Friday, December 26, 2008

LOVE, Part One: Doubt

Countless blogs will be written here on the topic of Love, so I've decided that I should just number them from the beginning. Here is the first:


I subscribe to the Greek theory on Love and have tried continuously to keep everyone I know as closely contained within the three categories as possible. The three inimitable Greek kinds of love, or at least how I learned them years ago, are as follows: Agape, a general affection or appreciation of, Philios, a much more virtuous love bestowed upon friends and family, and lastly Eros, a sensual, passionate attraction, the kind of love that involves a lot of huffing and puffing after two people are done expressing it.

In the last week, two women who have never met one another have said the same phrase to me, that I should "never doubt" their love for me. One of these women is someone I have tried to excise from my life for over a year now to no avail, and the other is someone I've tried desperately to get more involved with for over a year now, to no final romantic conclusion.

Many people have told me they love me, but only these two people, aside from my parents, have ever used those words, "never doubt", while expressing it. Truly, most of what one grows up experiencing as Eros, or romantic love, involves immeasurable amounts of doubt. From the very beginning of meeting someone there is doubt about whether they feel the same way as you do, how you should divine the answer to that question, what the next step is, etc. Once a relationship is established, invariably one person involved doubts the future of the relationship, the intention of the others' actions, and so much more. Even after a relationship has ended there is some doubt as to whether the split was a right choice or how it could have been handled better. Honestly, doubt is very familiar in what we Westerners see as the average relationship.

In my specific case of these two women there are two complete opposite experiences. I gain nothing but frustration and anger from the immaturity, lack of understanding, and overall creepiness of the first woman's undying love for me. I avoid her altogether. In the other case, the deep, loyal friendship that has been established is one that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world and hope will never end. Thankfully with the latter, the closeness we share lessens any sense of loss that still might linger from time to time.

So, what am I left with? The concept that, if there is a God, he has an amazing sense of humor when it comes to my love life? Do I have a penchant for only being drawn to women I can't have and pushing away those that are too easy to attain? Fortunately, I know the answers and what to do, at least in each of the situations involving these two women. Still, as I have said countless times before to others when giving romantic advice, the right decision may be very simple, but they are never easy. "Easy" and "Simple" get confused far too often. In the end, its simply about doing what's right.

Check out the other pics of Monica in bed.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pretty is boring.

Last year I was approached by an editor of JPG Magazine to write a little about how I find models. My approach to finding models, and photography in general really, is not the industry standard by any stretch of the imagination. I tend to make it up as I go, taking it as it comes, relying on my instincts, hoping for the best. So far, its worked out alright. We'll see what the future holds.

The Fighting Beauty Queen
THE KIND YOU DON"T TAKE HOME TO MAMA, published in JPG Magazine, April 2007

We've seen it all before. The "cute girl", the "pretty face", the "radiant smile". Blah blah blah. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fan. BIG FAN. But it gets old after a while. Okay, I may be a bit jaded after having taken photos of over two hundred women, but it just takes a lot more to hold my interest now. Sure, I've been suckered in by a pretty face, we all have. But I'd like to think I'm getting past all that. Which is why my current work is evolving: the beauty queen who likes to fight, Eve selling her forbidden fruit on the street corner, people being exposed in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Having worked with a few very professional-grade models, I learned fairly quickly that the mystique attributed to them isn't all its cracked up to be. A bit dense, a tad phony, with a slightly askew notion of what is deemed relevant and important for a good life. Which is why I now find my models in my small home town of Santa Maria much more engaging.

Yeah, I get teased by my family and friends about it constantly. We'll be at a restaurant, in a store, at a car wash, and I'll approach some attractive waitress/clerk/attendant with my standard, "Hi, this may sound weird, but have you ever modeled before? Would you like to?" Then begins the series of questions, reassurances, passing out of business cards, displaying of sample images off of my camera phone, all in an effort to show I am legitimate and not some pervert. Sometimes this can take a while.

These women are real, with opinions and personalities, and more often than not have always wanted to model. They have just as many issues and baggage and hang-ups as everyone else. Thankfully I have an innate ability to put them at ease and build up a mutual trust, to get them to open up about themselves, and eventually capture their true nature. Again, this can take a while.

However, with this trust, and eventually true friendship, comes a willingness to try new things, exploring not only my ideas but their own. Yes, they are all attractive women and I will be the first to admit that "sex sells", but these images are a lot deeper than that. I try to slip a little reality in there, a bit of brutal honesty and an uncomfortable familiarity that hopefully takes a simple image of a woman in a straight jacket and makes it into a sad and real metaphor for how she lives her own particular life.

Why capture a supermodel in a designer outfit when I can get a lovely woman to act out a slice of everyday life? Who can honestly identify with a size zero model walking down a runway? I'd much rather see an image of a pregnant woman saddled with two kids displaying her vices and dreaming of a better life. Make me a little nervous, a bit confused. Make me say "Hey, I know someone like that".

Just make me think, and I'll do my best to return the favor.

Here's just a sample of what I do:
Forbidden Fruit for Sale
The College Graduate
Portrait of Nicole
Stood Up...
Keepin' It Real

Saturday, December 13, 2008

"The Racial Stereotypes"

I'm definitely not one to shy away from a little controversy from time to time. My personality is what strangers have called "outspoken" on good days and downright "rude" on bad ones. I can't deny that there is a large aspect of my personality that tends to be a bit extreme, but I like to think I also have a quiet, thoughtful side, too. Well, that is not the part I am going to mention in this post.

I get some crazy ideas for images now and again. Often I am told to shoot more photos of men, to stop being so confrontational with my images that tend to make women look bad. So, to answer those people I decided to make some really controversial images of men that made them look really bad. My most popular, if that would be the correct adjective, has been "The Racial Stereotype".

I got a kid who works in the photo department of my local drug store to model, had an official-looking Ku Klux Klan robe made and personally sewed the hood, shooting on location in a one-hundred year old barn. The hood was easy to make, convincing the model was much easier to do then anticipated, and aside from the dirty look from the woman who owned the embroidery store where I had the robe made, everything went smoothly. Even the shoot itself took less than twenty minutes, taking longer to drive out to the barn than actually setting up the lights and doing it did.

I have many websites on which my photos are seen, but to my surprise the one profile where I have received the most actively supportive, complimentary, and vitriolic comments has been on a very simple modeling site,

Click on the image above to read all the wonderful comments, they are a rich tapestry of writing all on their own. I enjoy and pay attention to the negative ones, mostly ignoring anything too positive.
Or, you can just view my profile here:

Okay, now THIS is my first real, official blog post. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

In the beginning...

The Devil made me do it...
For a long time now, people have been asking what my blog link was. Though I consider myself fairly up on modern technology I also am a very old-fashioned type of guy, making the concept of blogging seem questionable at best. Why would you just keep posting random thoughts and images online like a diary? Not only is it too personal, but who the hell would really care to read such drivel? I do that already for the most part on my flickr profiles, and even so I often am concerned whether people care about what I actually write versus just wanting to see some sexy, scantily clad young women.

I know many people who are really into the whole blogging world, or "blogosphere" as I've been corrected numerously about. Most of the time I am proven correct by seeing blogs that are trivial, sad, self-indulgent, and just plain silly. Then there are well thought out, insightful and creative pages that truly enlighten, inspire, and educate. Seriously, I have no idea which of those groups my little bloggy is going to fall into. Let's just hope it isn't too horribly odious.