Boobs and toes

Good day my dear readership. Don't look so shocked. I'm not dead, merely incredibly busy and at the verge of a mental breakdown. Well, that's an overstatement but it's how I felt at least yesterday evening when curled up in bed, tears pouring down my face for no obvious reason.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm still swamped with uni stuff to do but I'm going to use writing this blogpost as a method of getting things inside my head in some sort of order.

My current photography project was about studying the relation between physical and metaphorical space. Whilst my course mates obediently pranced to find places and spaces to base their body of work on my mind went completely blank. After an exhausting staring contest with my wall and shortly given up attempts of reading about psychoanalysis I decided to rebel and chose female body to be my subject. I've been wanting to photograph female nudes since ages and now, even though lacking both studio equipment, the right kind of camera, lens and a model this became my plan.
Now you're having that dubious look on your face because there's no logical connection between a naked body and the space thing I mentioned first.
Let me explain.

First and foremost my idea was and is not to take pictures like these
Fair enough, it's art but not my goal anyway.
Well, it's an ad and I'm not a commercial photographer.

One word: macro.
I absolutely adore and love taking close-ups and yes, I do realise that at some point of my career or studies I will have to do something else too, but it's just so cool.
So, by using a macro lens and a very small depth of field (only a tiny area of the photograph is in focus) I wanted to create landscapes of the shapes of human, and more specifically female body.
I'll get back to that feminine aspect later on. Now dearies, let me show you some sources of inspiration I found from the field of art photography.
First I thought about the famous peppers of Edward Weston.

I'm sure you all see what Mr Weston has done here. Don't these peppers appear slightly humane? Or sensual? Isn't there something in common with those two photos of naked women you saw above? Something you can't perhaps quite put your finger on?
If you answered no to all of these questions, I am sorry but you are rigid and not artistic or just aiming to prove me wrong. However, do stay.
I also remembered a Finnish genius of photographer, Arno Rafael Minkkinen who's taken pictures mainly of his own body. He's a really tall, skinny and amazingly flexible guy and the way he's treated his body parts in relation to nature and environment is fascinating.
He does everything on film so no photoshop is used during the process. How the hell does he do that?, you ask. Believe me, that's what I've been trying to figure out since I first saw his work.

Then one of my fellow photo art students pointed me towards an artist Allan Teger and what he calls bodyscapes.
 I think this is an amazing idea and these images surely made me smile. And besides we're now getting closer to what I ended up doing.
Are you getting bored of all the black&white photographs of naked bodies? Don't worry there's more to come!

I've got two names for you: Bill Brandt and Man Ray.
Bill Brandt
Both of these legendary artists have more recognisable works than what inspired me. Neither of them has used a macro lens in the two images you see here but the way they've abstracted the female body shows exactly what my thoughts upon this subject were. I don't want to show he body as the object of desires, obsessions and abuse it is these days. I want my photographs to be very intimate and yet, very abstract. I want the viewer to feel the texture of the skin and how the spots and dots, scars, hair and bumps we think are mistakes in fact make it perfect. I tried to see new shapes and details, and present things that aren't usually seen as beautiful in another light. For me body is like a sculpture; not like those antic Greek gods and goddesses but like a polished, unrepresentative piece of marble. Or like the perfectly smooth little rocks you find from a beach.
Man Ray

Now why female?
Why am I not photographing both genders?
Surely there would be tons of possibilities in sculpturising and abstractifying the male body as well - I mean think of all that hair.
To be honest, the basis for my interest towards specifically the feminine is because I'm myself equipped with a somewhat feminist attitude, which probably derives from my sexual orientation and overall mentality - equality and justice for all, that is.
But since a university project can't be based on my personal ponderings alone, I want to talk about the different ways female body is treated in art, advertising and visual culture in general.

And that is something I'll do some other time because right now I just can't be arsed.

Instead I'll give a briefish description of how I put my ideas in practice because that's what I have been doing over this weekend.
First of all, I borrowed a macro lens from the uni and a camera from a friend of mine. Then one of my course mates agreed to take her clothes off for the higher purpose of art. I had her coming over yesterday and we had quite a short photoshoot of couple of hours. I would've been very, very satisfied with the work if I hadn't screwed up the first three films by forgetting to take off a certain dark slide that these analogue medium format film cameras have. Now I've got four rolls with her and I'm worried that they're not as good as they could be because after the little drawback in the beginning I kind of lost my spirits and also had to hurry since my dear model needed to be somewhere else.
Today I made my beloved flatmate be late from her meet-up at the university by insisting on photographing her toes, fingers and ears in order to get at least some little more film for tomorrow to be processed. Again I'm not convinced about the quality of my work. Big sigh.
Anyhow, I'll see what I've got tomorrow and that's what I'll be working on the next week for I don't have any more time to shoot more film.

That's that in a nutshell.

I hope I'll get at least one really awesome shot to be printed very big since that was my initial idea - to show something very small and in a way very intimate in a large form.

And now I shall switch off.

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