The primary thing I’ll be writing about today is my trip to Philadelphia on Saturday, but as I haven’t posted many of my fine art photos recently, I thought I’d start off with a few.

Not too long ago, the model/writer who goes by the nom de plume Unbearable Lightness (a fan of Milan Kundera, no doubt) responded to a posting by Dave Levingston lamenting the lack of male nudes in fine art photography. So, in response to that, I thought I’d post a few of my images with male models. While I normally work with female models, I have worked with male models from time to time, mostly at workshops.

The photo at the top was made at a workshop in Santa Fe ten years ago. (I decided to post this one to keep fans of female models happy, too.) Actually, I tried to track down the guy in this photo when I planned a return to Santa Fe the following year, as he looked like a statue of Apollo. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able find him, as I really had wanted to work with him again.

Perhaps one of the problems in working with male nudes is that for the image to look classical (and I like my images to look that way), the model has to look like – well - a statue of Apollo, or at least be fit and athletic looking.

The next two photos, of the dark skinned model, were made in New Mexico in 1997. I wonder if this is how my friend Terrell looked in his earlier days as an art model. The silhouette image was also made ten years ago, with a model I had worked with at a workshop the year before but was able to track down.

Finally, on the subject of Apollo, there’s the final image, which I made at a workshop two years ago. As you can see, the guy here will definitely not be taken for a Greek god – but it’s for just that reason that I posed him next to the head of Apollo. To me, it’s the juxtaposition of the classical with the bohemian that makes the image interesting.

Getting on to my trip to Philadelphia, I made the two hour drive down Saturday to attend the annual Photo Review benefit auction. I’ve been going down there for this for at least ten years, and most of the prints in my photography collection were obtained here. One of my prints, as I’ve mentioned before, was up for sale, too.

I would have to say that the one overriding thing that was evident at this year’s event was the state of the economy. I met a photo dealer there who told me that business was very good this year, but that everything came grinding to a halt in September when the current financial crisis hit. My photo did not sell, but I was not alone. In fact, I went through the auction catalog today and counted that one half of the prints offered did not sell. As the auctioneer said at the end, that’s how it is everywhere now.

One of the things I like about this auction, as opposed to benefit auctions that primarily offer big ticket items by big name photographers, is that many things are affordable. With the economic sitiuation being what it is, bargain hunters like me get a break (all of this makes for a buyer’s market), and I was able to drive back home with half a dozen prints in my possession without breaking the bank. Here’s what I got:

Langaki: Egyptian Temple (1870s albumen print)

Unknown: View of Mt. Fuji, Japan (1880s hand- colored albumen print)

Diane Farris: Untitled

Unknown: Model on Mirror (1960s)

Max Kellenberger: Fraulein K. mit Kaktus

Art Zilio: Sunset Over Santorini: Nude

So, one photo of Egypt, one of Japan, one still life, one fashion and two nudes. I mentioned this to a woman after the auction had ended, and she said that my choices weren’t very targeted, but I told her that they were: I have an M.Phil. from Yale in ancient Egyptian studies, so I’m interested in Egypt; I’ve studied Japanese and visited Japan twice, hence my interest there; and I photograph nudes. I have some still life and fashion photos in my collection, as well.

I also had a rather pleasant surprise following the auction’s end. I was talking with a man who had bid against me for a few items, and when I told him who I was and showed him my photo in the catalog, he told me that he had bought several of my nude images there in auctions past. Not only that, he said that he lived nearby and invited me to come over to see them on display in his house! So, we and the photo dealer I mentioned earlier walked over to his elegant townhouse to view his art collection. The walls were indeed covered with a multitude of photos and other art works, with three of my prints among them – one near the entrance, two on the wall of the staircase.

Whenever one donates prints to auctions like this one, you never know who they’ll end up with. In this case, it was gratifying to be able to see that the works of art that I created were on display for people to see and were definitely being appreciated.

(Oh, a message for my friend DL: the two Lois Greenfield prints sold for $200 each.)

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