A Site for Photographers by Photographers

Gallery > Amy Powers > Photos > Self Portrait Nudes > Overexposed: Curled Nude

Why this was chosen as Photograph of the Week

Interesting and unique angle on a familiar pose and excellent use of light

Critiques

G . , August 11, 2001; 07:16 P.M.

This is a bit overexposed for me, but the lighting is great. I was drawn to it because the curled position indicated an 'insular' feeling, you could see the face, & the cam level made good perspective. I find the idea very appealing. I can imagine where you're coming from and what you were trying to achieve. Glad you posted it despite the overexposure.

Something that makes me curious about your self-portraits is: do you see yourself as 'yourself' or 'somebody else'? Just wondered because I have taken many self-portraits myself & I try to reflect an aspect of myself, but I am aware it is perhaps easier to act another 'role'. I think it is preferable to be yourself & I suspect this is what you do. Portraits that are not genuine reflecting the self often look too deliberately posed. Yours don't, they appear to reveal a real part of you & I congratutulate you for sharing this. Your technical & artistic skills are definitely to be admired.

Is this comment helpful?

Amy Powers , August 19, 2001; 11:27 P.M.

Oh my god...I've been chosen for POW? Ok, on one hand, I am very, very pleased - thank you, Photo.net.
Now let me go get my kevlar suit on. Then cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war...

Tim Elliot , August 19, 2001; 11:27 P.M.

Amy Powers gets a photo of the week. Well done. Always interesting work and interesting critiques. What does that say about the direction of photo.net? Though they picked a more conservative pose... I think the "head back" shot is a stronger image then this from the same series.

Is this comment helpful?

Dan Michael , August 20, 2001; 12:05 A.M.

BRAVO !

Well deserved Amy! The composition, position of the model (your pose) and the lighting all serve to make this shot worthy of the POW. Letting the upper arm highlights blow out accentuates the face and the darker shadows that result in adding to the feeling of the pose.....Well Done!

Is this comment helpful?

Amy Powers , August 20, 2001; 12:08 A.M.

A bit of background...this picture was taken with me sitting on the island in the middle of my partner's kitchen. The lighting is a single household tungsten bulb in a recessed overhead fixture - the ceiling is about ten feet, and the island about three and a half feet high. I threw some black satin-y type material over the island.

Of course, my tripod isn't tall enough to get the angle I wanted, so I wound up putting it on a small stepladder and then tying the legs of the tripod to it! Pretty rickety and it definitely made me nervous, but...I could then prefocus, set the timer, and sort of hop from the ladder onto the island, try not to slide off, as the fabric on the marble counter was very slippery, and pose.

Altogether a somewhat Rube Goldberg experience in self-portraits. But I had done some stuff with a very narrow single down spotlight, and I wanted to try a single overhead light that was farther away and broader to see what I got.

I also wanted to try deliberately overexposing, since I usually tend to go with darker, more underexposed images.

If I could change anything, I would use a matte fabric - the shine of the satin is distracting and the wrinkles don't work.

V. 'ESCU , August 20, 2001; 12:26 A.M.

I wonder why did you scored your own picture? - Is it another kind of self-portraiture?

Otherwise, I am an admirer of your nudes, but definitely not of this one: it is too concrete. You have some more abstract nudes: in the cage, in the empty room, the ones you called "filtered nudes" - all these are showing an excellent use of light (and shadows), as well as some excellent compositions, and even some interesting messages. But this one shows and says not big things to me: I don't like the overexposure combined with this too classical pose (I would have preferred more grays), and the composition has something wrong (isn't it the head too big?), …a message? - (a little bit too theatrical to say something interesting to me).

I didn't rate this picture, because I rate only what I like most, or it is far to be the case with this one. But I promise to take a look this week to your other nudes (that I like) and to score them highly.

Uh, but I have to see this one for 7 days on my navigator's homepage…

Is this comment helpful?

V. 'ESCU , August 20, 2001; 12:49 A.M.

In fact I went this evening to your presentations and I scored high: 3 "filtered nudes", the one from "B/W Cage", 2 from "B/W Downlight", 2 from "Nudes in an Empty Room", 1 from "Nude Self Portraits" that doesn't appears in another presentation. That's to prove you that I like lots of your nudes, but not this POW one, definitely not this one!

Is this comment helpful?

kyle martens , August 20, 2001; 01:05 A.M.

Over Exposed ?!?!

