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Kim Taylor
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Nothing muchAngkor Wat

Kim Taylor 2009

Ok not really, but I was riding this morning, likely one of my last bike rides before the snow flies and way out in the middle of a bush trail I came across this bit of foundation. It's always a bit of a shock to find scenes like this, it's likely the leftover of a farm which was flooded by the dam which created this conservation area. I remember when the dam was made, remember seeing the roads that suddenly disappeared in water, and remember the trees poking up above the water. I suspect this was just a farmhouse or barn then.

This is just a snapshot taken quickly as I paused on a three hour ride, but I suddenly realized that it means more to me than a lot of the studio work I've done over the last several years.

Yet it's not a nostalgic shot. I am rarely nostalgic about anything around this area where I've spent the last 30 plus years, and where my kids grew up. I'm nostalgic about the town I was born in and lived for less than 5 years, then visited more or less regularly for another 10 or 15.

It's interesting how much of our nostalgia and our memory is bound up in the photographs we shoot. I'm getting more and more attached to this shot as I gaze at it.

Oct 20, 2009
Our folksMegan Cump

180 story here

Please join me Thursday October 22nd from 6-8:30 pm  for the opening of "UNSEEN" at Randall Scott Gallery.  
This project room exhibition was curated by Ruben Natal-San Miguel and includes works by Clayton Cottorell, Megan Cump, Bon Duke, Elizabeth Fleming, Natasha Gornik, Nicole Kast, Adam Krause, Alex Leme, Eric McNatt, Leah Oates, Ryan Pfluger, Cara Phillips, Richard Renaldi, Nadine Rovner, Chad States, Phil Toledano.  The exhibition will be open until November 21st.
Randall Scott Gallery
111 Front Street #204
Brooklyn, NY 11202

In addition, "Lair" was recently selected as Today's Flak photo:

Megan Cump

Oct 19, 2009
Our folks

anja hitzenberger

180 story here


I'm pleased to announce that a photo of mine is now in the permanent collection of the Museum of the International Center of Photography. The photograph is called "Donut" from my "Pink" series.


Oct 19, 2009
Our folksAlexander Binder

180 story here

I've just released my first video work called "pluton/calabi-yau".

it has been selected for this year's "urban nomad film festival" in
taipei/taiwan and can now be watched on youtube.


all the best from the black forest,


Oct 19, 2009
Our folksJulian Hibbard Book

180 story here

Julian Hibbard : The Noir A_Z

I'm banging the drum, letting a few good folk know
that "The Noir A-Z", my first photography book, is now out. It's available
at all good bookstores and online via Amazon, etc. Here are some links
including a great write up in Wallpaper:


Best wishes,



Oct 15, 2009
Our folksTom Chambers

(180mag story here)

Today I was very excited to be included in NPR's Project Song. Inspired by
my photomontage "Black Dog's Retreat", two musicians Chris Walla (of Death
Cab for Cutie) and J. Robbins (of Jawbox and Burning Airplanes) created
the song "Mercury". Please listen to the song, view my work on Project
Song, and click on the All Things Considered broadcast on
as well as see additional photos on NPR's Picture Show

In the past few months I have kept busy with a variety of exhibitions and

Carmel Art and Film Festival 2009: Two pieces were selected for the
current month-long exhibition at the Sunset Center in Carmel, CA.

Texas Photographic Society: I won third place and now have three photos
touring for a year in Texas Photographic Society's exhibit TPS 18: The
International Competition.

Online magazines:
- Burn Magazine:
- Folio Hunt: www.foliohunt.com/ (8/26/09)
- Fotoritim (Turkish photo site):
- ADGColombia (Colombian design site):

Thanks for your support,

Website: http://www.tomchambersphoto.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/people/Tom-Chambers/1079623428

Oct 12, 2009

Do you turn off street lights when you drive or walk under them? Have you ever thought about someone and called them only to learn that they really needed you to call them right then? Or have you ever had a dream about someone and later found out that they had died?

Yeah, me too.

