Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Obtuse Angles

(All pics. snapped on 10/01/11)

When the owner of this amazing steel fabrication plant, offered it up to me as a potential venue for a new set of self-pics., I was positively beside myself with glee! Ya' see...recently, one of my beloved readers left a comment on the Labor (Day) of Love post - citing (and inquiring about) the fluidity of my poses in many of the pictures that I post - after which, I got it in my mind that maybe I oughtta try and swap out the curvy, willowy movements on which I (perhaps too often) rely - for poses more sinewy and harsh. And, what better place to attempt mimicking hard lines and sharp angles - than in a warehouse, not only constructed with - but also a storehouse for - the very quintessence of rigidity: unmalleable, heavy metal I-beams. 

I arrived at the plant, late in the afternoon on a cold, rainy Saturday - and as the owner showed me around the vast space - my mind was agog as I tried to process the plethora of potential photo-ops, all right there at my disposal. I also knew though, that there was no time to delay - as the muted, diffused, natural light that filled the room just enough so that I could avoid turning on the overhead lights - would lose its intensity with each passing minute. 

After settling on where and how to begin, the owner asked if I'd mind very much, if he stayed and watched while I worked. Feeling sincerely indebted to him for his generous offer to let me shoot there - naturally I said, "No, that's fine. But I will be naked...just so you know". (Dur) Here's the deal with that,'s not so much that I'm shy about my body (obviously) but more that snapping self-portraits in front of an audience (no matter how great or small) inevitably hinders my flow. Nothing against him personally, it's just that it's that much more difficult to get into any sort of a groove if I'm engaging in a running dialog, ya' know? Not to mention, naked or not - I definitely become uncharacteristically self-conscious while experimenting with what stuff works, and what doesn't - if the eyes of another are upon me. I'm a solitary artist, what else can I say...

It does bear mentioning however, that most of the images included in this post would never have come about, had the owner not suggested moving some of those heavy-ass, metal doohickies to different spots (and so kindly helped me do so) in order to get myself situated in places where I would not have been able to in the picture above, for example. 

Sadly though, my excitement over being able to climb up and dangle from that crane, was short-lived. After reviewing each photo as soon as they were snapped, I realized that unless I could get myself into position and perfectly still in 10 seconds (which was nearly impossible since the chain always swung at least a leetle bit, once I grabbed onto it) - in that light with no flash - the images were doomed to be fuzzy. Adding to my chagrin, I had completely neglected to effect anything even remotely angular...and instead, absentmindedly resorted to poses that by now in my pics., have become a dime a dozen.

Although for the most part, I completely whiffed on tapping into the desired "angular" theme - I did (thankfully) manage to keep it in the forefront of my feeble mind for this "plank" set of pics....having latched onto the idea following an incident that occurred at my ex's office, the other day. My son performed this maneuver on top of his dad's desk - boasting, "Check it out, Mom. I'm the only kid in my class who can do this" which I of course, (correctly) interpreted to be some sort of challenge. As soon as I proved to him that his rickety, old mother could do it too, I started mulling over scenarios where it might just work in my voila!  

When it came right down to it though, several factors made this image more difficult to capture than one might ever think...not to mention - slightly less than awesome: 

1.) It's physically taxing to do this move, repeatedly. I mean, whenever people ask me what I do to stay in shape - and I answer honestly by saying, "I do no formal exercise because I'm too poor and have no time, but - my self-portrait shoots do sometimes require an enormous amount of exertion" - this is what I'm talking about when I say those types of things...

2.) Again with the holding perfectly still nonsense...I swear to goodness, if I even moved a fraction of an inch, my feet were completely blurred and obscured.

3.) Out of the 20 + times that I successfully got myself into the "plank" position - there were only two frames in which I was parallel to my perch. All of the other times my feet were either too high, or too low. Admittedly I can be overly o.c.d. about such details, nonetheless - it was still incredibly frustrating...

...and 4.) my insistence to feature as much of the scrummy back (and fore)ground in these pics., ultimately left me with the nagging feeling that my being in them was borderline pointless.

The locker pics. proved to be a continuation of my apparent inability to switch from typical, curvy autopilot poses - to the stiff, akimbo stances that I'd hoped to manifest - and I resorted instead, to the safe but gratifying race against my camera's 10 second timer.

(Just look at how filthy I got rolling around up there!)

By the time I snapped this last group of pics., my camera was balking at the lack of good light, and we were forced to switch on the overheads - which was fine - cuz surprisingly, I actually kinda liked the artificial light that they cast on me and the objects below. But only 9 frames in, juuust as the lamps were getting good and warmed up, my camera decided to quit. 

I was to be going home (I believed) having failed to deliver, since I only marginally broke free from my usual drill. Adding insult to injury - I was shocked to discover, that I only snapped a paltry 80 what had felt like a far more industrious hour and a half.

There's this part of me that's super bummed, because evidently after all this time - I've inadvertently become conditioned to pose in an almost robotic-like manner...that I'm regrettably stuck in my ways, whether I care to accept it or not. And another part reasons, "Yeah but...perhaps creating a signature style isn't really such a bad thing". But there's a competitive, determined side of me that refuses to admit defeat...and if that side has its way, I'll revisit and conquer those damned hard angles yet...


  1. Very good shots in between, but the first and last pics are simply awesome! And for completely different reasons, which is one of the cool things. Again, not just one genre of shot. In the first shot, the hard and heavy sinuosity of that oh-so-perfect chain is almost organic... like you're wrestling a steel boa constrictor in a duel to the death. In the last one, the flowing form of your body intermeshed with the cold laser of steel x-bracing (with the perfect massive steel I-beam counterpoint precisely below is just an absolute classic, IMO. Awesome! Thanks so much!

