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Medway Open Studios -What a week!!!

Yet another fantastic creative weekend at the Medway Open Studios. I was genuinely touched with the sheer amount of people who popped into my exhibition 13th-21st July 2013, BIG thank you to all 150 of you. Also a HUGE thank you goes out to all my models for this project.

It was wonderful to be part of the ‘Bishops Square’ artists and wonderful to have Creatabox at the square on Sunday. I’m so proud that many of my photos (both film and digital) and Beard mats and magnets, are now enjoying their place in your homes!

As noted in a previous blog, I have been so pleased regarding the conversations about film photography, peoples own creative ventures (or being inspired to undertake a creative project) commissions, and connecting Medway’s wonderful creative community.

MOS July 2013

A few more wonderful quotes from visitors:

‘our bodies do have stories’

‘so much creativity in the Medway Towns’

‘the hands in your photos are so tender’

‘love the honesty of the nudes’

‘it was wonderful to see both male and female nudes’

MOS 2013

MOS 2013

I’d also encourage visitors if you did get your programmes signed (to be in for a chance of winning £100 with your favourite artist) to send your programme to Heather Burgess, Director of Medway Open Studios.

I thoroughly enjoyed my travels around other artists of the Medway Open Studios, I was so inspired by nude drawings by Rose Melville at Sun Pier and Wendy at the West end studios. I haven’t painted or used pastels for over 10 years and pleased that this week I dusted off the pastels this week and got drawing!

If you’d like to keep updated with the goings on at Nikki Price Photography, either ‘click’ on the ‘follow me’ icon on my website or come ‘like’ me on Facebook at Nikki Price Photography.

Heres to next year.

MOS

MOS

Medway Open Studios July 2013

MOS2013

MOS2013

Originally myself and a small group of local artists thought about starting an open house in our neighbourhood. We wanted to promote the wonderful diverse nature of the creativity in our local town particularly for independent artists, with a unique touch of having a view in peoples homes, this was around early 2012, when we discovered that Medway was due to have its own ‘Medway Open Studios‘, a fabulous find!

July and December 2012 Medway Open Studios were exceptionally well attended, and we are all looking forward to July 2013. We have collectively called ourselves ‘The Bishops Square Artists’ an affectionate name for the square that we all live on.

The Facebook event page and further details can be found here.

Participating artists will be: Nikki Price Photography, Richard Reader, The Hazelnut Press ‘Ridley Road Group’ and Jacqueline Atkinson.

Heres to a successful summer.

MOS

MOS

My Man – Ray

So excited to see the Man Ray Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, made more special as it was a Birthday treat to myself. During my research for my July Exhibition based on ‘The Nude’ (bare with me its a working title!) I became drawn to the work of Man Ray; a self taught photographer and artist pursuing an avenue of photography that he loved (amongst other media), documenting individuals around Paris and the US during his lifetime.

Man Ray started his early days exhibitions with little or no financial gain, but continued with his creativity. Man Ray once advised a fellow photographer “You don’t need a huge audience. You only need 5 or 6 people who care, and are there to encourage you…don’t worry about idealism and practicality…try to get paid for what you do, and don’t worry if you don’t. Just keep on working. You’ll make up for it in time.”

I also liked the ideas associated with the surrealist movement that ‘Women are more close to dreams and the unconscious’ which is perhaps why they were a fascination for Man Ray.

Keeping up my levels of creativity is a challenge sometimes and can become a bit demotivated (as I am sure many of us do), therefore it was important visiting the exhibition as it gave me ideas, inspiration, and a ‘lift’ that if you believe in something you are passionate about, keep doing it, anything is possible.

I will continue to keep my stick drawings for story boards (My Nude Models will know of this well!), to not be afraid to document my passage through time, and documenting those around me. It is photographing a particular time in your life, a thought, and avenue of creativity. To have a muse. To continue with the analogue photography, double exposures, work in cynotype. I’ve also thought about being more abstract in my photography and using more crops and close ups of my nudes;

20130402-173729.jpg

Most of all I’ll continue to enjoy my love of photography. I’m off now to buy an autobiography………

http://www.manraytrust.com/

National Trust: Red House

Red House

Red House is in a pretty residential road in Bexleyheath next to the vast Danson Park, not as a spectacular setting as Castle Drogo , but no less impressive. Originally owned by creative William Morris, Red House is a nice little haven in the middle of the other residential homes.

The guides were very welcoming in the ticket office, which was originally a stable block, the original blocks had been kept, even the hay feeders. At the time i visited there was a ‘bread crumb’ trail around the site, with little post labels tied to various things such as trees, each with an individual poem or inspirational quote.