I don't think you should spend too much of your money trying to fix the slots or predict the winning lottery number, just think about the streetlights you've walked under and not turned off, or the number of times a day you think about some random friend or other who hasn't just lost their job, or how many dreams of your boss you've had in the last three weeks, without him getting even a sniffle.

Humans are pattern hunters. Recognizing the break in the pattern of the landscape helps us to avoid being dinner for Mr. Sabertooth. Figuring out that the moon needs to become full five times after the first snow before it's safe to plant the crops, keeps our bellies full and our village painter busy changing the population sign.

So we notice when the light goes out as we walk under the streetlamp, it breaks the pattern, it comes to our attention. After that we fill in the details because that's the other thing we do, we tell stories. We tell stories to the kids to pass down our memories along with our selfish little genes, and we tell stories to ourselves so that we remember where we saw that nasty great brute of a tiger... Tigers like forests burning bright when it's dark or something like that don't they?

With that we come to martial arts and photography once more because that's where I spend most of my time. (I think I see a pattern here.) The martial arts are pretty easy to link to our theme today. We learn by patterns. In the Japanese tradition we call them kata, a set of movements strung together in such a way that by memorizing and moving through them we can learn certain fundamental ways of fighting. We also use pattern when we're fighting with an opponent. When he jabs two times he follows up with a right cross so we wait for two jabs, slip to our left and hammer him with a roundhouse followed up by a left uppercut to the ribs. We break patterns of movement and of timing in order to throw the opponent off guard, to make him stop and think, to freeze him long enough to beat him.

We use patterns of our own to remove the need to think about our next punch, we jab twice, pause, jab again and follow with a right cross which usually nails our opponent because he's dropped his left in preparation for a roundhouse.

In photography we create and destroy patterns every time we take a picture. In traditional photography we follow rules of composition, we look for subjects that fall into certain angles and repeating chunks of visual information and we take advantage of that to create images that make people relax and feel good.

Or we don't, in which case we may break the rules of composition, or reduce the image to a single visual item which disturbs people long enough to make them really look at the shot. Think of a headshot on a white background. We assume that's what you do these days, and commercial photography schools will tell you to reduce the image clutter down to the subject, but when Penn and Avedon started shooting their floating heads in the middle of the frame they were shocking. Just the face, no background, no pattern to tell us the story? What's up with that?

Or we may, like Bernd and Hilla Becher, take a series of shots that at first appear to be the same thing, perhaps a post and beam house or a water tower. When we display these shots together in a group, our boring single photo becomes a matter of some interest to the viewers who start looking for breaks in the pattern. "Name three things that are different in these two pictures." Call it typology.

Make our white background blown out and combine it with a generic model's face that is photoshopped into blandness? Now you've got a Sears Catalogue shot that is totally forgettable. Or take a shot of a parking lot at night, one shot, no more, and you've got something that truly is too boring to look at. There's no pattern, there's nothing to spark a story in our minds, nothing to make us stop and look.

Is that art? Ah, there's the one thing that makes us stop to think, but if we can answer too quickly, it's pretty much a waste of space.

While the new photography tries to reduce pattern down to its basic unit, I also said that we destroy patterns when we make an image. We do that by destroying time, that ultimate pattern because what is time except the repeating movements of the universe. By taking a photograph we stop time, we stop the waving of the grass, the movement of the clouds, the passing of day and night, the aging of our grandparents. We break the pattern of our own families by freezing our children forever at age three, thus preventing them from having grandchildren of their own.

Can we do the same thing in the martial arts? Can we not only change the timing but destroy time itself?

What are the martial arts except a search for the timeless? We train for years to get to the point where those years are meaningless, to where we enter "into the moment" and all the falseness of time is revealed to us. We become, oh dear, "one with the universe" and see everything, all at once, and our connection to it. The martial arts, like other forms of meditation, can show us the timeless eternity of creation.

Or not. Pattern can be as much a blindness as a way of seeing. We can fill in the blanks where there aren't really any blanks, we can see another tree instead of Mr. Sabertooth and now we're part of the circle of life inside his stomach.

