All packed and ready to go

Prints are going as hand luggage, frames are going as checked baggage. Plan to put it back together when I get there. The shipping cost estimate was astronomical. I guess there’s no such thing as ground shipping to Europe, so everything goes by air and is priced accordingly.

Prints, mats, and acrylic fit in the sturdy Fiberbuilt portfolio cases I have leftover from the 80s and just barely come in under the carry on luggage specification. The weight is the tightest.

We have a couple days on the Normandy coast before the show to get over jet lag and convert to Paris time. I’ve already started to convert. Woke up at 4am this morning, noon Paris time. Still if previous trips are a guide, it will take me about a week to get used to the time change–just in time to come home and do it again.

I’m planning on shooting some photos on the coast. The model isn’t so sure. She says, “It’s November!” So maybe not. Or maybe everything will be under multiple layers of sweaters.

I’m going to show 12 prints like this. This venue has some colored walls. That would be nice.

The bottom row is a little low, people will have to stoop to take photos of the photos. At least, their butts will stick out nicely for my new series of work.

Hope to see you there. Free passes are available.

fotofever Paris 2018

Going to Paris. France, not Texas.

fotofever Paris 2018. November 8-11, 2018.

Not sure what language is used in the name and the capitalization and spacing is decidedly non-standard. I think it’s sort of like old computer manuals from Japan. The words were English, but the grammar was usually something else. And the meaning, well, that required guess work.

I’ll be showing some images from Torso, Legs, Line, and Marble. Sadly the Portrait of America images are not going. Do you know how much it costs to ship a full size image to Paris? Just about the same as sending me.

This is the Legs image in the program.

But seeing how this show is in liberal France, maybe I should show this image instead.

Even the big name show, Paris Photo, has a section this year of Erotic Art. Although looking through the preview images, the most erotic image in that show is the one of the pear. It looks like the image above.

I suspect I’ll hear some comments like, “Les plus belles jambes!” and “J’aimerais avoir un cul comme ca.”

If they try to speak to me in French, they’re in for a real treat. I speak French in the same way those Japanese computer manuals speak English. My fluent family members find it hilarious. And still they don’t help. Feel free to correct my French or laugh, that’s what everyone else does.

Take home a memory

Attend an art show. Take photos of the photos. Take home a memory. Or you could, you know, buy the art and take it home.

Here’s a closeup of what’s she’s intent on photographing:

The Weekly Nude is now on Instagram @hammel.thomas. It will be interesting to see how long it takes me to offend the Internet censors.


Last week we traveled to Yosemite National Park to shoot work for my planned book on the National Parks.

What do you think of when you think of Yosemite? Soaring granite cliffs and spectacular water falls? Here you go. A waterfall on the Tuolumne River where it passes between its granite banks.

It wasn’t the most successful trip. We got a wickedly bad cold and felt miserable the whole time. Not much success with the photography. Came home early and spent a couple days doing nothing. We’ll probably go back in the spring and try again.

But if you’re into landscapes, here’s a pretty good image. I shot this at Lukens Lake as the model was working her way around to the other side. Unfortunately by the time she got there, the sun had risen high enough that the reflections were gone.

Remember the Photo Independent fair is this coming weekend in LA. Hope to see you there.

Photo Independent 2018 — Los Angeles

Enough with the Zine Fests. I’m doing a real art show. Photo Independent 2018 in Los Angeles. October 5-7, 2018 at The Reef in downtown LA.

I didn’t think LA had a downtown, but I was there a couple of years ago and it’s small but downtownish.

Billed as the the art fair for photographers to bypass the galleries. Sounds like a good idea.

I have a 4′ x 8′ booth. Not that much space, but it will allow me to control my own space and display and sell whatever I want.

Here’s the draft hanging plan. That’s Shaly and Zeras of Portrait of America on the end walls and a collection of 10 other prints selected from Torso, Legs, Line, Dune, and Marble on the main wall.

No gallery commission, so prices are cheap. They normally take half of the retail price. Better come early, it will probably all sell in minutes and then I’ll have to hang replacement prints.

(Two weeks in a row, blog published on schedule. Shocking!)

Nothing happens if you stay at home

A couple of weeks ago a wise man told me “Nothing happens if you stay at home.”. That’s the rationale for spending money to prepare for and mount shows and go out and deal with the public.

We went to the Bay Area Anarchists Book Fair yesterday. Sometimes, nothing much happens when you go out either. Here are my gross earnings for the day.

It was late in the afternoon (There’s nothing like a whole morning of absolutely no interest to sap your ego.) and finally a young woman spent a while studying the postcards. There were a few she liked, but she was trying to narrow it down to one. I suggested she could get more than one, but apparently that wasn’t going to happen. She asked if I had any postcards that were more explicit like the books, because she would have preferred that, but I had to tell her that the postcard printer had rules. In the end she picked the Legs postcard and counted out the change shown above.

I felt bad. Did I take her last $2.00? It sure felt like it. I gave her a second postcard, probably should have given her more.

I should send her a print of this Legs image.

More Legs

Legs, legs, and more legs. I’m slowly moving through the images, selecting the best, and finishing them. Last week I selected ten images to include in the Legs sample book.

The SF Zine Fest and the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair are coming up soon and I want to get the Legs book finished and printed in time. Only 5 weeks to go. That means I’m in a rush, as usual. No time to spare.