  2. @Steve Mouzon - YES! I absolutely LOVE the boa constrictor reference - that's KILLah!

    Ya''s amazing to me, that all it takes sometimes - is a different set of eyes to help ME see the more positive aspects of photos that I myself consider to be disappointments...for one reason or another.

    Maybe it's just that by the time I post the pics. that I select for my blog, I've looked at them so much that I'm a.) a little sick of 'em, and b.) all I see is everything that went wrong with them

    Regardless - thanks for the pep talk, Steve...You have no idea how badly I needed one this morning :)

  3. Steve is dead on. Two perfect shots to bookend this entry. And I think the last shot may be much more successful than you realize. Yes it still has the fluid curves you seem determined to exorcise, but the angularity is there in spades. I swear on first look I thought you were doing a back-flip off a perch. The arc of the right side of your body is a perfect counterpoint to the bends and straight lines of your limbs. The floating/soaring/flying feeling is countered by the huge, solid mass underneath. Hell, even the way the struts you're hanging from cross perfectly with the guy-wire in the ceiling and are centered on the light - just wonderful composition overall. I even like the deadened, washed-out, industrial color of the lighting. If I had to nit-pick (and I've read enough of these posts to know that you already do) it would be the positioning of your feet. In a earlier post you regretted not having your knee outside the window frame to add some dimensionality - similar quibble here. Your left hand, with the index finger pointing, flows perfectly from you into the strut. I would have loved to see you drop your left heel and raise your right foot so that the toes flowed as smoothly as that finger. Of course, just hanging there would have probably giving me a heart attack, so I shouldn't be critical. In all, its a wonderful shot, worthy of inclusion in your growing body of work. You are an artist with a unique vision - can't wait to see what you come up with next!!

  4. @Anonymous - Holy COW - way to lift a gal's spirits! I'm just blown away by the fact that you went to the trouble of breaking this photo down for me in such elaborate detail - AND in a positive light, the way you did - Thank You so MUCH!

    I havta say, now that you mention it - I totally agree with your comment about the placement of my feet. Phooey. Now every time I look at the image, the position of my left foot in particular - drives me absolutely bonkers, Haha!

    Anyway, thanks again for the helpful and encouraging feedback, and for being a regular visitor to my blog - I hope you know how much I appreciate it :)

  5. My favorites are the last two, though I disagree with the commenter who said you should have aligned your feet with the struts. The interesting thing to me is the way your human form contrasts with the angular metal, not the way it conforms to the angular metal.

    I think the problems with this shoot were essentially based on the limitations of your equipment, particularly it's inability to achieve a really good, solid focus under the lighting conditions. The light was lovely, but your camera responded by losing focus a little and doing some stuff with the pixels that detracts from the scene and the poses.

    It is possible that you could have solved the lighting problem by shooting from the other side in the first, second, and fifth shot. In the other two shots the lighting wasn't as much of an issue - the gritter effects of the light added substantially to both pictures, particularly in the fourth picture.

    Your compositions, however, were incredible, I love what you're doing, and I expect to come back again and again.

  6. While most of your followers and commentators are commenting on the photographic quality and composition, I mostly come here because I am entertained by the settings you put yourself into, and the way you manage to get yourself naked in these various settings. It's an exhibitionist/voyeuristic fantasy! That being said, let me thanks you for finally posting a frontal shot. After more than a year of perusing your pictures, I was starting to wonder, "Does this woman actually HAVE a vagina?" LOL, thanks for posting!

  7. @Alex R. - I'm positively deLIGHTed that you found my blog, and even HAPpier to hear that you plan on visiting again!

    Now...let's get down to the nitty gritty stuff, shall we?

    Ok, so yes. It's true. After all this time, I do still use one of the cheapest digital cameras out there, and I'm not sure why, but I definitely feel this sort of allegiance to the Sony Cybershot (wouldn't hurt my feelings if Sony comped me a coupla new cameras and batteries - hint, hint) I would be a traitor if I upgraded to something more high end (not to mention, I'm poor...and so it's not exactly in the budget to splurge on anything really nice, at the moment) I'm also terribly stubborn about using the flash, and only do so under duress. Again, not sure why exactly - other than, I'm rarely pleased with the outcome when I use it. Here's the thing though, working with equipment limitations has in essence, become just another contributor to the challenges that I face (and thrive on) while trying to capture half-decent (or BETter!) self-pics. in only 10 seconds (call me hardheaded but, I don't tend to do much of ANYthing in life the easy way). I havta say though, lately I am somewhat torn between sticking with the status quo - whereby staying true to the methods with which I've always approached dash photography - and making necessary changes in order to produce higher quality images...quite the conundrum, safe to say.

    Thanks so much for your insightful and encouraging comments! Hope to see you here again, sometime :)

  8. @Anonymous - Yeah, finding the locations for my shoots is one of my most favorite parts about self-portraiture in general. Lots of times my radar simply picks up a signal, and leads me to the most delicious in point - while at a party this weekend, I couldn't resist asking the hostess if I could do a few snaps while I was there at her place. Luckily she was totes cool with me making a spectacle of myself right in the middle of all the festivities :)

    Hey, and thanks so much for being such a devoted reader - jeez, you've been coming here for a whole year?! That's AWEsome!!!