November 25, 2012

"He's not an artist. He's a very naughty boy" (with apologies to Monty Python's Life Of Brian)!

Award winning photographer Tim Pile talks about his work:

As you can probably guess from the headline I chose for this feature I try not to take things too seriously, and hopefully this is reflected in some of my images. I am an amateur photographer from Birmingham, England. I use the term amateur not just because I make no income from photography, but also because the true definition of amateur is someone who does something "for the love of it", and that's certainly the primary driver behind my photography. I just love working with models and between us creating ideas for images, whether this be in a studio with my ever-expanding bag of props, or at one of the many locations I seem to spend large amounts of time hunting down and researching on the Internet.

When finding locations I am the ultimate opportunist. I will contact landscape photographers on forums I frequent about where their images were taken, and they in turn have supplied details of lots of amazing places to shoot at. If friends have properties that I think would look good I will approach them about shooting there. I also collaborate with many other photographers, as a second photographer is useful as a lookout on location shoots, and I also find that some of our creativity rubs off on each other leading to both of us producing better images.

Location work gives both the model and the photographer so many opportunities for creativity. For the photographer it's all about finding interesting compositions and viewpoints, while for models I like to think of locations as a playground where they can be themselves and express their personality. Locations allow poses that are just not possible in a studio, or they can make very simple and potentially uninteresting poses produce really strong images because of other elements in the image.

I have had a very technical career, and until recently had no real interest in anything artistic. I started shooting models just under 4 years ago, jointly with two female photographers primarily to keep down costs, but also so that we could learn off each other. This worked very well, and I like to think that some of their feminine touch has rubbed off on me, and influenced my photographic style. Even now most of the photographers I collaborate with are female.

What are my images about? Well I honestly don't really know as my style is still developing rapidly, but as far as I can see my images appear to be strongly influenced by shapes, whether this be the shape of the landscape or surroundings, or the pose of the model, and this probably comes from my mathematical background. Most of my images have very little post-processing applied to them, this is not because I am a purist, but because I still have to unlock the door in my mind that leads to the creative imagery that I see in so many of the photographers that inspire me. 

I try to capture both the beauty and the personality of the models I am working with in my images, and always involve models in the idea creation as much as possible, as two brains are always better than one.  I tend to work with a small number of models repeatedly, as I have good working relationships with them, and because having worked together before we both see it is a challenge to produce something different and better than that we have produced before.

My images been successful with numerous photographic awards and distinctions, but I prefer my images to do the talking. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as the models and I have enjoyed producing them, and a big thank you to all the models who have made producing these images such an enjoyable experience.

Thank you Tim for your contribution!
(Models featured, in no particular order: Ivory Flame, Raphaella, Fredau,Tiffany Jayne,Victoria
Summers, Katie Derry, Kayleigh Lush, Bonnie Scott Madame Bink, Katie T)

August 18, 2012

David LeBeack

It is with great sadness that Univers d’Artistes announces the passing of longtime colleague David LeBeack.

July 27, 2012

Genital Photography: Can It Ever Be Considered Art?

“Art-porn“, “erotic bodyscapes”, “edgy art nude”. There are so many names for it, but in general it amounts to the same thing: close-ups, usually labial, featuring “arty” strawberries, “sensual“ flowers, “fun” Skittles, or god-forbid, the “edgy” tiny lego-men. Ubiquitous on DeviantArt and usually prompting a disbelieving headshake at something that seems at best porn and at worst extremely uncomfortable to look at.

Except that by chance, I came across some images that broke the mould. While I think that with the exception of those horrendous doctors’ stock pictures, genital photography almost always has to be considered erotic, I wondered if it could ever be seen as artistic too.

It’s a standing joke that you can take any photograph of a naked woman, convert it to black and white and call it art-nude, but there is a bit of truth there; taking the colour out of an image often prevents it from being garish. (Though that could still be achieved with muting the tones or converting the picture to sepia). Keeping an eye on the colour is definitely a good idea- let’s face it, whether we’re porcelain, ebony or any of the many shades in between, our bodies have parts that can look a bit scary and red (and even blue, depending on where your veins are) close up!
Still, black and white is a matter of colour balance, not the kiss of life for a bad picture! In my opinion, to give genital photography a chance at being viewed as artistic, there must be another quality about the image that draws the eye, besides its subject matter.