But the opportunity to shoot new work arose and I took it. Hey, there’s a nude model, gotta do some work.

So there are new images and I got distracted from finishing the selected ten and worked on this one instead. It’s a little goofy, as the Legs series is supposed to be. I see it as a couple of flowers sprouting from a vase.

Water Nudes by Karin Rosenthal

I first encountered the work of Karin Rosenthal when I was preparing an entry for the Ultimate Eye Foundation nude show. Doing my homework, I looked through the earlier shows to get an idea of what the organizers were seeking.

Words can be very deceptive: one person’s novel and modern can be rooted in the 1950s and another person’s nude can be nothing more than a bare back. A lot like the ubiquitous celebrity nudes that have become the rage for magazines trying to get attention or clicks. Come to think of it, this is not a recent trend, look at those not-nude, nude supermodels from the Herb Ritts photo posted a few weeks ago.

Ultimate Eye was a good and truly nude show. I was sorry to see it end and also sorry that I can’t find any online reference for it. Even though I never won the prize, my photos were in the show for several years and it was always interesting.

Anyway that’s where I met Karin Rosenthal’s nude work. She shows a few detours into landscape, but most of her body of work is nudes and most of it is good. I guess everyone has to do a couple landscape photographs during their career!

Here’s a landscape (but not a detour):

As you may guess, I like her Water Nudes best. That’s why I have “Ripples” hanging on the Living Photographers Wall.

As she says, “I consider these images most successful when their ‘objective’ reality is countered with several levels of ambiguity and mystery, so that what they seem to be is stronger than what they are.” I think that’s a good thing, a photograph that is more than a recording of the subject. A photo that makes you look twice and maybe think a little.

Living Photographer Wall

Here is the Living Photographer wall:

I have another room called the Dead Photographer Room. Sadly every photograph in that room is by someone who is dead. This wall is supposed to be more modern.

That’s a print from Karin Rosenthal of Massachusetts on the left. It is called “Ripples”. Karin does a lot of work with water, in this case, I believe the water is on Cape Cod.

And then next is a print from Jerry Uelsmann of Florida. It’s a collage, of course. Done before Photoshop. With enlargers, whatever those are.

Then there’s a print from Eikoh Hosoe of Japan from 1970 on the top. This print is from his Embrace series. They are numbered, but I have no idea which one this is.

And one of the Nudes by Michael A Rosen on the bottom. Michael also numbered this series. And again I don’t remember the number, but I looked it up. This is #4. Michael asked why his is on the bottom. I said he had to print smaller than Hosoe to be on top.

And on the right is a print by Lucien Clergue of France. Clergue also often features water. This water is probably from the Mediterranean. Sadly, Clergue died several years ago. I have not updated the wall.

I hadn’t noticed before, but except for the Uehlsmann photograph, there’s more than one person in each of these photographs. What a bargain, 5 photographs, 10 nude people.

The average age of these photographers is about 102. Clearly we need new blood. Where are the contemporary photographers?

Where do you find art?

After you exhaust the well known–Weston, Bernhard, Callahan, Brandt, Kertesz, Hosoe–where do you find art? More specifically where do you find contemporary photographic nude art.

I’ve done internet searches, and that’s clearly not the way to find art. What does an Internet search reveal? Lots of photographers trying to sell workshops, boudoir photography sessions, soft-core porn, and a couple of big wall-art sites. About the only thing positive I can say about my recent search is that there are a lot of attractive women being photographed nude.

The workshops offer to teach you how to make art. I suspect there are a few that help with that, although I think most of the instructors impose a style, rather than helping the students develop their own. One instructor says she sets up a scene and then lets the students take turns shooting it. But mostly, they offer a session with a nude model and an exotic locale. They advertise, “We will have stunningly beautiful models …’ and “… you will have a chance to photograph a live model …”. Wow, they have nude women! But don’t get too frisky, as another workshop says it “… will cover the importance of mutually respectful interactions …” Really, people need instruction for that? Some of the locations are pretty cool though–Lake Powell looks like a good place.

The less said about the boudoir photographs the better. There are so many photographers offering this service that there must be customers. And wow, the prices are high $1000-1500 for a session. And I’m trying to sell postcards at two bucks a pop. Their forte appears to be making the customers feel comfortable when naked, “… is quite adept at making the most skittish clients feel comfortable …” and applying makeup, “Let us create a glamorous look from dramatic bomb shell to soft country chic.” I wish the photographers were better at photography.

And you know what the soft core porn market offers–young attractive nude women. Why do these photographers claim to be making art? It might be good porn, but when judged as art, it’s awful. There’s no idea, no concept, no imagination, no soul. “… has the largest selection of webcam models in the world.” This is advertised as art? No, it’s naked women.

And then there are a couple of big sites showing collections of art. Click on one of these and you can get nude art in any size, on any paper, and with many framing options. The frame costs more than the art. Maybe rightly so, since the photographer isn’t even involved in the production. There are thousands of images. I started looking, but was soon too bored to continue.

So where is the contemporary art? I look at a lot of stuff and very rarely find anything I like. Or even anything I think is worth looking at. Next week, I’m going to start showing some of what I found in my recent search. In the midst of dozens of pages of the other stuff, there were a couple of interesting photos. And I’ll also show some contemporary work that is on my wall.

But for now, here are some more legs: