My Nude Year: Day 321 of 365

Wow, what a wonderful meeting I had tonight with the Houston Photographic Society. I was running a little late to the meeting and as soon as I got there I found a little open space on a table which would allow me room to get my work out. From the corner of my eye I could see someone approaching and I thought to myself that it was one of the members coming over to say hello and see my entries for the print competition. A few more moments passed and a hand was extended my way. I raised my eyes to greet the fellow photographer and was shocked to find my very first mentor staring back at me. I was so surprised I nearly couldn’t find words but then a funny story hit me. We stood and talked a few minutes and my heart was soaring. I haven’t seen Bob Warren in a few months and was so happy to get to spend a few minutes with him. I may be a little bias but it was the best review of everyone’s work I have been witness to since I started the club earlier this year. I wish everyone could meet and work with Bob. He has so much to teach and does it in a way in which he is offering opinions on how to improve an image but never comes across as critical in a negative way. He is very specific and explains in depth his reasoning for liking something as well as reasons he may not like an aspect of a photograph. If I remember correctly Bob has been shooting for 40 years and I can tell you he is a master of the craft.

Once I arrived home the family sat down for dinner together. Shannon had to work late and so my arrival time was perfect, as she had just finished cooking for all of us. After we finished it was time to concentrate on the photo for the evening. Usually on my meeting nights Shannon will find something she wants to try but didn’t have time tonight to look. I was just plain out of gas but came up with a quick concept we could try. At first I was not very happy with the results and so we moved onto one of Shannon’s ideas. She was very playful and was acting the part of a ham. Once I put the images on the computer I found that I indeed did like the concept we had started with as well as a few photos of her being a goof. I ended up going with the first concept for the project but kept the ham photos for the set at the end of the month, kind of B-roll you might say.

Until tomorrow,

JW Purdy

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My Nude Year: Day 314 of 365

Tonight I had one of my monthly meetings with the Houston Photographic Society and it was very informative. I’m not a big gear guy but I am in the process of deciding on my next camera and tonight’s meeting was a great help. We had two different camera reps in to talk about the new mirrorless cameras on the market. One of the reps was the Houston rep for a large camera manufacture and gave us a lot of good information about the new technology out in the mirrorless line. The other rep was from a local camera exchange and talked about all brands and types of cameras. I took a few minutes after the meeting to talk with the exchange’s rep and he gave me his advice regarding the cameras I’m debating over. I have narrowed my list down to three and he pointed to a fourth option I had taken off of the table due to age. He told me the camera was still a perfectly good camera and based on the price point it was hard to beat.

Once I got home Shannon had already selected a photo idea she wanted to try. Sometimes I think she picks a concept based on how difficult she thinks the pose will be. I laughed and told her the pose may be easy but the lighting setup was more challenging than she expected. I went a head and set up the light for the shoot by using a single light with a tight grid placed on the reflector. I used a diffuser panel on the front of the grid to soften the source while keeping the beam of light narrow and controlled. I really enjoy the challenge of trying to recreate lighting setups.

Until tomorrow,

JW Purdy

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My Nude Year: Day 286 of 365

Tonight we had our portfolio review for friends and family at the Houston Photographic Society. It was very fun and we got to see a lot of really great work. A few of our friends were able to come as well as one of my neighbors. It seemed like everyone had a great time. Most people really liked my portfolio but wished I had move than five images to display. I originally printed seven but once I had them matted two just didn’t feel like they fit my artist statement so I removed them. The actual review will by on Thursday of this week and I feel ready. I really want to here what the people I have selected have to say about improving my work.

I wanted to stay in line with my true shooting style tonight. I came up with a concept that really focuses on pose and line. I’m sure the pose was not easy for Shannon to hold while I tested the light set up but she didn’t complain. It took four test shots and multiple grid changes before I found the correct mix. Once we were dialed in I thought the results came out spectacular.

Until tomorrow,

JW Purdy

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My Nude Year: Day 285 of 365

Tomorrow is a big day at the Houston Photographic Society. We are having family and friend night for all the people enlisted in this years portfolio review. The evening should be wonderful and a good dry run for all of us artists. The actual review will be on Thursday of this week. I hope to gain a lot of insight from the reviewers I have picked. Most of them are art teachers at nearby colleges. I think it will be wonderful for all of my friends to see the work of so many fantastic people I get to meet with on a monthly basis.

For tonight’s photo we took a minimalist concept and focused on one of Shannon’s breasts. I used a single light source placed directly in front of Shannon and shoot thru an umbrella. The lighting is soft and allowed the background to lightly fall off creating an additional softness to the image.

Until tomorrow,

JW Purdy

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My Nude Year: Day 265 of 365

Can you believe it? Only 100 days left in the project. We have completed just over two-thirds of the project now and time seems to be speeding by. I had my last print competition with the Houston Photographic Society before the portfolio review in October. I am looking forward to the review as it contains all images from the project. I am interested to see how the reviewers will receive them.

