50+ ‘the Age of Beauty, the Beauty of Age’

Nude, people

Als primeur, een post op mijn blog in het Nederlands.

Ik krijg vaak het commentaar dat het gemakkelijk is om mooie jonge vrouwen op een mooie manier te fotograferen, maar dat ‘eens op leeftijd’, dat toch niet meer werkt.

Daarom ben ik een paar maanden terug begonnen met een nieuw project, ‘the Age of Beauty, the Beauty of Age’, waarin ik 50+ dames fotografeer op een vergelijkbare manier als ik met jongedames doe. Ik kreeg hiervoor al enkele dames voor de lens, maar ben op zoek naar meer kandidates hiervoor. Ik wil die in principe ook pas naar buiten brengen als ik een reeks klaar heb. Vandaag maak ik hierop een uitzondering, om het project wat een boost te geven, maar ook omdat ik net een getuigenis binnen kreeg die zo mooi is dat ik dat niet kan laten (met toelating uiteraard)om die te laten lezen. De foto hoort bij deze getuigenis, en lees vooral zelf de woorden van Amélie, onder de foto:

‘Of ik het zag zitten om mezelf bloot te geven, letterlijk dan’… daar kwam de vraag van één van mijn beste vriendinnen op neer in mijn mailbox . Een bevriend fotograaf was begonnen met een mooi project voor vrouwen van onze leeftijd, ‘Age of Beauty, the Beauty of Age’,…

Zij had het aangedurfd, het was een unieke belevenis zei ze. Ik las de tekst met uitleg van de fotograaf en hoorde haar ervaring en dacht in eerste instantie ‘dit durf ik niet’, zoals de meeste vrouwen denken als ze op een leeftijd gekomen zijn waarbij het lichaam niet meer is wat het ooit geweest is…

Wat ben ik blij dat ik mij heb laten overtuigen! Na een eerste gesprek met Ludwig wist ik dat ik dit avontuur met volle vertrouwen kon aanvangen, het was nu of nooit, en enkel met deze fotograaf. Ik had het met niemand anders aangedurfd.

De avond voor de grote dag kroop ik vroeg in bed om er de volgende dag op mijn best uit te zien, maar om middernacht zat ik alweer beneden… toch een beetje stress?

Die dag is er eentje geworden om nooit te vergeten, een unieke dag die steeds een glimlach op mijn gezicht tovert als ik eraan terug denk. Alles is zo vlot verlopen, ook al wist ik helemaal niet hoe eraan te beginnen, deze fotograaf maakt je rustig, laat je genieten van jezelf en de lens, soms vergat ik gewoon dat hij er was.

De resultaten zijn nog mooier dan ik verwachtte, heel kunstige foto’s met oog voor kleine details. Ook hier en daar een foto die mij wat confronteerde met mijn minder mooie kantjes, maar ik ben wie ik ben en zo sta ik ook op de foto’s, puur en soms een tikkeltje speels, een tikkeltje ondeugend 😉

Mijn man was enthousiast en wist meteen welke foto hij op canvas aan onze muur wilde. Ik twijfelde wel even om hem op deze plek te hangen; zichtbaar voor iedereen… maar hij hangt hier prachtig en wij zijn er beiden fier op!

Aan Ludwig en zijn vrouw: jullie zijn beiden prachtige mensen die een heel mooie kijk hebben op het vrouw-zijn, bedankt voor deze fijne dag. Ik had dit waarschijnlijk nooit gedurfd toen ik jong was en strak in het vel zat, maar nu kom ik met plezier nog een keertje terug.

Aan mijn vriendin, bedankt om mij een stukje van mezelf te leren kennen dat nog ergens verborgen zat, zonder jou had ik deze mooie ervaring nooit gehad.

Aan alle vrouwen met een jaartje meer, niet twijfelen, eens kennis maken, genieten van een mooie dag, in ruil krijg je een mooie herinnering voor de rest van je leven en een boost voor je zelfvertrouwen!