In the meantime, if you want to get creative in either photography or the martial arts, learn how to play with patterns, how to make them and break them, and how to use them to create stories in the heads of those pattern-recognition engines we call people.

Sept 10, 2009
CreativityStandard Pose on White

Ah yes, once again I have run into a bunch of nude photography featuring professional nude models off of such places as Model Mayhem and One Model Place.

It's pretty clear what you're looking at when you see the bog standard poses on the never to go out of style blown out white seamless stage.

I have nothing against the nude on white, but wow is it ever hard to get something original, and even harder when you have a model who has the standard set of dramatic poses and a photographer with a standard lighting setup.

To find something that doesn't look like a cheap imitation of Edward Weston poses or Richard Avedon's seamless background requires some serious commitment from both the photographer and the model. Who would that combination be, Irving Penn perhaps? His nude #58? Of course Penn would not likely appreciate the implication that he got his seamless background and lighting from Avedon.

Irving Penn 1949Edward Weston 1925
Irving Penn, nude #58, 1949-50
Metropolitan Museum
Edward Weston, 1925
Richard Avedon 1961
Richard Avedon, Rudolf Nureyev 1961

The sort of commitment needed to get something original isn't likely to happen in a two hour session where model and photographer have just met each other. The desperation to "get something" will overwhelm the originality as both fall back on what's worked before.

Hmm, I was going to show one of my own nudes on seamless here but I don't think I ever did one, here's the closest I can find, from 2003. I also note that the shots above aren't blown out backgrounds either, just seamless. I wonder when the blown out stuff showed up? It's best use of course is/was for product photography where we want to cut the product into a graphic illustration.

Kim Taylor 2003
Kim Taylor 2003
Not really very close to a blown background nude, but you'll find the sort of thing I mean pretty quickly if you do a google search.

Anyway, my point is that creativity requires the willingness to fail, and fail big. That means getting to know your models, or even better, to use those you already know as models so that you can get over "getting the shot" and allow yourself to risk experimenting. It means the willingness to get random and allow accidents.

In the spirit of creativity then, below are three shots grabbed by random stabs into my files, an experiment to see if chance has any role in editing.

Kim Taylor 2004From 2004, I guess I was already done with the blown out background, and was starting to work with a gradation of light across the backdrop.
Kim Taylor 2005From 2005, now I am putting coloured gels on the backdrop as well as coloured electrical tape. Creating a setting that the viewer has to fill in remains an interest to me.
Kim Taylor 2006From 2006, a mask shot, with a really dark background, it's still a white seamless but again I'm putting a gel on it and I'm still lighting for shadows.

Overall they're not shots I would end up with after a serious editing I think, so perhaps random selection won't replace looking carefully at the shots but the experiment was worth it, and actually I've done something similar before: http://180mag.ca/0806/taylor/taylor.html

Aug 31, 2009
EditingCriteria in Photography

How does an editor or a curator choose a photograph for exhibition in a book, magazine or gallery?

If it's a camera club show, the usual suspects may apply: focus, lighting, composition (rule of thirds... was there another one?).

The camera clubs online? Same thing really, but with the bias toward the subject matter that forum is known for.

If it's a popular fashion magazine you're going to look for nice shots of the clothing or more likely the bags.

If it's an avant garde fashion magazine you may be looking at artistic shots in the editorial well. Artistic in this case being biased toward unusual visual technique.

Newspapers and news magazines? These days I suspect we're looking at something cheap from Getty or Corbis that sort of fits the story.

Celebrity mags? Please, anything that makes Brittney look fat or Gwynyth look.... well, fat.

Lad mags? Any celebrity or minor variety of celebrity, Brittney or Gwynyth for a choice, scantily clad and all traces of fat removed.

Food mags? Food porn shots, and trust me, these shots are every bit as highly staged as the human porn type shots.

Photography magazines for consumers? Studio shots of equipment of course, and photos from anyone making a living at photography, along with a few shots of cars and trees from the columnists.

