I’m in awe of what humans can do. Artistically. Physically. Gracefully. Beautifully. At our best, we create extraordinary things. Inventive things. It’s our innate curiosity and expression that defines us, both individually and collectively.
Artists. Explorers. Thinkers.
I had two brilliant art models staying at the studio over this past Labor Day weekend. Brooke Lynne is a wonderful collaborator. I’ve learned a lot about the simplicity and beauty of the human form creating art with her over the years. And she was traveling through Chicago this time with another wonderful art model I was aware of, but never had the pleasure of creating with, Romahni Rose.
And all beautiful fine-art seriousness aside, Brooke and Romahni are two of the most delightfully goofy, nerdy, geeky, witty women I know. In the best possible way. Lovely goofballs, if I only could use two words. Just fun. I’m fairly sure Brooke’s inner nature can be best summed up with her new, Little Mermaid contemplating The Doctor’s hand, outstretched through the TARDIS door, t-shirt that she was wearing one of the days of her visit. Brooke has an awesome collection of Doctor Who t-shirts.
Romahni is from Australia. I have to say, Oz is becoming one of my favorite places to collect friends and collaborators from. They’re always wonderful. Brilliant. Creative. Fun. Or maybe I’ve just been lucky that I haven’t met the ones that aren’t. But so far, I can’t find a bad thing to say about anyone I’ve met from Australia.
So yes, Romahni continued the streak of tremendously lovely Aussies I’ve had the honor to meet and make art with. I’m very fortunate her U.S. tour brought her through Chicago before she headed off to create more incredible art in Europe and Asia.
The evening before our shoot, Brooke and Romahni and I were out having dinner near my studio when the subject came up of what we were going to shoot the next day. True to my usual artistic nature, my initial concept was a little vague. I really like to create a foundation and leave room for discovery. And I knew that both Brooke and Romahni would be brilliant in filling the literal and figurative space I was leaving slightly undefined.
When photographing two nude art models together, it certainly raises the difficulty of avoiding something that expresses the wrong idea. There’s certainly a time and place for art that leans toward the more sensual side, but with Brooke and Romahni, I really felt I had the opportunity to create something that was more about the balance and grace of form. Something that expressed the human awe I started this posting describing.
I knew if I created a space where we could work beyond the side-by-side, flat two dimensionality of them both being on the same plane, adding the element of z-space in how they were positioned in relation to each other, it would give the images something fresh that I hadn’t done before working with two models. I decided to use two metal tables of varying height, sometimes next to each other and sometimes positioned one close and the other further away from the camera, allowing Brooke and Romahni a place to find complementary poses and positions with more chances for discovery along the way.
They’re both brilliant at bending, twisting, turning, contorting and balancing. I knew that by simply giving them both a starting point and an occasional direction to angle an arm or extend a leg to complete a line or visually pleasing angle, was all I was going to have to do. It was a joy to watch them figure it out together. Sometimes Brooke would watch Romahni get into a pose and quickly figure out how to complement it with her own body, sometimes, the other way around.
I became a visual conductor of the performances evolving in front of me by two very skilled models, offering affirmation when the convergences were perfected, sometimes only for a second or two because of the precarious balancing. It was completely inspiring to witness.
Humans can do amazing things. I’ll have many more photographs from my collaboration with Brooke and Romahni to share with you Gentle Readers in the not too distant future. Stay tuned!