Archive for December 2007

Well, it is here - December 31, 2007. The final day of the calendar year. A day to reflect upon the year that was and to think about the year to come.

Sometimes events and the things we do seem to be compartmentalized and separated from the other things that occur in our lives. That applies to photographers, too (especially for occasional ones like me), with one photo session feeling detached from all others. So much can happen in 12 months that it's hard to believe that it's all been in just one year, so I thought I'd give a summary of what 2007 was like for me.

Here it is, then: one year in the life of a fine art photographer.

The year began with me not having done any serious photography for over four months. Normally I might have been thinking about when my next photo venture would be, but I had something more important in mind: waiting to find out when I would be able to walk normally again. In October 2006 I had surgery done to my right foot, and 2007 began with me still hobbling around with a cane. It’s difficult to take good photos when staying on your feet is tough, so there’d be no camera toting for several months.

On the other hand, I was able to still post photos on the web, and on January 8, one of my photographs of Carlotta was selected as a Daily Deviation by the website Deviant Art. It remains my most popular image there by far, with over 500 people claiming it as one of their favorites.

Every year I send in a dozen images of nudes to the French magazine PHOTO for its annual Concours Amateurs (amateurs’ competition), and this was one year in which they chose to print one of my photos. The contest issue is published in Europe in December but only reaches these American shores in February, and I saw that the chosen photo was one of Alison, made in Scotland in 2004. (Alas, I have just found out that none of my photos is included in the new contest issue. @#$%&!!!!!!!)

I also received the contest issue of The Photo Review, which had also included one of my images. I’d been trying for years for this, but after years of sending in nudes, what finally did the trick was this photo I made in Nagano, Japan in 2004. (As with the French mag, I’m sorry to say that I won’t be in this one next year, either.)

So, one month and two publications. Not bad.

The big event of March was– well, you’re reading it right now! I started this blog after following my good friend Dave Levingston’s blog for a while. He had written that he was the only photographer left who didn’t have a blog, to which I countered, “No you’re not. I am!”

Well, not anymore. I began doing this out of curiosity, wondering what I could possibly come up with and who would possibly want to read it. ( Ten months later, I’m still wondering the same things.) I started things off by posting this image taken when I was kid in the mid-1960s on the boardwalk at Coney Island – a place to which I would return this year.

Through the year up to this point, I had still been walking with the cane. By April, I was able to walk decently enough, but it still hurt a great deal when I had to stand in one spot, such as waiting for a subway train or a bus. (It still hurts.) So, I’d take the cane with me to lean on for support in those situations (sort of like Mr. Peanut in the Planters ads).

I also felt it was time for me to get out and try to make some photos again, so with that in mind, I flew off to Ohio for a weekend at the end of the month to visit Dave Levingston and photograph some local models in his studio. I actually began by finally getting to work with the beautiful Sarah Ellis for a full day in the house of one of Dave’s friends, with Model Sarah joining her in the afternoon. The next day and a half I worked in Dave’s studio, photographing models Jackeller, Nemesis, Gaea and Jacqueline Chantelle.

While I brought my camera gear and tripod with me, the one think I left behind was the cane. I needed both hands to schlep all of my bags, so this would be a test of how well I could stand on my two feet. The result: I passed. So I decided to leave the cane behind for good – a choice that would have serious consequences before too long.

Of all the months of 2007, this will be the one that I will be least likely to forget. Without the cane, I was able to walk decidedly faster than I was before. So it came to pass that one fateful day less than a week after returning from Ohio, I was crossing the street at a green light, walking briskly to catch the train, when---

Everything was suddenly different. The world was spinning before my eyes, waving about without seemingly making a sound. It seemed to be moving in slow motion. What had happened?

After several seconds like that I found out. When I regained my senses, I found myself lying in the street, bleeding and in pain, with a car stopped next to me. It was pretty obvious. I had been hit by a car. Fortunately, an ambulance just happened to be on that block when it happened so it wasn’t long before the paramedics and the police arrived. Strapped down on a stretcher, half choked by the neck restraint, I was taken to the emergency room of a local hospital where I was taken care of. Miraculously, I was actually able to take the bus home after what had happened.

