certainly keeps the doctor away …
model and make up: Charisse
Location: My available light studio in Ronse (Belgium)
Exif: Canon 5Ds with Sigma 50mm f1.4 DG A – 1/400s f1.6 ISO100
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,
• Flower girl •
I’ve read an article recently in ‘Chasseur d’Images’ , a French photography magazine, with the latest issue covering some articles about nude photography. They stressed quite a lot about being well prepared and having some shots ready in your head or even sketched out on paper, …
I’m afraid I don’t really agree 😉 One of my biggest pleasures in this kind of photography is improvisation, inspiration of the moment, going with the flow, … I seldom prepare ‘shots’. My main preparation consists of up front communication with the model, about style, level of nudity, clothing and other practical issues, and finding a good location for the shoot. I have since I started doing this work built up a set of available locations, so I can vary and I don’t have to return to the same locations often. This keeps me sharp and the images different every time. This is the second set with Eva Evian in a remote castle in Belgium. We found a vase with dried flowers and started working with them. I hope you like the images. All shot on Canon 5Ds with sigma 50mm f1.4 DG A. All on ISO400, other settings vary.
Come again soon!
In a castle somewhere in the French part of Belgium I found this treasure, hidden on the attic.
Model and make up: Eva Evian
Photography: Ludwig Desmet
Shot on Canon 5Ds with Sigma 50mm f1.4 DG Art. 1/60s f 2.2 ISO 800
the complete series of this shoot will be published on august 15th.
thank you for passing by,
see you again soon,
I had a hard time figuring out how to pose Riona in the bathroom, but once I decided to get her feet warm in the bathtub, things all became simple. See this link for a behind the scene’s movie from this shoot: BTS with Riona Neve.
Not only is Riona a charm to work with, she also has a wonderful figure, and we worked out some fine poses in this setting.
These are my favourites from this series, I hope you like them as well.
The light is not modified in any way, there’s the large visible window at the left side, there’s a similar window right from the bathtub. This semi-back light gives a very fine definition of the volumes on the body. The windows are tinted slightly green, I left the image colours to reflect that in the final developing. It matches well the green curtains and wall colour.
image settings below,
Canon 5Ds with Sigma 50mm f1.4 DG A
1/30s f2.0 ISO400 – beware of camera shake!!
from the same series as ‘Cyperus Papyrus’ with Kate_Ri as a model.
• Rainforest Girl •
I started experimenting with painted edges, I think I like the result in combination with this image in a ‘wild’ environment. I posted this image to FB with the question to like it, in order to support a ‘natural behaviour towards simple nudity’, … I’m still having a problem with the hypocrite attitude of ‘general society’ towards nudity, where facebook will not stand posting nudity of any kind, where I see that cases of abuse and incest are daily matter in the psychotherapist practise of my wife, where porn industry has never ceased to increase, but where a bare nipple is subject to scandal … I still don’t get it, at least I hope YOU like the image.
1/60s f2.0 ISO800 Canon 5Ds with Sigma 50m f1.4
thank you for watching, for following, for your support
FOAM in Amsterdam had a retrospective exhibit on Helmut Newton, fashion, art, fetish and erotic photographer from the last century. I wanted to visit it, and it ran till september 4th, so yesterday we went for a visit, unfortunately for you, my readers, its over.
I had an autobiography on Helmut Newton since a couple of years now I guess, and I quit reading it for I got a little annoyed, even irritated by the rather arrogant, selfish, non woman-friendly narratives in this book. (Helmut Newton Autoportrait, by Robert Laffont).
Anyway, I still love his work, his way of depicting strong, beautiful women, and his way of combining fashion photography with daring eroticism, both implied and explicit.
The exhibit had a fine collection of prints, starting with his 60’s fashion work (that made me think a lot about a long time favourite of mine: Jean-Loup Sieff), over the more erotically oriented images in his long collaboration with Vogue, his personal work with protheses and nude women, his impressive ‘big nudes’ and finally his extensive list of portraits of famous people.
Especially interesting I found the film montage, made by his wife June, which gave a very intimate insight in the life and working atmosphere in which Newton, his wife and his entourage moved along. Not the spoiled kid he talks about in his biography, but a rather playful, humorist, (hard) working, focused photographer. It surprised me that some people started sniggering when he was instructing his models into a certain pose, and that made me think about how little is known about this kind of photography, this kind of dialogue between photographer and model, to people who are not part of this world. We discussed about it (Nathalie and me) and she decided she should film me when I’m working with my models. – GOOD IDEA! –
I was rather pleased to see so many people visit this exhibition (Sunday being the last day might have been a factor) and especially to see so many women around. This makes me think the perception of Helmut Newton being an ‘objectifier’ of women is not a general one.
