Monday, June 24, 2013

The Land of Oz

It was my esteemed pleasure to be able to spend the better part of this past Thursday and Friday - collaborating with one of my most favorite, fine art nude portrait photographers: 24 year old Osmyn Oree (affectionately known by his nearest and dearest as, "Oz").

Mere minutes after getting settled into my hotel room, Osmyn pulled into the parking lot, hopped out of his car, and greeted me with a hug that made me feel as if we'd been close friends for always and ever - despite the fact that up until that point, we'd only ever communicated via text and email, and even that's only been for the last several months.

Almost immediately following our official, face-to-face introduction to one another - the two of us set out to explore Osmyn's hometown, with the sole purpose in mind of scouting out locations where we could shoot...and after driving around for maybe about an hour or so, we decided to make the most of our brief time together, by getting started taking pictures just a little bit ahead of schedule - at a secluded, almost jungle-like nature preserve, smack dab in the middle of the bustling Pennsylvania town.

Right away it was evident that Osmyn and I were forming an effortlessly symbiotic photographer/model relationship. Like seriously - working with him was an absolute joy! His professionalism, his artistic vision, and his laid-back demeanor - far exceeded that which I'd imagined, and believe me when I tell you that I had extremely high hopes going in.

Anyway, by the time Osmyn and I wrapped our first shoot together, we were both filthy, exhausted, and covered in welts from bug bites and nettle stings (Nettle! Try walking through that hateful shit completely naked once, why don't you - yow) Nevertheless, we were so excited about all that we'd accomplished on our first day together, and even more stoked that we still had a whole nother (even longer) day to shoot - that none of the bad stuff even all!

After Osmyn dropped me back off at my hotel room, I decided I oughtta stage some self-portraits (for the first time in nearly a month!) before I completely conked out for the night (which was imminent). Luckily, there wasn't anybody else staying on my side of the building - so I decided to don my new, way-too-small-child-sized ballet tutu, while trying to take advantage of the fleeting and brilliant, late evening sunlight...and dontcha know...literally as soon as I set my camera to take the first shot - 4 new hotel guests pulled their cars up in the parking lot. Yay.

Needless to say, their presence kinda spoiled my mood, and my enthusiasm. I did manage to somehow plod on though, snapping uninteresting frame after snore-worthy frame. It just wasn't that much fun with a bunch of bystanders gawking, and asking me to "Turn around!" (cuz my ass was fully hanging out of that teensy weensy tiny tutu).

No biggie though...I tucked myself in at 8 o'clock that night (I was pooped, yo!), knowing that I still had another full day left to shoot myself (and be shot) - in the wonderful land of Oz Oree...

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Big Ugly Self-Portrait Challenge Results!

I can't tell you how delighted I was to receive the self-portraits that were submitted to The Big Ugly Challenge! I am beyond grateful to those of you who indulged me by setting the timers on your cameras, for the sake of exploring my personal chosen art form - dash photography - THANK YOU!!!

In life, in general - I tend to avoid ever adopting an, "Everyone is a Winner" mindset or approach to much of anything, but because the total number of entries was 9, and because I am cuckoo over each image for its own, special uniqueness, and because I'm sooooo appreciative of the effort that each contributor made to the challenge - I have decided to award official Big Ugly t-shirts to every participant! 

So let's meet the winners then, shall we? 

(I have posted the images in the order that I received them)

If you haven't already heard of Osmyn, or been fortunate enough to have seen his work by now - I implore you to do so...pronto! This young man is a diehard analog, portrait photographer, who - with the help of his beloved, medium format Hasselblad camera - exhibits a preternatural ability to connect with his subjects in such a way, that his images never fail to be thought-provoking, and rife with sincere emotion. 

Osmyn turned the tables, and the camera - by posing nude for himself for the first time ever - in order to snap a self-portrait for the challenge...and I must say, the resulting photo is totally in keeping with the quality and sentiment of his portrait work - Bravo! 

Please click on the link above, as well as here to visit Osmyn's growing collection of exquisite portraits. And if you happen to be in the Winchester, Va. area on July the 5th - please stop by the Grand Opening of my fine art photography gallery at 29 N. Loudoun St. from 5 - 9 p.m.. I will be holding an artist's reception for Osmyn at that time, as he will be the first solo exhibitor in my new space!

When Emmer's self-portrait appeared in my inbox, I was at first glance taken with the calm, muted colors. But the ever-so-slight movement that he captured - along with the clever positioning of the camera - lent a genuinely voyeuristic feel to the photo - and that was what really struck me - Superb!