Still, I didn’t escape unscathed. One finger (and perhaps two) on my left hand was broken. The nail from the middle finger had also been torn off but was taken with me to the hospital, where a doctor actually sewed it back on. I also had a concussion that lasted for at least five days.

What happened next were regular visits to the hand clinic at the hospital plus six weeks of physical therapy for my fingers. As for that sewn-on fingernail, eventually a new nail grew in and pushed the old one out until it finally fell off.

When that happened, the exposed part of the finger underneath looked really yucky, so I put the nail back on to protect it and wrapped it up in a band-aid. I asked the therapist about it on my next visit several days later, and she told me that if it came off, I should just let it come off. I removed the band-aid but found that after several days, the old nail had become adhered to the finger – so, with some difficulty, I had to actually pry the nail off of my finger. (If you were grimacing while reading the last part, you should know that most people react that way to it. It’s just too bad you weren’t there to see it.)

Photography, of course, was not possible with broken fingers and my hand out of sorts. Even more frustrating was that I had about 30 rolls of recently shot film that I was anxious to develop and it was impossible to do any of it.

I pretty much spent the month recovering from the hit but still thinking about future plans, both for my nude photography and my foreign travels. Things were definitely in the works.

By the middle of the month my left hand pretty much was functional again, so I once again hit the road with my camera. My first destination was once again my good friend Dave Levingston, but being summertime, the photography would be outdoors. One day I worked again with Sarah Ellis as well as with Vassanta at a farm owned by a woman that I know. Another day Dave did a lot of driving down to the Hocking Hills so I could photograph Jacqueline Chantelle there. I was also able to finally meet and photograph the wonderful Iris Dassault.

The trip didn’t end there, as I continued on to California to photograph the very lovely Maria Eriksson and the charming Betcee May.

If getting hit by a car was the low point of the year, then the high point of the year (quite literally – airplane flights excepted) was my trip to Tibet. I had wanted to visit that place on “the roof of the world” since 1989, when a previously planned trip was cancelled due to political protests. Now I was finally there, and though the Chinese have made their presence felt much much more than it was back in ’89, it was heartening to see the true Tibetan spirit surviving in its people. I hope to return one day before too long.

I’ve still got about ten rolls of film to develop from this trip, but most of it has been done and the results so far look good. Expect me to post some of these images in 2008.

After two visits to Dave Levingston, he decided to visit me here in New York. One of his objectives: photograph some of the Coney Island amusement area before it changes and is gone forever. We had a long but enjoyable day walking at least five miles to Coney Island and back, and it was nice to show someone from out of the town the places I used to go to when I was young.

I also made a visit to Las Vegas, where I met the photographer Terrell Neasley for the first time. I had happened upon Terrell’s blog where he expressed some admiration for my photography, so I wrote to him and we began a correspondence, finally meeting for breakfast. We have now become good friends.

While meeting with friends is always a good thing, I have to mention what is certainly one of the highlights of the year for me: having an eight page feature on me and my photography published in the Premiere issue of Carrie Leigh’s NUDE magazine. This was far and away the best showcase for my photography to date – and it was good to know that my work was beginning to be appreciated on a wider level.

October and November
No new photography during these months, but I was finally able to begin developing my big backlog of film (roughly 105 rolls). That is an awful lot to have to do in one’s spare time, but the only way to do it is to just do it – so I just went and did it. (Well, most of it. I’ve still got 15 rolls left.)

November also was when I tried to have a book of my fine art nudes printed up by Kodak Gallery – and they cancelled the order because the book contained one image that they found violated their standards of decency.

The year ended with Dave Levingston coming for another visit to New York to attend a dance workshop. As always, it’s good to have a friend to re-connect with for a few days. I also made another trip to Las Vegas to visit family, and Terrell and I got together again – this time to see the Crazy Horse Paris show at the MGM.

