So I’ve been kicking around some painting ideas and needed specific pose references, of the variety that are damn hard to get drawing in front of the mirror, (i.e. anything involving both hands) and which I did not have in my archive of vintage nude postcards (which I prefer to anything in the last fifty years, since the women have, y’know, curves. And also tend to not be in "Look at me! I’m a pin-up!" poses.) I needed a model, and as many an artist has done before me, I fell back on the one I knew that was immediately available and would work for free.
"Kevin!" sez I. "I need you to take a set of nude photos of me."
Kevin blinked once or twice and then said "…I could probably do that for you," in a tone somewhat higher and weaker than usual.*
Alas, he discovered, as many before him, that the process of taking artist reference photos contains all the sensual thrill of a root canal. "Okay, I need photos of the feet in this pose from four different angles…right now I need the elbows at this angle, with and without the sheet draping over the forearm…okay, now the other side…let me see how those came out…okay, top of hand, bottom of hand…okay, get a torso shot, try to get from the chin to mid-thigh…okay, now from this angle…"
"This is the least erotic experience I have ever had with your breasts," he muttered, as I wrestled with the age old dilemma of what the heck you do with the things when you are attempting to cross your arms across your chest. (Imagine your arms, folded at the elbow, wrists crossed at the sternum. Now imagine you’re a D cup. You’ve basically got the choice of A) have them squeeze out to the sides, which gets you the Random Distorted Nipples Of Doom, or B) flatten the buggers under your forearms, which is ultimately the more visually appealing, but when they’re already succumbing to gravity a bit, winds up giving you cleavage clear to the elbow.)
"Yup. Now get a shot of the feet."
And, after about forty shots of the feet:
"This would be a lot more fun if I was a foot fetishist."
"Tell me about it."
It didn’t help that the camera we were using is merciless (and that’s how I wanted it.) While Kevin has dabbled in photography in the past, he preferred to take pictures that are…well…artistic. There is nothing artistic about artist reference material. I do not want it to look pretty, I want it to look like the thing I’m photographing so that I can draw it. Every ingrown hair, every dollop of cellulite, every stretch mark** and extra pound is quite stark. No vasoline on the lens, no attractive play of shadows, no elegant lighting, just reality chewed up and spit out in jpg format. (Obviously I do a lot of heavy editing for the actual painting.)
Never let it be said, however, that Kevin is not a trooper. He was vastly patient despite the fact that it is a VERY tedious business (and as always, I forget how obnoxious modelling is until I have to actually do it.) and did quite a good job. (I am quite difficult to photograph in many regards, and I tend to photograph quite badly. A friend of mind accuses me of being entirely too kinetic. I do know that I look a lot better in video, so he’s probably right.)
Also, I’m proud of myself. Generally when I resort to this for modelling, I wind up feeling terrible about my body afterwards. This time, it’s like–yup. Lotta bumps, lotta lumps, lotta woggy cellulite, yeah, the underside of my chin will be soft and squishy until I die, yeah, I’ve got an hourglass figure and the hour is not as early as it used to be, but y’know, screw it. My self-image is tougher than it used to be, and furthermore, corsetry hides a myriad of sins.
And before people start demanding photos, A) it’s not going to happen, B) you don’t want to see these, trust me and C) most of them are of my feet or close-ups of my hands, anyway.
And, perhaps most importantly, D) it’s a camera that burns directly to mini-DVD, the only copy of which was removed from the camera and handed directly to me. Because I’m not an idiot.
So I am referenced up and pleased. Although life being what it is, I will probably be working on projects that need to be worked on for several days before I get to any of those, but hey, at least the stuff is there when I need it.
*Maybe I shouldn’t have sprung that while we were moving tables into the local Boy Scout Hut.
**Losing fifty pounds in about six months did a lot for me, but the side-effect is that the skin over my hipbones looks like a dance floor for sidewinders.