Friday, October 1, 2010

Changing Directions with Bill McClaren

Gerrad Bohl

"That's what you do as a painter, you live on hope, that next painting..."
Wayne Thiebold

"You don't take a photograph, you make it."
Ansel Adams

Two quotes Bill says describe his method of working.

Richard R. Vargas

Early last summer I was introduced to the work of Bill McClaren. I first profiled in his work in a post HERE: last August. At the time I was struck by the passion I felt Bill put into the wide variety of subjects he shot. There was love and caring put into the details of all of his work whether it be with a model or an oak leave.

When I contacted Bill this past summer about featuring more of his work, he was in the middle of heading out on the road to Burning Man. Bill did however leave me with the name 'Damon', a model he had recently shot, to check out until he returned. When I headed to Bill's portfolio to see this 'Damon' I expected to find a hot hunk in leather or wearing an animal print showing some, but not a lot, of skin. Shots I was used to seeing, shots I had previously loved and connected with Bill's work.

Well Damon is without a doubt hot, but there was something completely different yet at the same time clearly familiar about Bill's shots of Damon. I say different, as much of the early work that I loved and had previously posted of Bill's was a a bit more, how shall I say, more traditional maybe, the type of shots you might find in a models portfolio. Shots meant to showcase and bring out the beauty of the model.

I say clearly familiar, because I remember in Bill's old portfolio a few shots, in particular a self portrait with the exact same feel that came over me when I saw the new shots of Damon. Although the feeling was familiar it is still one I cannot exactly describe except to say more personal. The personal expression Bill had previously channelled through parts of his work was now coming out in all of it.

Thaddaeus Paull

'I am moving away from people and especially model types in favor of Fine Art Photography, however you may define that broad term'
Bill McClaren

It might be difficult to imagine one could get bored from shooting beautiful models but Bill tells me his interest in shooting people, even hot male people, has diminished. 'Perhaps I have nothing new or interesting to say?'

Personally I think Bill has much more to say through his work, things more important to him, more personal, things that were not possible when working in a certain way with models. In the spectrum of relationships between photographer and subject generally one is working to aid the other in their vision. It seems to me that Bill is now concentrating on his own vision and like the Ansel Adams quote is no longer taking photographs but now, making them.

Official Site for Bill McClaren

Brody Harris

The one thing about Bill that was exactly the same was his generosity. Damon you should know, was not a model Bill was originally set up to shoot. One of Bill's photographer friends, Michael T Puff was shooting Damon in Bill's studio and Bill hung back taking a few shots. Bill quickly put me in touch in Michael suggesting I as well feature his work on FH.

The results, shown in a series of posts below, was not only fun to put together but fascinating. One shoot, one talented and creative model, and two photographers each picking up their camera's for different reasons and with different roles.

Thanks so much to Bill McClaren, Michael T. Puff and Damon Mahoney for sharing your work with FH!

The Model: Damon Mahoney

Some of my favorite models to feature on FH are dancers. Dancers have a fluidity of movement, sense of not only body, but space and lines and the ability to connect with the rhythm of photographer that create beautiful images.

Damon Mahoney was born in Santa Monica and describes himself as the love child of a glam-rocker and an opera singer. At 17 he decided to become a ballet dancer.

'I have since risen, and am still rising through the pit of hell that is physical artistry.'

Damon certainly has risen and is now the solo dancer for an opera company.

'I like weapons and I like pretty words strung together and I have a very wicked sense of humor'.

Stringing pretty words together is not just a 'like' with Damon it is a talent. Damon was gracious enough to share some of his poetry with me and I shared one of my favorites below. One day Damon hopes to have his poetry published in a collection.

I don't think Damon was crazy about my using the photo at the top of this post. The glasses, the hair, the look, along with the fit body of a dancer are almost a juxtaposition. A beautiful juxtaposition, and without a doubt one of my favorite shots.

Both shots of Damon by Michael T. Puff

Damon says he loved working with both Michael and Bill.