His work is inspirational to me, it has long been underestimated from the photographic art scene, and it probably still is, it was daring in its time, and it still is daring to tackle the nude subject in our times, so not much has changed. There’s a lot of work to do, and its a tough job, but someone has got to do it, so let’s get going. 🙂
some impressions, © of the depicted images is Helmut Newton of course.
Thank you for reading,
She hesitated to agree with publishing this image, but she did. Thank you Jane. It was a pleasure to work with you, and you expressed gratitude to what we achieved together. I’m glad I could bring you confidence.
Jane, my body is my temple …
© ludwig desmet
Canon 5D mark II with Sigma 50mm f1.4 DG A
1/30s f2.0 ISO100
I’m getting more and more visitors on my site, year after year for which I am thankful. It means my images appeal to at least a certain public. But I get less and less likes or comments on my images. Not that that really bothers me, but it made me think that we might not have made much process in accepting nudity in society, since R. Doisneau made this little secret setup capturing the public reactions to a painting depicting a nude woman in some art gallery’s vitrine.
“La femme indignée by R. Doisneau 1948”. There’s more images to be found on the internet. look for ‘le regard oblique’.
Dare to express the love for female beauty my friends. Nothing wrong with that 😉
while you are here reading, you might as well take a look at my galleries, some new images are added from time to time.
I enjoyed working in my new location the last couple of weeks. It is spacious, very quiet and private, it has a lot of windows, and a large amount of possibilities for different shooting environments. Unfortunately the summer is swiftly passing away, and with the colder days coming in, models probably are going to get goose-bumps again. Difficult to retouch, not pleasant for the model.
That is what I’m missing the most in our Belgian climate. Rather than being half summer half winter, we only have 2 months of summer, the rest of the year is half fall half winter.
I had two shoots last Friday, you should get images from them very soon. This one is from earlier this summer.
1/50s f2.0 ISO 320
Canon 5D II with Sigma 50 mm
come again soon,
When I have some more time on a photoshoot, I shoot some images on film too.
One of the rolls of film I’ve shot with Ivana never got published here. It’s a shame, since I think the images are worthwhile. I had been working hard to see the ‘real’ Ivana, not the model, read these posts to know all about it:
in this third part, I also shot some film images. A roll of TMax 400 film on Rolleiflex 75 mm f3.5 6×6 format.
See you again soon
Single image post.
People who’ve seen my exhibition in Gavere (about 850 of you) have seen this image ‘real life’.
Because it relates so well with the current weather here in Belgium and Europe, … free for all.
Canon 5D II with Canon 17-40mm f4.0
1/60s – f11 – ISO100 – 39mm
thank you for watching,
Nice environment, nice weather, nice model, …
first time in this place, and as I tend to not prepare so much for a shoot it is always a search for an approach. This place has tons of possibilities, …
Eline was worried about her figure, as a lot of women do. I’m happy that I have been able to surprise her with some eye-dropping images. What do you think?
All images Canon 5D II with sigma 50 mm f1.4 or Canon 135mm f2.0.
thank you for watching,
A good week ago I had a cancelled photo shoot appointment. So I had a free moment for photography and no model. A quick call on facebook soon resulted in an interested replacement model. In her introduction message on FB she said. ” … and I’m not shy” as a reply to my call that ended with the words “Don’t be shy”. That was the day before the shoot.
Eline never posed before, and although not shy, a bit nervous anyway. We have worked over several locations, of which the old storage room was the first. A very dark environment, with a lot of dust and dirt, but Eline didn’t matter and went for it all the way.
Thank you Eline, for being my interim model for a day, you did very well.
All images: Canon 5D mark II, with Sigma 50 mm f1.4 DG Art.
To be continued …
ps. in a reaction, Eline wrote me:
I can’t express enough my appreciation for your work. I have absolutely no regrets in being your ‘interim model’. Your approach is unbelievably professional and you know how to cover up my physical flaws by guiding me into the right poses. …
Marion never posed before, but she contacted me as she loved the images she had seen with Pauline. She listened carefully to my instructions, working for a natural and beautiful look, and we ended up with this result. I am really proud of this shoot, this is only a small part of the entire selection, with a white blouse and a black hat as the main props.
It was the first time I worked in this location. A beautiful house, with an annex ancient building. The weather was great, although very bright sunlight doesn’t make it easier to work within the dynamic range of the sensor.Nut the sun kept Marion warm and cosy as she got partially undressed on this spring morning.
