Where are you born and when?
British Channel Islands in 1959
Where do you live?
British Channel Islands
When and how do you start your path in photography?
I picked up a camera in February 2015, following visits to art museums and galleries in Paris and London, where the paintings that caught my eye were the fine art nudes of famous artists such as Botticelli, Courbet, Manet, Renoir, Titian, and Velazquez.
While my wife is an accomplished artist in water colours, I have little hand to eye coordination for painting. Wanting to develop my artistic side I soon discovered a natural interest and ability behind the camera lens. This combined with a fascination for the often-indefinable beauty and mystery of the female nude has drawn me deeply in to photography.
Who were the three photographers that inspired you at the beginning and who are the three ones that inspire you now?
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Andreas H Bitesnich – for his superb ability to control light and work with skilled models, to produce wonderful sculptured fine art nudes;
Bob Carlos Clarke – for his sheer originality and audacity in creating images which always provoke a reaction.
Frank de Mulder – for depicting the female lines and curves in ways that while being intriguing and beautiful, are entirely plausible and realistic.
Thomas Holm – for his ability to control light emphasising the sculptural beauty of human form;
Imagesse – because we appear to share many of the same key drivers and feelings for our fine art nude photography, and his work is always original and beautifully shot.
Carl Grimm – the master of modern-day chiaroscuro creating images with true depth, emotion, and beauty.
Did you go to a school or are you a self-taught?
Educated to degree level in the sciences at Welsh Universities, and then a Post Graduate Teaching Qualification at Exeter University. However, largely self-taught in photography, but with Distinctions at both Foundation and Advanced Diplomas in Photography from the Shaw Academy based in Ireland.
Do you make photography as a living?
While I work as professionally as possible, striving for continual self-improvement and development, and while I do sell Limited Edition prints of some of my work, I do not rely on photography for my living. It is a passion in my semi-retirement from careers in other areas.
What do you like in photography, what is your motivation?
I particularly like collaborating with fellow artists (mostly models) and enjoy taking an idea and then jointly developing it to produce a great image. I love the actual shoot, the positive experience of working hard with someone else to produce something of quality, which has a lasting appeal.
I also like the fact there are so many aspects of fine art nude shoots to master, and that the road of discovery and improvement is never ending.
I also find the female nude to be an intriguing and beautiful subject for my work. Every woman is unique, and I enjoy the opportunity to work with a variety of people to produce the best images of which we are capable.
What do you want to express or arouse in those who watch your images?
It is very important to me that my work causes viewers to pause and look in detail at the image. I am always telling a story, many times it is only a partial story, where the viewer must interpret and complete the scene as they see it.
For my Nudes in Nature work the key aspect is getting the viewer to experience a connection with, or sense of belonging in, our most amazing natural world, with all its beauty and diversity. Every person has their own innate way of connecting, and the joy for me when shooting is to try to capture how this is being done, in such a way as to make the viewer feel a part of the scene.
For my sensual work, emotion is key. Here I am always trying to convey some feeling or emotion, and ideally this should stir some memory (distant or recent) in the viewer; something which makes that person look longer and deeper into the image.
My Dynamic Art Nude work is in the main less personal in nature. The images strive for a “Wow factor” to engage the viewer.
What are your preferred moment(s) in the creation process?
Always I love the actual shoot; working with another person to produce something which has real value, something which inspires an individual story, or evokes an emotion or reaction in the viewer, is very special.
I have been privileged to work with some amazing women, who work hard with real creativity to produce something special. For example, I worked with one woman who climbed to the top of a volcano in nothing but ballet shoes, because she was searching for the exact spot where her connection with the mountain was strongest. On other occasions I have worked with women who have such a natural affinity with water that they have no hesitation entering cold water and producing the most beautiful natural poses, while I remain warm and dry on land; shivering for them!
I also very much enjoy the final moments when I look at a completed image and know that we have created something truly original; an image that draws viewers in and make them think; then I am very excited!
What are your three most representative images, and why?
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“Body Ballet” – shot with the incredible fine art nude duo of Anna Rose and Ayla. You might think that these two women work together frequently, but I believe this was only the 2nd time they’d worked together. It has proven to be one of my most successful images to date; winning the Nude Category at the Siena Creative Photo Awards in 2020.
“Nude on Moss Rock” – shot with model Cariad in England’s Peak District National Park. I love the tranquillity and simple beauty of the pose, where Cariad is so obviously a part of this scene; very much connected to the moss and the rocks upon which she lies.