Photography magazines for collectors? Ah, well aside from "any photograph that's half-way acceptable accompanied by the appropriate fee for our showcase section", we finally get into where I wanted to go; what's an art photograph?   

I suppose in a real sense, if a photograph causes one to say, "is it art?" than it's art. One of the major themes in art is to examine what art is.

Some other considerations we can use to consider art:

Technique. Is technique art? Well not exactly, it's the vehicle through which we communicate and art is about the communication mostly, but then again, art is also about emotional impact and technique can be involved there. Colour photography is technique, as is black and white, both have different emotional impacts. On the other hand, a technique or a "look" in photography that becomes a Photoshop plugin next month is not likely to have much of an impact beyond your first look at it. After that the content of the photo itself had better be saying something because there are now 2000 shots that look just like your "look" on Flickr.

Artistic intent. If the artist had some intent in making the photograph, and he succeeds in that intent, is that a good criteria for choosing a piece of art? I suppose it might be, but who knows what the artist intended? Most art photographs are titled "untitled" and there is nothing in the way of a statement beyond maybe the year they were taken, so how do we know if this shot of an empty parking lot was taken intentionally rather than by accident in a drive-by, let alone whether or not it met the artist's intention.

Viewer reading? If the photograph reads well, if it tells a story to viewers is that a good criteria for deciding if it's artistic? Some shots tell a hell of a story, most photojournalism from the classic period of Life and Look magazines tells great stories. Most photographs found in exhibitions and galleries don't. Most photographic art hanging on walls in offices and homes tells us little more than that it's springtime in the woods.

Emotional impact. As I mentioned, an artistic image is often said to have emotional impact. This is often called "shock value", it "makes you think". Think of Mapplethorpe's leather boys, those were shocking for their day and they forced you to confront gay culture. Stage blood and big knives in the goth photo forums of today? Not so much with the impact. Shock only lasts until the 5th person copies it, then it's just another picture of a Japanese girl tied up with rope, ho hum, didn't Araki do that in 1982? After the shock what is there? How long does the image last? When does it just become derivative and repetitive? Mapplethorpe's shots last, they're as interesting today as when they were taken. Same with Araki's girls.

Academic interpretation. Almost the opposite of emotional impact is interpretation by some learned fellow or other. Whole genre of art have been created and supported almost singlehandedly by gallerists or curators. This is because we're really not sure what art is, but if someone who has a degree in "art" tells us it's art, we're inclined to believe them. Not a bad thing really, and it's always a good idea to take a look when they tell you to look, but the inevitable response to academic authority is the equally stuffy "I may not know art but I know what I like"

Historical analysis. I know quite a bit about the history of photography and something about the history of art so I can join the conversation with modern artists as they respond to what was done before. Art tends to get increasingly complex as it ages, with ideas cross-referenced with other ideas and what's happening in society at the moment. Art can refer backward but it should also, if not point forward, at least point at today.

An image can be imitative, derivative or extensive. It can copy the past, use the past to create something different, or build on the past to create something new.

In the end, I'm not sure anyone who chooses photographs knows exactly why they pick one shot over another, but those who consider their criteria will have a better chance of getting a good one. Why do you pick one of your shots over another?

Aug 26, 2009
MagazinesFollow the Money

I'm currently reading two magazines, Colour and Shutterbug. Haven't bought many magazines lately but those two seem representative of what I buy, more or less two ends of the spectrum really, one about art, artists and collecting and the other about gadgets.

Colour: For Collectors of Fine Photography consists of several columns at the front dealing with reviews of shows, pricing of prints and profiles of curators, that sort of thing. Then comes a series of interviews with artists and collectors, the third part of a three part series on the history of colour photography, and a profile on Paul Outerbridge.

Shutterbug carries an editor's note on what lenses he uses and why, some macro shots from readers (next month it's water), a tools roundup (mostly software), an article on creativity which consists of advice to go on a cruise and take pictures as if you're a professional cruise photographer, one on business trends in weddings, more tools (more software programs to buy), an article on brand name vs third party lenses, camera reviews, the TIPA awards. This last is the Technical Image Press Association and the awards had a curiously wide selection of winners from all the various companies, or perhaps a very wide range of categories so as to accomodate all the companies that might advertise in the member publications of TIPA. Am I being too cynical? More tools, this time hardware as well as software, an interview with a master craftsman, digital editing techniques, more lenses and why the author of this article needs pro lenses but you may not... and that's as far as I've got.

