Published: Thursday 30th of May 2002 05:18:25 PM
Truth and Beauty II I wanted to add to my previous comment, after re-reading John's bio. It seems that many people are confused about the difference between photographs and snapshots. Here is my humble definition. A snapshot is about the subject matter and a photograph is about painting with light. It's really that simple. Most detractors of "nude photography" seem not to realize that if they're interested in photography at all, that term, nor any other genre labels should really ever come to mind. I don't think anyone would hang an Ansel Adams print on their wall because they needed that millionth glimpse of Yosemite National Park. I'm sure that collectors of Bresson are much more interested in the way the photographs were rendered, rather than the people in the photos. My point here is that I do not think of John's photographs as "nude photography" but simply photography. He is a painter of light and he does it very well.
Truth and Beauty John~I for one appreciate hearing the background you gave above. It's always nice to have this kind of insight into another's creative process and helps to view one another as human beings. I agree that too many people who comment seem to throw good manners to the wind, possibly because they feel they're not obligated in this medium. I'd also like to say that I appreciate your work, and your obvious devotion to truth and beauty.
True I've never shot this kind of pics, but from my little experience I can see the difficulty to get anyone so relaxed in front of a camera. This is nice work, regardless of the pose.
A little awkward John, I admire all your work, I think it is superb, but this pose seems a little contrived-- she seems uncomfortable and twisted. Although she does have a great smile, and I do like the lighting. The colours look great too, the golds and reds are a great combination.
Ian thanks for your comment. I appreciate that it may look that way, but it really wasn't you know! We were laughing and fooling around as usual, and I was simply moving around her taking photos. It's hard to fake that kind of smile you know!
Stephen, thank you, but this is not a beauty contest. Please be so kind as to judge the "picture" and not the model. Thank you. John
I'm agree!!! Sono perfettamente d'accordo con te John, mi piacerebbe conoscerti personalmente! Grazie
BEAUTIFULL I think this model is beautifull. Some may think she is thin. I think not. Beautifull picture!
David, my explanation above does not seem to suffice, and you maintain nevertheless that the pose was "contrived". My only suggestion therefore is that you try setting up a couple of similar poses yourself, but then, I am not too sure what kind of photos you do, since you haven't posted any yourself!
I really like the natural looking pose and genuine smile. One of the better shots in this folder.
the lighting is great. Especialy how it interacts with her hair. The Photo feels contrived to me. Her stance does not seem natural. The open shirt looks like it was placed that way deliberately, instead of just falling that way during the course of the shoot. Hard to explain, but the more I look at the photo, the more "canned" it feels. JMHO. That and $3 might get you a cup of coffee. David
of all the things I might ask about the mechanics of your style, this is the question I ask myself about your pictures... "What is it that motivates these people to participate in, and enjoy so much your photographic sessions with them?". If you had many photographs in this style of only one or two friends, then I could imagine several plausible scenarios. But you seem to have so many friends... and they're all semi-clothed, beautiful women who seem to greatly enjoy showing themselves to your camera, and through that device, to us as well. To what do you attribute this willingness/desire/tendancy/inclination? Obviously, you experience the joy of making these pictures, and sharing them with anyone who cares to look, and the attention you gain from their exhibition... What do they take away from these sessions (besides prints, maybe?)? Is there a story here? Would you tell it?... t
finally! Hello John, and thanks for your considered response...
Regarding those who might consider your biography to contain "offensive and insulting" concepts, let them go... ah, perhaps I'll just let that be... I'm surprised you place such high value in the ratings/reviews here at photo.net. I encourage you to edit at your own pleasure, and let your own aesthetics guide image and text for any future publications. The integrity of the end result will reside with you and should not be diluted by the many influences that shape opinions here. Done. Onward.
My words "obvious ...joy" sound much different than your quote of them, which became "obvious pleasure" which has a decidedly hedonistic ring (smiley face goes here). If you call it pleasure, so be it (another smiley face!). I find it hard to believe that you get more reward from this forum's feed back than from the making of these pictures, which I perceive to be integral to your friendship with these people. I can imagine that if the internet did not exist, you would still be making these images. I recommend you follow your heart (making these images) rather than your head (analyzing them). Your satisfaction in the new and lasting relationships developed with these women rightly belongs, as you say, central to the experience.
My main reason for photographing people is to know them, we are fascinating creatures of great complexity. Which brings me to this last point... I still don't get it. Why these women friends of yours do this. You say you want them to reveal themselves as they never have before, but none of these women look that innocent or naive, neither do they appear to be overly extroverted or narcissitic exhibitionists. I imagine the lovers they have in their lives know this playful directness quite well, but I'm still not sure, despite your best efforts, that I understand why they reveal it to us, the unknown thousands. I'm glad they do, I'm glad they're glad, and I'm happy for you, too.