As for my photography, I finally decided to join the self-publishing world by releasing my first calendar. I had wanted it to be ready earlier in the month, but the need to change some things on the initial version, coupled with the holiday rush, caused its public debut to be pushed back to just last week. Still, some people have been kind enough to buy copies, and it’s good to know that people appreciate my work enough to buy it. If any of you are reading this, I give you my thanks.

Last, and certainly not least, a bombshell has just arrived at my doorstep. Yesterday, to my immense surprise, I discovered that Richard and Lin of the Fluffytek photography team have bestowed upon me the highest honor – the award for Best Overall Nude Blog of 2007 – in their second annual Fluffytek Photographic Nude Blog Awards, the “Golden Fluffies.”

There are just so many fine blogs out there with great photography and great writing that I still cannot believe this honor was given to a newcomer to blogging like me – but I am extremely grateful to Lin and Richard for choosing me. Again, it makes me feel that the effort and expense I put into my photography and my writing have been worthwhile and that perhaps my images have some real meaning to some people. I’ll try to write more about this in my first blog of the new year (my acceptance speech, so to speak?), but for now, I just want to say “thank you!!!”

So, there you have it. Twelve months of ups and downs – and despite the downs, I have to say that overall it was a pretty good year: three publications (including an eight page feature in a high quality magazine); ten models photographed, including two twice; visits with friends old and new; a trip to a far-off place I've wanted to visit for a long time; plus a recognition of one photo to begin the year and a big award honoring this blog at the end. Not too bad, I’d say.

Still, despite all of the photographic successes, I have to say that my biggest success of the year and the one for which I am most grateful is that I was hit by a car – and lived to talk about it! (Of course, it helps that I can still walk, too...LOL)

And on that note, I will end my blogging for 2007 by saying just this:
“Happy new year, everyone. I look forward to seeing all of you again in 2008!!!”

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People who check my blog regularly may have noticed a change at the upper right of the page. The cover of the first issue of Carrie Leigh’s Nude magazine – which included an eight-page feature on me and my photography – has been taken down, now that the next issue should be out soon (if it’s not out already).

In it’s place I’ve put up something else new: the cover of my very first calendar project and the first published work of my photography that I’ve offered for sale to the public. I realize that it’s a little late for offering a 2008 calendar, being that the new year begins next week, but I thought I’d go with it anyway, rather than have to wait an entire year. The calendar measures 11” x 8.5” inches and can be ordered at .

I had actually created this calendar at the beginning of the month, but when I received my copy of it I realized that a few things needed to be tweaked and that I needed to do some work on the cover image. It turned out that I forgot to include my name on that initial version! I had included my name in the calendar creation program but I took it out when I saw that it was overlaid over an important part of the image – and totally forgot about it until it was too late.

After talking it over with my friend Terrell Neasley in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, I decided to take another shot at it and so ordered a revised edition – which finally arrived here today. My concerns with the initial calendar have been taken care of, so today I made the calendar available for sale to the public. You can see the cover image at the top and a grouping of the other 12 images below. Click on it see it larger.

***********************************************************************In other self-publishing news, my hardcover book of photographs of Asia ordered from Kodak Gallery arrived yesterday. It actually looks pretty good, I think. Somebody I showed it to at my office agreed with me that it would not look out of place in the photography section of a bookstore – both the printing quality and the quality of the images! - so I’m glad I got it. It should serve as a nice portfolio to show to people. (Here's one of the photos in the book - a girl in Vietnam who I have dubbed "The Shy Schoolgirl.")

It’s just too bad that Kodak has essentially told me to take my printing business elsewhere by refusing to print one of the images in the fine art nude book project I had worked on earlier. (See my earlier blog entries from the past month or so for that story if you're not familiar with it.) I think I might try My Publisher next. I want to make up a couple of books with photos I made at my cousin’s wedding a few years ago, and I have a coupon code to get two of the same book for the price of one.

Well, it looks like I'll have time to make one more blog entry this year. The topic: a review of the year 2007 for me - 12 months which have definitely had their ups and downs (quite literally!).

So, stay tuned.

