December 26, 2013

Mic Ardant's interview

" It's a question for me to create a particular ambiance where the model could give more than I'm waiting ! The whole must be always superior to the sum of the parts. The model must know how she's beautiful, magnificent and that she poses divinely. I tell her, I guide her until she really becomes what I'm telling about her. From there, this atmosphere of grace." Mic Ardant

"Body's Peace"
Art Model Lucina

"End of Day"
Art Model Maxy

Mic, tell us how did your passion begin ? I'm sure it's a nice story.

Rather late, about 22 years. Well, I crossed every day Boulevard Raspail (Paris, France), near the French Alliance, from where came in and out all day a swarm of attractive girls.

"Definitively I love You"
Art Model Elena

On the same pavement, a bookshop proposed the American publications of "Popular Photography", on which I rushed. There were "Photographer Annual" and "Woman". I still possess them and even a fabulous issue of "Woman" on which I felt accidentally, with surprise, in a bookshop of Istambul.

Naturally, as all the amateurs, I wished absolutely and crazily a Nikon F. What attracted me was the possibility to use a very long focal, allowing me to capture incognito scenes taken on the deep.

A day, I went into a quite small shop of a photographer on Fleurus street, in Paris, to ask him some advices. Finally, reasonable in any point of view, I purchased a Standard Canon FX.

"Other side far behind trees"
Art Model Amandine-Chérie

Art Model Sandra

You seem to prefer studio shootings ? 
I prefer indoor shoots because it's easier for me than to work outdoors. But
I love the sea, the dunes, the swamps, the ponds, the water finally.

I love also the sad landscapes, the loaded sets 1900 style, as those sooted by the brilliant photographer W. Pawelec and 
Irina Ionesco. And the abandoned cemeteries under the moon, the freeway car parks.

Who did influence your so personal style ?

I am fascinated by Sam Haskin's clichés whose the talent had been revealed in France by the magazine "Lui". I still possess all his photobooks and one or two of his pentax calendars, that I finally get. I also love David Hamilton, Irina Ionesco, Bill Brandt, Bob Guccione (the boss and the star photographer of Penthouse) and very numerous painters. Among others Magritte, Vermeer, Klimt, Bonnard, Balthus, Paul Delvaux, Leonor Fini, etc.

"Amandine - 3"
Art Model Amandine-Chérie

"A short moment of respite"
Art Model Brandy

"Le doute"
Art Model Sophie

Talking together for this interview, I felt how much you're a passionate. How long could you be far from your camera ?
I can certainly live without my Nikon D100, but not without paper nor pencil. 

Impossible not to write when I don't shoot.

Besides, I was sometimes surprised noticing in moments of a little bit heavy solitude, that to walk in the countryside with my camera allowed me to feel less alone, lighter.

Mic Ardant, the writer :

Art Model Beatrix

" I always wanted to install me in a hurdy-gurdy house with the thick walls, with a garden between the veranda and the sea which was to strike the rocks, beyond that, to about fifty meters, without anything other between my ground and the strike, which genets and the way known as " of the customs officers ".
Therefore when I visited, keys in hands, the masonry to be sold, I wished to only do it and in all peace. I inspected the house of the cellar to the attic while trying to imagine the various existences which had been able to run out between these old walls.
With the attic under old carpet, I updated, in a cloud of dust, a trunk of old voyage, with the old blackened wood, which released by opening it a perfume of sandal and a thick cloud of multicoloured butterflies which passed very close to me the face by taking again their freedom.
However I realized at once that it was not of butterflies but about remains of dreams which did not belong to me. It has been for that day that I make photography…"

"Precedence and Convolutions"
Art Model Brandy

French version : " J’avais toujours cette envie de m’installer dans une vieille maison aux murs epais, avec un jardin entre la véranda et la mer qui devait frapper les rochers, au delà, à une cinquantaine de mètres, sans rien d’autre entre mon terrain et la grève, que des genets et le chemin dit « des douaniers ».
Aussi lorsque je visitais, clefs en mains, la bâtisse à vendre, je désirais le faire seul et en toute tranquillité.
J’inspectais la maison de la cave au grenier en tentant d’imaginer les différentes existences qui avaient pu s’écouler entre ces vieux murs.
Au grenier sous de vieux tapis, je mis à jour, dans un nuage de poussières, un coffre de voyage ancien, au vieux bois noirci, qui dégagea en l’ouvrant un parfum de santal et un nuage dense de papillons multicolores qui me frôlèrent le visage en reprenant leur liberté.
Pourtant je m’aperçus aussitôt qu’il ne s’agissait pas de papillons mais de débris de rêves qui ne m’appartenaient pas. C’est depuis ce jour-là que je fais des photos…"

Art Model Elena

What is your process of creation ? Have you some secret recipes ?

