More Thoughts on This Hobby of Mine

X-T2 | 50mm | 1/250sec | f/7.1 | ISO-200

I rambled a bit about my hobby in a previous post and wanted to expound about it a bit more. When people find out what I do for fun they naturally have questions. Most of those questions, oddly enough, focus on what I plan to do with the photos I take. When I tell them “not a dang thing,” the reactions range from incredulity to jaw-dropping incredulity. After all, there has got to be some ulterior motive at play.

“So do you try to get them published?”


“Do you exhibit them?”

“Sometimes. When invited to.”

“Do you sell them?”


“So you just…take pictures. Of nude women. Just because.”


I think the incredulity is driven by two things. First, the “nude women” thing. After all, there are tons of subjects a hobbyist could turn their cameras towards, such as still lifes or bugs or birds or food or landscapes or astrophotography or pets. Does it have to be nude women!?

X-T2 | 50mm | 1/250sec | f/7.1 | ISO-200

But…why not nude women? The nude form has been celebrated in art for millennia. but nude art does not have to cater to The Male Gaze. The challenge I set for myself artistically is avoiding “the gaze” entirely. Asexual or not, there is a lot of conditioning and programming I’ve been subjected to over five decades and it isn’t easy to avoid all the visual tropes.

Secondly, it is the thought that somebody would spend so much time on something so specific, so dang odd, with no expectation or reward.

To which I say: have you ever met a golfer?

Hobbies are not rational activities. A typical golfer will spend thousands on clubs alone and untold, but significant, amounts for clothing, greens fees, golf course memberships, and frequently whole vacations, all in support of their hobby and without ever once going pro. And yet, few would dare to suggest that they should go pro, because otherwise what’s the point of investing all the time, money, and effort?

I think the difference is that photography is viewed as both a hobby and a commodity. People sell photos. They have photos published. Therefore, if you’re good enough either should be attainable, if not outright desirable.

But I certainly don’t care about such things and I feel that most photographers (or golfers, or model train enthusiasts, or bonsai cultivators) don’t either. Hobbies are hobbies. They don’t need a purpose to flourish.

So for anyone who asks: nope, my interest in art nude photography doesn’t extend past personal growth and artistic development.

X-T2 | 50mm | 1/250sec | f/7.1 | ISO-200

What it Means to be the World’s Best Asexual Art Nude Photographer

X-T2 | 50mm | 1/250sec | f/11 | ISO-200

The “World’s Best Asexual Art Nude Photographer” may be a title that I’ve given myself in jest, but there is a kernel of truth at the heart of it. I am asexual and it has an oversized impact on who I am as a photographer. It drives how I work, the type of work that I do, the environment I create, the language I use, and the value I attach to art, consent, and boundaries.

But what does it mean to you, as a potential artistic collaborator?

It means that the nude form does not have the effect on me that it does on your typical cis male photographer. No sexual attraction towards the subject means nothing to get in the way of the work. Let’s unpack that a bit more.

It means that there is no “mission creep.” If we set out to do a fashion shoot, it doesn’t turn into an implied shoot. If we’re shooting implied, you won’t be asked to do “just one” nude snap. If we’re doing fine art or fashion nudes, you won’t be asked to do any erotica or spread leg shots (not an option anyway!).

If you ask mid-session course correction, brace to be turned down. I am a big believer in integrity and I don’t ever want to have it said that I agreed to do one thing and ended up going beyond established boundaries.

X-T2 | 35mm | 1/250sec | f/2.8 | ISO-200

It means is that I’m not there for anything but the work. I’m not some creepy, socially inept, slavering GWC (“guy with camera”) looking for a way to turn a $500 camera into an excuse to get women to take their clothes off. I am definitely not looking to date you, become friends with benefits, or ask you to join my MLM network (ick…this sentence makes me want to shower).

It means I’m looking for collaborators, not “just” models. Asexuality in this photographer means that artistically my visual vocabulary isn’t as refined as someone who spends their day thinking about how to present someone in the most sensual way possible. I just don’t have the inner fantasy life that allows me to pre-visualize every aspect of a shoot. I compensate for this by trying to create an environment where the subject is driving the train. Y’all are the ones doing all the hard work; shouldn’t you have an oversized say in what is being created?

Yes, (he says with tongue firmly planted in cheek) I’m looking for models who are Power Bottoms.

X-T2 | 50mm | 1/250sec | f/8 | ISO-200

It means I’m doing my damndest to create a safe space. A benefit of being asexual is that being anywhere near your personal space is anathema to me. I also present as a cis white male and asexuality isn’t exactly the most visible community on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, so a healthy degree of skepticism about the above will not hurt my feelings in the least! References will enthusiastically be provided upon request.

