arts.  One upshot of this is that the tenants are very tolerant of shoots in the common spaces - hallways, stairwells, and so on - and don't seem to object to nudity. 

Blue, Mary and I were shooting in a stairwell one day when we heard footsteps coming down the stairs.  Blue and Mary had left their wraps on the landing above and couldn't get to them before a woman who lived in the building appeared, heading down to the front door.  As she passed us, Blue smiled and remarked to her, "I really like your blouse." Without missing a beat, the woman said to Blue, who was nude, "I really like what you're wearing, too."  There need to be more spaces like that to work in!








Which is your personal favorite of your photographs?
That's a little like asking which of your kids is you love the most!  I'm including a photo here that is one of my current favorites.  It was shot with a model I have worked with for a number of years.  We've made some wonderful work together.  She is currently in a new relationship and she and her partner want to model together so we agreed to shoot.  

What I like about this photo is how it communicates their connection so simply as she turned away and put her arm around him.  I like the aesthetic sense of it, too - the texture and skin tones, the strong lines.  But mostly I like the emotional quality of the image.














Which is your personal favorite of someone else’s photography?  
Willy Ronis' image entitled Le Nu Provencal Gordes  is one of a number of favorite images by other photographers.  In it, Ronis' wife Anne-Marie Lansiaux is washing at a simple sink in their newly purchased home in Gordes, in the Provence region of France.  The bathroom is rustic with a pitcher sitting on the floor and an open window showing the garden outside.  Although Anne-Marie seems unaware of her husband's presence, or the camera creating an image of her, there is a lovely sense of quiet intimacy in the image. It’s a photo I could live in.








      
Who are your favorite photographers? And why?  
I was inspired, like most photographers my age, I think, by the masters - Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Wynn Bullock, Walker Evans - the list could go on and on.  Lately, I have been enjoying the work of Emmet Gowin whose work with his wife Edith is stunning in its intimacy. I find myself less interested in photographers who treat the nude figure solely as an aesthetic object - a beautiful body - (although I certainly have made that kind of work and have some of it on my website!) and who, instead, try to use the nude to communicate something more - an emotion, an idea, a sense of connection perhaps.

Who are your favorite models? And why?
 I hesitate to name a particular model as a favorite since I have worked with a number of models in really terrific collaborations and I might have named each of them as a favorite at the time.  Another way to think about it is to ask what are the qualities of a model that results in a strong collaboration.

 I have found that the best models really think about what we're doing together.  I often prepare a "mood board" of images to set the tone for a shoot and share this with my models.  Pintrest, by the way, is  terrific way to do this.  

The best models really look at the images, try to get a sense of how I see at least the broad themes of the shoot so that they can contribute and not rely solely on me to direct them. 

Past that, a model who shares my aesthetic sense and who is at ease in the creative process and in front of the camera makes for even stronger work.  








A common question on both sides (modeling and photography) is, does your family know what you do, and if so, do they care?
My wife is one of my biggest fans and supporters and she is enthusiastic about my nude figure work.  Most of the rest of my family also know and are quite supportive.





What are you hoping to achieve with your photography/modeling?
This is an issue I struggle with at times.  I began by wanting to simply produce beautiful images but now I am much more interested in producing bodies of work that communicate something more.  I often have trouble putting that "something more" into words.  I guess that's why I shoot photos!  Another thing I am currently exploring is the relationship of images and text and have they can supportive nd broaden each other.

Do you use social media much? If so, feel free to list where people can find you online.
My website is eemccollum.com
I am on Facebook and am @eemccollum on Instagram.  I regularly post my work on both sites
I also am a regular contributor to Shadow and Light magazine shadowandlightmagazine.com/.

Any books, gallery representation etc you’d like to share?  
I am part of an excellent cooperative gallery in Alexandria, VA - Multiple Exposures Gallery multipleexposuresgallery.com.   We are in the Torpedo Factory Art Center, which actually is an old torpedo factory that produced munitions beginning right after the First World War and continuing through the Second. 

Do you have an artist statement?  
I don't have a general artist statement but I try to produce a statement for each of the projects that I do.  If I were to say something general about my work, I’d say that I have moved away from shooting what might be thought of as classically beautiful figure studies in favor of images that may not seem beautiful but that have character, emotion, grit, and, hopefully, intimacy.