The advertising in Colour? From photographers and galleries mostly.

The advertising in Shutterbug? Well actually it's more of a multi-company catalogue than a magazine with advertising.

So what do we know now? Well I know that I can pick up a magazine, flip to the advertising and more or less predict what kind of articles I'll find. If there are lots of camera ads I'm pretty sure I'll find camera reviews. If there are ads from photographers I'm pretty sure I'll find editorial dealing with photographers.

What I'm saying is that a magazine run for profit has to take care of its advertisers, and advertisers will run ads in a magazine that has suitable editorial for what they're selling. It's always been a mutual thing. Advertising pays for content unless the magazine costs as much as a book.

Kim Taylor 2009
Kim Taylor 2009

Been thinking about Edward Hopper quite a lot lately.

Aug 6, 2009
YouthDo It Now

Oh my, I just came across a site with dozens of shots of short-shorts, little tiny short pants from the '70s.

It reminded me of a conversation I had earlier this evening with the daughter of a fellow I went to high school with. She was in my self-defence class... yes I'm that old. She wants to go to Australia but is worried about being able to afford it. Since she's in her early 20s and her dad has told her he'll help my advice is... duh!!

The point is, if you're 18 or older, you won't be in a better position to do such things as wear short-shorts (OK you can probably have started that at 14 but it isn't going to get better if you're 18), go to Australia, or do your nude photographs any time in the future, so do them now. "Go with the flow" is what we used to say at your age, back in those pre-historic '70's. Now I suppose it's "just do it".

Here's a shot of a lovely girl celebrating her 18th.

Kim Taylor, 2006
Kim Taylor 2006.

My first job at the University of Guelph was as a life model for the Fine Art Department. I was around this age and my mother still has an etching of me (nude) on her wall. These days, me nude is just scary, not at all as aesthetic as I once was, so the moral of the story is.... do it now.

Aug 5, 2009

Just ran across yet another young photographer who is out to shock the establishment. Knives and blood and panties down around the knees.

There's a large genre of goth stuff like this, actually the site deviantart.com is full of it, they've even got a section called "horror and macabre". Needles full of blood through tongues, that sort of thing. Enough drippy red syrup to keep the Halloween makeup industry ticking over throughout the year.

Thing is, it's mostly predictable and compared to the real images of horror you can find daily from photojournalists around the world, it seems more than a little silly.

Want to shock the establishment? Don't go all Emo-Goth on us, go photograph what's real. Do a Larry Clark or a Nan Goldin not a George Romero. Theatre makeup looks like theatre makeup most of the time.

Aug 4, 2009
writing on photographyAmerican Suburb X


A site that reprints articles on photography, well worth checking out.

Aug 3, 2009

In order to be creative, you have to create. How do you create? In the writing game the rule is "bum on chair", you have to stick yourself down in front of the notebook, typewriter or computer (notebook?) and write. Every day.

The same is true of photography, shoot something every day. You can shoot the same thing if you want, I know a girl who shoots the sky and I think that's brilliant. You'll see a different sky every day, clouds change constantly and if you get a stretch of two weeks of bright sunny blue you'll soon figure out how to stick some trees, bushes or birds into it.

Shooting "something" every day does a couple of things, first and perhaps most importantly it makes you intimately familiar with your camera. The more familiar, the more it gets out of your way. It's the same with writing of course, I can fly on my keyboard at home here on my desk, I can type faster than I can write, so there's little in the way between my thoughts and what you see here. On the other hand I've got a little netbook computer that I can't use to write at all, wobbly keys, cruddy connections so that it skips letters.

Get equipment that will take daily use and is good enough to get out of your way and then use it.