I think the concept of “over exposure” in this picture is being mistaken for dramatic lighting. When I develop B&W in the darkroom I look for a pure white and a pure black to find the right exposure. This picture has both and everything in-between. Some parts of the subject may be over exposed while other parts are under exposed but I think that the most important part – your face – is perfect.

More even lighting might have resulted in a more even exposure but you would lose the dramatic effect. I don’t know if you achieved what you wanted but it looks pretty darn good to me.

Is this comment helpful?

Bernhard Mayr , August 20, 2001; 03:53 A.M.

It was high time for Amy to get a POW for her beautiful body of work!

Is this comment helpful?

Simon Evans , August 20, 2001; 03:55 A.M.

A refreshing portfolio

Amy, the portfolio from which this image is taken is one of the most original and interesting I have seen on photo.net. While I don't necessarily like them all, I find most of them, including this one, intriguing and more than either merely figure studies or titillation for male viewers.

So much nude work that I see in photo magazines veers toward the 'glamour' or self-conciously 'arty' attempts (which often fail) that this down-to-earth series of experimental shots really strike me as being unusual. I urge you to continue with your work, and explore the many original ideas you have. I also like the PolaPan images, I think it's time I dug out that Polaroid processor I bought years ago.

As to this image: the fact that it is titled 'overexposed' suggests that this is intentional, and viewers should realise this is deliberate and not something to be corrected. I like the lighting and the pose. The head is against black, while the rest of the body has a kind of halo around it. I like this effect very much. I also like the facial skin tones. The right foot (I think it is) is bleached out and distracting. OTOH I don't have a problem with the fabric - the ripples give it substance and texture, which is key information about what it is. Plain black would IMHO have robbed it of value.

A fascinating and inspiring image.

Is this comment helpful?

Michael Walter , August 20, 2001; 04:09 A.M.

The best

I disagree that this is not the best of the folder. I think it is. I think the fetal positioning conveys the vulnerablility and openness that your other pictures do in a more graphical manner, but that bright elbow and strong back give a feeling of resistance and add punch. The only thing compositionally that bugs me is your left foot. The overall tones in the picture are so pleasing and accent the form of your body over texture, but the lines and shades on your foot are inconsistent.

Congratulations on a well deserved POW.

BTW, while I agree with Kyle's comments on the pure white to pure black range as being a useful tool to identify a quality exposure, and while this picture naturally has that, one has to be careful not to force the issue with increasing the contrast of a thin negative, either chemically or digitally. It is very tempting to do it, but it rarely meets the quality of a well exposed picture from the start. This picture gives a nice range so I would probably not choose to describe the arm as "blown out", and instead describe it as the "pure white" of a well-exposed picture, though "blown out" was my first reaction to the thumbnail.

Is this comment helpful?

Mani Sitaraman , August 20, 2001; 06:13 A.M.

Terrific!! I like the arm and face pose, typically a "window/table" pose, contrasting with the rest of the body and obviously unusual angle.

A small technical note-this picture demonstrates how the very great depth of field of digital cameras can be put to positive use...

Is this comment helpful?

Bob Stapleton , August 20, 2001; 06:21 A.M.

Excellent

Superb - I love this shot in fact i think that all of your shots are classy, artistic and very well done - keep up the great work

Is this comment helpful?

Critter ... , August 20, 2001; 06:45 A.M.

Kudos...

Great perspective, nice detail in the hair, and I agree that the overexposure adds to the drama. I also second the notion about the cloth - it's texture and not distracting. Another example of a fresh eye stretching a cliched subject from within the rules. Good Job

Is this comment helpful?

Matteo Del Grosso , August 20, 2001; 07:35 A.M.

Aesthetics 7, Originality 7

I like it but I find the rectangular blanket disturbing the body shape.

Is this comment helpful?

Evan Thomsen , August 20, 2001; 08:07 A.M.

Aesthetics 8, Originality 8

First off, congrats on making photo of the week. What can I say, I like almost all of your work, it does not shock me to see one make it.

This is a wonderful shot, and although "overexposed" in the technical sense (and I'll ignore the pun of being overexposed due to being nude... :) ), I think it is the correct exposure as far as an artistic statement. What else can I say, other then as with almost all your work I've seen in this forum, it's fantastic.

Is this comment helpful?

Ira Crummey , August 20, 2001; 09:21 A.M.

Well deserved, your self portraits are first rate. I still don't know if you properly remunerate your model however:-) Congratulations.

Is this comment helpful?

MaryBall Pierson , August 20, 2001; 10:19 A.M.