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Milena Projkoska

Born: 29.01.1985
Place: Ohrid
Height: 182 cm
Weight: 63 kg
Bust: 90 cm
Waist: 65 cm
Hips: 90 cm
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Blue
Titles: Miss Macedonia (2002)

Photo: Vlado Georgiev

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Hello again, everybody out there in bloggie land. It’s been a week since my last posting so I figured that I better write something or people will begin to give up on me. “Out of sight, out of mind” as the saying goes. I still haven’t put a title over my entry for this week as I write this paragraph, as I can’t seem to think of anything interesting to use for it.

Of course, I should also try to find something interesting to write about down here in the text. I’m beginning to realize that there actually are a certain amount of people around the world who follow what I write here -or the photos that I post, at the very least. (If, like followers of Playboy magazine, you only check out the blog for the articles, do let me know.) It can just be difficult at times to come up with something interesting to write about one’s mundane existence, but if “Seinfeld” could be successful being about nothing, I guess I can give it a try, too.

So, let’s see. The two things of note that I’ve done regarding my photography during the past week were to order a book of photos and attend a workshop. First the book.

As readers here will know, I got upset at Kodak Gallery’s book printing service for canceling a book order because of one nude photo that violated their rules of propriety. (Not mine.) I said at that time that I’d take my business elsewhere, and I will – but I will only begin to do so now.

I still had a credit for $33 with them from a previous book order plus a credit for free next day shipping, along with a 25% off coupon (and that $33 credit expired yesterday, forcing me to act quickly). So, rather than compromise what I wanted for my nude book, I decided to order a hardcover book of some of my photos of Asia. I’d already gotten a mini-book of Asia photos through them, so I decided to add some more. I think that first book had 45 photos in it but the new order has 70. Most of these photos I already had scanned, but I scanned a few more yesterday. I’m posting some of these photos (from Thailand, Japan and Vietnam) now. I hope the book quality will be good – even if I don’t plan on using the service again.

I guess putting together a book on my travel photography was appropriate, having attended a two day workshop on travel photography at the International Center of Photography here in New York this past weekend. Overall I’d say it was fair (that being the rating I gave to it on the feedback form). I think this was the first time I’d attended a classroom workshop on travel photography, and to me it just didn’t focus enough on the things that interest me, such as fine art travel photography, rather than editorial-type work.

A lot of time was also devoted to explaining how to use the strobe systems found on or with modern digital cameras – and since I don’t use strobe in my photography, I found much of it rather uninteresting. I guess I was hoping for more travel and less on techy stuff. There’s a six day workshop on travel photography with another instructor that ICP offers, and I may still take that one, as I know the woman who teaches it does fine art travel photography herself and sells fine art prints.

The other thing I’ll write about now is that I’m still waiting for Lulu to print up and send me my revised calendar order. I think I’d already gotten the first one in the time that has passed since the second order, but I’ve been told by someone who’s used Lulu that now is the holiday crunch season. I guess I have no other choice at this point but to wait for it. At least Lulu is a print-on-demand service, so if I put the calendar up for sale too late (or if nobody wants to purchase one for any reason), at least I won’t have wasted money by buying a bunch of them in advance on speculation.

As always, stay tuned.

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Profilot e izbrisan po baranje na Ilina B.
This profile has been removed at the request of the model

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Dragana Klopcevska

Born: 1980
Place: Skopje
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 59 kg
Bust: 85 cm
Waist: 65 cm
Hips: 95 cm
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Black
Titles: Miss Macedonia (2001)

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Well, it’s time for another late night blog posting – my first posting in a week. Things have been busy and they’ll continue to be so (for a few more days, anyway). I was unable to write recently as I was just in Las Vegas for several days visiting family. Believe it or not, both the flights to and from Vegas left on time and arrived on time (the latter arriving early despite heavy fog here in New York). Do wonders never cease?

