November 29, 2012

Scott Nichol's interview

" I can't say enough about how incredibly fortunate I am to have the opportunity to work with these wonderful people. Their patience and understanding and trust are all invaluable to making the images work so well." Scott Nichol

"Overhead, quietly"
Art Model Nori

Art Model Kaitlin Lara

A brief bio :

" Scott Nichol is a fine art photographer specializing in exquisite nude figure studies.
Most of Scott's early works come from self-taught experimentation with landscapes and nature photography. More recently, he has studied studio lighting and figure photography with Olaf Starorypinski.

He has recently been invited to take part in the Banana Factory Photo Salon, a collection of prominent Lehigh Valley, PA photographers who hope to build a world-class photography festival and exhibition space on the historic site of the former Bethlehem Steel plant in Bethlehem, PA.

Although, not formally trained in photography, Scott has an amazing eye for composition, a wonderful sense of lighting design, and an amazing ability to coax emotion and feeling from his subjects.

He has recently completed a series of outdoor nudes and is in the process of putting together an exhibit based on these photographs. His next series will be a collection of studio nudes with alternating images on deep black backgrounds contrasted with luminous white backgrounds."

Art Model Nori

Scott Nichol and Nori

Scott, tell us how did your passion for photography begin ?

It really started early in life for me. I was lucky enough to have parents that weren't afraid to let me hold and experiment with an expensive 35mm film camera. I was captivated by capturing and preserving images. This really planted the seeds for me and shortly after I graduated college, I bought my first Nikon SLR.

A year or so later, a friend's father was looking to get rid of some darkroom equipment, including an enlarger. I purchased all the gear he had and this lead me down the path of learning how to make my own prints and a passion for exploring it as a true craft.

Where did you learn your art ?

It started with a lot of experimentation and I often failed to accomplish the visions I saw in my head. I didn't go to school for photography or even art, but I always had these images in my head that were captured from moments in real life. And it was difficult sometimes to replicate what I envisioned due to some of the inherent limitations of camera/lens/film. After I got the enlarger, I realized that I truly didn't know what I was doing. I purchased, read, re-read, and memorized most of Ansel Adams' series The Camera, The Negative, and The Print. These books changed the way I saw things, and how I executed a capture. At the time I was focused mostly on landscapes, cityscapes, and other subjects that did not focus on people.

"White Sand - Color"
Art Model Hillary Marie

After I moved into my house from the apartment where I had my darkroom set up, I never rebuilt the darkroom. And for a few years I mostly stayed away from photography. I was watching with great interest the evolution of digital photography. When the quality and prices got to a certain point, I jumped back in and was very excited to be making images again ! I had an interest in setting up a small studio and doing some portraits which lead me to a class at a local creative arts center on Fine Art Figure Photography. This class was taught by the great Olaf Starorypinski. Olaf helped me to understand lighting, how to design a shot with it, and how to work with figure models.

"With Veil at Sunrise"
Art Model Audrey

"Sierra Nevada Sunrise"
Art Model Candace Nirvana

How long could you be far from your camera ?

A few days, really. My full time job is not photography, so I mostly shoot on weekends and other days off. The real question is, however, how long can I stay away from the PowerMac and the Aperture library full of images ?!? I visit that almost daily and work into the night until I just can't keep my eyes open any longer ! You'll notice that most of my deviantArt submissions are done after midnight.

"Summer Beach"
Art Model Candace Nirvana

I noticed !!! Who are your favorite photographers ?

Ansel Adams was a big inspiration. His technical understanding of light and shadows which formed the basis for the Zone System sticks with me in everything that I do. He also had a deep, deep understanding of the characteristics of film, how it was developed, and ultimately how to print the resulting negative to produce the image that he had visualized long before pressing the shutter release. I really try to previsualize this way with my own work, and I can only do so based on my thorough knowledge of the digital workflow process.

But all the technical aspects aside, I am really blown away by Sally Mann's work. Particularly her work in Immediate Family which is so very personal, so connected with the subjects. It really raises the photographs to an emotional level for me and I truly strive to achieve something like this in my personal work.