Mes dimanches



J'aime le silence de ma maison, la tourterelle qui roucoule sans discontinuer, la voiture qui passe au ralenti dans la rue étroite, le vent qui agite le platane dans la cour de l'église Sainte Thérèse, le klaxon strident du train à grande vitesse qui quitte la gare pas très loin pour aller je ne sais où déposer des passagers pressés d'arriver avant que de partir. C'est dimanche.

Tout est calme dans les foyers. Pas de cris ni de larmes, aucune dispute ne déchire le silence d'une journée de repos bien mérité. Une seule par semaine c'est si peu dans une vie, si peu de temps pour soi.

Dans l'immeuble d'à côté, j'entends les télés autour desquelles les familles réunies laissent passer le temps dominical. Des voix lointaines me rappellent que la journée est consacrée à rien du tout, rien d'autre que de parler d'hier, d'aujourd'hui, peut-être de demain et de ce qu'il va falloir faire, de toutes ces obligations qui n'ont pas cours à présent mais auxquelles on pense en toile de fond, comme la lie dans le verre après un bon déjeuner où il ne reste plus que les fonds de bouteille.

Le ronron de mon frigidaire veille sur ma maison. Des moineaux passent à grands cris, un bricoleur, du dimanche, cloue quelque chose sur quelque chose. Ce devait être important et il n'y a qu'aujourd'hui pour faire ce qu'on a remis à plus tard. Et toujours la tourterelle qui appelle les siens à renforts de rou-rous qui ne semblent pas trouver de congénères. Aucun autre bruit ne trouble la paix de mon antre.

Telle est l'ambiance qui m'environne, telle est la vie ce dimanche autour de ma maison. Allez ! Il est temps, il est l'heure de ciseler des mots.

Bon dimanche à toi.

September 15, 2017

Scott James Prebble : Art is everything to me



Member since 2008



I use my camera like an artist would his brush, it's just a tool to capture a scene I have pictured in my head that I think would be beautiful. I try and do it like the masters did when photography first became an art form.





"This City"
Model Esther



















Scott James Prebble is a prolific artist who couldn't live without his camera. The result is more than 1700 images in his galleries.
Honestly, I live to shoot. Art is what keeps me alive and keeps my mind active. Art is everything to me.

I can’t get past photography, I do sometimes take a break and hit the brushes with painting or the plaster with sculpture, but I always come back to my cameras.
















"I live in my own world"
Model Ari








First devoted to B&W as tells us Absolute Art, it's obvious that today Scott James Prebble masters the colors with creativity and talent like a true "pop artist" would make it.

Perfectionist, of course, and self taught photographer far from all stupid dogmas, he tells us :
My work is really a personal journey, to make ordinary women into amazing beings, showing their power and passion to the world.

My style is weird, it’s personal and quirky. It’s weird colours, it’s odd angles and it’s like looking at the world through a circus mirror. It’s recognizable to you but it has a twist to it.



Some of his impressive BW :


"Why am I not enough"






"Together"







"Weather the storm"
Art Model Muse






"Be careful with your promises"
Art Model Rosie G Skilbeck Hodgson




















"Sunk"












I could probably talk hours about the inventiveness of Scott, his inspiration, his curiosity about everything and everyone, but I've choosen to show you how much he cares for his art models, sometimes non professional :

I love the challenge of using a model that has never been in front of an artistic camera before, you just never know what you are going to get, and end up with.






 
"How could sink that low"
Art Model Muse






"Re-Trace Your Steps"
Art Model Rosemary






"Don't Leave me on the Shelf"
Art Model Rosie G Skilbeck Hodgson




In his way to thank them, we find his deep respect for people. His interest for the human beings, including his sadness when the mess we're living in becomes insupportable, reveals his intimate sensibility.

In his own words, we can discover a wide open mind man who finds beauty everywhere. He's so right... Beauty is a reason to live, my best medicine, and I want to thank him and all the wonderful contributing artists of this collective magazine to show us how beautiful is our world, how precious is our humanity.






"Fallen"
Art Model Dollybeck







"The scary world outside"
Art Model Muse















Scott James Prebble has been shooting from the age of 10. All throughout highschool it was his obsession, spending all his spare time in the darkroom, wrist deep in chemicals and negatives :

I am a little strange and see beauty where others can't.
An old piece of hundred year old rusted metal is attractive to me, and wrap a beautiful nude female form around it, and you have a simple, timeless and classic piece of art, that will be seen and loved for hundreds of years.

