Happy Friday! Not so much of a weekend for me as I continue Lyft driving to help pay the bills but that Friday energy is in the air nonetheless and there's always reason to celebrate. At the end of this weekend it looks like I'll be starting on a new gig with Angelina Christina as we head back to Mar Vista, the site of Angelina's previous collabs with DJ Neff. Creativity is in the air with this new project plus the several new photoshoots I did this week with Julia Arnold and new KFB model Kookie Rayne. Life continues to beat me down on the head with bills and other responsibilities but as long as I get to make my art and share it then I am happy.
Today I get to share with you the first of three new sets I shot with a model that feels familiar to me because of how much we shot together in a short span of time, but is brand new to you because this is the first set of her that I am posting. I'd like to introduce you to Lady Krondor. I met Lady Krondor on Instagram after seeing her photos and absolutely falling in love with her work. Lady Krondor is real beauty but what truly stood out to me is how relaxed she is being naked.
I don't often publicly talk about my feelings about nude photography but it has been on my mind a lot lately. A few days ago I posted my set of Angelina Savanna Morales in which she is topless and there is some other implied nudity. I received a comment from a guy on social media saying, "You know you don't have to show boobs to get attention." A day later I showed a female photographer friend of mine an implied nude I took from my shoot with Julia Arnold that I think was a killer shot and she responded, "It's technically good but I'm just sick of seeing men take photos of women nude without any commentary." I get where both of these comments are coming from because there is and has been for a long time a lot of objectification of women in photography. On the other hand, I don't think these blanketed statements really show a full understanding of each photo or the photographer behind them. Perhaps this is a larger topic for debate beyond my blog but I do have a few thoughts I'd like to share.
When did we get so shy of the nude form? Does nudity automatically equal sexuality? Is sexuality a bad thing? If you ask any of my subjects I think they will tell you that I'm a highly respectful human being. I try to create a safe environment for my models, especially if they are in any state of undress. Any time I ever ask a model to do nudity I am asking in the same way I would ask what our outfit choices are. If I suspect the slightest hesitation then I suggest we not do it. I love the body because it reveals so much of who we are. It creates a vulnerability but also a freedom. Most of the women who I have photographed nude feel it is empowering. The question of objectification is usually one of sexuality. So again I ask: Is nudity in and of itself sexual? I don't personally believe so. The body is a work of art, especially those that work at it to bring it to states of high performance. Is the Statue of David sexual? There was a time in America where we dealt with that very issue. We are currently dealing with the fact that men are freely allowed to show their breasts in public and in most spaces women cannot. Are female breasts sexual and men not?
But this also raises the final issue for me: Is sexuality a bad thing? I don't often use sexuality in my work but my work is aimed at showing a portrait of my subjects and if that person is inherently sexual and willing to share that part of themselves then should I say, "No, I'm sorry, I'm a man. Its not my place to show this."? I had a model friend who once told me I could not shoot her naked but she had no problem with her lesbian friends photographing her naked, and that it was just different. Now I can understand when safety is a concern, but it was not in this case so the question becomes: is it ok for women to show women in states of sexuality but not men?
I'm not sure fully where I stand on any of these points and would love to have more open discussion about it but I will say that the thing that bothers me throughout is that I don't like when people tell me how to make my art. If the model and I are both stoked about the photos we are taking then I think that should be the end of the discussion. Those in the public sphere are entitled to share their opinions but for now I'm going to do what makes me happy.
What made me happy for this shoot was how well Lady Krondor and I hit it off. We headed to the haunted Cobb Estate in Altadena. I had been to Cobb Estate before, but never at night. Lady Krondor loved the atmosphere. We took some shots of her clothed but she openly told me that she just feels better taking photos in the nude. She said when she wears clothes she doesn't really know what to do but when nude she feels free and like herself. To me that is an answer for all my questions above. We had such a good time that we shot together again the next day and a few weeks later with Lady Krondor's friend Grey Garbo, but those are different sets for a different day.
Click the photo below to see the Spectre that is Lady Krondor