"Return to Eden"
Art Model Zinn

How long dit it take to find your own style ? Could you define it ?

Shooting nudes is really a new direction for me, but something that I am very passionate about. So, honestly it has taken me all my life to get here ! I've been really focused on shooting my style of nudes and people for little more than 1 year now. Over that time, I feel that my work has matured and it allows me to choose to work with models that have specific emotive talents that I am looking for in my photographs.

So, the evolution of my style has a bit to do with technical knowledge, but also the friendship and trust that I can build up with the models in order to coax out the emotional aspects that I want.

"Reclined On Rock"
Art Model Ginny

That being said, though, I really like to keep my style as versatile as possible.

I spent a lot of time in the studio, working with lighting and posing. This summer, however, I practically abandoned my studio to venture outdoors and shot landscape nudes exclusively. It was so refreshing and rewarding to head in a new direction and flex some creative muscles.

Subway Series
Model Trinette

Dealing with outdoor lighting and trying to get a quality fine art shot without an assistant is truly challenging ! I've also tried to branch out, working on a series of urban landscapes as well, exploring the Philadelphia subway systems with a wonderful model named Trinette.

But to answer your question more directly, my style involves several key elements :
1. An emotional connection with the subject. This is so essential for me.
2. Placement of the model in the scene. I usually want to convey the model's presence in the scene and her command over it. When the model has command of the scene, it empowers her to express the emotions without any reservations.
3. Unposed poses. I don't like poses that look too stiff or planned out. It needs to be more organic for me and I will often pause for a few seconds before pressing the shutter release, just to release a little of that tension.

Thank you Scott ! Is your photography mostly about nudes ?

 Mostly, yes, but not exclusively.

Art Model Soma

"In a Guarded Stance"
Art Model Soma

I saw it. What is your process of creation ? Is it improvisation from the beginning to the end ?

With the summer landscape nudes, I am really so much more comfortable when I have had the chance to scout the location before going there with a model.

I tend to circle locations from every angle and try to visualize how the model will look, where the light is best, and what kinds of poses will work best.

Typically I do this while hiking by myself. But once we get there I'm not locked in on how each shot will happen. Often times the models bring their own ideas when we're on location and I am open to trying anything. So, there tends to be some planning along with generous room for improvisation !

Art Model Leah

When I'm in the studio, I tend to have solid ideas with a series of poses or moods I am trying to accomplish with fixed lighting setups.

I will typically sit down with the models before we start and explain the idea, give some general guidance on emotion and feel and show them examples of what I am trying to accomplish.

If the model tends to pose herself, I will allow her to run through her own poses, making suggestions and offering guidance when necessary. This tends to result in a really pleasing collaboration between two artists.

Ultimately, I get better results and am able to better realize my vision when I go into a shoot with some kind of a plan, even it is just a hint of emotion or feel. A healthy collaboration between model and photographer is always the key to accomplishing wonderful things !

"Seated with Stool"
Art Model Nori

Organized so. What a lucky worker you are... It seems you like studio and outdoors, with no real preference ?

 I have a small studio built in my home and I shoot there a lot. My friend Olaf has a fantastic studio space that is a bit bigger. When I can, I like to shoot there too, just because it has more space (and there's usually a bottle of wine there) ! However, when it is warm outside, I like being outdoors trying to find a serene location to shoot a landscape nude. I tend to spend a lot of time scouting locations prior to shooting with a given model.

Art Model Nori

Some words about your models ?

We don't have enough time, honestly !

Take it ! They'll love !

 Really, though... I can't say enough about how incredibly fortunate I am to have the opportunity to work with these wonderful people. Their patience and understanding and trust are all invaluable to making the images work so well. I've said before, if it wasn't for them, I would only have a large collection of well lit and quite boring paper backdrops !

Not to play any favorites, but there are a few people who have supported my work with their incredible talent and friendship.

Art Model Nori


The first model to pose nude for me, she changed my life and my perspective on photography. She's incredibly goofy and loves to laugh on the job. The friendship we now share is invaluable. Wonk, wonk !