Zo hoor je het ook een keer van een ander, dus dames, jullie zijn welkom !!

groeten,

Ludwig

 

Flight club

beauty, erotic, location, Nude, people

somewhere in the Netherlands, I could say, they have a very particular flight club, with nude hostesses and so on, … but alas, it was only for this single occasion that Michelle posed nude at the gliders hangaar.

I had no clue as to where to shoot, just up to two days before we had our meeting. I started looking on Google Maps, just to get an idea of the surroundings, and to look for an eventually interesting spot. I could find three possible locations: 1. the place where we stayed (I accompanied my wife to The Netherlands since she wanted to take a weekend course there) had a big garden, with a very funny glasshouse (to be seen in the next image I will be posting) so that could become interesting. 2. There was a very beautiful garden and antique glasshouse at a event location just next doors. 3. I noticed a gliding plane terrain at about 5kms distance from where we stayed.

I didn’t really have to contact the first possible location, I would see it the next day, and could find out that in fact the glasshouse was particular, and interesting. The event location responded me within the hour that they had a marriage event the day I would meet Michelle, so this was a no-go. The flight club chairman responded me that he was ok with the idea, and that I could meet him the morning I had my appointment with the model, but that it would be difficult to shoot after midday because then they have a lot of flights going on. We met at 11:00 am and shot till about 1:00 pm, first clothed, on the runway with a parked plane (film photography, so not yet available) then nude at the hangaar. We had a willing assistant during the time of shooting and nobody else seemed to care. The assistant also figures in this image, together with two other club members. His daughter used to work as a striptease girl in theater shows. They are chatting about the club and I thought they might make an excellent backdrop. Michelle didn’t care either, as long as nobody started staring or taking pictures with cellphones … All went well, we said goodbye afterwards and went on shooting in the garden after that.

• flight club •

a huge thanks to the chairman and the assistant of the flight club, both requested not to mention the name of the club for privacy reasons.

Ludwig

when things get messy … preview

beauty, Nude, people

Charisse was here again today,

and people who have been following my or her work, know that this is about 100% guaranteed to deliver some stunning images.

We took benefit of the hot weather we have in Belgium these days and made a little mess with some leftover clay I had from the walls of the boys’ rooms on the attic.

Charisse is always in for a little experiment and I had been talking about the clay shoot earlier, so she sent me a text message a couple of days ago ‘about the hot weather and da da da  … ‘ . A hint not to be misunderstood.

this image is just a preview of the preparation, a preparation that I gladly took as a photoshoot occasion …

it got even messier than this, and much better as well 😉

make sure to come again soon, for the rest of this magnificent series, again.

The exhibit at Godshuis Sint Laureins (B) has started last Saturday, make sure to visit it if you can, more details in my previous post.

have a nice day,

Ludwig

finding my way about in the new studio

beauty, Nude, people, personal tips & tricks, Uncategorized

I’ts been about a month that I have the new studio space available, it took me a couple of days to get the walls freshened up (two coats of paint) and a couple of weeks before I got some furniture and props ready and moved in, but I’m about to call it ‘ready’ for work.

I think it probably never be  a steady setup, because I want to keep some variation in my images, and variation will probably mean that I will bring in some new stuff from time to time and get rid of some ‘used’ furniture in the same pace.

Some observations so far just in case you think  about setting up your own studio space:

• I have windows (large) only on one side of the room. Not easy to work with, so get yourself some large reflectors to bring some light back from the non-window side of the room. I use styrofoam boards 120x180cm, painted black on one side.

• The wooden floor gives me a particular white balance in the space, some warm tone that is not easy to get right all the time.

• Too much light will kill you, or at least will often create overly bright images. I love to work with light and shadow equally, sometimes even more shadow than light. So I bought a large theatre cloth (6x3m) to cover up 2/3 of the windows when needed. I use additional styrofoam boards if needed to cover up even more window area.