I haven't a particular process of creation. Ideas come to me, I note them. Sometimes I try to summarize them by making a sketch in a special pad. I use them almost never, but they are available in case of "breakdown".

"Tea Time"
Art Model Amandine-Chérie

In the course of a session, I am connected to the inspiration. It is the key point which allows me to bring out there, as a cat which falls of the third floor on its legs.

I possess a big ease of improvisation. And thus the possibility of adapting me to the model to create a privileged ground of communication.


We can feel it... As we can feel your philosophy in your titles. About your gorgeous models, do you find them easily ? In what kind of ambiance do like to work ?

In Paris we find easily models. Any sorts of models !

For my friends, generally after a session I am very depressed ! I look at my photos and it's always like shit… Because the photo sessions have to take place in a perfect climate. It's a question for me to create a particular ambiance where the model could give more than I'm waiting ! The whole must be always superior to the sum of the parts.

"Témoignage d'un Etat Emotionnel"
Art Model Sonia

The young woman must know how she's beautiful, magnificent and that she poses divinely. I tell her, I guide her until she really becomes what I'm telling about her. From there, this atmosphere of grace.

Once finished, I can only find my photos flat, regarding the stimulation we lived.

In my head always resounds her laughter. And her perfume which has not abandoned me yet. All the photographers know this spleen, I believe. It' equal to this famous sadness after love. I want to say after a satisfactory sexual relation. It's paradoxical, and a commonplace. Of course, there are not other relations than artistic, naturally, but without any doubt a channeling of the absolute desire which finds its road through the objective… Then, I'm disillusioned. Anyway, some days later, at last, I'm ready to rediscover my clichés with foreign eyes, not too much disenchanted…

Art Model Lucina

I understand what you mean... Curiously, writing gives me the same feelings. Mic, are you perfectionist ?

A photo must tell a story, suggest something. To suggest is better because every one interpret according to his/her own fantasies.

I am too conscious of the speed of consumption of a photo. Some seconds, hardly, all statistics prove it.

So, I don't work for the ultimate perfection, I don't analyse all details. I respect those who do it, but it's not my case.

Do you feel the end of a shooting ? Something telling you "it's over !" ?

Anything is never finished, fortunately, otherwise why keep going on ?

Art Model Brandy

"Traquer l'éphémère... ou le sublimer"
Art Model Lucina

You're so right... What do you prefer between writing and photography ?

The writing gets me much more pleasure than the photography, because my words come out mainly from me. In photography, there too many unexpected events. And the model is much more important than me, because without her, I'm nothing !

Have you scheduled your next exhibition ?

I am not tempted by the exhibitions, otherwise on certain conditions. First that my photos be enlarged at least in 1,20 mX1,80 m, and that I do absolutely nothing !

What's for your next future ?

Yes, to make some more photos with my preferred models, and to discover new beautiful ones.

What is for you the dangerous point not to cross in photography ?

Banality and arrogance ! Nothing more unbearable !

Thank you Mic for your kindness ! Come back soon !

"Is it too late"
Art Model Brandy

December 18, 2013

Dave Rudin's interview

" In a world that often seems chaotic, I try to give my images a sense of beauty, of elegance and of grace - hence the name for my website, Figures of Grace. While this may apply literally to my work with the nude figure, my aim is to instill a sense of grace and elegance into all of my images."

"Nude, Joshua Tree"
Art Model Madame Bink

Art Model Carlotta Champagne 
Dear Dave, how did your passion begin ?

I began photographing when I was small after my father gave me a camera. He later gave me his 35mm camera, a Minolta SR-1, after he bought a new camera for himself. I used 35mm equipment for a long time, especially while travelling, mostly in Europe.

In 1994 I completed a graduate business degree after going to school at night for four years (including the summers). I went back to school for career reasons - not because I enjoyed it - but after four years of that I wanted to start doing something again that I really enjoyed : my photography.

"Nude, Nevada 2 "
Art Model Carlotta Champagne

My goal is to show that there also exists a world of beauty, something to show that life is worth living - and I think that's a thing we all need, too.

"Nude, Malibu"
Art Model Maria Eriksson

Make of your passion your job ! That said, sincerely, how long could you be far from your camera ?