Art Model Zinn


Incredibly emotive poser, she never sits still for me and that's why I work with her. She is truly poetry in motion. She gives so much to every shoot we've done together. Her friendship has become invaluable to me as well !

Do you remember a shooting you particularly liked ?

The shoots all have their moments. But recently I took a trip to California to meet up with some friends for a week of shooting in Sequoia National Park. I couldn't really scout locations since I'm on the east coast, but google is your friend.

I found mention and some snapshots from a location within the park called Heather Lake. It is a beautiful alpine lake, nestled up at 9000 feet elevation. Getting there requires a 4.5 mile hike and a climb of 2000 feet. I asked several models if they would be interested, but timing (more than lack of interest) was the issue since most of the models had booked morning and afternoon shoots.

"Heather Lake"
Art Model Rebecca

One model, Rebecca, expressed a great deal of interest and had no afternoon appointment scheduled. The only problem, I told her, was that the hike in would take about 3 hours and a little less time back out. This is compounded by the fact that it is late September and it gets dark at 5:00pm. So we hatched a plan to get on the road at 6:00am, got to the trailhead by 7:00am and after a long, arduous hike finally arrived at our destination. The location was absolutely pristine and so beautiful.

After a break for lunch, we shot for about two and a half hours and then with Rebecca posing nude on a lakeside log, suddenly two hikers popped out of the woods ! There had been a threat of rangers finding us and issuing tickets and I stammered out the words, "Rebecca, someone is coming !" After a quick cover-up, and an awkward introduction, I told the couple that if they saw the rangers to make sure they didn't mention what we were up to. The woman just looked at me and smiled and said, "Don't worry, we're going to be doing the same thing in a few minutes ! I want to go for a swim !" It was truly a memorable moment and a wonderful accomplishment to make it all the way up to the lake.

"In the Surf"
Art Model Beatrix

How do you feel at the end of a shooting ? Tired, isn'it ?

 Exhausted. When I'm shooting outdoors, I usually feel like I need a shower because I will absolutely crawl around in the mud to get a shot.

"Demolished Barn Window"
Art Model Candace Nirvana

"Spring House Again"
Art Model Candace Nirvana

I understand. I feel the same after a "hard" text... Have you some challenges you're dreaming about in a near future ?

 I put a lot into my photography. I try to buy the best equipment that I can afford. Equiping a studio is just plain expensive, and getting good models doesn't always come for free. I plan to try to take a bit of a break during the Christmas and New Years holidays and assess my collections. I would like put together a plan to turn around this cash flow. I would like to put together an exhibit and start working on a book design. I am very much a do-it-yourself kind of guy, mostly because I like to maintain control over how the final prints look.

"Ganoga Falls"
Art Model Zinn

"Just Kaitlin"
Art Model Kaitlin Lara

I wish you the best ! When do you plan your next exhibition ?

 That is a fantastic question. I have yet to do an exhibit, but would like to start working on an exhibit of my summer landscape series.

Thanks for your "fantastic" !!! And have you published a book ? Is there one to come ?

 I will be published in Carrie Leigh's Nude magazine. She doesn't know it yet, but I will be !

I tell her to see your work. And besides shooting, have you another passion ?

 C'mon now, is there really anything else in life ?!?

Thank you Scott for this wonderful interview ! Thanks for your so kind participation ! Come back as soon as possible... This space is definitively yours.

"Lost in the Corn"
Art Model Zinn

Scott Nichol ©

November 28, 2012

Iris Dassault's interview

" A good shoot is a combination of some planned, and some unplanned concepts." Iris Dassault

Iris Dassault by Chris Maher

with Stephen Thorne and Lela Rae

Dear Iris, when did you start modeling ?

I'm most certainly a late starter. I didn't start my modeling until I was in my mid thirties, and you'll be hard pressed to find any photos of me in my twenties or younger. I'm making up for that in big way now. If someone would have told me I'd be doing this at age 37, I would most certainly have considered this person crazy, as I was quite a prude about nudity when growing up.

 by Gary Mitchell
"Cruel shoes"

" I think he does fantastic work, and it just keeps getting better and better. He's also one of the nicest people I know, and I look forward to shooting with him again soon."