Overexposed nude

Stunning. Love the lighting from above and thank you for the complete detail on how you did the shot! The texture, tones and shadowed curves are beautiful. I'd like to have seen pure black beneath... agree the wrinkles and shine distract - but not much. It works and congratulations! Also nice to see this one has not generated any of those usual nasty unhelpful comments sometimes found throughout the POW.

Is this comment helpful?

Steve Strawn , August 20, 2001; 11:07 A.M.

Crap!

Thats a week without photo.net from work now. This is a great shot, though. I like it even better knowing how it was shot. I wish more photogs would go into this kind of detail.

Is this comment helpful?

Carl Johnson , August 20, 2001; 11:54 A.M.

Congrats

Amy, I have commented on your work before but I had to drop a quick comment to congratulate you and having one of your many fantastic images chosen as Photograph of the Week. I knew that it was only a matter of time given the quality of your work and the recognition it has been receiving within the Photo.net community. Keep up the great work!

Is this comment helpful?

Zap Trax , August 20, 2001; 12:09 P.M.

Lighting problems

A good photo but I think you have some lighting problems; for me the overexposure doesn't work. I find the lighting on the shoulders, arm and elbow way too hot; it seems to make your shoulders look very flat and squared off. The amount of light falling on the top of the right foot is also very distracting; I find my eye goes from your face to your elbow to your foot. I think less exposure on these areas would have made my eye come to rest on the serenity of your face. Given this was a self portrait, it is amazing that the lighting and pose are so good.

Is this comment helpful?

Mark Crame , August 20, 2001; 12:09 P.M.

"It was high time for Amy to get a POW for her beautiful body of work!"

Exactly put.I can't agree more! I wish I could take this kind of shot, (I think the hairs on my legs would be distracting) I guess I feel inspired now. All this talent, and a knowledge of literature too! (Shakespeare I think?) I really love your work Amy, and, in my opinion, you definately deserve POW - perhaps even folder of the week!

Is this comment helpful?

Dennis Keizer , August 20, 2001; 12:13 P.M.

Congratulations on POW Amy. I must agree with Tim though, the head back pose would have been my choice. So many good ones to choose from!

Is this comment helpful?

Daniel McMath , August 20, 2001; 12:36 P.M.

Nice work

As someone who periodically attempts to make decent self-portraits, I can recognize the amazing difficulty that it takes to come up with something even halfway decent, let alone beautiful, as is the case with this shot. I wish that more photo-netters would describe the details of their work, as you have -- it really helps those of us who are trying to learn. BTW, I think your use of satin worked quite well, contrary to your negative opinion. IMHO, it separates the black background from the black table texturally (I made that word up), keeping the background from blending into one uniform bland mass. <shrug> Just my $.02, you can see from my work that I'm really just an amateur.

Is this comment helpful?

Nick S , August 20, 2001; 12:46 P.M.

I too have previously commmented on your work Amy... positively I might add. Congrats on this photo, and it's nice to see that Armageddon has so far failed to materialize (although I think it's only a matter of time ;-))

Anyways, you may have enlightened photo.netters with respect to some of your other photos, but perhaps the broader exposure of a POW may be a good time to ask again - how on earth do you pose yourself for these self portraits? Do you use an assistant to help? Do you use digital previews? Do you take dozens upon dozens of photos? Or are you simply god-like in your ability to visualize your pose from a completely different perspective? Enquiring minds want to know!

Is this comment helpful?

Zap Trax , August 20, 2001; 01:31 P.M.

One more point...

After looking at this photo of the week I viewed the other images you have posted. You are both a talented photographer and a great model. I especially like two nude self-portraits: "Head back nude" and "nude with mirrors". These images are exceptionally beautiful and sensuous. It is difficult to look at "head back nude" and not be taken with the desire to bestow a kiss on those lips. I get pretty bored looking at nudes that make the model look no more human than a piece of driftwood.

I think you are a better photographer than many contemporary shooters being celebrated for their nudes (Greg Gorman, Howard Schatz, Bruce Webber, etc.). They use $50,000 in lighting equipment and don't achieve the result you get with a single bulb. Thanks for sharing your work with us.

Is this comment helpful?

Amy Powers , August 20, 2001; 03:01 P.M.

Thanks to everyone for your comments...although its only Monday, I am not taking off the kevlar suit just yet...
I've been asked about posing - well, it helps that I have modeled a lot for other photographers, mostly catalog stuff and some glamour. I still do some, even though I'm now the wrong side of thirty for that industry. But it taught me about poses and angles and such - so, practice helps. I do it alone, because I think an assistant would inhibit me. I wouldn't try weird things that sometimes work in front of another person. I like working alone.