'Doing the shoot with Michael and Bill was fun. I loved working with the fabric. I have interest in doing aerial work with tissue in the future. In dance our entire body is an extension of our artistry. I used to do figure modeling for art and sculpture classes, and I approach the shoots in the same way. I take a lot of my inspiration from statues in museums, which were often done of athletes. I would love to do a Gladiator photo shoot.'

Damon Mahoney by Bill McClaren

'It was Michael Puff's shoot, and I took only a few shots, mostly with one of my Medium Format film cameras.'

Below: This shot reminds of the self portrait of Bill I mentioned above.

Damon Mahoney by Michael T. Puff

'Photography is my avocation. Having been involved with the visual arts all of my life, I turned to photography about 7 years ago as my primary creative outlet.'

'Photography is how I take time to "smell the roses" and remind myself of the beauty all around me.'

'Working with dancers is a favorite for me. I have been a San Francisco Ballet subscriber for over a decade. The extraordinary beauty, grace, and fluid lines created by talented dancers never ceases to take my breath away. Dance movements are so very transitory. A complex move might only be a couple of seconds from start to finish. It's always exciting to see what the camera has captured in the fraction of a second shutter click.'

'Working with Damon was a treat. He is tall and lean which creates long fluid lines and elegant angular shapes. He has a quiet demeanor with intensity as well as a gentle sense of humor. He has the ability for subtle communication through his body language producing emotive images.'

Thank you Michael for sharing not only your talent but your insights with FH
I truly love the connection and resulting shots with Damon!

Check out Michael's site HERE:

'The Poet Is Blind' by Damon Mahoney


The poet is blind
Didn’t you know
He sits on his chair
Watching the glass before
It is filled with light
He is cold and alone upon
The contoured shadows
Against the wall
But he is alive

He is like candles in a corridor
With golden warmth in his cheeks
Over the lines
Of his naked physique
Were he to speak
You would find that your lips
Were full of tears
That could not fall
That would wash across your face
Against the insides of your cheeks
With an adorned sort of agony
For he is beautiful
When he is silent
But he is dangerous when he
Recites words

When he looks away from the window
And into your lens
Like a carnivorous animal
About to snap some delicate
Creature’s neck
He is complete
And it becomes too much
You want to crawl up
Inside your black camera
You want to hide behind the straps
Because he is naked
And bared and complete
And it is his world
You are just a lens
You are just a circle of glass
With a flash

You are just a man who
Creates light and shadows
Across the features
Of the poet and he is speaking, now
He is screaming at you with his
Javelin eyes
But you are backed so far
Against the brick wall
That you will never fit him in
It all
And all you have to do is remember
That the poet is blind.

DLM 7-14-10

Favorite Pic Of The Day for October 1st

Above: Corey Higgins by David Vance

Speaking of David Vance, not only is he one of my favorite photographers, today, October 1st marks the release of David's new book Erotic Dreams. Be sure to check it out on Amazon HERE:

Happy Birthday today October 1st

Terra guy Bruno Schuind turns 26 today.

Hailing from Peru, actor Jorge Aravena turns 41 today.

Jay Underwood turns 42 today.

Jay in 'The Invisible Kid'

The beautiful and talented Italian actor Stefano Dionisi turns 44 today.

Brian Wimmer turns 51 today.

Favorite Click Of The Week: Eric Balfour in Haven

I have only watched a couple of hours of Syfy's Haven. I want to love it, it is based on The Colorado Kid by my favorite author, Stephen King. It is filmed in beautiful Nova Scotia, it stars Emily Rose who I really liked on ER and Brothers & Sisters. It has eye candy in Lucas Bryant and the delectable and talented Eric Balfour. The show however has yet to overwhelm me. The story itself drew me in but the pacing of the show is a bit sluggish for me. I will however be giving it another shot.

Thanks however have to thank DaveID from Dreamcaps for these incredible caps of Eric in a recent scene from the show. I did not see this episode so don't have the context but hot nonetheless!