Part 8 of 50: The Photographers of ZoeFest

This is part eight in a series of blogs on my recent artistic adventures in Mexico.

I thought I would take a moment from the BillyShow here to give some well deserved attention to my photographer colleagues at this year’s ZoeFest. As I mentioned before, Zoe Wiseman, the incredible photographer behind the Fest that bears her name, along with the world class list of international figure models, she also hand picks the group of talented international photographers who attend each year. I was lucky enough to get my first invitation this year.

To see the other photographers’ incredible work, there are links below to see some of their images.

So let’s start with Zoe herself.

Carlotta Champagne in the Pool

Zoe is a busy human. In addition to being a brilliant Los Angeles based photographer, she runs the ARTnudes Network site that focuses exclusively on fine art nude photography. Its roots go back to 1997. It is a place for fine art models and photographers to find each other for symbiotic creative relationships and share their work. It also features articles and blogs, just like this one, discussing the work and various workshops related to Figure Photography. Check out the official ZoeFext X blog to see more work and the stories of the other photographers and models who were part of our incredible artist retreat in Mexico this year.

Out of that also sprang Community Zoe, another Fine Art Nude Photography site, launched in 2002. Community Zoe, allows members to upload their photographs for critiques by the rest of the community. It’s also a resource for sellers and buyers of  photography prints, books and articles about the genre.

So clearly, she knows what she’s doing on the computer machine.

Oh, and she puts together this world class international Fine Art Nude Photography artist retreat in some far flung corner of the world. ZoeFest. Every. Damn. Year.

Zoe has mad super powers. And she’s a very generous and nice person. And she shot on film. It’s been lovely to see what she has managed to process so far.

I will admit that myself being a ZoeFest newbie this year, my first task was to meet and coordinate shooting schedules with all of the models, so it took me a few days to really meet and learn the names of all the photographers at ZoeFest. I would hear back from the models about the great shoots they had been having with Ron, Cam, Carlos, Malcolm, Gerry and many others. I had some catching up to do!

First a little blog note: If you’re reading this at billysheahan.com/blog, you may have to join the ARTnudes Network to see some of the photographers’ links. Worth it if you’ve been following along on the adventure. If you’re reading this at the ZoeFest X Baja Sur Blog, well then, you’re already here and in! A gold star for you!

First, the Aussies! Why the Aussies first? Well because they were incredibly fun to meet and second, because… well… A comes first.

Cam Attree hails from Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. For those Yanks who always tend to be geographically challenged, yes, Australia has states like we do in the U.S.. Australia is also not to be confused with Austria. If you call an Australian an Austrian, you’ll be lucky if all they do is roll their eyes at you and slap their own forehead. Completely different continents. Completely different in many, many critical ways.

End of World Geography lesson.

But back to Cam. Cam is a genius photographer. He’s been shooting for 20 years and has an incredible body of work to show for it. He also has a great blog where you can hear the voice behind the photos.

Malcolm Grant joined us from Sydney in New South Wales, Australia. Yes, the one with the Opera House. Malcolm originally came from a music background (music and photography never seem to be too far apart, it seems) and discovered his love for photography while at university. A familiar tale, not unlike my own. To me, his brilliant work does have a lyrical quality about it. Must be that music thing. Mal’s blog has more incredible images.

Both Malcolm and Cam could often be seen under the veranda at Todos Santos Inn, editing their photos almost as soon as their shoots were completed. I would glance at their computer screens as I was running off to one of my shoots, stopping only to let my jaw hang there for a bit. Both incredibly disciplined by day, and then off to equally disciplined (although that may not be quite the correct word) nights of serious social enjoyment. Gotta love the Aussies.

Michael Marlborough joined us from Melbourne in Victoria, Australia. Michael, in addition to being an extremely talented Fine Art photographer, was also one of the behind the scenes heros at ZoeFest. Michael rounded up the photographs that would be part of the nightly evening slideshows of work, past and present. And when I say rounded up, I really truly mean that it was like he was a cowboy on a horse with a lasso, reining in a group of well meaning but incredibly late and disorganized artist types (myself, fully included in that list), so that we wouldn’t all be staring at a blank white wall come slideshow time. I’ve been that guy in the past. It’s not a pretty job.

I’m really at a loss to imagine how he found time to put everything together by the time the projector was fired up each night. A special tip of my hat to Michael. Well done, my friend.

And then there was Mel Brackstone. I’ve mentioned her in earlier blogs, but she deserves to be repeated. Mel is also from Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. Mel and her husband Scott and I spent hours talking about photography, life and our adventures. Mel is a brilliant storyteller with her photography. She really is telling stories with her work. Unlike some of the photography crew, she hasn’t been shooting for decades, but her fresh approach to her nude work, both male and female nudes is an experience in joyfulness that often comes when an artist blooms after living a bit doing other things.

Now let’s follow the sun over to India.

The story of Sukumar is one of my favorites. He’s a scientist! Yeah, I know! Super cool. Born and raised in India and now living in New York, he has been making photographs since his teenaged years, but science was his training and eventually his profession before embarking on his journey as a Fine Art Nude photographer in the late 1990s. I have two distinct memories of Sukumar from ZoeFest. The first being when I nearly tripped over his shoot one of my first early mornings at Todos Santos Inn while sleepily moving through the veranda with my first cup of coffee.

“Oh, hello. Pardon me.”

Carlotta Champagne in the Pool

The second when was I was picking up one of the models on another early morning from Hotelito and there was Sukumar, lying on the steps of the main house with a sombrero over his face, waiting for another model. I was getting better at not tripping over Sukumar by this point. His work is beautiful, abstract, blurred, spinning, twisting in very compelling ways.

Carlos David, an impressive photographer born in Portugal, now living in Canada in the city of Kirkland in Quebec, just outside of Montreal. Carlos made me jealous every time I saw his camera pack. Unlike me, he did not leave his beautiful Hasselblad camera at home. He also brought lights and lighting accessories. And of course, film! Ah, film. And with those things, he made stunning photographs. Until he manages to find a moment to process his glorious film, we’ll all have to enjoy his past work.

Zvaal is another amazing photographer originally from Belgium, now working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the United States. Zvaal was my car mate up from the airport at Cabo to Todos Santos and was very helpful in locating Ella Rose on foot at the terminal while I drove in circles around the airport trying not to get a parking ticket from the Federales. He was also a Zoefest rookie, so by the time we arrived at Todos Santos and headed off to one of the many parties of the adventure, it was good to see a face I knew.

Well that’s the first half of the photographers group, so many more in the next entry.

Today’s photos are two I made of the lovely Carlotta in the pool at Todos Santos Inn. I love working with models and water. Carlotta stretched and floated and danced on the surface of the water. So beautiful!

More to come!

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