• The space has sun-screens, I didn’t even notice when I agreed to rent it. These are great to work with when there’s direct sun falling in. The screens are fine woven, so they create no patterns, and they lower the light level not too much. They help evening out the hard contrasts in sunny situations. They are neutral in color. Perfect!

• The wooden parquet is kind of slippery, very good for moving around mattresses and large carpets without too much of an effort. For furniture I have a wheeled board for easy moving.

• The ceiling is at 2.90m, that is an absolute minimum. I have some curtain rails hanging up, they are kind of permanent, and sometimes they are hindering my viewing angles.

• I have an adjacent stock room, where I can move all unnecessary items (flash lights and their tripods when I don’t need them, drinks, clothing, background system, paint, cleaning materials, … Perfect again!

• I have brought in a large trunk (some kind of monastery huge heavy dark wood piece) that I use for quick storage nearby. It makes your stored stuff invisible, it is useful as a decor piece, there’s always something you might need in a minute, it’s there.

some images taken in the new studio:

2 white walls, a black wall, a wall with plenty of windows, and some creativity …

more to come,

 

best,

Ludwig

Analog or digital?

Analog, people, Personal Pictures, photo gear, portrait

I have invited two people to my studio and did a small analog vs. digital test.

I have, for the first time ever, linked my studio flashes with my old Rolleiflex 6×6 camera, and shot a roll of images with it, next to my Canon 5Ds with 100mm Macro lens.

What about the outcome, is high res digital better than medium format analog?

I think quality wise that is a no-brainer, our new camera’s and lenses are waay, no waaaaaaaay better than the old stuff, they are sharper, AF is spot on every time,  they have less grain (or noise) (films shots done on Ilford FP4 Plus 125) and for sure less dust to retouch. Digital is more convenient, more flexible, more secure (with immediate feedback) … it seems to be more of everything.

Then why still use analog? To me it is more fun, more concentration, at the same time more relaxing, it lets you look forward to the results, it’s more challenging, … people react differently when shooting with a 60 year old camera, they are curious, they are amused, wondering what might be the result, … I also find the images to have some sort of ‘alive’ feeling, the out of focus area’s are more interesting, the framing is square by nature, which I love … although the last arguments might all be nostalgia.

Here are the images, the square ones are analog:

 

 

 

smashing the studio …

beauty, location, people, portrait

… to bits and pieces.

first time shoot in my home spot ‘studio in progress’ and after doing some fine art nude work I have put a big sledge hammer in the hands of the model. She did very well and acted convincingly. So much she even hurt herself as one of the metal pieces from the radiator punched her skin. Oops … Thanks for the help Charisse!

She loved it, and totally forgot about posing. 😉

• smashing the studio •

Erika – a little bit of fashion – in Brussels

Analog, beauty, location, people

I shot this entire day with my 60 year old Rolleiflex camera. Kind of stressy and awkward feeling to get home with nothing but some rolls of film. … I only found out in the evening that I didn’t even have a memory card in my digital camera. … I must have had some kind of enlightenment when I decided in the morning to go ‘all analog’ that day.

Vic Toria – preview

Analog, beauty, people, Personal Pictures, portrait

I photographed this young lady in the grey and dull city of Charleroi, on a grey and dull day, but she proved to be all except grey and dull, we had a wonderful morning session, and made some great images together! Thank you Victoria!

– Victoria –

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Rolleiflex 3,5 with Ilford FP4 Plus film

thank you for watching,

ludwig

DUO

Analog, beauty, people, Personal Pictures, portrait

you’ve seen one of this series before here: envy

a new experience,working with two models at the same time,

I shot digital and analog for this series, all available light at the former Pinehouse interior shop in Ronse.

• Laura and Pauline – Duo •

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analog:

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first one not entirely sharp, this means not enough dept of field due to low light (large aperture needed) and medium format negatives (gives a shallower DOF than 35mm film).