My suggestions for self portraits...well, its sometimes helpful to mark out the area of lens coverage with little bits of tape or something, so you don't cut off your own head.

Try placing a mirror as close the camera as possible so you can see how the pose looks to the camera. I have also done shots where I put a mirror right behind the camera, and I could see the LED screen of the camera in it. Too small for fine tuning, but helpful for general composition.

Practice the pose before you shoot. When you get one you like, then get up and set the timer. To remember exactly what you did, say it out loud to yourself - "Left leg down and folded, right leg up leaning to the left, right elbow on knee, left hand on left knee..." When you only have a few seconds this helps!

And hey, go for some drama, do something different. You don't to show them to anyone else if they don't work. Thats the beauty of working alone - do whatever comes into your head. No one will see them, unless you want them to. Take risks. Be silly. Experiment. Like any shoot, many of the won't be what you want. But I have found it to be a very interesting exercise, stimulating my creativity for my other shoots with other models.
Again, thanks for comments and input...

Vahid Naziri , August 20, 2001; 04:04 P.M.

Very nice. Congratulations on the POW.

Is this comment helpful?

Matthew Wightman , August 20, 2001; 06:14 P.M.

D.O.W vs. P.O.W

It's a nice photo. I have to just come out and say it- I can't completely respect digital photography. Ansel Adams had the opinion that bracketing meant you didn't know how to shoot something properly. I feel that philosophy can be taken towards digital work: Shoot, Look at the screen, oh it didn't turn out? Erase it and Shoot again. Maybe photo.net should Have Digital Of the Week along with Photo Of the Week.

Is this comment helpful?

Scott Eaton , August 20, 2001; 07:00 P.M.

Clean, somewhat sensual, yet very neutral and not intrusive. Most nudes taken by men tend to be either too stark and rigid (our capacity for spatial reference over-riding our aethestic sense) or just plain subliminal and too sexual. Most of Amy's work is pretty gender neutral and not intended to arouse, yet would annoy the hell out of a physiology illustrator, which is a good thing.

I'd like to see the lighted circle on the floor be larger and perhaps envelop the form more, or be less distinct to avoid what is a borderline "X-files" look. Pose is good, along with camera angle and light source, but the obvious clipping by the digital camera is annoying. Those of you who think it's jusitifed because it look like a conventional print that's been solarized need to forget about those photo 101 tricks.

It's becoming obvious that Amy is exceeding the capacity of her digital camera and might want to team up with a local photographer who is experienced with B/W. Many of her images, including this one, would be stunning in DR5 B/W, but the modesty allowed with a digital camera is a fairly large factor when shooting self nudes.

Is this comment helpful?

Laurent de Lageneste , August 20, 2001; 07:13 P.M.

Love it!

Just an other congrat' to Amy and 2 comments for Matthew: 1) Amy doesn't seems like a "Shoot, Look at the screen, oh it didn't turn out? Erase it and Shoot again" kind of photographer to me, her work shows knowledge and skills. 2) A good picture is a good picture, independently of the medium you used to record it (I think even Adams must have done some pretty serious selection and lab work on his negatives, he even wrote a few books on it if I remember well... now that I think about it, he even used the digital camera of the moment (Polaroid) quite extensively and not only to produce test-shots).

Is this comment helpful?

Seven Stuartson , August 20, 2001; 08:32 P.M.

Once the world was flat

It's the year 2001 and some still grumble into grey beards about analog vs digital. LHU. I've yet to see an analog image on photo.net - THAT would be interesting. Nice dreamy pic Amy. Regards.

Is this comment helpful?

Jason Schock , August 20, 2001; 09:05 P.M.

Finally...

Damn, it's about time that one of the few women with work on photo.net gets some recognition.

Special cheers to you Amy for being in love with the female form and unafraid to display it.

Is this comment helpful?

jorge Gasteazoro , August 20, 2001; 11:51 P.M.

Talent.

All I have to say it this print is proof that talent does not require expensive toys to produce something beautiful. Well done Amy, from your background explanation you mention about putting the cloth on the island, if the top is wood I might have chosen to just leave it showing. As to the overexposre I think this IS the correct exposure, maybe you could have burned your arm and face just a tiny bit, but overall I think the POW is well deserved. Cheers......

Is this comment helpful?