All of which adds mightily to the mystery of Aphrodite, pleasing everyone and adored by all... t
So, I promised to answer your question! I guess that whatever I say, some people will relate to it and others not, whereas others still may search for hidden meanings which are not there not consciously at any rate!. Some will go further and find fault with what I say, but thats normal I suppose. Do you know that someone even wrote to me that my biography was offensive and insulting!? I still havent understood that one! In this regard however, and being rather new to the net (at the time of writing this), I must say I have been surprised sometimes by the number of emotions that are expressed on-line, ranging from generosity, kindness, humility, to the other extremes where people cannot restrain their feelings of anger and disdain. All this centred anonymously around a few photos, its really quite amazing! First of all, let me begin by the end. You speak of mine and the models obvious pleasure in showing off these pictures. I dont really think that is the issue, whether it concerns myself or them, but I will address it. As regards my own sentiments, my pleasure in showing the pictures on this site is focussed on the feedback that I receive, which has allowed me to assess for the first time what is pleasing or not to a wide range of other people. I am actually surprised sometimes by the result. Many of my favourite pictures, including those that have been published occasionally have remained totally ignored, whereas others which I have sometimes posted almost as an afterthought, sometimes get good reviews! Beyond this, my satisfaction has centred mainly around the very special and privileged relationship that I have developed and continue to share with my models since I took their photos. It is like a special bond which only intimacy and trust can develop. What has been shared together at these moments however is very private and cannot be described to others. Others may only look at the result and draw their own conclusions. My photos are often badly taken, with insufficient care for technical considerations. Thats quite simply my style (or incompetence)! However, you may agree that they sometimes succeed in capturing a glimpse of the charisma that all these girls possess, which is my principle objective. Why the nudity? Simply because I want them to reveal a part of themselves that they never have before. In this respect, the nudity is a means to an end but it never is a goal in itself. The girls understand this, and they accept to take up the challenge. Why are they so often smiling or laughing? Apart from the glass of wine obviously, its because though they are sometimes embarrassed, they are also self confident, proud and defiant. Never are they submissive and never do I put them into a situation where they may feel even remotely so. It is they that are in control at all times. I feel this shows in many of the photos, but that is my interpretation. Now comes the difficult part, which is describing what the girls feel and why. Thats really not my job and I can only speculate on this at best. What I can do, is tell you what the girls have in common and then let you think about it on your own. They are, in large majority well educated young ladies, with post graduate degrees or training which goes for a very special profile in self-assurance. They are also mostly girls of a more or less privileged intellectual background. None of them has ever been photographed before in partial nudity, not even on the beach. So why do they do it? And why do they sign a publication release form, the standard joke being that they will find themselves in a book one day? I really dont know what the reason is, but I certainly do know what it isnt. I saw the discussion (sic!) on your portfolio Tom, and its not because the girls want any exposure of any sort. Not only do they not need it, on the contrary, there is obviously an element of risk for them in having these photos taken. I think its more a personal matter between the photographer and them, and also a private one between themselves. They see my albums, they sometimes like them, I tell them they can do that too, they look at me with total disbelief ... and then they do it - and their girlfriends too! Almost none of them fail to go all the way, once the commitment is taken. Maybe Im naive, but can it simply have to do with their love of truth, of beauty, trust, friendship and complicity, and of values which are different than the materialistic, and often artificial and hypocritical ones that we have been nurtured by our surroundings into believing are so importantly the right ones? Who knows, maybe they also read Doestoyevsky in their early years and learned that conventional things are mostly for conventional people, and that maybe some may feel that they can break the rules? .. I told you not to ask me!
Tom, I am away at a Congress just now. However, I will certainly try to answer this very pertinent question this weekend on my return home. In the meantime, I have already written a few words on this subject on my biography page. Best wishes, John
so far I have only found that she aided Ares in the Trojan War (Homer), but no other reference to war (only much trouble from "loving too much" as it were :^)
sorry about your Herculean efforts in the Library, but thanks. I have been wearing out Google looking for mythological links. This from Homer:
Muse, tell me the deeds of golden Aphrodite Make love, not war!... t
The Venus de Milo in the Louvre museum is a 150 B.C. rendering of Aphrodite. The beauty of woman was captured so perfectly that anything that ever followed can only be an imperfect copy. Interestingly, she was the Goddess of War as well as love. Thus the duality in her nature existed since early times ..... !
Tom, Grrr... I had to move so many things to get to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. I quote .... "Ancient Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite was in fact widely worshipped as a goddess of the sea and seafaring, she was also honoured as a goddess of war" .... "Aphrodite first attained individuality at the hands of the great 5th-BC century Greek sculptors. Perhaps the most famous of all statutes of Aphrodite was carved by Praxiteles; it later became the model for such Hellenistic masterpieces as the Venus of Milo".....And now, I have to put everything back in place again! Best wishes, john
Aphrodite is the Goddess of Love and Desire not War... Perhaps you're thinking of Athena, who is frequently depicted wearing a helmut and holding a spear. Athena was the Goddess involved in the War at Troy over the Judgement of Paris. Aphrodite usually has a mirror and a scepter or staff borne as an emblem of authority. She is not depicted as carrying any weapons, as are Artemis (Diana) and Athena. Nor is she as vindictive and jealous as Hera, persecutor of Herekles (Hercules). I'm kinda into it... t
Very erotic...very sexy...that little hint of nipple and her expression is just a bit naughty...and she is quite lovely...
Make love, not war!... t