While searching for images to illustrate this piece with, I have now seen far more photographs of genitals than one person ever needs to see (!) As a nude model, I am unfazed by nakedness, but I still found that being confronted with a large screen-filling technicolour penis before I’ve had a coffee is a bit jarring! Certainly in this woman’s opinion, if it is immediately obvious what the subject matter is, then the brain registers little other than the fact that the photograph is explicit. There are so many textures and lines in the "down below" areas that creating an image based around shape can be achieved in a multitude of ways- it just requires the photographer to use their imagination.

 Something else that I think can work well is juxtaposition (which is a great word that does not get used often enough!) Photographers and artists do it all the time- we’ve all seen the classic “woman’s body photographed from behind next to cello” picture, and I recently saw “woman’s hips next to pear”! Give the viewer another object to compare or contrast with (the first person to suggest a vegetable has to look through my photo research “reject pile”!) as it can not only add interest, but narrative as well.

Traditional artists have painted and drawn the genitals for a long time, and been called artists (look at certain Neolithic sculptures- and more recently, Georgia O’Keeffe’s flower paintings)- but it’s a little easier to convince the public that the thing on the wall in front of them is indeed “art” when it‘s a historical artefact, or a depiction of some petals at first glance! With the medium of photography, it is far more of a challenge… but in my opinion, something that can be achieved providing  the challenge is accepted!


Image credits:
1) Turhi
2) Jemiro
3) Altering Reality
NB: The "images that broke the mould" are by Ekaterina Zakharova. As I have not received permission in writing to publish her images, I have linked to her profile above instead.

July 21, 2012

The photography of Hendrik Kroenert

Hendrik in his own words:

At the beginning of 2006 I met my companion Melanie who unfortunately died in 2010. She was very active on deviantArt so I joined dA myself as Niemans. At first I only watched, but after a while I became infected by her creativity and began to explore the art of photography. I bought a bridgecam, but soon recognized that this camera did not fit my needs. I sold it and bought my first DSLR in March 2008. Shortly after, I attended my first workshop and that drew me into photographing people. I think it was also in 2008 when I tried film photography and bought my first medium format camera from a friend. At first I used more digital when shooting, but nowadays I try to capture more and more images on film. My main focus is on artistic nude photography: I like photographing women. Bored by too sterile digital studio images, I try to work at home or better still at the model's place or any other interesting new location. Also my models don't have to be thin and have a perfect skin. I believe every woman has something beautiful, and I'm trying to show it. Clothes are masquerades and I want to show my models without that. Just their humanity, not hiding beneath cloth. My work has been influenced by photographers like Alexander Bergström, Neil Huxtable and several other artists on deviantArt.

Big Beautiful Curves
This is about showing the beauty that lies in women with curves through an very abstract, graphical approach

Silistra - My first art-nude shoot back in december 2009.


Generations: If I can find more matching models I would like to make a series out of that theme.

Orchideen-Lady -  I really like that Polaroid. Too bad Fuji ceased the production of the FP-100B shortly after the picture was taken.

Merdeuse - Sometimes I like to provoke a little

New Body

Many thanks indeed Hendrik for sharing your work with us. We wish you all the very best for the future.

July 6, 2012

Photographer's choice: Neil Huxtable by Hendrik Kroenert

Neil and his band, the Mark Percy Band. Left Laurence Harrison, centre Neil Huxtable, right Mark Percy

We are starting a new kind of feature.

"Photographer's choice" is a feature about a photographer chosen by another photographer. Our first feature of this kind is by Hendrik Kroenert from Germany. He contributes this interview with a photographer he most admires and has known through his membership of deviantArt. The photographer in question is Neil Huxtable, also known as Talkingdrum. Hendrik has selected some of his favourite nudes from Neil's deviantArt gallery.        
Hendrik is a competent fine art photographer in his own right and we will soon be featuring his work. Meanwhile we are happy to post his choices and we hope more photographers will come forward to suggest that the work of other photographers should be featured here on UdA.