I was actually planning to be out tonight, attending a travel photo presentation at the Manhattan store of a travel company I’m thinking of going with next year, but after being away for several days I just have too many things to take care of right here at home. I also need to prepare some things for a two-day travel photography workshop I’ll be taking this weekend at the International Center of Photography. I think I have to pick five of my favorite travel images to bring with me, so choosing only five will not be easy.

I’m also still working on my calendar for 2008, consisting of 13 outdoor fine art nude images. After receiving the initial version last week, I saw that a few changes needed to be made. (I forgot to put my name on the calendar, for one thing!) I wasn’t sure if I should continue with a revision at this late date in the year, but I’ve come to the decision to go ahead and order up a second version. Hopefully this one will satisfy me enough to offer it to the public for purchase. The photo I’m posting here (made in Tuscany in 1998) is one of the photos included in the calendar.

As for Las Vegas, this is the first year that I have not photographed any models there since 2002. I didn’t spend as much time this year as in recent years (and getting hit by a car didn’t help) but I’ve also had trouble finding models to work with out there. In 2003 and 2004, I photographed Rhowena, who was visiting from Britain. In 2005 I worked with Jessica, who came from Oregon and has since moved back there. Then, last year, I photographed Carlotta from Florida, who happened to be in Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding. No models have been actually been long term Las Vegas residents.

This recent trip was too short to go out on a photo shoot. Besides, the weather’s too cold there now. (Yes, believe it or not, it does get cold in Las Vegas.) On the plus side, I did have the pleasure to once again get together with my friend Terrell Neasley. We met for dinner and then went to the MGM Grand to see the show Crazy Horse Paris, which comes from the famous Parisian nude cabaret (you guessed it), the Crazy Horse Saloon. I like to tell people that this is the best show in Las Vegas, and if you like art nudes, then it’s worth seeing. Definitely much more sophisticated and artistic than the typical Vegas showgirl production. It’s not the same experience as seeing the show in Paris but the Vegas version is much less expensive.

Hopefully I’ll be able to return to Nevada next year for a little longer so Terrell and I can go out into the desert with a couple of models to create some new images. Maybe the models will even be from Las Vegas!

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Emilija Spasovska

Born: 1982
Place: Skopje
Height: 174 cm
Weight: 52 kg
Bust: 83 cm
Waist: 60 cm
Hips: 88 cm
Hair Color: Light brown
Eye Color: Green

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Ana Gerasimovska

Born: 1984
Place: Skopje
Height: 180 cm
Weight: 53 kg
Bust: 90 cm
Waist: 60 cm
Hips: 90 cm
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown

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Ivana Spasic

Born: 1983
Place: Skopje
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 54 kg
Bust: 89 cm
Waist: 62 cm
Hips: 92 cm
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown

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Sometimes you read something and you find it to be so memorable that – well – you remember it. That was the case with something I came across while I was applying to grad schools around 1980 for the first of my two graduate degrees. It was in the catalog of the University of Chicago, and it basically said this: the university had pretty good athletic facilities for a school whose former president once said, “Whenever I get the urge to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.” (I was accepted by Chicago and a number of other schools, but I ultimately ended up going to Yale – but that’s another story.)

I thought that quote at the end was pretty good. When you get the urge to do something, lie down until that urge goes away.

Still, there are times when you need to act upon an urge to accomplish something – because you know that if you don’t do it right then and there, it may never get done! That’s what happened to me almost two weeks ago: a sudden urge to clean up my apartment, get rid of unneeded stuff and put things in a proper place so that I could see most of the floor of my work room here (which had taken on the appearance and the use of a walk-in closet).

So, instead of watching a video as I usually do on a Friday night, I set to work on straightening this place out. The work continued through the weekend, but by the end of it I had made significant progress. One of the notable accomplishments was that, through a combination of getting rid of stuff and re-arranging other things, pretty much my entire collection of photography and art books is now on shelves.