It means that bringing a friend, spouse, partner, or chaperone along is not only welcome, but encouraged. There are some creepy ass fucks out there and models need to be careful about walking into situations where they’re a) at their most vulnerable, while b) alone.

Finally, it means that there are genres or concepts I will not shoot. My asexuality is why I won’t shoot boudoir, for example, or high-concept fashion and fantasy. I admire the fuck out of photographers like Lillian Liu, but I also know that that style of photography requires a level of imagination and post-shoot creativity I do not and likely cannot possess.

I’ll stick with my Newtonian (as in Helmut) aesthetic, thanks!

So why do you do it? That’s a damn good question! There is no short and simple answer, so I’ll unpack that in a later post.

Bonus: More on Olympus’ Bonkers IS

Here are two other hella experimental handheld test shots I took, just to see what the Olympus/OM System was capable of.

Six muther-fudgin’ seconds, y’all:

E-M1MarkII | 12mm | 6sec | f/7.1 | ISO-250

This was high up in the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House at Walt Disney World, at 8:15 PM, with a gentle rain starting to fall. Sure, it took several tries to nail the shot, but six muther-fudgin’ seconds, handheld! Take that, any other camera system!

Could I have gotten it some other way? Yup – by raising the ISO to 1600 and shooting wide open at f/2.8 I could have easily captured the same scene with less hassle, but the object of the exercise was to see how long I could handhold the camera.

Here’s another at a modest 2.5 seconds:

E-M1MarkII | 25mm | 2.5sec | f/8 | ISO-200

Once again using a low ISO and a high F stop to keep the shutter speed as slow as possible, but once again a tack-sharp image, handheld. The irony is not lost on me that I had the shutter open for the 2.5 seconds of the fireworks display where almost nothing happened. Timing is a harsh mistress.

This IS system is indeed bonkers. Forget fractions of a second: if you’re looking for a travel camera that will shoot at “nigh impossible” shutter speeds, an old Olympus E-M1/E-M5 or new OM-1/OM-5 needs to be in your travel kit.

On the Almost Magical IS of Olympus/OM System Cameras

About a year ago a question was posted to the Fujifilm X System / SLR Talk forum of the now-defunct DP Review (which is to the shock and amusement of the camera world is still kicking). I’m not much of a forum posting/responding kind of guy, but this question was right in my wheelhouse and so I gave my $.02. Since DP Review is apparently going to cease existence some day, I decided to save the post and reply for posterity, in case it helps other aspiring photographers figure their stuff out. Here is the question and my response:

Has anyone used an xt-4 vs the om-1 or x-hs2 or indeed vs a second-hand full-frame system?

I have been a Fuji shooter since 2015 and since March [2022] have switched my kit almost entirely over to Olympus/OM System. I have owned both the X-T4 and the OM-1 and I also shoot travel, so some of our experience overlap.

I’ve loved my Fuji gear, but there are two reasons why Oly makes more and more sense to me.

First is size and weight. Fuji is getting larger and heavier. My first “real” Fuji (I started with the X-T10) was the X-T2, which weighed 507g. I traded it in on the X-T4, which weighed 20% more. That 20% was noticeable, but the X-T4 was also chunkier. Blockier. Ergonomically, less enjoyable to use. With the intro of the X-H1 and now the X-H2S Fuji has been getting away from svelte and small and as a stills shooter I feel I’m losing the reason I moved from full-frame DSLR to mirrorless.

My OM-1 weighs the same as the X-T4, but feels better ergonomically. One can look at the dimensions all day and declare them equal, but the OM-1 just fits better, both in my hand and sliding in and out of a bag. The X-H2S is even chunkier and heavier: 9% heavier than the X-T4.

My biggest reason turned out to be image stabilization. I come from the Canon world and owned the excellent 24-105 L f/4 IS and the 70-200 L f/4 IS. Even 10 years ago that IS worked wonders. NOT so with the X-T4. The X-T4’s stabilization was so poor that I thought that the system wasn’t on or broken, until I read this comparison. I’ve also rented the X-S10 and owned the 18-55 f/2.8-4 IS and the performance of both was also “meh.”

Four months ago on a whim I bought a used E-M1.2 and a 12-40mm f.2.8 PRO for a trip I was taking. The IS is astounding and a week after I got back I traded the E-M1.2 in on an OM-1 and soon after started downsizing my Fuji kit.

How astounding? Here’s how Amateur Photographer describes the X-H2S:

Fujifilm’s in-body stabilisation works well, and I was able to get sharp images hand-held at shutter speeds as slow as 0.6sec when using the 16-55mm f/2.8 zoom at wideangle. This is on a par with cameras like the Sony Alpha 7 IV, although it’s some way off class-leading Micro Four Thirds models such as the Panasonic GH6 and OM System OM-1.