Quote at Red House

Exploring the Garden was a real treat, being in a residential road, you would think that the garden would be fairly small, however it was about the same size as the house either side, just enough to think you were in the middle of nowhere. As well as kept lawns and flower beds, Red House has a vegetable and flower patch at the rear of the house, well protected by the resident Scarecrow, pumpkins grown far better than my ‘un-green’ fingers! The little potting shed reminded me of my Grandads Shed, the familiar smell of potting compost and general musk of the shed, the little spiders making their homes in the corners.

Scarecrow

I fell in love with the house as well as the Garden, definitely a place I could live in. The wooden floors, the stained glass windows above the grand front door. A fabulous little find was in one of the bedrooms, apparently occupied by Lizzie Siddal and the Pre-Raphelites at one time, the National Trust had found a painting of Lizzie Siddal in the walls behind a built in cupboard. Following my visit there, more paintings were discovered behind the wall paper, the uncovering these gems still goes on.

Stained Glass

Lizzie

If you visit Red House I would also recommend a trip around Danson park which is close to the house, with vast greens, trees and friendly squirrels.

http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/red-house/

Nikki’s Top 10 for a good nude shoot

Julie Side Portrait

Julie Side Portrait

For my first Nude Shoot, I prepared my home studio and like a good girl scout read a ‘Do’s and Don’ts of nude photography.

A lot of the Do’s and Don’ts online seem to be instructing male photographers, and assume the model would be female, of course for my first shoot my model was female, and controversially therefore would I be a more compassionate and considerate photographer? Did I need guidance? Is there any Female Photographer Nude Shoot Do’s and Don’ts out there? Do male photographers shooting nudes really need this level of guidance? Stuff for Example:make sure she has a warm separate space to change, tips on the art of conversation etiquette not to ask ‘can I help you with those love’. Maybe i’m thinking too simply wouldn’t you do this anyway?

So I decided to put together a little list from my experience, for a good Nude Shoot:

1) know your model a little before you shoot (this helped my thought process how best to shoot them, and what positions would work for them).

2) give a bit of time to explain what it is you want from the shoot (so they get the general feel of what you are asking the model to do. I sent my models a mood board before the day which was appreciated).

3) ensure that the heating is on (unless of course it is a baking hot summers day, or an old victorian terrace like mine!).

4) it is always good to have some appropriate music on, anything calming/easy listening is good (playing music is always a good ice breaker, however its always wise to choose something appropriate, having Sting’s ‘Roxanne’ coming over the speakers although hilarious to both my first model and me, may not be everyone’s cup of tea! Again on the second nude shoot my models chose their own music and the Pointer Sisters ‘Pinball number count’ kept us chipper!).

Julia Smile

Julia Smile

5) always have a small selection of accessories, but as with the music choose wisely for the feel of the shoot you are going for (feather boas are good if you want a soft focus 1980’s feel, also sometimes for a nude shoot less is definitely more).

6) models may be more relaxed in their own home, so shoot there if you can (The second shoot I undertook was for couple Tom and Becky. I wanted to try a totally different approach for this shoot, going to their home and taking the photos within their home setting, i.e. without the use of a Black or White Colorama. I also am familiar with their home (as they are friends of mine) therefore could vision how the shots could work with their furniture). There was great chemistry between them both, which again made for a really relaxed shoot.

7) always be mindful of how the model is feeling (make sure they have rest times, to keep warm, and chill out a bit more).

8) as with number 7, always ensure you are mindful of how you would feel if you were in front of the lens. Even if I know the model really well I’m always professional, constantly being mindful of how the model/person I am shooting is feeling.

9) A sense of humour is a must! -this will keep you going in all situations.

10) And enjoy yourself, to quote Robbie Williams’ Candy ‘if it don’t feel good what are you doing it for!’

My shoots were influenced by Moriyama, whose Exhibition I saw at the Tate Modern last year, just love his film photography, Arbus, Hopper, Sherman, Dijkstra and May Ray. I’m really looking forward to Man Ray Exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery this Spring!

I think Nude Photography is like going back to the basics, revisiting yourself before a new beginning, a new idea, really being and understanding YOU for a while. Julia explained that being from the Massage and Beauty industry, she sees her clients in various states of undress, although this does not phase her, looking at herself in this way was still a profound and wonderful experience.

It was great to shoot Tom and Becky individually and together as a couple, and to see the tenderness between them. It was heartwarming to receive feedback from Tom that he thoroughly enjoyed the shoot and that was down to him feeling relaxed and comfortable with me as the photographer.

Tom and Becky -T at Home

Tom and Becky -T at Home

Both shoots featured people at a particular point in their life, allowing them to be expressive without the barriers of clothing. It is also important for me to capture those individuals who may not normally model, i.e. not doing it as profession and who may not ‘fit’ into the norms of current stereotypes of models in the media. I love the thought from some that being nude is ‘returning to nature’ and having ‘notable improvements in peoples general health’.

I feel a lot happier for undertaking these shoots, happiest in front of the camera, my models enjoying the experience, therefore I would agree!

Till next time.

Much Love X