The second thing that daily practice gives you is room to think, a space to experiment and develop your vision. Shooting every day makes it as natural as breathing and allows you to stop fiddling with the equipment, to stop worrying about how to light or how to get this or that exposure ratio. It gives space, a place for your thoughts to expand and when they have that they can go to unexpected places. It gives you space for your eyes to see something different, a place for your brain to make unexpected connections.

Shooting every day, especially on a single project, will also let you discover ways to concentrate, to boil the project down to the bare essentials, to the fundamentals where you can truly examine the ideas and themes you are exploring.

Shooting every day also gives you room to make mistakes, and it's from those mistakes that some of the most truly original images come. Mistakes are responsible for much more of "the new" than a lot of artists would admit. So much so that we often claim unconscious influence instead of admitting to a simple stumble of the fingers.

Kim Taylor, 2009

Here's a shot that was absolutely a slip of the fingers. It was taken in Japan at a demonstration. Each time I glance at this shot it attracts my eye. I could spend three hours trying to duplicate this, and yes, I would want to duplicate it, in fact I have done quite a bit of studio work doing just this sort of thing. 

Aug 3, 2009
creativityTools, Techniques and Creativity

This is a double post, it's relevent to both my photography blog and my martial arts blog so it's up at both sites.

Quite often we want a new tool, a Holga camera, perhaps a custom made sword or just a new belt to put it in, and we can convince ourselves that if we only had that we would be awesome, our skills will improve and our creativity will shine forth. Sometimes we want a new technique, we want to learn how to do high dynamic range digital images, or the Dragan treatment on our portraits, or we may want to learn another obscure set of sword techniques which, we're sure, contain that one instruction that will let us understand all of it.

There's nothing wrong with wanting new tools and techniques but if you want to be creative, you have to understand that nothing is going to come while you're getting used to the new stuff. Creativity isn't flash and it isn't a gimmick. A really shiny blade with a red tassle hanging from the hilt won't make a good cut, but a new sword with a strange balance can certainly prevent a proper cut. The most unusual digital filter in the world won't make a good picture, alone it can only make one that looks strange. Yes it catches your attention, for about three seconds.

To be truly creative you need to be thoroughly familiar with your tools and techniques, they have to get out of your way. You can't capture a moment, either during a martial arts kata or during a photo shoot with a model, if you're fighting with your equipment and trying to figure out where the balance is. That could be the physical balance of the sword or the white balance of the camera.

In other words, don't look for new equipment to give you inspiration or solve a problem, instead ask what you can do with the equipment you have. You would be amazed at how much you can do with what you've got in your hands right now.

Kim Taylor 2009
Kim Taylor, 2009
Lit with 6 LED hand flashes
Hand held, f1.8 1/13s 50mm, 400iso auto white balance.

As for flash, there is a Japanese word in the martial arts called Kigurai. Lots of people try to define it as dignity, confidence, maturity, arrogance, and a whole lot else. It's hard to define but easy to describe and easier to know. It's the way a craftsman does a job, it's the way a master mechanic can walk into his shop, pick up the exact right tool and fix a car without any fuss whatsoever. It's the way a musician who has been performing for 20 years will play a solo with no effort, no flash, just a workmanlike solidity. It's the way a photographer will approach a new client and adapt his lighting equipment and camera to capture what they want, with a minimum of fuss and bother. It's the way a skilled swordsman will perform a kata with such ease and firmness that you are convinced you can do it too.Until you try.

The master mechanic, the musician, the photographer and the swordsman don't need racing stripes on their tools, they don't need to call attention to themselves while they work, they know their tools, they know their skills and they use them to create something different, something correct, something "right" each time they do a new job. It's the same tools, the same techniques, but each time the situation is different, each time the challenges are different, yet each time the solution is there at hand, the result is correct.

A beginner will say "if only I had this tool I could do this job".

Instead, ask "how can I do this job with the tools and techniques I have?" This is the first step toward mastery and creativity.

When you become thoroughly familiar with your tools and your art you will simply ask "what's the job?" and do it, even if it's something you have never done before. That's the true creativity of life-long experience. It's not finding a new way to do an old job, it's simply doing the job, new or old.


