An introductory video discussion about my upcoming class at Glen Echo Photoworks. The course runs on Fridays, from September 19 to November 7, from 7-10pm. The concept of the course is to introduce students to the use of the human figure in narrative photography – telling a story with pictures whether it is a single image, a diptych or triptych, or a series. We will cover the historical use of male figures in narrative photography, from Hippolyte Bayard’s nude self-portrait as a drowned man in protest of having withheld his announcement of the photographic process he invented so that Daguerre could go first (and get all the credit and financial rewards that came from being first) to modern photographers like John Dugdale, Arthur Tress, and Duane Michals. We will also look at the use of the male figure in relation to questions of gender, sexuality, and identity. To register for the course, click here – The Narrative and the Male Figure
I’m offering three classes coming up this fall/winter at Glen Echo Photoworks, a center for creative photography and photographic education at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, Maryland, just outside Washington DC.
The Male Figure in Narrative Photography 9/19 – 11/7/2014 Fridays, 7-10pm
Go beyond standard figure studies. Research historical context and learn to use the male nude form to tell a story in a series or just a single frame through posing, lighting, using props and capturing emotions. What is “narrative photography”? Narrative tells a story either in a series, or a single image. From the earliest days, photographers have been using the male figure to tell a story in their work, be it as a stand-in for himself (Hippolyte Bayard) to express his response to criticism, to confronting eroticism and gender confusion in the world of Latin American bullfighting (Reuven Afanador) or a tool to process inner personal anxieties (Connie Imboden). This course will examine the use of the male nude in narrative photography. We will use examples from historical and contemporary photographers as a background to inform and inspire our own work. Students will be encouraged to create both single image and serial narratives to take their work beyond mere figure studies. We will also discuss issues relating to gender and sexuality with regards to the use of the male nude. We will cover understanding of the male form, posing, basic lighting, the use of props, and basic nude model etiquette. Students will be expected to know how to use their cameras, light meters, and how to process and present their own images. Weekly research topics will be assigned. There will be three shoots with one or more models, plus classroom instruction and discussion sessions. $350, plus $150 model fee.
Introduction to Platinum/Palladium Printing – 11/8 – 11/9/2014 (Saturday/Sunday, 10am-4pm, two day intensive weekend workshop)
Platinum/Palladium is one of the most beautiful alternative processes. This course demystifies the process and teaches how to make good negatives, select papers, coat emulsions, and process prints for archival stability. $350, plus $100 materials fee, payable to the instructor.
One Camera, One Lens – Learning to See 1/15 – 3/7/2015 (Thursday 7-10pm)
Too often our gear keeps us from making better pictures. Photographers often fall into the trap of thinking that more gear is the solution to every problem, when in fact it can be a crutch or a burden. This course teaches how to simplify and focus our creative vision so the camera gets out of the way and becomes a tool not an obstacle. Students will use a camera of their choosing, and a single lens. They will select a project in the first class and follow through on that project, presenting images for critique each week. Students choosing to work with wet darkroom techniques will be expected to know how to process and print their own film; students working digitally are expected to have a working knowledge of their camera and digital image processing tools of their choosing. No changing lenses allowed! $350
The courses will be posted soon to the website, but in the meantime if you want to find out more about Photoworks, please check out their website and their Facebook page-
Photoworks is one of the few facilities with regularly scheduled open darkroom times, and at $8/hr for wet darkroom (bring your paper, we provide the rest!), it’s hard to beat!
Having been a big collecting fan of 19th century studio portraits, I thought it would be interesting to take on the genre and see if I could manipulate the conventions and subvert them while preserving enough visual continuity that you could visually trace the lineage. Here are my first two efforts. I chose diptychs of my models nude and clothed to inaugurate the series; placing the nude image to the left means the nude reads first in a western left-right reading order, giving primacy of meaning, a naturalness, to the nude, which conflicts with conventional social notions of the nude as an un-natural state. It questions the construction of identity through the construction of the clothed figure. I have printed them in palladium, again, to reinforce the stylistic referent to the Victorian era studio portrait through the look and feel of the image tone. Granted the vintage originals would have been printed in albumen, but this is certainly close enough.
Here’s a couple of shots I did of Justin, a model from New York, with my 5×12 “banquet” camera. I was playing around with the “panoramic” format for photographing the human body as I think it’s an interesting take on the subject. The human body is after all a pretty good fit for a vertical 1:3 proportion image. I also like breaking “the rules” of composition when trying out some of these ideas, like the horizontal portrait where the head is exiting the frame at the top, and approaches the center of the image. I think I can get away with that one in this shot because the lighting on the background expands the area of the eye’s focus beyond just the face and so it isn’t dead center in the frame.
The Tattoo says “AGAPI” in Greek, which means “Love”.
All the above were printed in palladium on Bergger COT320 paper, a specially formulated paper made specifically to cater to alternative photographic process printers. I’ve got a couple more of Justin that I may post at a later date but I’m happiest with these for now. Justin was a great model to work with, and brought his own challenges (he’s 6’4″ for starters). I really liked working with him and would highly recommend him to others. He understood how to move and pose and create dynamic tension in a still image, which many models don’t understand, and he was willing to strike a pose and hold it unlike many would-be fashion divas who can’t sit still for more than 30 seconds.