As Hendrik observes, Neil Huxtable's nudes are quite different in that he tends to portray real women, as opposed to conventional fine art models, though he also photographs professional models.

The following interview with Neil was published by Hendrik in his blog a while ago, only the choice of photographs for UdA has been updated, augmented with Hendrik's handpicks from Neil's current deviantArt gallery.

Real name? 
Neil Huxtable

When and how did you get into photography?

My father was really into photography and I grew up in a household with a studio and darkroom. Although I didn’t use the studio I spent a lot of time in the darkroom. I got my first SLR when I was about 5 or 6 years old.

                                                                                     Who is your photographic role model?

It’s hard to name just one but I have been really inspired by Sally Mann. When I was at college I really liked Edward Weston (and still do).

What do you do when you are not photographing/retouching?

I’m a musician by trade so that takes up a lot of time. I’ve just got my studio back (music) after a 9 month refurb so I’ve not been as active on the photography front as I normally am as I’m spending a great deal of time in there catching up.

What is your favorite camera?

My favorite camera to use is my Bronica S2a but it has focusing issues that I can’t seem to cure so it tends to get side lined for my Hasselblad.


I shoot on both but a the moment I much prefer shooting on film. I have D700 which is no slouch but when I shoot models I always shoot a combination of film and digital. When I look at the results the film wins every time. There is something much more beautiful with film, especially in its tonal range.

If film, which is your favorite film?

I like Ilford Delta 400 (or HP5). I like to see a little grain as it gives an image “bite”.

Retouching images yes/no?

Yes I spend a lot of time retouching. I don’t look at digital retouching any differently from working in a darkroom where you’re dodging, burning, toning, touching up and doing a host of other things to manipulate an image. It’s just so much easier to do it digitally. My personal feeling is that whatever is done to an image, the processing work should not be evident. It needs to be done with subtelty and in such a way that it doesn’t show, unless of course the manipulation is part of the art as in adding textures and tones etc. I think it takes great skill to “process” digital images well.

Thank you Hendrik for your choices, it is indeed a great feature!

If you are a photographer and would like to propose another photographer to be featured here on UdA please contact us at univdartistes @

Models from top to bottom: Claire,Helena, Hannah, Anonymous, Tansy Blue, Keisher, Katie, Ang, Anonymous, Mellie, J-Lo, Sheenagh

June 28, 2012

The painterly work of Nagib El-Desouky

Nagib is one of those incredibly talented individuals, with several creative pursuits. He is both a musician and a photographer. As a photographer he has developed a very unique style, very painterly in feel but totally based on photographic images.
I am featuring him here. He was most reluctant to discuss his work or even supply titles to the images. He sent me however an excerpt of Khalil Gibran's The prophet,which I am copying below. "I think it is quite beautiful" writes Nagib "and describes the nature of work (and the creative process) well and in a way that I can relate to"
Here it is with his images interspersed. Nagib's website is here and you can contact him directly should you wish to.

Then a ploughman said, "Speak to us of Work."
And he answered, saying:
You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.
For to be idle is to become a stranger unto the seasons, and to step out of life's procession, that marches in majesty and proud submission towards the infinite.
When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music.
Which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison?
Always you have been told that work is a curse and labour a misfortune.
But I say to you that when you work you fulfil a part of earth's furthest dream, assigned to you when that dream was born,

And in keeping yourself with labour you are in truth loving life,
And to love life through labour is to be intimate with life's inmost secret.
But if you in your pain call birth an affliction and the support of the flesh a curse written upon your brow, then I answer that naught but the sweat of your brow shall wash away that which is written.
You have been told also life is darkness, and in your weariness you echo what was said by the weary.
And I say that life is indeed darkness save when there is urge,
And all urge is blind save when there is knowledge,
And all knowledge is vain save when there is work,
And all work is empty save when there is love;
And when you work with love you bind yourself to yourself, and to one another, and to God.
And what is it to work with love?