Before this, much of it was stacked in piles on the floor – pretty much making it impossible to use the room as a darkroom as I’d done in the past. Now that I don’t need to hurt my back moving those books into the living room (and back later on), I may actually begin to start printing again before too long. That is the point of it all, isn’t it? For several years now, I’ve contented myself by simply scanning negatives and posting those photos here on the web. That was just taking the easy way out, really, so hopefully before long I can once again start creating what I consider to be the end product of my photography: hand-crafted silver gelatin prints. (Yes, I'm a believer in prints being made by people, not machines - and what I will do with those prints of mine is another matter, as well.)

Still, before I can make prints (or even make film scans in an orderly fashion), I need to get my negatives organized and filed into pages. I had been very neglectful in that I hadn’t even filed the bulk of the negatives from my trip to Laos and Vietnam in February 2006, so in keeping with the new spirit of things, last night I filed and annotated six rolls of film from that trip.

Tonight I did another six more. (The photos I’m posting are among those that I dealt with.) I think I’ve got another eighteen rolls left, and when those are done, it’ll be doing the same for the film shot last year in Canada, plus much of the film I did this year. It will all take time – including the ten rolls of film I still have left to develop – but it will get done, and hopefully the best of it will make it here to the blog. Stay tuned.

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Maja Lazarevska

Born: 1984
Place: Skopje
Height: 179 cm
Weight: 54 kg
Bust: 84 cm
Waist: 60 cm
Hips: 86 cm
Hair Color: Dark brown
Eye Color: Brown
Titles: Miss Metropolitan Macedonia (1998), Miss Mediterranean (2004)

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I wrote last time about how the Kodak Gallery book printing service refused to print my book order because of one image that they found objectionable. That posting received more comments than any other I’ve done, so I thank all ten people who decided to write. Thanks for your support, too.

Now the follow up:

A day after I spoke to customer service at Kodak, I sent a message asking to be told what specifically was wrong with the photo and asking them to reconsider their cancellation of the book order. A day later I received a phone call from Kodak. The fellow on the phone explained to me that it is Kodak’s policy to not print any photos of people “touching themselves.” I explained that she was covering herself up and not touching herself in the way that they meant it, and that they should have some flexibility in these matters. It was to no avail, and when I said that Kodak would lose me as a customer, he said that he didn’t blame me for going elsewhere.

This is unfortunate, as – to be fair – my dealings with the people at Kodak Gallery had been good. When I placed an order for a some mini-photo books shortly after and shortly before 25% sales, I called up and was given a credit for 25% of my order. For the current order, because I’d had trouble receiving items from FedEx (their one and two day carrier) in the past, they gave me a credit for free Next Day shipping. Finally, as I said, they responded promptly to my inquiry about the book cancellation.

Still, when you get down to the essentials, none of that matters if the company refuses to do what you ask them to do. So, I’ll now be looking at other book printing companies to use.

As for the photo itself, the question is, does this image cross the line from art to porn? While I agree that this image is definitely closer to the line than my other images, I still don't think it crosses it. (Stephen Haynes said the same thing in his blog comment regarding this photo.) As someone has written elsewhere about this image, the implication of something naughty can be more erotic than overtly showing it, but does that mean it must be labeled as porn and censored out? If I had not asked her to put her hand there, then it would definitely be out of bounds, so it seems like a case of 'damned if you do and damned if you don't.' (Damn!!!) I guess I need to take a fig leaf with me to all future photo sessions so I can cover things up 'hands free.'
Quite honestly, I view this as a very graphic image - but by that I mean geometrically graphic rather than erotically/sexually graphic. The horizontal form of her legs are paralleled by the pillows on both sides of her head. Her torso is a vertical element connecting the two horizontal forms and her arms add some diagonal elements to the mix.


This book project was really meant to be used as a portfolio of my nude figure work to show people, but also as a precursor to something bigger. When I find a good provider, I plan to put together something for purchase by the general public that will be a retrospective of my work in fine art nude photography. That will take a while as I’ll need to review over a dozen years' worth of photos.

For the time being, though, I hope to enter the web publishing world by offering my first calendar of B&W art nudes this month. This morning I finalized my calendar with Lulu and ordered one for myself. Once I receive it and if I’m satisfied with it, I’ll make it available for general purchase. Stay tuned.

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