I especially like the last image, don’t know why.

thanks for looking,

ludwig

Selfie – old style –

Analog, people, Personal Pictures, portrait

with the Rolleiflex

don’t ask for exposure info, cause I have none. aperture probably 1/3.5, film Kodak T-Max 100, shutter time will have been fairly slow. (1/15th or 1/30th of a second)

Focusing is getting better, I no longer use the split prism for focusing, but the fresnel concentric lines. When something comes in focus, the fresnel lines start ‘dancing’ 🙂 .

 

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thank you for watching.

ludwig

march 23rd

beauty, people, Personal Pictures

Sadness

Unreal

Commiserative

Solidarity

Love

Need for peace

this image was made just the day after the terrorist attacks in Brussels on 22 march.

It was not really meant to express these feelings, but it turned out strong and intense. It has no religious connotations, there are no other messages to be looked for but the immense grief that the attacks have left us with. I believe that the origins for terrorism are to be looked for elsewhere than our politicians want us to believe.

 

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best to all of you …

model: CDC

Assistance: Nathalie

Ludwig

Movement on stage

beauty, people, Personal Pictures

In regards to my style a not so typical series, a dark place, two spot lights very high contrast images. Experiment with some very thin plastic foil and a willing model resulted in these motion-rich images. I hope you like them.

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1/6 s – f4.0 – ISO 250

Canon 5D mark II with Canon EF 24mm f1.4 L II

Location, some obscurely dark theatre nearby.

 

thank you for watching,

ludwig

Working collectibles

Analog, people, photo gear

Can you imagine yourself within about 65 years, still photographing with the digital camera you have right now? Probably not. Nowadays’s technology is not meant to last for longer than 5, maybe 10 years. Even if there is no limited life time built into your gear (which might be the case, some say), the fast paced digital evolution will make sure that within 10 years from now, your current camera will be outdated and old-fashioned.

The advantage of working with really old camera’s is that they will probably never be outdated or old-fashioned, at least not anymore than they are right now. It’s like an oldtimer car, it can’t get out of fashion, it already is, it has become vintage and will forever continue to keep it’s ‘admirers qualities’. I have been able to acquire some old film camera’s, which I am testing right now. I have to admit that the image quality in most of them is not up to current standards. Contemporary optics are way better, giving better results on a small sensor than the old stuff I am talking about. Even on the larger format negatives (6×9 cm) you do not get the image quality a modern DSLR is capable of. But the images have a different feeling to it. Compare it to vinyl vs. digital music. I’m by far not a connoisseur of vinyl, but some are convinced that vinyl has a true’er sound.

What I am certain however, when the day comes that my 5D mark II camera is not up to par with the new developments in camera technology anymore, these old filmcamera’s will deliver just as good as they do today. They are all mechanical, and if you take well care of them and have them serviced regularly, and even more important, use them regularly, they will probably last a couple of decades more.

Enjoy this wonderful portrait of my friend Peter and his daughter, taken with a Voightländer Bessa I, (1949-1957?) on Kodak T-Max 100 film. Negative size 6×9 cm. Scanned on Epson Perfection 3170 Photo.

 

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the camera it was taken with: On a regular 120 film roll, you can make 8 exposures. This makes you want to think about pressing the shutter twice before you actually do. It has of course no auto focus, no auto light meter, no auto film transport, a very tiny viewing window that makes compositing your image a bit ‘un-precise’ at least, but it is very well built, beautifully finished and still working after 65 years.

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Come back again soon, for some more images with my Rolleiflex TLR, and the first images with the new (old) Yashica 635

 

Ludwig

ANGRY – Natural light portrait – setup

beauty, people, personal tips & tricks, portrait

luckily this was only roleplay, she was not really angry with me, I would have feared for my life, if not certainly my camera gear. 😉

Ludwig Desmet EC-5

1/20s f2.8 ISO 400 – Canon EF 100mm f2.8 Macro L

setup:

long hallway with big windows on the left side, first part of the hallway, no windows to the right.

Model just behind the last window.