[Management: I didn’t call it out at the time, but “some way off” is doing a lot of heaving lifting in that pull quote, as you’ll see below. I respect and admire Amateur Photographer as a magazine, but I wish camera journalists would report objectively in a way that would allow readers to make informed decisions instead of using language designed not to piss off camera manufacturers. Let’s continue, shall we?]

By comparison, here is a shot from the E-M1.2 at five seconds, handheld:

E-M1MarkII | 12mm | 5sec | f/5.6 | ISO-250

Here’s another at 4 seconds, handheld:

E-M1MarkII | 12mm | 4sec | f/8 | ISO-200

Both images have plenty of detail, even if they’re lacking in artistry. I was pushing the envelope, not trying to be artistic 

In real-world use I just posted three fireworks images on my Flickr feed taken from 1.3 to 2.5 seconds, handheld, all at ISO 200 to keep the shutter speed as slow as possible. When I’m out and about I’ll routinely shoot >1 second shots, just to prove to myself that it is possible.

I’m over 50 and my hands are not as stable as they once were, so IS has turned out to be incredibly important to me, though your mileage may vary. If it’s a priority for you, you’re looking at a system that boasts .6 seconds vs. one that performs at 4+ seconds [Management: “some way off” indeed].

This is an old, though recently active, thread, so if you’re still on the fence see if you can get a long-term test with the E-M1.3. It’ll perform much the same as the OM-1, but it’s easier to get ahold of. I’m still keeping my X-T3 and most of my Fuji glass; my X-T2 was the proverbial one-that-got-away and I’m not making the same mistake twice.

About That Whole “Asexual” Thing…

What is Asexuality and what does it mean to be Asexual? For starters, it has nothing to do with reproduction. FFS, stop flashing back to the only term you remember from 8th grade science class and step into the 21st century.

Moving on…

According to the Asexuality Visibility and Education Network:

An asexual person does not experience sexual attraction – they are not drawn to people sexually and do not desire to act upon attraction to others in a sexual way. Unlike celibacy, which is a choice to abstain from sexual activity, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are, just like other sexual orientations. Asexuality does not make our lives any worse or better; we just face a different set of needs and challenges than most sexual people do. There is considerable diversity among the asexual community in the needs and experiences often associated with sexuality including relationships, attraction, and arousal.

Asexuality, most most sexual identities, exists on a spectrum. My particular “flavor” is heteroromantic asexual, which means I romantically/aesthetically prefer women, while still having no desire to act upon that attraction. This is why I work almost exclusively with women: something in my wiring just prefers the look.

As a photographer, this little quirk of <waves hand vaguely> can have several benefits, the biggest being that the likelihood of being touched during a shoot, even accidentally, is nearly zero. “Not being creepy” is a huge bonus in the photography world. Hell, I tend to avert my eyes when not taking photos and I have a habit of reviewing images with my subjects by holding my camera with my arm as outstretched as possible.

It does have some downsides, though, which I’ll discuss in greater detail in later posts. The biggest one being that I often do not have a clue as to what looks desirable, aesthetically. This is why I keep a lookbook or trade images with a subject before a session: I need to have a solid gameplan going in, because I’m a bit of an idiot otherwise.

It is also why I prefer to work with the burlesque community and performers in general: I don’t have to direct them. They can bring their A-game and I can capture it. I acknowledge it’s a bit of a crutch and I’m working at getting better at directing.

Overall, I like who I am. It was a long, painful struggle to figure things out, but I’m in a good place.

If you’re looking for additional resources ( is a fabulous resource, but can be a dense read), hit up:

And if you’re ever wondering what asexuality looks like, watch Good Omens on Amazon. Asexual representation in media is few and far between, but intentionally or not that series nailed it!

It’s Groundhog Day…Again

Welcome to my little home on the web. I’ve been blogging on and off since about 2003, which means my earliest web presence is almost old enough to drink. Gods, that’s a sobering thought <rimshot>.

Over the last 10 years or so it has been mostly off. My original blog, Ubikontemplations, gave way to I Am Ubik…, which in turn gave way to Chris Ubik Photography (Mk I) and now the oh-so-original Chris Ubik Photography (Mk II). The intervening years can be generally described as “shit happened.” I may tell those stories in the posts to follow. Or I may cultivate an air of mystery I don’t deserve and only vaguely hint at them. Who really knows!?

So what can you expect from this moldy phoenix of a photoblog? A lot of nudity. Seriously: a lot. I don’t call myself “The World’s Best Asexual Sensual/Erotic Photographer” for nothing. Also, some general portraiture mixed with travel and vacation work. What can I say: I have layers.

I also have opinions, which I’m rarely shy about sharing, a handful of good stories, some random photography and art related heterodoxies, and a soupçon of opinions that are scrupulously correct and shall not be challenged, ever.

Basically, your typical blog. But with more nudity than most.