Matthew Wightman , August 21, 2001; 01:32 A.M.

Glad I made some waves

What I am challenging is the skill involved with digital photography. The Shoot, erase, try again scenario was an illustration of the way one can abuse the ease of the digital world. Not to mention digital omits any kind of developing process- which is half of the art of photography. I won't back down from my opinion, because I don't have to. But I never directly challenged anyone's talent- only the validity of a particular format.

Is this comment helpful?

CT Jones , August 21, 2001; 01:51 A.M.

Oh Narcissus

Wonder if the comments would be so generous if it were not a nude woman. God is in the details and the addition of a person behind the lens would be helpful in the details and composition. Sorry but the scattershop chance image is fine, but if she was exposing film it would be much less successful. I am sorry as heck to see you guys thinking with something else here. The shot's blown out and the lighting on the foot and shoulder aren't working. I agree that the digital shots should be on a seperate list. Luddite be damned! Worst of all? Why do the only women subjects you post here have to be nude? The cult of personality marches on. Clyde

Is this comment helpful?

Matt Reeves , August 21, 2001; 07:04 A.M.

Response to Matthew Whittingham

I personally enjoy this picture. I do agree with a previous poster that the overexposure from the upward light has an alien abuction feel that is inconsistent with the facial expression. To Matthew Wittingham: I used to believe that digital was polluting the viewing public by allowing people to do things at the click of a button, without spending time and effort mastering the wet darkroom skills that were previously required. Some painters in the 1880's contended early photographs were not art because photographers chetaed and used cameras instead of brushes. Traditional black and white images are different then digital images in that the skills required to create them are different. Judging an image based on its medium is like judging a person by the color of their skin. Just because I manually developed and printed an image does not mean that it is inherently better then a digital image. It only means I spent some time in the darkroom as opposed to spending some time in photoshop. Being a master of any given format comes from creativity using that format to convey your personal artistic message. If using a digital camera and photoshop is not "art", where does it stop? Do people who use labs to devlop get tossed out of the artist circle next? When Ansel Adams helped create polaroid land film? Are the pictures he took with his polaroid not art because of the camera he used? The presented image is the art, NOT the format.

Is this comment helpful?

Matt Marquez , August 21, 2001; 08:46 A.M.

The look

I like many things about this picture. The angle from which it was taken, the minimal background, lots of shadow and that even though it's a nude, most of the picture is left to your imagination. Even though it looks overexposed at the top, I think it would not look as good if it was darker.

Is this comment helpful?

Dan Andrews , August 21, 2001; 08:50 A.M.

Aesthetics 8, Originality 8

Amy--

Kudos to you. Your images are truly beautiful. You have a unique approach to studio photography which creates a gut reaction in your viewers.

As a travel photographer, I don't share your vision of the world. But I appreciate it a great deal. And if, someday, I stumble upon a place and am reminded of the forms in your photos, I just might get a shot that evokes the lines and shapes which you so elegantly capture.

Congratulations on POTW.

Is this comment helpful?

william harvey , August 21, 2001; 09:50 A.M.

GREAT

Amy Congrats! It is a great work and ofcourse it is just tip of an icebreg of your entire contributions. Excellent and I love this photo as well. It has a definite message in the photo. Though it is overexposed, it adds a specific clarity to the image as well the message it is trying to convey. Great and congrats!!

Is this comment helpful?

tom bercic , August 21, 2001; 11:27 A.M.

Bravo!

One of my nude photos...

I'm pro photographer from Slovenia. Very nice to see some girl who have courage to take beautifull naked pictures of herself. I prefered BW shots. Keep going!!!!

Is this comment helpful?

Luis Rivas , August 21, 2001; 01:00 P.M.

Cautivante Fotografía

Nice, simple yet captivating pose. What I mostly like is the expression, like totally absent from this dimension. I find your pics amazing, even more considering that you work alone. Keep going, Amy.

Is this comment helpful?

Matthew E. Kelly , August 21, 2001; 04:58 P.M.

Inspiring

Congratulations on the POW! Beautiful, pensive, introspective image. While the overexposure is evident on the forearm, the exposure enhances other, more subtle features such as your hair against the background.

Fantastic shot, and well worthy of POW!

Is this comment helpful?

Philippe Talbot , August 21, 2001; 07:22 P.M.

Based on Amy's comment, it seems that one of the great advantages of digital photography is the privacy you get. ( There's no need to worry about sending it to a photolab) As she said, you are the only one that sees it, and I support anything that encourages artistic thought. Great work Amy!