Sir, you could not be more correct.  It is the same in woodturning where folks "need" the funky new gouge in order to turn the perfect bowl.  Wrong!  To turn the perfect bowl you need to study a few bowls you like and then get turning...alot.
Well done

Aug 2, 2009
Technique August 180 and Short-time Shoots

Click on the logo up in the top left to check out the new issue of 180 magazine. It was a bit of a rush to get it done with all the vacationing I've been doing lately. Of course after vacation comes catching up on the work. You know, the stuff I do to make a living... or at least as much of a living as I make now. In case you're curious I sell martial arts equipment online to pay the bills, this magazine is entirely a labour of love. It's also a hell of an excuse to look into the work of photographers and their process.

Along with grinding wood and editing/producing the magazine I teach martial arts. With that and trying to keep in shape I don't have a lot of time left over to do my own photography these days.

How to accomodate all that? Get a project that allows you to shoot quick and short, find something that lets you work on your art in those tiny moments when you're not doing something else.

Here's one from my latest excuse to shove a camera in people's faces, I won't tell you what it's called yet or there will be a Flickr group dedicated to the topic next week. (I really shouldn't blast Flickr so much, people will start to think I don't like the site, I don't but that's just because it's clunky.)

Kim Taylor : 2009
Kim Taylor, 2009

I'm doing this project with a point and shoot that I keep with me all the time. Pull it out, explain the project, shoot and move on.

The other way to deal with short time is to shoot really fast, with little planning, just get folks together, shoot on location for an hour or two and get on with it. This is happening more often these days since I have no studio to tempt me into playing for hours. Of necessity this means I'm doing more figure work and less of the fashion type stuff that needs hours of makeup.

Kim Taylor : 2009
Kim Taylor, 2009

This was done on location and in a couple of hours first thing in the morning. Needs a bit of touch-up on the panty-lines but I'm quite fond of the colour and the shapes. I really liked shooting hand-held with a fast 50mm lens and available light. Haven't done that since the '70s it seems. I will likely be doing a lot more of it... may have to steal my Spotmatic back from my daughter.

Nah, my eyes aren't good enough to focus manually any more, I'm way too fond of the stuff I can do with my little out-dated, over-shutter-released digital SLR. Rated for 35,000 clicks and going on 200,000 I suspect.

Aug 1, 2009
Creativity Idea or Excuse

I was flipping through some blogs and ran across a bunch of new books on nudes. It suddenly struck me that having an old blue hat, or a tight sweater, or a funky umbrella isn't much of an excuse to get a couple dozen nude women and take photographs of them.

Unless you're an elbow-length-glove fetishist let's just admit that the prop is an excuse to talk a girl into posing for you.

Now I'm as guilty of this sort of thing as the next guy, some of my series have been pretty silly, but at least I have the (dubious) satisfaction of knowing that I'm doing it because I can't think of anything better to do with my time. I also don't name it "the turquoise necklace series", even if I do have a few dozen shots of a turquoise necklace that I could slap into a book. I happen to like that necklace. I may even use it again if I can find it.

The problem isn't that we take many shots of the same thing over time, the problem is that a series of shots does not automatically mean "serious art". It just means a series of shots. I know I'm the series guy, that 180 magazine is a series kind of magazine, but it should mean something. If you put a blue hat on a string of 40 nude models and shoot them in the woods, or worse, under the same lighting in a studio, it doesn't mean a thing to me.

On the other hand, tell me that the hat was your mother's and that she scarred you in your childhood by taking away your Playboy magazine collection and the project starts to tell me something.

Tell me that it was easier to talk your neighbours into posing nude by telling them all about the "silver bracelet series" and I may not consider it art, but I will certainly consider it honest.

Prop-nude photography is like prop-comedy, there's a fine line between laughing at the stupid props and..... oh.

Kim Taylor 2008
Kim Taylor: from the Polka-dot Dollar-store Plastic-tray Series

July 27, 2009