 Clearly, nude modeling was not something I planned on doing, it just somehow happened. I found I enjoyed the process, I enjoyed posing, and I seemed to have a good knack for it, so I kept on going, and going and going.

I don’t model for money, which allows me to just focus on the creative aspects, and to be picky about the collaborative efforts I embark on. My One Model Place has been up since April 2006, and I'm very proud of what I accomplished as a model since that point.

What are your expectations from a shoot, before, during and after ?

I prefer to shoot with the same photographers over and over again. Most of them are personal friends, which relieves some of the pressure in terms of expectations.

When you work with the same people, you pretty much know what to expect, and you know that no matter what, the shoot will be fun, and there will be good images. You are more likely to take creative risks because if it doesn’t work out, there’s always next time.

by Andrew J. Baran
"Revolving Continuation"

" This probably was one of my first ideas I ever wanted to shoot as a model. To see it - finally - after 2 years- come to completion with Andrew was quite fantastic. Sometimes it really does pay off to be patient. It very much has the Andrew baran look and feel. I love the end result, it completely stands on its own. There isn't much more rewarding than seeing an image you just completely love, an image you had in your mind for so long come to completion, and what everyone else thinks about it, just doesn't matter."

by Andrew J. Baran

" This image is somewhat reminiscent of Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man. Vitruvian Man is Da Vinci's world famous drawing depicting the proportions of a man inside a circle and a square. This drawing has inspired many movies (Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter, Pi, etc..) as well as artists to create their own version of it, be it graphic, photographic, scultptural or any other perspective on capturing the human form within a primary shape. 2*PI*r = the circumference of a circle. I'm a math person. I love this. How could I not ? Thank you Andrew and Eve. Post Edit : Univers d'Artistes also posted an iteration on the Vitruvian Man on his blog (by Joe Oliveira). What a funny coincidence..."

I occasionally work with somebody new, and under those circumstances, these are the things that are important to me :

by Stephen Thorne
"Wishful thinking"

" Stephen Thorne always knows how to put a smile on my face. Friendship, kindness and a great sense of humor - I value these things more each day."

Before a shoot :

- Does the photographer have a base concept/idea of what he'd like to shoot - and does it align with my creative vision ?

- Is his approach professional and respectful towards the model

– do his references check out ?

- I look at this body of work and see if I can see myself fit in within that framework.

During the shoot :

- I prefer to shoot in a collaborative mode – exchange ideas, talk about how the shoot is progressing.

- I expect the photographer to be completely professional - but still fun and relaxed.

After the shoot :

- I expect that the photographer lives up to his part of the agreement and gets images back in a timely fashion.

- I expect the photographer to be discrete, professional and respectful all through the process.

by Jim Young
"An obvious indiscretion"
With Art Model Willow

by Jim Young

Are you waiting to be guided during a shoot ? Or do you prefer to be free to move as you feel it ?

When it comes to posing, I think I need little guidance or direction. I pretty much know how to move my body so it will look its best. Put on some music, and then I just go with it.

That being said, I do like to get feedback from the photographer if a pose needs correcting. I’m always open to suggestions and constructive criticism. I like seeing images throughout the shoot, so I have a better idea of what things look like, where to correct myself, and where to go next. It’s an iterative and collaborative process.

Where do the creative ideas come from ?

The creative ideas behind my images are, in large, a blend of different sources : some are a concept the photographer had in mind, some are prompted by a prop I brought to the shoot, some are my personal ideas, some start out as a very specific idea that somehow morphs into something else entirely. I don’t like to work according to a formula.

A good shoot is a combination of some planned, and some unplanned concepts. You have to focus on improving the things that work and dropping the things that don’t work.

by K Leo

What do you like the best about modeling, what do you like the least ?

I obviously enjoy the creative process in my modeling. The day I stop enjoying it as a whole, is also the day I stop modeling. I enjoy the freedom of being nude in front of a camera and the freedom to express myself through body movement. It’s like a dance and I have always loved dancing.

