As you might have seen I hosted two private ‘available light art-nude’ workshops in July. I had rented a flat in the historical centre of Ghent for a couple of days and I had two different models coming in. My second day participant wanted to find out how he could enhance his story telling abilities trough images. I had Violaine as a model (currently also on the front page of my website) and one of the sets we did was the ‘lazy Sunday morning’ set, in which I had Violaine improvise and pose without instructions, I had done this before with models I worked with multiple times, and I knew these images prove to be very genuine and ‘real’ looking. The idea behind it is that when you simply observe your model during her daily routines, you’ll get your story without having to invent one. I was not sure how Violaine would (re)act, but she wonderfully expressed her ‘lazy morning feeling’ over the course of about half an hour, without me or the participants’ need for intervention in the form of posing instructions or imposing our ideas. I had my participant move freely about the bed, and took the opportunity to grab a series of images from different angles at the same time. I think it was a very good experience for both participant and model, and I think the images are great.
The images below are of course a selection of the shots made during this set, and selected to convey the idea we were after, but they all came naturally thanks to Violaine’s non posing qualities.
Please scroll down to the end for this weeks ‘specialty’ 😉
Now for the specialty of this week, from next month on, I’ll offer one free photo session every month* to you, my audience.
• The nature of the session (portrait, fashion, glamour, nude …) will be your choice entirely.
• These sessions will be either studio or outdoor sessions, digital or film, to my choice.
• The first session will be scheduled on Wednesday afternoon September 1st, and then every month after that on the first Wednesday of the month. Count for two hours, always in the afternoon as I eventually want to be able to shoot with available light.
• If you want to participate in a free session, send me an email at ludwig-at-ludwigdesmet-dot-com right away. First come first serve. Your subject line should read ‘free photo session’.
• Don’t be shy, you don’t have to be a model, you can bring a buddy if you’d like, and I’ll make sure you get some wonderful souvenirs, for free!
• Open for women and men, but only for adults.
*The session will result in a uncertain number of images, digitally delivered in a watermarked version, available for purchase if you’d like that.
I have been away for a long time, I know, …
I have been rather busy at school lately and this will probably continue for some more time, since we are working on a project for distant learning that starts September 2020.
I still managed to make a short behind the scene’s movie from some clay sessions I did last summer. I had taken some footage on one of the shoots, and have made a short intro and wrapup video last Friday, to make it a complete movie.
You can see the movie here or on Youtube, where you can immediately subscribe to my channel:
Some final images of the sessions I did here below:
Really fun to do, it makes models ageless at the spot, and also quite anonymous, and sometimes even Facebook accepts this kind of nudity.
thanks for reading!
or at least I often think about quitting …
… because when I think about all the costs I have been making – for photography gear, for exhibition prints, for locations, models, make-up artists – then I must realize that it does not generate any money, quite the contrary.
Then I sit down, try gathering all my courage for the next shoot, try to find a good location, a model, a make up artist, find a moment that fits for everybody involved, phone calls, emails, messenger … and then after the shoot I get home, more or less exhausted. But then when scrolling trough hundreds of images from that day, I see that again we could make some beautiful shots and I think, ‘come on, just hang on a little longer, things will turn out ok one day’ …
thanks to Sahri Nimi Modelpage for being my model once again, thanks Isabelle Eeckhout for making her look gorgeous again, thank you Vergucht Franswa for joining us for making a reportage about me during this shoot, and a big thank you to the family that opened their fabulous house for me as if it were my house. And last but not least, thank you to my wife, who has even more patience with me than I have myself, that even pushes me harder than I could do so myself, and that still believes 200% in what I do.
• Bath with a view •
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.
It’s official, I’ll exhibit the entire summer vacation in the magnificent building of ‘het GODSHUIS’ in Sint-Laureins. Great architecture, great pictures, I hope you find the time to enjoy this exhibit, it is open from June 30th till September 2nd. Every day, from 10am till 5pm. (except when there are large events in the building, you can find their event calendar here: http://www.godshuis.be/nieuws/ )
I will show 21 images, some never exhibited, some bigger than ever before.
You can combine the exhibit with an overnight stay at the location, they offer excellent rooms, there’s a restaurant, wellness, (also bookable without room) tea-room etcetera. The village of Sint-Laureins is also very well situated for a bikers out, or a walk along the canal.
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