May 31, 2009

Contemporary Blue

Anna Piovani
"Let it drip"

Dave Ayerst Davies -
"Blue Mimi"
Art Model Mimi


Terrell Neasley -
"Blue Back Ridge"
Art Model Sarah Jane

Colin J Lacy
"Water Personified II"
Art Model Bella Blue -

Vincent O Byrne
"Of Dreams and Bicycle Wheels"

Adri Berger

Wendy Bevan

Lorraine Daley
"Death by TV"

Mike Slygh -
"Zinn in Blue"
Art Model Zinn

Akif [HAKAN] Celebi -
"Room 123"

May 30, 2009

Portrait of a Model's Growth by Stephen Haynes

Art Model BellaSoleil : Three Sessions
Portrait of a Model's Growth

Written by Stephen Haynes,
photographer and writer

In January 2009 a new model arrived on Model Mayhem going by the name BellaSoleil. She had not checked the "Shoot Nudes ?" option, but also had not said she would not do nude work, so I sent her my usual email asking if she might be interested. She replied : "I am comfortable with implied nudity and I would definitely love to model for you if that works."

I told her I didn't do "implied," but offered that we could do some anonymous nudes to introduce her to work within the genre. She accepted, and we first worked in early February.

About ten minutes into that first session I asked if she wanted to continue in that mode, i.e. "anonymous" nudes. She easily decided that, no, she no longer needed that. Then began one of those unique, mutually-enriching, exciting photographic relationships that all photographers hope will come along, at least once in a while.

As first sessions go, we did some good stuff.

She had wanted to do some dark and moody color work similar to some other I had shown her, and one image resulting from that set was extraordinarily nice for a first session with an inexperienced model.

I saw in it BellaSoleil's innate modeling sense which I vowed to exploit, if she was willing.

She also offered some contorted poses, which led to my asking where that talent came from. She explained that she had been a gymnast when young, especially in Russia where she grew up. Aha ! I thought, I finally have my "Russian model," and a gymnast to boot !

BellaSoleil professed herself very pleased with the results and even posted this image to her MM portfolio. She wrote : "This was one of those experiences that goes in my lifetime achievement column."

That first session was my last work with a model for two months, as my eyesight had gone from bad to worse to awful, and I wanted to have my cataract surgery before doing any more nudes. (My color perception was way off, whites looked like dirty yellow mud, my farsightedness had changed to extreme nearsightedness, and I could no longer trust judgments of tone and contrast.)

Meanwhile, for personal reasons BellaSoleil had decided to do no more nudes. She allowed a generous exception, however, saying that she hoped her personal situation would permit continued work with me. I wrote her : "I don't know whether you've gotten the "bug" yet, but when ... you have an itch you need to scratch, get back in touch." That was February 22 (when I was still out of commission).

It didn't take long. BellaSoleil wrote one week later : "Yeah you were right. I did get bitten by the bug. So hopefully we will work again sometime soon !" Much as I wanted to schedule an immediate session, however, my eyes came first. Surgery on eye #1 was March 18, with the second eye six days later. What a revelation ! Suddenly I went from being functionally nearly blind to having better, clearer, sharper sight than I had experienced in probably two decades.

Our second session came in late April. I had wanted to push her contortionist abilities and well-developed sense of artistic form to an extreme, but within a very dark frame. This first photo typifies the set's atmosphere.

Now that she had committed to doing nudes with only me (she writes in her MM portfolio, "Nudity - I do not shoot nude, except for one specific photographer, he knows who he is"), she threw herself into our sessions (this and the third) with intensity and near abandon.

BellaSoleil is 4'10" high, which I'm sure helps with her poses and became important for our third session. Enough of dark and moody, however. Let there be light !

I changed the set to high key on white backdrop and asked her to dance.

BellaSoleil returned to studio in early May for our third (and most recent) session.

I brought "The Box" out of retirement specifically for her. (I had used "The Box" for an extensive five-model series in July-August 2008, some of the results of which appeared here in photos of model Brooke Lynne. You may see more of that earlier series in my "Shows" portfolio, as six of them were displayed during the recent The Nude in Minnesota II show.)

Here's where that 4'10" height became important : "The Box" is 5' long, so BellaSoleil was the only model who fit entirely within the box without having to bend her knees or contort. This photo does not show that, of course, but it does show one of many, many superb and inventive poses she offered. She moved quickly from one idea to another, nearly too fast for my strobes to keep up. An unbelievable experience for us both.

We finished the session out of studio.

She told me she liked these less : while appreciating their beauty, they are insufficiently "art" in her view.

BellaSoleil and I have additional ideas to explore, which will happen in months ahead. A model of her natural caliber dedicated to making art with me is a treat indeed.

I've shown a very small selection of the over two hundred photos of BellaSoleil to be found on my subscription site.

Stephen Haynes' books
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May 27, 2009

Rich colours 2

Carlos Gil Gamundi -
"Plata y oro"

Herr Buchta -

Mirabilia Images -
"To kiss blue violets"
"Greenish blue" series

Mopas -
"Pussy cat II"

Wendy Levin
"We Are All Star Stuff"Art Model Nyx Valentine
Body art by Lisa Berczel of Battledress Paint & Body.

xyour -

Scott F. Hill
"Wave of fabric"
Art Model Miss Anya -

Stefan Gesell -
Art Model Rassamee

Michal Tokarczuk -
"CC Bodypainting 572"

Beau eRomantica -
"Drying her wings"Art Model Franki

Patrick Wanderburg -
"Neben dem Sturm"

Jim Young -
"Taking the cloud for a ride"
Art Model Courtney

Rachel Lovitt -
"Theory of Art"

Stephen Haynes -
"My Vivid Dream"
Art Model Brooke Lynne -