To be honest, I'm not someone who photographs all the time. I only have time off from work (and enough money) to travel three or four weeks out of the year, which is when I do most of my photographing for the year. Sometimes I will also photograph models on a weekend day.

As I develop all of my film myself, and as I have a limited budget for my photography expenses, I can only do so much in the way of actually photographing.

Of course, even if I'm not using my camera all of the time, I am still busy developing film, organizing and scanning photos, making prints, etc.

Art Model Maria Eriksson

Dave, what inspires you ?

For my nude photos I think I'm just inspired by beauty, and that beauty is something I try to convey in my photos in my own way.

When I'm travelling I try to find interesting looking people to photograph - people who are beautiful in their own way, you might say - plus interesting looking places.

Your portfolio contains many outdoors shots. Is it your favorite theme, woman in nature ?

When working with nudes, I like locations that are interesting in and of themselves but would also be harmonious to include with a nude. This can be a purely natural landscape, such as the rock formations where I've photographed in Nevada, or a place that includes interesting architecture, like the ranch where I photographed models in New Mexico several times.

Art Model (and photographer !) Kat Love

Art Model Maria Eriksson

Who did influence your style ?

There are a lot of photographers I admire. Edward Weston was great at many types of photography - still life, portraits, landscapes, nudes. One of my top favorites was the fashion photographer Horst - almost all of his photos have a beautiful sense of elegance that I try to include in my photos. I admire Lucien Clergue for his nudes, Helmut Newton for his erotica, Ansel Adams for landscape, Henri Cartier-Bresson for photo-journalism, etc. I also like the work of contemporary photographers like Linda Butler, Howard Schatz and John Swannell.

Art Models Theda
and Kate Mandala

Great masters indeed. About your inspiration, is there a large part of improvisation during your shootings ? 

When I normally begin a photo session with a model, I don't have a preconceived idea of what I will be doing. Often I will be at a location for the first time.

Basically, I just try to do what inspires me at the moment depending on the landscape, weather, etc. 

When I work in a studio I try to plan a little more, but often I just try to think of something on the spot.

"Nude, California 2"
Art Model Kat Love

You're addicted to BW, isn'it ?

My work with the nude figure receives the credit for turning me into a primarily black and white photographer. I decided from the start to photograph this in black and white as the masters of the genre had primarily done. This led to me doing my own developing and printing and coming up with my own vision for black and white.

Now when someone asks me why I don't photograph in color, I simply answer, "Why should I ?"

That's clear. Do you find easily your models ?

A lot of the models I work with have been recommended by other photographers I know. There are also a lot of models here in New York where I live (though a lot ask for too much money so I can never work with them !). When I travel and try to work with models I use websites such as Model Mayhem to find people to work with, though sometimes it can be difficult to find models who are both available and affordable.

Art Model Rhowena

Art Model Lydia

What kind of ambiance do you install to warm the often shy atmospher of the beginnings ?

I just try to be respectful of the model, work slowly (often with a tripod) and don't force the model to do anything she doesn't want to do that's too uncomfortable or difficult.

"Untitled Nude"
Art Model Rei

What is your artistic dream ? Your challenge ?

To have my work seen and appreciated by many people and to gain some recognition for it.
If I were to divide photographers into two types, I might choose those who depict the world as it is and those who depict the world as they would like it to be. I definitely fall into the latter category. The world is (and, I suspect, has always been) a place where one feels helpless to change things.

With a camera, I feel empowered - not to change the world, but to create my own world on film and paper.

"Studio Nude 2"
Art Model Alison

A book to come ?

I'm not sure. If there will be a book, it will be self-published via one of the internet companies that do this. I recently ordered from Koday a 5x7 inch book with 100 of my nude photos. This will be a small prototype for a possible book, just to have an idea of how a book may look. I've already made a small book with some of my travel photos from Asia.

Nice ! Thanks a lot Dave for your precious answers. It's good to know you better... Come back soon, this site is yours.

"Nude, Ohio 4"
Art Model Jacqueline Chantelle

December 15, 2013

Doug Winsor's interview

" Duane Michals once told me : "do what you love and the money will follow", now maybe it's cause he shot for Vogue. But all I can say is : "Duane how long 'til I get some money, I want a Hassy H3D... But really I love that there are so many photographers out there these days. You can see the passion for still photography is alive and well... and that makes me very happy." Doug Winsor

"Dark Water"
Art Model Elena

Art Model Gillian

Doug, I know how secret you are, but could tell us a word about your passion ? How did you begin ?