I try and create a contrast in my work, old and new, rough and smooth and beautiful and ugly. My works are thought out well in advance, sketched and planned well. So when I do shoot I can create several shots all on the same day.





"Cabin Fever"
Art Model Kelly




"How far have we really Come..."
Art Model Kelly

Kelly is an endlessly creative person, from drawing and photography, to singing and fashion design, she is constantly on the move and bringing new and interesting things into this big world. I got to spend a week running around the country side creating some beautiful images with her, and she proved herself as an excellent muse, with the perfect shape for artistic nude images.

.







"Pink is the new Black"
Model Ari








Ari makes such a wonderful Muse, simply because she is more actress than model, which is wonderful in the recent turn I have taken in my work.

She always brings something to a shoot, and plus lets face it she is just damn gorgeous, and we are constantly bouncing ideas off each other and searching for weird and wild props to use in photographic works.


She inspires me no end, and I never tire of spending time with her or pointing the shiny end of my camera at her. 


 She is also a great little creative mind in her own right which can be seen in her own gallery, so please go and check out this woman and give her the support she deserves.

The more I shoot, the more I get selective I am about who I work with.






"Cabin Fever"
Art Model Kelly






"Circle"
Art Model Rosie G Skilbeck Hodgson













"Eight Inches"
Art Model Jenni









Jenni is one of the people I have had on a little mental list for quite some time, not only because she is obviously beautiful, but she has that unknown factor that just appeals the eye, there is a story behind her that you don’t know but you try and figure it out with each and every image.

We met for the first time at a Deviant Art meet a few weeks back and had a bit of a chat about working together, and managed to fit a session into our busy lives.

I was completely impressed with how professional she was, and how nothing phased her, even a red catsuit that was obviously giving her an atomic-wedgie wasn’t enough to stop her kicking it out and delivering a set of awesome images.

Her own art is coming along in leaps and bounds too, so if you don’t already watch her it might be about time you did, you don’t know what you are missing.







"Volume"








"At 3am"
Art Model Rosemary









His 10 best tips for beginners :










"As I float outside myself"
Art Model Dollybeck










1. Know your tools back to front. If you can’t capture a scene, you have set up your dean in the water before you start.

2. Be creative. Open up a part of your mind that was previously not open. Think outside the square. Draw on past pain or fun or situations to create something new and original.

3. Allow the person in front of the camera to open their mind too, two minds are always better than one, don’t they say.

4. Lighting is everything within an image. Concentrate on where it falls and what shadows it creates. Highlight things of interest, think dramatically.

5. Go backwards. Try putting your digital camera down for a moment and buy some film, it still has it’s place in the hand of today’s photographer. Anyone who can get a good shot using film has my instant respect.













"I can Hear the Ocean"
Art Model Dollybeck








6. Locations. Go out a look. Open your eyes up when you are traveling somewhere, locations are everywhere you just need to look. A true artist sees things others walk past everyday and can use it in there art.

7. Don’t be afraid to get stupid, some of the most stupid situations I have been in in my life have lead to some of the best images of my life. Draw from your own experiences to create.

8. Wear pants.

9. Know your limits. Photography, and I mean good photography, to me, is all about the eye, if you don’t have it, you won’t ever have it. I only know a handful of people with the true eye for photography, so work out if you have it. Ask a friend.

10. Take your camera with you everywhere you go. If you feel naked without a camera, you are on the right track. And never close your eyes for potential models. So open up your eyes, and always be ready, that’s the best tip anyone can get. Seriously.

















"I just want a TV embrace"
Art Model Meg









One of the very best things about what I do with my work, is being able to pick and choose who I work with, simply because money is never a factor.

I choose people who I find inspire me, who bring something to the table, and who I think I will be able to create with It’s very liberating when you find the right people.

Meg is one such person, I always saw potential in her, there was something there from the start that I knew I wanted to shoot, so it was great to finally get a chance to do some images with her.
















