Recent Work: Claire

Claire needs a bit of explaining. I have been working with Claire for almost five years. She was the second person I photographed nude and the first new friend that I felt comfortable saying “I’m asexual” to. In the nearly half decade that we’ve known each other she’s become a hilarious partner in crime and a photographic “safe space.”

See, the asexuality thing is “new” to me. Despite wrestling with it since my early teens I didn’t know there was a word for it until I was in my late 40’s and even discovering that didn’t diminish the shame I felt. So to actually say to a person I’d only recently met, “hey, I’m asexual” was life-changing. Claire listened, believe me, and didn’t nope out of the nascent friendship. I, in turn, have given her no reason over the years to question that initial statement. As a result of this mutual trust exercise, we’ve pushed artistic boundaries I wouldn’t consider asking of a mere mortal.

This session had several different looks. When Claire and I started out we were so incredibly tentative. I was just learning studio strobes and figuring out how to photograph people. She was new to modeling and figuring out where she wanted to be in life.

The first look of the day was revisiting something we did about four years ago, but with my greatly expanded skill set and her greatly expanded power lifting physique. And when I say “we were so incredibly tentative,” I mean I was providing pasties during our implied nude sessions. Pasties! I was such a Good BoyTM.

Anyway, the first thing we outlawed in this blast from the past was the pasties.

You’ll notice one repeated motif: the raised arms. When Claire and I first started working together she was starting down the path of being a personal trainer and our first project was fitness shots she could use in promoting herself.

Flash forward 3-4 years and she discovered the joys of power lifting. This turned it from “let’s revisit some of our old shoots” to “let’s revisit some of our old shoots, oh, and it’s arm day, and also lats, fuck yeah!”

I am so here for arm day and lats.

My go-to light setup is a single 40″ octabox stage right (that is: their right, my left). I adore short lighting; it creates a lovely air of mystery and gorgeous shadows on the far side of the subject. Split lighting is another fav. For most of these I added a 30″ octa as a rim light. At heart I’m a one-light ‘tog, but that extra kick…used judiciously…can work wonders.


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