I got interested around age 15, my father bought me a Minolta 35mm and I started taking pictures of my friends skateboarding. Around 19 I shot my first nudes and, well, I've never really stopped.


Young, of course ! After this revelation, did you take some courses ?

I have a BFA in photography from Ryerson University in Toronto.

So, it's more than a hobby. Who are your greatest inspirators ? Your favorites ?

In the beginning it was Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton and Sally Mann (who I met and she freaked me out cause she was so cool)...

These days I get more inspiration from random stuff, lots of painting and illustrations actually.

"Sun down"
Art Model Jay Nick

As the majority of the contributing artists of this site, are you an obsessive photographer ? In fact, how long could you be far from a camera ?

I stopped shooting for almost 2 years once (from 1999-2001) cause I felt like my photo career had stalled and dropped into nothingness.

These days I have a love/hate relationship with it.

Art Model Elena

"Park here"
Art Model Christine Newhook

I've never really loved the change over to digital. I always feel like something is missing but I'm sure that feeling will go away someday. Maybe I just miss big, square negatives.

I know it can sound stupid, seeing your work, but except outdoors, in outstanding locations, is there another type of location that inspires you ?

Outdoors ! I really have trouble with indoor work. It's so limiting... and winter's coming so I expect to produce very little work over the next few months.




OK. Outdoors. You shoot mainly in BW with a strong preference for natural light ? Am I right ?... And so, what about color ?

Natural light is my preference and b&w is all I really do these days. I never felt comfy with digital color (at least not yet but I'm working on it).

How long dit it take to find your own style ? This mix of simplicity, in great landscapes, mainly shooting your models in amazing settings...

Style took a good decade I think. Still not really sure how to define it, all I know is I'm trying to change/destroy it.

I get really bored repeating myself, it's that lame trap that so many of us fall into.


You're so right ! Is your photography mostly nudes ?

These days yes, but I've been trying to shoot landscapes. It's just so boring to shoot but I like the results.

What is your process of creation ? Chaos or order ?

I try for order but the fact is that I'm disorganised and random.

I usually don't think about what I'll do for a shoot until about an hour before it begins...

Like this morning I did a shoot with a new model and I had no idea what to do when I was driving over to pick her up. 10 minutes later she was wandering around naked. Yet it still looks like I got some cool pics from the shoot ?

"J beach nude"

What is your favorite theme ?

Nothing in particular, changes day to day.

Some words about your models ?

I shoot a lot of different girls, this summer about 40 new models. All of them are pretty great (of course I have my faves) but really right now there are too many.

Everyone always wants to shoot more images and I can't find the time so I turn people down...

I know that sounds crazy : naked women want me to shoot them and I say 'no'. My friends love my problems.

I'm sure !... A shooting that you particularly liked ?

My first shoot with Jana and shoot with A. because I got a few pics I love. I shot these 2 girls I work with often (Christine and Cori) making out in the back of my neighbours pickup truck which was fun. But I could write great stuff about every shoot... really though I'm lucky cause I rarely get crazy models, they're all down to earth and beautiful. I think it's because of where I live, there's no poison in their egos around here.

"Pick up"
Art Models Cori and Christine Newhook

"Domestic 38"
Art Model Natalie Swift

Traditional question : how do you feel at the end of a shooting ?

Hungry and thirsty (cause I talk quite a bit).

Have you a special project, some challenges you're dreaming about ?

Changing my style so it's more cinematic... Bigger setups with multiple models... darker yet surreal. Maybe ?

Have you scheduled your next exhibition ?

If someone wants to exbit me the let me know. Around here the only place that'll put up nude photos is in the condom store.

"Untitled 117"

Not the best place indeed ! Have you published a book ?

Actually working on a book now. Figure it'll be ready by late spring.

Keep us informed ! Besides shooting, have you another passion ?

I snowboard a lot in the snowy seasons and I play poker (I'm going pro I tell ya !). I'm with someone I really dig right now so that's got me flying high (and she's one of my models, maybe shooting naked women does have it's benefits).

A message to send ?

Duane Michals once told me "do what you love and the money will follow", now maybe it's cause he shot for Vogue. But all I can say is 'Duane how long 'til I get some money, I want a Hassy H3D...

But really I love that there are so many photographers out there these days. You can see the passion for still photography is alive and well... and that makes me very happy.

Patience... What a tough quality ! Thanks a lot Doug ! Come back soon !!!

Art Model A.