Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This Year

(Vintage Bed, 2008)

This year was one that will stand out for the rest of my life, the kind of year you reference more often than others when telling stories of lessons learned, uncertain times, miles traveled, and amazingly unusual experiences. This year I met more new faces than I have in a long time and learned more about myself than I was aware I needed to.

In the last couple of years I have made my life much more of an open book, expanding my web presence and what I'm willing to admit about myself with various blogs, profiles, etc. Though I am a very private person, overall I think that it has been a positive experience in forcing myself to just put more of who I am out there. I'm not that bizarre of a person, don't have much to hide or many demons to conquer. The phrase I've used before is that "I'm just a simple guy trying to do my best." However, that isn't necessarily true.

Yeah, I'm a pretty decent person, but I don't try as hard as I should. Also, to be perfectly honest, I'm not that simple, either. When it gets down to it, I'm a pretty complicated guy, but thankfully what I want and need day-to-day are simple enough to not be too difficult for others. That said, just being easy to be around doesn't make you a good person. Though I don't really believe in the concept of "new year's resolutions", my goal is to do enough in the next coming year to feel like I'm being a better person. I don't think I'm aware of just how daunting of a challenge that might be.

Honestly, I don't know where I'll be this time next year. My guess is still living in Santa Maria near my family, doing what I do, hopefully a little more successful, hopefully retaining the perspective I currently live with. Listening to some others, however, the sky could be the limit. We shall see. No matter where I am headed, I just wanted to take a second to record my current view of things, give a nod to those new faces that stood out from the rest this year, some love to the loyal family and friends who have helped me along my journey so far, and a wish for all the best for you in the future.

Let's make 2010 a good one, shall we?

Here are a few of my other links:
My Twitter: For updates of new photo postings and unnecessary flippant observations.
My Tumblr: I reserve it for a bit more risque imagery illuminated with mainly mopey tales and lyrics.
My newer Flickr account: Contains many photos and my inspiration for them.
My older Flickr account: A censored profile with lots of photos, more risque images, and a whole lot of descriptions.
My ModelMayhem: A website for finding models in various locations around the country.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

"Dear Santa..."

Mark Velasquez Katie West
("Katie West's Pigeons" 2009)

After careful consideration I think I've finally narrowed down my Christmas list. This in no way means that these items are the only things I would like to have, but these are the things I could most immediately make the best use of. Here they are in no particular order:

-A solid ten hours of uninterrupted sleep
-Thicker hair in the front
-Thinner hair on my back
-A Fujifilm Instax Mini 7s
-Much better timing when entering peoples' lives
-Higher quality clown noses
-Peace in the Middle East. AGAIN.
-For this unfortunate knot in my left hand to go away
-A muse who prefers being naked but doesn't feel the need to be
-An intern who actually knows the things I need them to know
-Less "eye-baggage"
-Peace on Earth
-Good Will towards men
-Did I already mention the Instax?
-An in-house barber
-For that one guy to just stop with the nonsense already
-For that one girl to just chill out already
-A dictionary on my cell phone
-New models with no tattoos
-Old models with more tattoos
-More curiosity and less concern

I realize many, if not all of these are impossible to acquire, but even the attempt is nice. Sometimes it really is the thought that counts most. However, I hear Amazon is having a sale on the Instax...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Like a Piece of Meat

Mark Velasquez
Many over the years have called me a pornographer, a misogynist, or simply an objectifier of women. Having more respect for women than I do for myself, I've always been bothered by this while also trying to not take it too personally. I know who I am and what my intentions are in my photography, so if people don't get it, that is just their biased opinion. Thankfully, all of the women in my life trust me and respect most, if not all of the projects I work on and those who model for me love working with me on these projects.

Unfortunately, I think I am the exception to the rule. It doesn't take more than a few moments looking at sites like to realize that the majority of people who call themselves photographers are little more than horny guys wanting to see women pose in bathing suits or less. I can't tell you how many horror stories I have heard from models who have had photographers grope or attack them during vulnerable moments of a photo shoot. The modeling industry is just a microcosm of course, the tip of the despicable iceberg of countless unnameable horrors that women have to deal with daily due to certain males' lack of self-control. Just look up the statistics of sexual assaults in this country alone, or the fact that at least one in three women serving in the military are raped or sexually assaulted today. I can't really say I expect things to change, as human nature can never really be denied, though I'd love to see it at least try to evolve.

As a self-affirmed mama's boy and an uncle of nieces, I can't avoid thinking about these things, especially lately/ At the same time though I am sure my images are seen as only adding to the problem. Maybe that is correct, perhaps these images I present only contribute to the continued objectification of women. No matter what someone's intentions are when creating something, how that thing is understood by the majority matters much more. I'm not really sure anymore, but I'm trying to figure it out.