Is this comment helpful?

Herman Korowdein , August 21, 2001; 09:48 P.M.

MY THOUGHTS

Amy, if your aim is to become one of the top self-portrait nude-photographers, you are on the way to success. OVEREXPOSED CURLED NUDE suffers, like all people-photos which are shot from above, the compressed body 'syndrome', namely, that the head is out of proportion to the body size. Trying to be inventive has the potential to back-fire,- by other parameters being compromised! Most nude-photographers take pictures of bodies due to their beauty, as seen in the eyes of the beholder. OVEREXPOSED CURLED NUDE does show very little of your well proportioned and elegant body. I'm almost inclined to suggest to you, to make up your mind: WHETHER to be a nude-model OR a nude-photographer. In both instances you do promise to achieve greatness.

Is this comment helpful?

glenn baker , August 21, 2001; 11:11 P.M.

Aesthetics 9, Originality 7

In a word "SEXY!"

Is this comment helpful?

Chris Battey , August 21, 2001; 11:42 P.M.

wide and abstract..?

Hi amy. I've been using a coolpix for twelve months to shoot people, mostly flashlit. One of the problems inherent with digital is the rather shallow latitude, if you don't accurately record a highlight, then you'll record nothing at all...and there's no way you'll print down, or burn digitally, something that isn't even remotely recorded. I think your well balanced self portrait suffers from the highlight blow out. It's a good abstract, I imagine your on the widest end of the cameras zoom (?). Perhaps the most interesting part of the image would be a rectangle drawn just above your right armpit, taking the wide shape of your arm, with your face emerging...this could make a more interesting portrait, for me anyway.

Have you seen Andre Kertesz's nudes?

Keep plugging away, I do think the Polapan work on your site is a lot more intriguing than your self nudes, however you may leave some people here dissapointed if you no longer model.

Best Regards CB.

Is this comment helpful?

V. 'ESCU , August 21, 2001; 11:44 P.M.

Today is only Tuesday (my previous messages are from Monday) and I wonder how did you managed to erase your own rating (the double 8)?

This second part of the comment is added Wednesday: I just found out how any member can manage his own ratings (or, the way you deleted your rating to your own picture). It was so simple: from "My Workspace".

Is this comment helpful?

Philip Turner - San Francisco, CA , August 22, 2001; 12:50 A.M.

Radiance Not Overexposure

Evocative, radiant, sensual, appears to be lit from within. Singularly encaptures the viewer and draws them in. This captures elements beyond film and apertures. Overexposure is a technicians perspective. I am at a loss for words. (This is a rare phenomena.)

Is this comment helpful?

Andy Ly , August 22, 2001; 06:28 A.M.

blah

I think a lot of people are giving positive feedback because it's a nude photo of a female. Maybe next week, they'll post a photo of a nude male with the same technical flaws. Then everyone would flame the photo for being technically bad. Sure, I'll give Amy credit for being so brave and confident to post a self-nude photo. But judging by the lighting technique, it was not well executed. The highlights on her hair is obviously blown out. Theres a small shadow in front of her ear. Then, look at her feet on the right. It looks as if it wasnt even attached to the body. Then her other feet is much brighter than her right foot. Her left arm not getting much exposure is blending in with her back, which makes it look as if there is a an object poking out of her back. The right arm is overexposed as well, only to be shadowed by her head. Her breast is shadowed with a leak of light hitting the breast, which doesnt represent anything. Maybe an advertisement for Earrings? I think not. Doesn't do it for me.

Is this comment helpful?

Samuel Stone , August 22, 2001; 12:54 P.M.

Amy, congratulations on being selected for POW! I think it's very elegant and has a nice sensuality as well. As far as being "overexposed", I guess you can say it acheives this on several levels:)

Is this comment helpful?

V. 'ESCU , August 22, 2001; 03:29 P.M.

To the people who expressed admiration to Amy's body instead of admiring her art

I don't think there might be a more vexing remark about a nude than to say to his or her author: "what a beautiful body"! Say it to the model, if you want to flatter her or him, but do never say it to the artist, unless you want to insult her or him! Now, Amy's position here is a little bit difficult as model and artist at the same time.

Why do I say these things? Because people have to distinguish between the three ways of representing a human body:

the NUDE - an artistic representation,

the SEXY to PORNO picture, draw, etc… - all sensual representations,

the ANATOMIC PLATE - a scientific representation.