Have you noticed how I rarely have my models interact with me? I think this is part of my style, and one secret to creating intimate, natural looking images.
I shot a couple of rolls of film too on this shoot, these images will follow later on.
thank you for watching, I hope you liked the images.
Simply because it is my birthday today 😀
Another new limited edition print available. ( 7 copies + 1 Artist Proof) ‘PEARLS’.
60 x 60 up to 100 x 100 cm on Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta – finishing/framing on demand.
pls contact me at
ludwig – at – renderhouse -dot- eu
for more info.
see you soon,
I told you before I would talk a bit more about the Rolleiflex I use for shooting on film.
The camera is a Twin Lens Reflex, built in the late 50’s, so the camera is about 60 years old.
The construction with the two lenses, of which the upper lens is for viewing only (viewing lens) and the lower lens is for taking the image (taking lens) has advantages and disadvantages. In comparison to the older camera’s that used flat film sheets, where one had to remove the matte focusing screen before putting in the film holder for taking the image, this camera allows to shoot multiple images without moving anything. There is a 45° tilted mirror behind the viewing lens, projecting a mirrored image on the horizontal focusing screen.
Of course viewfinder camera’s existed as well, but they had no visual reference of the focusing plane, or the sharpness of the subject when changing focus. A photographer using a viewfinder camera had to use the distance scale on the lens, and the not so trusty guesswork for camera to subject distance.
Both lenses of the this TLR move forward and backward while focussing, and so provide an identical image on the ground glass as the image to be expected on the film. Still, the smallest amount of inaccuracy of the lens focusing mechanism leads to bad focusing, and I believe this camera suffers at least some looseness in the forward-backward movement.
Dealing with this complex mechanism of focusing, meant also that these camera’s are mostly fixed focal length. Some camera’s came in different focal length versions, but camera’s with interchangeable lenses where very rare. (Except for the Mamiya C)
This camera comes with a 75 mm f3.5 lens, it also existed in a f2.8 version, usually much more expensive on the secondhand market. 75 mm on 6×6 film format has an equal viewing angle to a 38 mm lens on Full frame DSLR, or a 24 mm lens on a 1.6 crop camera, so a rather ‘wide-standard’ viewing angle.
The lens is certainly not paramount, and suffers heavily from flare, as can be seen in the images below (does somebody have a lens hood for this camera for me?). An aperture of 3.5 gives a good amount of image unsharpness on medium format. 2.8 would be nicer of course. The images lack a bit of contrast and sharpness.
Composing with the mirrored image on the focusing plane is a bit of a habit.
Shutter speed range is limited, from 2 seconds to 1/500th of a second, thus mostly limiting the wide open apertures in bright light. The mirror does not move, since it is not obstructing the film plane, so there are not vibrations from this side. Activating the shutter however demands some finger movement (unlike today’s DSLR’s where pushing the shutter entirely only takes some tenth of a millimeter) causing some hand stress and maybe movement unsharpness. Shutter speeds as long as 1/15th. of a second seem not possible to me without image shake. Maybe with some more experience.
The camera has a built in exposure meter, but it no longer works, so exposer should be metered with another camera, or with a hand held meter, I use the latter.
Film for this camera is widely available here in Belgium, both black and white and color film. Not sure about slides. Development is still available too, although it can take a while (1-2 weeks) before getting the negatives back. Scanning the negatives, as well as retouching them (from dust) is a tedious process.
The biggest advantages for me is that I spend more time composing, and checking out if everything is well in place before taking the image. It learns me to concentrate more on details, on exposure, on posing etc. … One roll of film equals 12 exposures, after that the fun is over. 😀 The fact that you see the image mirrored gives you a fresh view on your scene, revealing flaws in your image/composing remaining unnoticed as you set it up. (But I still have a lot to learn)
A second big advantage is that the images are square format. This gives me a more relaxed feeling when composing, and I believe that the images are more harmonious too. I kind of like this square format more and more. (This made me thinking about modifying a matte screen for my 5D mark II to indicate ‘square’ cropping).
changes I have had:
I had the original focusing screen replaced with a focusing screen with split prism and microprism focusing aids, and that adds to the accuracy of focussing with the camera. I also had the shutter speeds checked out by the same specialist repair shop that also changed the focusing screen.
To be continued. Enjoy this small portrait series I made with Pauline lately – Rolleiflex 3.5E – Tmax 400 film.
thank you for reading, see you soon,