Big styrofoam board to the right side of the model, filling in shadow parts. (120x240cm – about 50×100″)

That’s it, simple as anything, and a styrofoam board costs a couple of euro’s.

I had to darken the background a little at the right side, there was some light spill at the end wall of the hallway.

pinehouse gang 1

after the angry part, we did some more friendly images too.

here I’m off to the left, so the right wall becomes visible and I don’t get completely black in the background.

Ludwig Desmet EC-2

below: 1/50 f1.6 ISO400 – Sigma 50 mm f1.4 DG Art

Frontal again, showing very dimly lit ceiling windows, not giving any effect on the subject.

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Ludwig Desmet EC-4

thank you for watching.

Ludwig

Posing as therapy

Nude, people, personal tips & tricks

Last Friday I had a model expressing her feelings about her artistic nude shoot as such:

‘Every woman should do this at least once in her life. The images from the first shoot (which was a non nude beauty shoot) have given me enough confidence to do this, and this is such an empowering experience on the level of self-esteem and self consciousness that I would encourage everyone to do it.’ She took a lot of business cards. 😀

Body-language is a very important exteriorising of ones self-awareness, self confidence and self esteem. People with hanging and forward pushing shoulders are mostly the less confident ones, they have tendency to bend over to hide and protect themselves from the outer world. They are having a hard time opening up in a photoshoot. I received another testimonial where a woman said ‘I found it a very fine experience, but at the same time I was very much confronted with my vulnerability, my low self esteem and my lack of confidence. You’ll probably see that in the images. I’m very happy I made this step, but I sure have a long way ahead of me.’

On another occasion I have had my model shout out loud in the open forest ‘I am open to the world, to its resources and its wealth, and I’ll give my talents, my beauty and my smile in return’. And I made some images she’ll never forget. I have given her the task to do that exercise on a regular base. When I sent her the first images she thanked me a lot, and told me she would use them for her daily exercise.

I have strong belief that by changing the body-language, even if it was only one time, making some ever lasting images of it, can change a persons vision on who she (or he) is, and more important, who she can be. In that aspect the role of the photographer becomes so much more than the one taking pictures, being able to handle light, exposure, lenses and camera’s. He has to be some kind of a therapist, being able to express comfort and thrust to his model, being able to understand feelings, emotions and personal barriers. He has to be able to pauze and give space when needed, work fast when the process allows. Learning photography is not a hard thing to do, learning peoples psyche is.

for reasons of privacy I choose not to publish any pictures with this post, except the two nameplates that are upon our front door. They match very well indeed.

thank you for reading, comment and share as much as you like.

if you feel like posing could do you good, please give me a sign. If you feel you need some other kind of therapy, contact Nathalie. 😉

Ludwig

Ludwig Desmet therapy

Clair-Obscur, or playing with light

beauty, people, Tips and Tricks

When I met Pauline at a hotel room in Ghent, the sun was shining brightly. This led to a difficult light situation, with very high contrasts in the room. (Contrast ratio 10/1 sunlit: 1/500s f2.0 ISO100 – shadow: 1/50s f2.0 ISO100) You either have to stay out of direct sunlight, or be very careful working into it. The key here is to make sure that your exposures are good for the sunlit areas, and certainly not overexposed. This can be done by spot metering the lit area’s and fixing your exposure to that metering. This gives you dramatic contrasts, and a perfect light situation for the ‘hide and reveal’ kind of images. The situation became even more tricky later on, as thick clouds began to block the light more often than not. All images with Canon 5D II and Sigma 50 mm f1.4 Art.

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I loved working with Pauline, she’s full of character, she has confidence in me as a photographer, and she’s willing to play with the camera. Of course her drama lessons add a lot to that.

see you soon for some analog images from this same shoot. I shot two rolls of T-Max 400 film that same afternoon.

Ludwig

Nude Studio Setup – the curtain

people, Personal Pictures, personal tips & tricks, Tips and Tricks

Hi there,

another week, and another studio setup to share.