If you say "what a beautiful body" you place yourself in a sensual approach, which may be vexing to the artist but flattered to the model. And these three ways of representing the human body cannot be mixed, unless you want to get: bad art, or boring sexy-porno, or wrong science.

So, guys (and some girls) who admired Amy's body, keep your hands on the desk! Both hands please!

PS: In my opinion, this photo has nothing with a sexy or porno representation, so I don't understand all these people. I consider it an artistic one, not the best of Amy's nudes (as I mentioned it before), but anyway a pure artistic work.

Is this comment helpful?

Stephane Camus , August 22, 2001; 03:36 P.M.

Impressed!

I am very impressed with what you can do with a digital camera and using self-portrait! I always liked the pictures in your portfolio. This is really artistic nudes. Congratulation for this POW. I like the almost vertical point of view of the camera and the pose you took. It's very sensual and the aesthetic is beautiful. Contrary to a comment I read before, I think it takes more than just a woman naked to get good comments on a picture! Actually, I think it's even harder because you have to take the viewer beyond the fact that he is looking at a nude, and you do it very well. Thanks for your work!

Is this comment helpful?

Blaine Crowther , August 22, 2001; 09:55 P.M.

Aesthetics 8, Originality 8

Very nice use of light especially the way the light brings out the musculature of your back. There is a nice smooth flow clockwise up to your face which evokes the feeling that you know you are being watched...draws in the viewer.

Is this comment helpful?

Steve Roberts , August 22, 2001; 11:19 P.M.

Aesthetics 8, Originality 7

Both erotic and elusive. The only thing I find distracting is the left foot. Unlike the rest of the photo, it contrasts by being rigid and angular. My two cents worth.

Is this comment helpful?

Roberto Lins , August 23, 2001; 04:48 A.M.

After four days looking to this photo I didn't get tired of it. Sometimes I even take a couple of seconds or so to look at it again. An opaque fabric might render the overall scene better, but it still holds its mood as it is due to the well done lightning and composition.

Is this comment helpful?

Ken Thalheimer , August 23, 2001; 07:16 A.M.

Just wish the lighting was a bit less on the arm. Other than that, the photo and pose are terrific

Is this comment helpful?

Steve Hovland , August 23, 2001; 08:19 A.M.

Aesthetics 3, Originality 6

I think the lighting is too harsh.

Is this comment helpful?

Steve Hovland , August 23, 2001; 08:21 A.M.

Harsh

I think the lighting is harsh, not dramatic. I think this illustrates a problem with digital- you may forget to bracket the exposure to get the best rendition.

Is this comment helpful?

Steve Hovland , August 23, 2001; 08:32 A.M.

Better stuff

I think there are better pictures in the group.

Some of the ones illuminated by the narrow slits of light are much more interesting.

I am also interested in the psychology of all the shots showing yourself behind bars.

What is imprisoning you?

Instead of the over-exposure approach, you may want to look at what constitutes high-key, as opposed to your frequent film-noir preferences.

Is this comment helpful?

Nick S , August 23, 2001; 01:33 P.M.

Question

Does the fact that Amy reveals herself not only through her photos, but also *in* her photos have anything to do with the generally positive feedback she seems to be receiving for her work?

MAKE NO MISTAKE, I very much like her work also, and have commented upon this a couple of times here at photo.net, but also in an email to her. But I also wonder if she, or any other photographer, who pursues the medium of self-portraiture as extensively as she does might not be influencing the responses of critics here and elsewhere. The point I am trying to make has nothing to do with the fact that Amy is an attractive (and often nude) female in her uploaded images, but rather with the fact that she is a much more identifiable photographer than some other excellent photographers at this site (i.e. who knows what Tony Dummett or Daniel Bayer looks like?). In other words, she is much more of a *person* than an *abstraction*, and I think people in general are less likely to criticize (read "hurt the feelings") of people they feel they know.

Again Amy, I like this and many other of your wonderful photographs, and I think I have been reasonably objective in my praise. But I just thought I would throw out this question for debate (or outright dismissal if people think I'm off my rocker!).

Is this comment helpful?

Mark Jones , August 23, 2001; 08:26 P.M.

congrates on pow Amy! I always said I liked this photo as well as the rest of your work. Looks like you finally get your week in the spot light form photo net. The recagnition you deserve. Hope to see somemore of your work!

Is this comment helpful?

David Lake Clayton , August 23, 2001; 10:23 P.M.

I was going to duck and cover, because those are fightin' words, but I guess I'm in the mood for a rumble.

