November 12, 2014

Dave Swanson is with us

Dave Swanson at his very active blog "Speaking Truth", Photo Points, Model Mayhem,

"The Frog Hunter"
Art Model Sarah Jean

The first time I saw the work of Dave Swanson, I believed he was australian... Yes. There is in his compositions and his strong preference for tremendous (and sometimes scary) outdoors shootings, the same love for the big spaces than Gerhardt Thompson, Beau eRomantica, among all these great australian photographers I like so much.

Reading his blog from the beginning (it means 251 posts !), I've also discovered a wise man, engaged, sincere and always honest with himself, and ourself. It was a great pleasure.

Now, let's him talk ! Enjoy.

"Octopus Hair"
Art Model Erin -

First, let me introduce myself. I am a photographer living in northern Minnesota and I work with the nude female form, both outdoors and in the studio.

My outdoor work centers around sculpting the nude into the setting to either blend, or contrast with the landscape.

When I am forced into my studio in the winter months I concentrate on form and shadows.

"Chimney"Art Model Abigail

My camera of choice for outdoor work is a 4X5 Toyo made of carbon fiber to reduce weight. On this I usually have a 210mm Schneider lens, but do opt for a 360mm Rodenstock from time to time.

I am getting up in years now and I find that I do not have the stamina to lug 60 pounds of gear on my back for miles over rugged terrain, so I have been using a digital SLR more and more lately. Currently I have been working with a Nikon D300, which I find reasonable compared to the earlier versions in the Nikon family.

The first half of this year has been very busy for me with shows and print sales.

I have done one show with Stephen Haynes already, and will be displaying work with him again in a few days at a film premier party. I had work accepted again this spring into the Kinsey Erotic show. I was informed that I was one of only two people that have been in every Kinsey show since it started. I currently have work in the Mills Pond House Gallery in St. James, NY, and at One Fine Art Gallery in Geneva, IL.

Most of my prints are editions of one. If anyone has an interest in purchasing one of my works, please feel free to contact me. All prints are shipped flat with a certificate of authenticity."

"Behind The Scenes"
Art Model Brooke Lynne -

" I was working with Brooke on the north shore of Lake Superior last summer. We had been shooting during the day with mostly my work. In the evening another photographer was wanting to shoot her with painted light. As he was setting up his shot I took this image. OK, I horned in on his shoot, but he did the same with me during the day, so I figured it was alright. I like mine better anyway. He was off to the left in this image and was wanting her to swing her head so her hair twirled around. That fashion thing (sticks finger in throat). Seriously, I like his work, and he has done some amazing photos. Just not my thing. I do like his glass cleaner though."

"Tide Pool 3"
Art Model Erin

"You Can't Give Up Now"
Art Models Abigail and Erin

My love is in outdoor work.
It presents challenges that are different from being in the studio where all the light is under your control.

Outdoors one needs to adapt to what is dished out at the time of the shoot. Some landscape photographers have the option of waiting for the right conditions to develop in order to get the look they are after. Those of us who hire a model for a certain day, need to work with whatever we have in the way of light at any given point in time.

"Catalina Highway"
Art Model Abigail

" This image was taken at about seven thousand feet up a mountain in Arizona. The column that Abigail is on is about thirty feet up. I am on top of a similar column a little ways away. Abigail climbed up there, and let me tell you this old man was scared. But then she scares me all the time. We have some better images from this rock, but I like the hair in this one. "

"Captain's Widow"
Art Model Erin

But the reason I like to work outdoors is mainly the scenery.

A good hike up a remote stream to find a beautiful waterfall ; climbing cliffs with people I enjoy being around ; and the camping. Sitting around the campfire after a nice meal with a glass of wine, tired and laughing about how one or more us almost fell ; the things we could have done better ; the places we visited and the wonderful time we had.

Unlike my studio work where I know what is going to be a good image and what is not, quite often the images taken in the prettiest places are not what I had intended them to be, and the ones taken in some spot that I stopped at only because I was tired and needed a rest, turn out to be gems."

"From this morning"
Art Model Jolene

" I had a good session with the new model, Jolene today. We started off with a few classic style figure poses, then I pushed her to pose on her own. That is always a tough thing to ask a new model, but they need to learn to be creative in their work because if the photographer makes all the adjustments it won't come natural for them. She turned out to be a fairly good dancer, so on went the music and she flowed very nicely through a series of shots."

"The Game"

Most of my studio work is a model with a black background so the viewer is looking at form with light and shadow.

I don't want a background showing to distract, nor do I want a face or props to take you away from that.

His favorite photographers :

"Can You Dance ?"

I never cared for Edward Weston's work with the nude. It always seemed below standard from what he had done with his still life work.

Ansel Adams work was beautiful, but not what I had an interest in with regard to subject matter.

Man Ray was getting close to my heart with better work than Weston could produce while viewing a naked woman, but again his subject matter was not what I was after.

Helmut Newton was too far off in left field for my taste, although I did like his photography skills.

Two people set a standard for me : Wynn Bullock and Howard Schatz.

"Sensual Hand"
Art Model Abigail

" One area of the photo classes I teach deals with what is the object that draws the viewer's eyes ; where it is placed in the image ; and if it holds the attention for awhile before allowing the eyes to float around the rest. About a month ago I began a series devoted to The Nude Hand. I wanted to make sure the hand was the main object that drew in the eyes and held them, but I also wanted to tease the eyes away. I learned that it is not as easy as it sounds. Great lighting and hand poses are not all that is required. You need separation, otherwise the eyes float on past, great hand or not. This is one that I am pleased with the result, although I will crop it slightly different in the print."

Bullock routinely photographed his three daughters and wife nude in wonderful outdoor settings. His insight into the use of light and shadows was par excellence. A Ansel Adams of the nude figure in landscapes.

Schatz work with underwater figures to this day rivals digital manipulations that try to recreate something similar to what he did. I have looked through a book of these fine images, but the cost for this second hand book was far beyond my budget. A treaty to the quality of his work.

"Break Right"
Art Model Erin

" I really like the broken lines of a figure under water. Sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic. It adds a bit of spice to the ordinary smooth lines of the female form. Sort of a Picasso thing with two eyes on the same side of the head. This shot of Erin was one of the lessor ones in that department, and yet it has just enough to make it fun."

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