Tonight Shannon was dealing with some business in Lufkin and wouldn’t be home until very late so I made sure to have everything ready to go. For this photo I used a two light setup. I placed the main light at a 45-degree angle to her front right side and a fill light at a 90-degree angle to her left. Shannon squatted down and placed her hands on her knees while looking toward the key light which gives the images some aspects of symmetry. The image is bright enough to see all the details however the key over powered the fill giving a more dramatic shadow pattern in the photo.

Until tomorrow,

JW Purdy

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My Nude Year: Day 238 of 365

I have been working on my portfolio for a review I have coming up in October. This will be my first review with the Houston Photographic Society and I started early so I wouldn’t have any last minute surprises. I have developed my theme/artist statement and selected six photos to include. Based on a suggestion from our president I have created a tri-fold handout to give to my reviewers. Seeking a little advice I sent my newly developed tri-fold to the president of HPS as well as the portfolio review manager for their input on how things look. Normally I would reach out to one of my mentors however they are official reviewers and it felt inappropriate to ask for their advice.

Tonight I wanted to work with what I like to call stacked lines. As I’m sure you have noticed over the past several months I love geometric shapes. When you can get a model that is willing to contort themselves into crazy poses you have the chance to make some outstanding photographs. In this photo of Shannon I love the parallels created by her arms. This aspect of the image is I feel the strongest however notice all the implied triangles that can be identified as you study the photo. Really there is so much going on here that you could stare at it for several minutes without discovering everything. Shannon’s face has been hidden behind her hand so that the viewer would concentrate on the lines rather than seek out her eyes.

Until tomorrow,

JW Purdy

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My Nude Year: Day 208 of 365

Tonight we decided to work with concentrated light and stacked lines. Shannon put on a pair of heels while I set up our key light. I used a medium grid to focus the light and placed it at approximately a 45-degree angle to her position. Shannon pulled the leg closest to the camera up creating an implied triangle. Actually there are several implied triangles in this composition.

Tomorrow is my monthly print competition with the Houston Photographic Society and will be judged by one of my mentors. It will be great to see Jerry Brown again as it has been several months since our last meeting. Jerry is a wonderful photographer and so giving with his time and knowledge. I placed an order for two very recent prints, days 192 and 206, and am anxious to hear his review of the work.

Until then,

JW Purdy

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My Nude Year: Day 174 of 365

Tonight I was busy with my monthly print competition as part of the Houston Photographic Society. On my way home from the meeting I called and asked Shannon to start a pot of coffee for me. When I got home I asked her what we would be shooting and she gave me a blank bewildered expression. I assumed due to my getting home late she would have found a concept to shoot but she had a really long day at work and just relaxed when she finally got home. While I got a cup of coffee and ate my dinner she went into the office and selected four ideas for a photo. We decided to give a two light set up a try with a really different pose.

The pose in many ways if very awkward but really works with this two light set. I placed the key light on a 45-degree angle to the camera right close to the back wall. The second light was placed on the camera left near Shannon’s mid point. I used a shoot-thru umbrella and featured it up and toward the camera. This gave a nice highlight on Shannon’s side but did not over power the image with a flood of light. The light up near Shannon’s head acted as a separation light as well as gave a little more detail to her shoulders, back and the bend in her side.

The print competition went well but was confusing at the same time. I entered two photos as I did last month. For tonight’s meeting I selected the photo from Day 7 as well as Day 40. The judge was fantastic and gave very good critiques of the work. He awarded Day 7 with third place and then moved on to the color category. In looking at the photo of Day 40 he stated it was much stronger than Day 7 however he did not award a ribbon to it. I wished I could have asked him a few questions but I had to leave as soon as the meeting was over so we could get tonight’s photo done at a reasonable time. These print competitions are very fun and really give you some idea of how professionals view your work.

Until tomorrow,

JW Purdy

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My Nude Year: Day 160 of 365

Tonight I had one of my two monthly meetings with the Houston Photographic Society. A very small group was in attendance due to the subject being how to prepare for a portfolio review. Most of the members have been with the group for a long time and already know the procedures required to get ready. I personally have never had a portfolio review and am very nervous about getting everything ready in time. The review is not until mid October but really that will be here before you know it.

The biggest worry I had going into tonight was developing an artist statement. The gentleman that was leading the lecture gave me a piece of advice that was invaluable and made everything perfectly clear to me. He told all of us to think about the question or questions we wanted the reviewer to answer regarding our work. As soon as he said this I knew exactly what I want to ask the reviewer as well as my theme for the photos I submit. Shannon and I will incorporate the photos I will be using into this project. It will be a subset in this large body of work we are completing. Over the net few weeks I will be writing up my artist statement as well as my bio and begin developing the individual photos I want to present. I am very excited at the thought of having several professionals in the field review my work and give me feedback.

It will be a busy few weeks ahead but we will make it in stride,

JW Purdy

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