" Working with Bt is always lots of fun, and I hope to do it again soon. From a technical perspective, he knows his tools and trade extremely well. On the creative side of the spectrum, I think it's obvious that there are no self-imposed limits for him. Put those two together, and you get something very special."

What I dislike the most are politics, gossip, negativity, personal insecurities and egos you sometimes encounter. I don’t like it when people compare their work against others, or focus too much on the things other models/photographers do. Just do your own thing, and try to do it to the best of your ability. I think we are all guilty of this to some extent, but I’m trying hard to walk away from this type of stuff and focus on the things that matter the most to me. Let the images speak for themselves.

by Franck Piccolo

by Franck Piccolo
"Making an impression"

Who is your favorite photographer ? Model ?

I like many different photographers for many different reasons. I like photographers who create work that has a distinctive look and feel about it. I have a lot of photography books at home, and I really enjoy the work of Helmut Newton, Jean-Loup Sieff and Richard Avedon. As far as models, I would have to say Muse. She is fabulous.

" AJ Kahn exudes class and style throughout his work, and if you ever have the opportunity to meet him in person, you will understand why. Those attributes you can see in his work (class, style, a great sense of aesthetics, professionalism and perfectionism) - they carry through to him as an individual, which are valuable traits for a photographer to have. Working with him was an all-around fantastic experience."

You keep a blog, can you tell a little more about that ?

I started my blog well over a year ago. The goal was to use it as medium for highlighting the work I have been doing with some really good photographers in my area.

by Chris A. Hugues

Over time, I gradually moved away from that concept, and my blog is now slowly becoming a forum for women who model. Not models, but women who model. I think many people don’t think of the model as a real person, and I want to show that we are real women, with real feelings, ideas, preferences and passion. Women of all ages, all walks of life, all types of backgrounds that have shaped them to become the women and models they are.
My blog is also becoming a way to express ourselves not just through our images, but also through poetry, and writing.

What are you most grateful of when it comes to your work as a model ?

Aside from many beautiful prints and images I have received over the past year and a half, I also have grown a lot in the area of self confidence. My skin is much thicker now and I’m more comfortable with my body than I ever was before. I think that has helped me tremendously in all areas of my life. You walk a little taller knowing that you can be part of something so beautiful. I’m much less vulnerable to negative remarks or criticism because I know my worth as a model and as a woman.

by AJ Kahn


" This is an image from a very recent shoot with AJ Kahn. It's always a joy to shoot with him and this second session has been tremendously productive."

I’m also grateful for my very supportive network of friends – Jim Young, A. Owen Layne, Bt Charles, Gary M, just to name a few. I have learned so much from them, and I look forward to many more collaborations in the future.

Friends are important and, of course, my husband for allowing me to splurge in my passion. I found my happy place in the world of modeling.

Your future plans ?

I hope to maybe assume a bigger role in the MWSEP in terms of helping market the photographers’ work to a broader audience. I’m also hoping to kick off a project that is aimed at raising money for cancer research – a cause near and dear to my heart due to very personal reasons. I will post more on that in the future, when my plans are more concrete. I will continue to model, but my projects will be more specific in nature. I’m also learning how to become a good photographer myself. Other than that, I hope to grow my blog in terms of content and reach, and contribute to yours much more often !

by Jim Young
"Veiled in purple"

"I love shooting while having something I can engage with. That can be fabric, a piece of clothing, jewelry, a door, a wall, a rope, a chain, a tree, or any other prop. I can move with it, interact with it, and it takes the emphasis away from the camera. It breaks the tension, and I think we get better images as a result."

Any additional words you’ld like to share ?

I’d like to extend a special thank you to a few women who inspire me : Tarachin for sharing beauty of the soul, Willow for being being beautiful inside and out, some of my best work I did is with her, Mary for being a wonderful partner-in-crime when it comes to learning our cameras and lighting, and Lin for being a continuous source of inspiration.

There are many more people who have touched my life – I make sure to tell them often.
Thank you Chris, you are an inspiration and a wonderful friend !

