The Conception
The Plan
Shooting the Project
The Controversy
The Media
The Media
The Participants and Project Photographs
Final Notes
The Project Poster
 
bare all?

This project was never meant to be a "nude study" of sorts. Early on in the planning process, Kimberly Ann and I agreed to the extent a person would actually bare him or herself. I am far from a prude but for this particular project, I did want to have limitations to what would be shown in an effort to have this exhibit accepted by a large part of the community. A more "cutting edge" exhibit or artistic statement would have to come at another time.

We wanted to bring positive attention to "Old Towne". This was our primary goal. More than one person warned me that I was attempting to walk a VERY thin rope with regards to what would be considered "tasteful". I personally felt that constraints were needed in an attempt to keep me upright on that rope.

Bluntly stated I decided that there would be no genitalia, full-on bare buttocks shots nor any female nipples exposed. A fully bare side of a person (hips, breasts, etc.) would be acceptable taking these constraints into consideration. This was the arbitrary line in the sand I decided to draw. Whether it was the right line or not wouldn't be known until the show was hung, viewed and judged.

During the course of this project, some people would not quite understand my dogged adherence to these constraints with a comment along the lines of "it wouldn't be a big deal if his/her ______ was showing" or "I don't care if people see my ______". This may very be the case but they weren't up on that tightrope with me. It wasn't their work that would be judged in the "context" of trying to bring positive attention to "Old Towne". I also felt a great deal of responsibility to the participants who agreed to do the project. The "vision" of the project was described to everyone as well as the constraints put in place. I did not want to risk a person regretting that they participated in the project because there were images that went beyond the original "vision" of the project that was described by me.

All this said, I "initially" envisioned strategic posing with a whole LOT of skin showing but I never lost sight of the limitations we agreed upon. Kimberly Ann and I laughingly noted that there would be some participants that we would need to rein in when it came to what they would be willing to expose. Whether the project was "tasteful" or not would be judged when the project was eventually hung.

finding the talent

While there were some folks I personally reached out to, getting the talent was primarily the domain of Kimberly Ann. From the beginning, I told Kimberly Ann that we want 20-25 images for a solid project.

We had some people get on the bus with no hesitation while others would require a little more coercing. We would have some people initially enthusiastically volunteer; only to back out. We would have some people who really wanted to do it but feared consequences from their employer, church, etc. Unfortunately, I had some really creative ideas for some specific individuals that would never be shot because we couldn't get them to participate. Along the way, we would be surprised by some who were willing to do this project with no hesitation. We would be no less surprised by some who decline originally expecting them to agree with no hesitation. We would not really know what we would ultimately end up with until the last shot was taken.

The actual motivation why a person would volunteer to do this project would vary from individual to individual. A fascinating story could be written on this particular aspect of the project. Contrary to what many may think, this was not a collection of people who were exhibitionists.

All participants were required to sign a release that would explain in detail the constraints in which their picture would be used. We did not want anyone surprised later on with regards to any aspect of the project and how their image may ultimately be use

lights, camera, action

From the beginning, I wanted to have a solid shot already pre-visualized before going into any shooting situation. Then it simply would be a case of setting up any lighting needed and deal with posing. While other ideas may come up during the course of the shooting, I wanted to at least come in with a shot already planned. While some shots actually did happen this way; I had to simply deal with what was presented for the majority of them and do some on-the-fly creating and shooting.

In a lot of cases, it would not actually be revealed the extent a person would bare him or herself until the actual shoot regardless of what Kimberly Ann or I may suggest to them prior to the shoot. I would explain that the wearing of bras, tube tops, etc. would actually make shooting a flattering image tougher because of the resultant bulges of skin that would form. This would make me shoot around not only the extra clothing but the bulges as well. I had no intention of using Photoshop for body sculpting. Kimberly Ann and I would try to gently convince them to disrobe and to trust that nothing would be peeking out that shouldn't. Some were comfortable while others weren't. At no time was anyone pressured to do anything they weren't comfortable doing. Again, I simply dealt with what was presented to me.

Each image has a story around it when it comes to whose "idea" was behind a particular shot. Certainly no blanket statements can be made. Many of the shots were a combination of ideas from the participant, Kimberly Ann and me. Some shots were fully staged in advance and the only thing I had to do was show up and perhaps only do some tweaks to the posing/staging while others were on the other extreme and I had to figure things out from scratch when I arrived. In all cases, I still had to decide how to light and shoot the image.

Some ideas presented did not fit too well in the project for various reasons and I would have to say "no". However, an alternative idea would always be thought of. I would shoot only one setup for a given shoot. I would shoot until I felt I got a shot. The fewest number of shots taken on a shoot was five. There was one occasion I knew I got the shot on the 2nd shot but kept on shooting at the insistance of the participant. The 2nd shot on that shoot was used in the project.

The bottom line is that all the shoots were relaxed, comfortable and pain free for all involved but this was largely due to the wonderful folks who participated and trusted Kimberly Ann and I when it came to this "different" project.

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