“It’s all in the Eyes” (Sensual) – demonstrates perfectly strong emotion that draws the viewer’s interest. Here it is the engaging eyes of “DancingwiththeLight”.
What equipment and/or techniques do you use?
It is not a matter of brands/lenses, it is mostly about analog/digital, preferred light (natural/flash), how much post-production, etc.
I shoot digital with a Canon 5D Mk 111. Favourite lenses are Canon EF 24-105 mm f/4 L IS USM (as it is such a versatile lens to walk around with all day), and a Canon EF 70-200 mm f/4 L IS USM for more distant work. Beyond that I use two prime lenses: - a portrait lens Canon EF 85mm f/1.8, and a standard Canon EF 50mm f/1.8.
For my outdoor nudes in nature work I almost exclusively use only natural light, but in the studio, I want to control the light as much as possible, using studio strobes, a variety of light modifiers and V-flats and flags.
I organise all my images in Lightroom Classic, where I also undertake the basic editing functions, before exporting them to Photoshop CC for selective dodging and burning, editing fine details, applying Imagenomic Portraiture (light touch), sharpening and noise etc.
I like my images to have a natural feel to them, so editing tends to be subtle and selective, rather than strong and uniform.
How and why your work as changed since you started?
Initially I shot across many genres of art nude, trying out lots of different styles. However, after several years I began to find my true interests and develop my own approach in the three main categories that I shoot: -
Dynamic Art Nudes (mainly shot in studios with very controlled light collaborating with dancers or athletes);
Nudes in Nature – with a wide variety of women who can connect with the natural world, and where I use natural light to best effect, rarely supplementing it with flash to reflectors; and
Sensual Nudes mainly shot in homes or hotel rooms using either natural or artificial light, where emotion and feeling is central to the images created.
What do you think about the fact that nowadays photography is mostly enjoyed on the Internet?
While there are some benefits, such as an ability to have your work seen by very large numbers of people very quickly, I regret that the Internet is so often a very transient way to enjoy art. Viewers often only linger for a second or so on each image they view. Also, today many (perhaps a majority of) images are only ever viewed on tiny screens, which makes a full appreciation of the larger scale of photographs very difficult.
I very much prefer for my work to be printed where it can be better appreciated for its scale and quality, and where it is so much easier for viewers to pause, take time and look at the details and think about what the image is invoking in them. What memories or feelings is the image triggering within them? This is of real interest to me, as the co—creator of the image in the first place.
Why did you decide to join the nudeartzine project?
I admire that it is a print publication, which is seeking to showcase the work of fine art nude photographers, both new and established, across a wide range of genres. Such an initiative is to be applauded and supported in my view, as it encourages we artists and gives us a platform for our work beyond social media web sites etc.
Would you have an insight or advice to give to whomever is watching your work and wants to learn photography?
Yes, when you begin pay for the best professional models that you can afford. At the outset there is more than enough to learn regarding composition, lighting, exposure, general camera settings and working with models, who may be nude. Working with professional models means that they will be able to look after many aspects of the shoot, and in particular they can pose in ways that give you the best chance early on to go away from the shoot with some wonderful images that will inspire you to continue.
What are your plans in the future?
I currently have three projects active. I will shortly publish two books representing my Nudes in Nature work, each with a selection of my favourite images and a short text. I continue to shoot building a portfolio of images for the third book in this series.
I am also looking forward to a new project which celebrates the diversity of female beauty, reinforcing the message that there is no one stereo-typed definition of what is feminine beauty; rather it is a collection of works celebrating individuality and diversity.
My third main project for the immediate future is to create some more dynamic art nude models shot principally with talented dancers and athletes. Ultimately this will lead to the publication of another book focused on Dynamic Nudes.
Beyond this I continue to submit work for print publication in a range of magazines, exhibit work at galleries and exhibitions (where this is cost effective), and produce a small number of Limited Edition Prints.
On what page our readers can find more of your work?
Would you like to add something else?
The only other thing to add is just to say how much I have enjoyed talking with other creatives, be they photographers, painters, models, authors, sculptures etc. Not only have I learnt so much from them about my passion for fine art nude photography, but they have been fascinating people to talk with generally. Many have had interesting life stories to tell, and in some strange ways all of this has given me more confidence in areas of my own life where I had formerly been shy and lacked confidence. Like so many other areas of life, the more you put into the work you love, the more you tend to get out of it.