Please also click here to view a collection of Emmer's own work on tumblr, as well as here to see the self-portrait work of others that he shares on there.

We all have dear Raymond to Thank for being the catalyst that sparked "The Big Ugly Self-Portrait Challenge" - Love You, and your self snap, Raymond! 

Just knowing what you put yourself through for the sake of making this self-portrait for the challenge - makes me literally feel itchy for you, Haha! But more importantly, it's a testament to your willingness to do whatever it takes (like, put yourself through HELL!) in order to produce an image that stands out as being unlike any other - Well done!

I don't know very much about "Justa", but what I do know is that I am covetous of his use of light and shadow - the effectiveness of which makes the B&W image that he sent in for the challenge quite powerful, if you ask me. Additionally, the air of mystery tinging his self-portrait, made me forget for a moment that he had photographed himself...I found myself wondering about the entire story surrounding this halted moment in a random stranger's life...Brilliant, Justa - Thank You!

Having focussed almost exclusively on tidy, yet interesting composition, while procuring his timed self-portrait - is what sets Richard's submission apart from the rest of the entries, not to mention my own style of self-portraiture! Anyone who has ever dabbled in dash photography, can attest to the urgency one feels while frantically trying to get out from behind the camera, and into a reasonable pose - but Richard's peaceful demeanor alludes to an uncannily calm scenario. It's almost as if he's been patiently sitting for an indeterminate amount of time, while some other photographer makes his portrait. Very nice, Richard!

You may visit Richard's other blogs and tumblrs by clicking hereherehere, and here


I have no idea just how far, and across what type of terrain Penny had to scurry (barefoot!!!), while making her mark for this self-portrait - but judging by her distance and decent from where the camera was presumably positioned, and taking into consideration the rough, rocky ground on which she stands so statuesquely - I would venture to say that it was definitely no walk in the park! I so admire her willingness to endure what had to have been a certain degree of physical pain (and exhaustion?), while working unquestionably hard to capture this lovely image...You're a girl after my own heart, Penny - I love that! 

Curvaceous Dee

Curvaceous Dee could never be called a shrinking violet, no way! An enviably confident, highly respected, pansexual blogger heralding from New Zealand - she frequently bucks the system by having pictures of herself made while baring her all (or some of her all) in public places. I am perennially in awe of her unapologetic daring! Never one to miss an opportunity to raise a few eyebrows, Dee gave her neighbors quite a show while composing her self-snap for the challenge - and because of that, I give her two well-deserved, enthusiastic thumbs-up for shock value! I have to also commend her though, for her innovative approach to camera placement. Rather than going the traditional route by setting it up on a tripod, she dangled her camera from the clothesline! Go Dee!!!


Capturing images like the one that James sent in for the challenge, is no easy feat - let me assure you! I know this because I've done my own fair share of wet and/or soapy shoots...and in the process, I've flooded bathroom floors, cussed like a sailor, killed more than one camera - and still never ended up with anything even remotely as compelling (or courageous!) as the scrummy selfpic that James shared! I think it's utterly fabulous - Thank You, James! (K...gonna go take a cold shower now...)

Molly is legit the most famous person that I've ever had the privilege of knowing, honest to goodness. She is a wildly popular sex blogger, not only in her native UK, but literally across the entire planet! And I believe a big part of why so many, many people (myself included) are so fond of her, is because she is as genuinely real a person, as one can be. She is friendly, approachable, humble and generous - and the unpretentious thoughts and anecdotes that she candidly shares on her blog, "Molly's Daily Kiss" - only make her readers feel that much more connected, and close to her.

Along with being a prolific writer, Molly is also an avid photographer - and although she does take tons of pics. of things other than herself, self-portraiture is the genre that we both share in common. It's such an incredible honor to know that Molly took time away from her uber-busy life, to stage, and contribute one of her classically "real" self shots to my little, ole Big Ugly Challenge...especially knowing that it's entirely possible that she just might rule the world, someday! :D

Please also click here to view Molly's non-erotic photography site!

So there ya' have it - quite the diverse line-up, wouldn't you say?

Congratulations to ALL of the Big Ugly Self-Portrait Challenge winners! I will be contacting you all directly very soon, so that I can get proper mailing addresses to which I shall then ship your t- shirts! Thank You again for putting forth such a wonderfully admirable effort - I dare say, I Love You Guys!!!