"Suck me dry"
Art Model Meg








It flowed from the first moment, because knowing someone is a fan of what you create it gets you in a state of mind of “Well what could go wrong, lets just have fun and see how it comes out!”, and that’s exactly what we did, wandered around the streets of Melbourne, chatting, laughing, about art, about friends, and when seeing the perfect spot, dropping our bags and going into position and creating.

It was fun, and really shouldn’t that be how all of our shoots are, when we are open to it, art just happens, as it did with Meg. And she become more and more confident in front of the lens, things started to happen, images started to appear that took her beyond how she saw herself, and how others saw her, the transformation was startling.

And so now, as I look back on the photographs, I remember not only a great afternoon with a wonderful girl, but a creative experience that is very hard to replicate in this big bad world.





"Without your reflection"
Art Model Fiona







"You knew all the words"
Art Model Fiona
















"I can see through you"
Art Model Fiona










Fiona is just one of those people that photographers love to find.

She is in no way scared of the lens, and will do anything for the best image. I have had her laying on the weirdest things in the oddest places, yet she has never complained once.
But what she really excels at are portraits, she has a face that is one of the most versatile that I have ever seen, changing from an angel to a devil in a split second and back again after the frame is captured.

I always have the best time shooting with her because I truly never know what is going to come of it, but I’m always surprised by the quality of the outcome.

She is a true talent and a muse in every sense of the word.







"Freedom"






"Dont hate me"
Art Model Kaios






"Too much is never enough"
Art Model Ari



September 8, 2017

Milla Jovovich by Mario Sorrenti and Peter Lindbergh



😃 I found this 2 beautiful series of Milla Jovovich by Mario Sorrenti and Peter Lindbergh. As I always write in this new column, stars are not art models, not at all. But as usual, there are exceptions to a rule and the celebrities I publish did a pretty good work. Milla Jovovich is the fifth to touch me. I'm looking for others but the reseach could be long and unsuccessful... More to trash than to exhibit!








In Purple Magazine 2009 issue 12


Olivier Zahm : How did the shoot with Mario Sorrenti go?


The feeling was beautiful and intimate, like we were creating a song or a poem with these photographs. I felt like I was part of the process. Before it was like, “I’m the model, you’re the photographer.” But this time there was a synergy. We were helping each other express ourselves. Mario and I have been friends for over ten years, so I’m very comfortable shooting with him. We care about each other. He’s a friend I totally trust. These are the first nudes I’ve done in over ten years, what with getting married and having a baby and everything. I got married when I was 22 and I felt like I shouldn’t do nudes anymore. Then after I got divorced the opportunity didn’t present itself. I did do nudes a couple of times with Peter Lindbergh, but it had been a long time. I had my clothing company, which took up five years of my life. I was working on films. I had a baby. 

Wasn’t it Avedon who discovered you?

No, it was Herb Ritts. Actually, it was the photographer Gene Lemuel. You should see his stuff, you’d love it. He’s very underground. A real artist, and a poet. He took my first test pictures. He showed them to Herb in LA and the next day Herb hired me for the cover of Lei, the Italian magazine. I was 11. Then Avedon hired me for Mademoiselle. There was a big controversy about that. But it all took off from there. I posed for Scavullo, Peter Lindbergh, and all the guys. All when I was 11, 12, and 13. I never posed nude, but it was still controversial. Christian groups harassed Avedon, claiming he was shooting child pornography. Mademoiselle didn’t want to put me on its cover, but Avedon said if they didn’t he’d never work for them again. He really supported me in the beginning, really jump-starting my career. So it’s been a long journey. But after 25 years, I still feel like I’m just getting started!


















But you must have fit right in at the time! Purple started in 1992. It was a moment of change in fashion.

Yes, that’s when I met Mario Sorrenti and Terry Richardson. Actually, I didn’t like the work I did as a child model. I wasn’t into the late-’80s esthetic. But I really started enjoying modeling when I came back. We had an amazing group of friends, David and Mario Sorrenti, and Terry. And Frank B, who was still assisting Mario, had just started to do make-up. Mario took that picture of me for the cover of i-D, the crazy clown thing. That was Frankie’s first make-up job. It was like all these kids together doing stuff.

Like the empty room in which you did the shoot with Mario.
 
Exactly. We had to fill it with ourselves. We were able to express ourselves because there was nothing else in the room and no one  saying anything.

























































For Vogue Italy (to be checked if they were published) - 1998