This image was a lot different from all the other images in my portfolio project. I have used it as the center image in my presentation, since it was mainly white, while all other images had a black background base. It also expressed very well the doubts and hesitations of my model about presenting herself nude to the outside world.

LudwigDesmet-studio-3

I had a white cotton cloth with a fine woven structure fixed to the ceiling for this image.

My model positioned behind the cloth, just barely touching it, but really close to the cloth so the combined shadow areas from two soft boxes overlapped and created some small area’s were no backlight could reach. These non lit areas allowed some facial features to become visible. It required some work on the position of the body and the pose to get things right, but I think this image well shows the potential of this setup.

Two soft boxes at equal power output, aimed straight at the model (no crosslight like you would use to lit a background). The light bounced back from the cloth is just strong enough to reveal the facial features in the shaded areas. Really simple.

Portfolio studio setup3

the image was taken with a Canon 5D II and a Canon 50 mm f1.4.

Hope You’ve learnt something, I’ve got some more setups to go.

see you soon,

Ludwig

Beautiful Tuscany

landscapes, people, Personal Pictures

Well, vacation is long over, and almost forgotten (almost)

Luckily someone invented photography a couple of hundred years ago.

I don’t want to write a lot of words on this post, only this. The evening we wanted to pack the car for our trip to Italy (2 and a half weeks Tuscany), it broke down.

So no large wagon with rooftop luggage trunk, but only a small Toyota Yaris. This meant a total review of the luggage, which meant I had to leave half of my photo equipment at home. No tripod, that was the biggest drawback for me. But anyway, no other solution possible, and a big challenge for taking landscape images. Normally you want to use closed apertures, meaning long shutter speeds. Well, not possible this time. I had to crank up ISO settings from time to time, which you normally do not for landscape work. To give you an idea, first image: ISO 160 – 17mm – f11 – 1/8th of a second. Last image, ISO 800 – 50mm – f3.2 – 1/25th.

Hope you like the images, I could’n leave the dog out, having its daily portion of ‘gelato’ like everyone else.

happy viewing,

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thank you for looking!

Eline V. at the mansion

beauty, people, Personal Pictures

hi, some new pictures from a new girl I worked with at the mansion. She came with her Uncle, who’s actually studying photography where I give classes, so I can present you some behind the scene’s pictures as well. Eline has only little modeling experience, and that is what I like the most. These models are easily posable the way I want, and don’t fall back into standard poses they’ve learnt with other photographers, ore standard poses from the fashion world. All shots done at the mansion, my favorite working location for natural beauty shoots, with a big thank you to the owners of the house!! I found this location with a bit of luck and a good word from one of my customers. I had worked in the building just in front of this one, when the mansion got sold to new owners. My customer introduced me, the owners saw my work, and a few agreements later, they granted me access to this magnificent place. Thank you Eline, for posing, thank you Gino, for the behind the scenes images and for driving Eline to Ronse! I’m sure you can couple some of my images to the behind the scenes shots 😉 Oh, and all pictures taken with natural light, some of them with the aid of a large reflector (thanks again Gino!) come again soon, I’ve photographed Karen at a new location, which I will be calling the orphanage!

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charlemagne-art_ElineV-0262 some BTS pictures: (you’ll notice that my clothes are really smudgy and dirty on these BTS pictures. You have to know that the mansion is undergoing a full rebuild on the inside, and is thus covered with a layer of dust, from the cave, up to the attic. As a photographer, I tend to lean against walls, go flat on the floor, hang over staircase railings etc. . That’s why.) The very start of the shoot, warming up.

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Me preparing the bath for Eline, Eline not sure what to think.

IMG_2013_06_27_1845-1_small Eline taking a bath with clothes on. 😉

IMG_2013_06_27_1848-1_small at the top floor of the building, the attic rooms. Dark but beautiful structures on the walls, me working with my Canon 24 mm f1.4 II L for a close up wide angle shot. IMG_2013_06_27_1857-1_small In the garden, under the beautiful patio building.

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