Thank you Iris for this wonderful self-interview ! You're great, you're kind, you're wonderful... In fact, you're a Muse.

by Calliopes Room
"Pink Fluff"

" This is an image I shot with Carla, aka Calliopes Room. Carla is awesome ! We had so much fun brainstorming and shooting. And partying too."

November 27, 2012

Iveta Niklova, Interview of an Art Model

by Dave Field
"Black and white"

by Wolf Marloh

Iveta, when did you begin modeling ?

My first experience with modelling started when I was 12 in the Czech Republic. I attended a modelling school, where I was trained in catwalk, how to use make up, drama lesson…etc.
I saw all the girls in my class how seriously they took it and I felt like a black sheep, always late, never prepared for the lesson, always without home work. They looked perfect, great make up, perfect body with a modern outfit, I wore a dirty jeans and xl jumper, but I didnt care. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to do.

by Mick Waghorne
"Peek a boo"

What were the things you liked the best about modeling ? What did you dislike the most ?

I was exacting about everything new, like a young girl I loved the girly things, make up, beautiful dresses and that I was the main subject when I came shooting.

Have to say that now when I am 10 years older and full time model, I'm enjoying modelling much more. It's all about professionalism, I'm trying to get out the best of me and I expect people in industry to do the best job as well.

I travel a lot cause of modelling, which is great, I got to know lots. Of new places and people. I have a very good relationship with some of the photographers and models that I met during the shoots and that I wouldn't probably met if I didn't do modelling.

What I don't like about modelling is the risk. Lots of models started very young and we all were very naive when we were young, most of us were used, one day you are too fat, the second day too skinny, someone wants you, someone doesn't. People can be really bad, sometimes it makes you cry and you feel you are not good enought. You have to be really strong if you want to be a model. It's a big pressure.

by John Tisbury

by John Tisbury
"Chair 2"

What is your personal favourite photo of yourself ?

I have been thinking a lot about this and I have chosen about 5 very great photos which I like, but if I had to choose one it would be a photo by Gregory Brown when I'm naked in the box wearing only some colored stocking, I look like a coral fish. I love this shot.

by Gregory Brown
"Me in the box"

by Gregory Brown

Your favorite photo photographer ? Model ?

Czech photographer Jan Saudek. His work is just amazing, every photo has some story that you could think about. He makes the women confident and feel beautiful.

A model ? It would be Carmen Kass, she is gorgeous.

What makes you creative ?

Life, people, art…

What kind of ambiance inspires you ?

I wanted to have a job that I enjoy and that I can do for living. It was risk, but if you really want, if you believe in yourself and really work hard, you always can do it. People in the agency told me many times that I didn't have the right look for modelling, but I don't give up.

by Simon Richardson

What are you waiting for a photographer ?


by Iain Thomson
"Sweet home"

What makes you confident to plan a shooting with a photographer you don't know ?

New experience, every photographer does a different kind of photography. And if you are up for everything you are happy to do it.

I love new ideas, something untypical that photographer who you haven't worked before, can give.

Can you feel that your body is in the right place, in the right pose, in the best lighting ?

Yes, I can now. And I don't like when photographers direct me, I know that they might have some ideas about what to do, but I want to move how I feel. If it's not right I say to myself : "my god this pic is gonna be rubbish", and yes it is, because you can see that I'm not comfortable.

by Iain Thomson

How do you feel at the end of a shooting ?

It really depends how the shoot went. If you felt comfortable with the photographer and he felt comfortable with you, if both of us were happy with the result... I have a really good relationship with some of the photographers I work regularly with. I come to shoot, we put some music on, and dancing, shooting, having fun, then have a drink after the shoot. We both are very relaxed and you can see it when you see the result. But not always it works like that.

by Stephen Norris
"Not always naked"

by Dave Hare

"Iveta 2"

Do you find the photographers give the models all the credit they deserve ?

I haven't had any problem with that yet. I'm quite lucky with people I work with.

Some words about your actuality ?

It's time to go back to work.

A message to send ?

I just want to say a big thanks to the photographers I started with, as they gave me a big confidence in myself and some advices that I always take with me.

Thank you Iveta ! Thanks for your so kind participation ! I appreciate.

by Gregory Brown