It is to weave the cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth.
It is to build a house with affection, even as if your beloved were to dwell in that house.
It is to sow seeds with tenderness and reap the harvest with joy, even as if your beloved were to eat the fruit.
It is to charge all things you fashion with a breath of your own spirit,
And to know that all the blessed dead are standing about you and watching.
Often have I heard you say, as if speaking in sleep, "he who works in marble, and finds the shape of his own soul in the stone, is a nobler than he who ploughs the soil.
And he who seizes the rainbow to lay it on a cloth in the likeness of man, is more than he who makes the sandals for our feet."

But I say, not in sleep but in the over-wakefulness of noontide, that the wind speaks not more sweetly to the giant oaks than to the least of all the blades of grass;
And he alone is great who turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own loving.
Work is love made visible.

Thank you Nagib for sharing your work with us and wishing you well for the future

June 18, 2012

“Beauty is to the lonely mind but a shadow fleeting.” Christopher Morley 1890 - 1957

It's been a while since we posted but today it is our  pleasure to feature the photography of Britalicus, who hails from Edinburgh, Scotland.

This is what he says about himself:

"I was given my first camera at about the age of eight and knew instantly then that photography was something special. To be able to capture a moment, a feeling, an emotion, was something that I felt was possible, and so it has remained with me since, but capturing that special and perfect image remains just as elusive today as it did then.

Bending nude: a contrast lighting study. Model: Raphaella

      Bow: a pose to create symmetry. Model: Katy Cee                 
After many years of photographing landscapes, portraits, and events, as very much an amateur photographer, I ventured into artistic nudes in January 2010, my wife, I’m glad to say, being very supportive of the idea. Once passed the ‘how do you find a model?’ stage, it was a case of finding an approach to the subject with which I felt comfortable. It’s plain there are many different approaches to photographing the nude female form, but for me respect for the beauty and integrity of the model comes very high on the agenda in addition to the creation of 
an artistic image.
 Dance: a shot from a dance shoot using fabrics to create shapes in contrast to the models. Models: Katy Cee, and Kayleigh Lush

EdinburghCastle: the well known landmark of Edinburgh Castle and a cloudy sky used as a backdrop to this rooftop shot. Model: Katy Cee

Modern dance and classical ballet have been a strong influence on my shoots. I am fascinated with the shapes and forms that can be created in this art form, all too fleetingly, especially when emphasised by contrasting stage lighting. It will continue to be an underlying theme of my work, and has also influenced the choice of models with whom I have worked, many of them having formal dance training and experience. It is also probably why I have a preference for monochrome, this giving emphasis to the captured shapes and forms, focusing the eye on line, light, and shadow, and coming from the age of Tri-X film a reason why I like contrasty shots.

I treat external location work with caution as I think shooting outside risks being clichéd. However, a location with a strong photographic identity in its own right can add significantly to an image provided that model and location are integrated as one in the composition.

Horse and nude: an early morning shoot on Camber Sands, Kent, using the wide open space to contrast with model and horse. The underlying desire was to create a level of romanticism. Model: Kayleigh Lush

Iveta : a pose to create a dynamic shape. Model: Iveta Niklova

Iveta: capturing movement. Model: Iveta Niklova

Kayleigh: an implied nude with soft lighting. Model: Kayleigh Lush

Nearly two years on from my first shoot, a solo exhibition and a magazine spread and publications behind me, together with a website that regularly attracts visitors from around the world, I do not see my desire diminishing to try new concepts as well as developing on existing. In doing so I can, hopefully, get somewhere closer to capturing those elusive moments, those fleeting shadows, that I perceived all those years ago in the days of my youth!"

Kayleigh: posed to create a symmetry. Model: Kayleigh Lush

Thank you Britalicus! We wish you well in your future work.  Anyone interested in viewing his latest work please visit his website

                                                                                              Raphaella: a pose to show the model’s flexibility. Model: Raphaella

Thonet Rocking Chair: a pose to reflect the shapes in the chair. Shot with natural light. Model: Raphaella