June 16, 2015

Pavel Vodi, self-interview and advices

member since 2008

He told me yes, thank you. I sent him my questions after watching carefully all his photographs. He sent me back that. Thank you Pavel, it was a wonderful surprise and a lot of work, I know it.

His message to the readers :

" It seems that many articles about photographers sort of have the same set of questions. Another approach is to find out what other people have to say about my photography. I'd much rather have an article about what my images say and what they mean to other people, than have an article that talks about me." Pavel Vodi

"Autumn Light 1"
Art Model Babs

"Nude, Reclining 4"
Art Model Yen

"Deconstruction 5"
Art Model Yen

Pavel Vodi, from Austin, Texas, USA, has been making images for about 30 years.

His lifelong interest in architecture is evident in many of his works, in which appear the details of doors, windows, and structures, in otherwise barren settings.

Pavel Vodi takes glamour and figure themes one step further, by infusing them with a sense of emotion. The themes he captures have an understated eroticism. His work is sometimes associated with the Industrial Glamour genre, which contrasts the beauty of the human form, with a sometimes cold and inhuman industrial setting.

"Kichaa 4"
Art Model Kichaa

In the creation of the Dark Matter Zone look, Pavel Vodi explains :
" You may be wondering about the meaning of the name Dark Matter Zone. Some people think it might mean that my work is dark or moody, and that is sometimes true ! But the name refers to the material in the universe called "Dark Matter". If there were an infinite number of stars in the universe, then, if you looked up, you'd see a continuous sheet of brightness in the sky, some areas brighter than others. But you don't ! Instead, there is dark space between the stars.

In fact, 90% of the universe is made up of this Dark Matter - matter that we can't see, but most of what exists consists of. So, my universe of photography is devoted to the part of reality that is not seen - the non-tangible part of human existence. Beauty sometimes, but also the feelings and emotions of the subjects of my photographs.

"Indigo Healer"
Art Model Whitne

Several people have asked for tips about how to do photography the way I do. I am influenced by the work of Kenn Lichtenwalter. But I don't want to merely duplicate what he has done. Instead, I've looked at his work and decided to do it my way. I analysed his work and saw the elements of his style. Then, I took some of his elements and added some of my own.


One thing I've noticed is that most photographers are very concerned with the technical aspects of photography : cameras, equipment, hardware, settings, etc. Travel light ! Don't get too bogged down by equipment and technique that you miss the subject that is unfolding before you. I limit myself to one camera and one lens. Sometimes, but rarely, I use a reflector. I usually use the light that is available in a space. What I try to do is to get away from the constraints of the technical aspects and do photography that feels right.

"Candace's Figure"
Art Model Candace Nirvana

Some models have told me that photographers will show them photos ripped out of magazines and say "do that pose". Instead, I approach a photo shoot with an open mind.

I start a shoot with no idea about what the result will be. I shoot to discover something in the model or the environment.

I set the stage, such as finding a location or describing the general wardrobe or tone for the model. But then I improvise the shoot. The other day, we got kicked out of a frequent shooting location. So we sloshed across a wet field, through some woods, and found another abandoned barn. There, we discovered many interesting spaces of light, shadow, objects, and textures to work with.

"Sophia 11"
Art Model Sophia Day

When shooting, be deliberate about everything. Consider the subject and the environment. Look at the volume of light in a space and see how the light affects things. Watch how the light changes with the movement of the sun. Look at the quality of light in different locations in a space. Move your subject around in the space and see how it responds to the light. And ask your subject, if they are human, to improvise, as well, so you can see the unexpected. Move yourself around your subject, and shoot from above and below. Experiment !

Develop a vocabulary of what you are doing. These are tools to use to develop a style. Always think about how to take your work to the next level - and what that level is !

I have 5 of 6 specific things I try to incorporate into my images. I'm not going to list them because they are there to discover ! But I keep them in mind when making an image.

But most of all, shoot as much as you can !!!

"Siren 1"
Art Model Mars Ayane

"Siren 16"
Art Model Mars Ayane

Here is his own selection of some of the best questions that have been posed to him by his large audience :

When you hit a block, or dry spell, whatever you call the interuption in the flow of your creative vision, what specifically do you consciously do to alleviate it ?

Fatigue seems to be the point at which creativity flows the best. So, when a creativity block happens, I just keep going until everyone starts to get tired. Then things usually start to happen. If I’m lucky, I get a model whose interest in modeling motivates them to just keep going, and that’s when the best work occurs.

"Siren 7"
Art Model Mars Ayane

How do you get all these incredibly beautiful women to pose for you ?

 Not all of the people I shoot are “incredibly beautiful”, at least not at first glance. But often beauty is discovered in the process of photographing them. So it’s not as if there is a category of women who are unobtainable. I usually only ask people to model who I think are interested in the opportunity to express themselves. Maybe they’ve seen my work before, maybe they’re looking for a photographer, or maybe they just seem outgoing and openminded.

"Laid Bare"
Art Model Elkie Cooper

"Lucid Dreamer 1"
Art Model Lucid [S]inema Dreamer

Why do you take the photos you take ?

I do have an obsession with making cool images.
The ultimate goal is to move people in some way.

If you look at the full range of my work, you can see that many of the images are not nudes. But nudes are the classic subject for art, and are also quite difficult to do well. I’ve been fascinated with the subject of erotica and after shooting women for awhile, I began to wonder how to shoot women in a way that would appeal to both women and men.

So, I’ve been trying to do work that encompasses the intellectual, the emotional, the spiritual, as well as the physical realms.

Art Model Grace

Do you act out the fantasies from your dreams with the women – for instance, by getting them to pose in certain manners and places ?

My photography is the result of a spontaneous process.

That is, I don’t have any preconceptions about what I’m going to get from a shoot. 

My process is to provide a location that stimulates the model and the photographer to come up with some interesting ideas. The best models are the ones who can improvise wherever they are and who can just go with the flow. The activity of photography is so full of the mental gymnastics of producing a good image and communicating with a model, that the self is secondary. I’m often physically exhausted and in pain the day after a shoot because of the effort extended without thinking about my own physical limitations.

"Retromancer 1"
Art Model Lily Addams

What character attribute/emotion is the most difficult to express in photography ?

It is the most difficult to make a photo that appears to have a real emotion instead of an acted emotion.

The act of photography changes the reality of a situation, so it’s the most difficult to capture reality without changing it. Sometimes when photographing a model, it’s hard to get to the place where a model can express an emotion. Some models can act it out ; for others it’s real.

"Avalon 9"
Art Model Miss Avalon

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