Who gets to decide what's moral and what's not?

Is the Delacroix painting 'Liberty Leading the People' pornographic? How about Michelangelo's technical drawing-like figure study of a man in a circle? What about Steiglitz' images of Georgia O'Keefe? How about O'Keefe's flower paintings? Rolston's (I think) image of a nude Cindy Crawford, knees up in front of her, posed and lit from above so that her 'privates' are not visible? Botticelli's 'The Birth of Venus'? What about Nick Ut's photograph of a naked girl running down the road after having been burned by napalm? Side view of Giselle naked on a horse (bikini bottom digitally removed)?

There is one image in the group that is certainly more disturbing than the rest, and it has very little to do with exposed breasts and/or genetalia.

Who gets to decide what's moral and what's not?

Is this comment helpful?

Jeff Smith , August 23, 2001; 11:09 P.M.

Stephen F - you definitely are bashing this picture by rating it one/one - if you think its "porn" why are you looking at it and rating it? I bet you looked at the whole folder, too. Keep your hypocritical morality to yourself.

Is this comment helpful?

Marc Schultz , August 23, 2001; 11:47 P.M.

Nude Self Portriats

Your nude self portraits display a powerful artistic expression. Superbly executed and tremendously inspiring. Keep going with it Amy. Regards, Marc Schultz - Bangkok Thailand - www.thaidigitalphoto.com

Is this comment helpful?

Alex A , August 24, 2001; 12:13 A.M.

Great Picture. I do think it is the best one in the folder.

I was surprised by the tolerance of this forum up untill a second ago and was about to comment that this picture is successful in being art: out of more then hundred of thousands viewers no-one mentioned it being porn. I guess the ratio of 1:100461 is not bad also :-)

However, no photo.net from work till next Monday for me.

Is this comment helpful?

Steve Wilkinson , August 24, 2001; 01:31 A.M.

I think Sholte hit on something. I was getting a little nauseated skimming the comments, assuming everybody was fawning because Amy is a visual treat. But Nick made me think and yes, she not only has a face, she provides comments and openly engages in discussions of her work with an intelligent sense of humor instead of the arrogant defensiveness we often see from others. So Amy is not only more real than virtual, but likeably so. That has to influence the feedback she receives about her work. I now attribute the overwhelmingly favorable comments to a higher motivation than originally assumed. And to the very nice and deserving work on Amy's part.

Steve

Is this comment helpful?

Gianfranco Vialli , August 24, 2001; 01:55 A.M.

Originality 4, Aesthetic 4, Model Appeal 9

First of all I want to say I love all of Amy's self nudes. I was a bit surprise why this one became POW because there are plenty of pictures of hers that are better! Without being too critical I would say this from a neutral persepective without any preconcieved ideas, I felt the picture exposure is too bright, despite being nude much of the body is subdued but her head seem to be a focal points of attention. Is it because the image is of a beautiful woman that caught the public's imagination and photo.net to promote it as POW? If it was a male nude or a picture of someone less attractive would we start to critique its technical flaws? Perhaps a 3rd category rating for "model appeal" would set the score straight?

Is this comment helpful?

Michael Schweiger , August 24, 2001; 04:58 A.M.

Nude is not rude

I have read with interest some of the comments about this photo. I am not really qualified to comment about the technical aspects of this image nor does it really grab me in an aesthetic sense...however I think all of Amy's nude photos are reasonably good...not particularly sexual, always tasteful, yet they also convey her obvious attractiveness. How is that sexual or pornographic? I believe that it is up to the individual to decide what offends them...but if you find this image to be "porn" or primarily sexual then I think it says more about your mind than that of the photographer's. Photographers such as (the late) Mapplethorpe are perhaps closer to being borderline than any of the images Amy has posted here. Congratulations to Amy on P.O.W.

Is this comment helpful?

Edward Sukach , August 24, 2001; 09:30 A.M.

Evaluation

Amy, as far as I'm concerned, Esthetics: 10; Whatever else, 11, Overall Emotional content... at least an 11 .. I really can't relate anything in art (and most certainly that is what this is) to numbers. Great work, as usual. Usual, but not "commonplace".

Is this comment helpful?

V. 'ESCU , August 24, 2001; 11:22 A.M.

Excellent Michael Schweiger, I'm resonating with your comment and I'm happy to have my opinions confirmed by somebody else, even more directly: while I employed the smooth term "this people", you pointed the issue by using the more directly "you".

Now, what I want to add here, in view of clarifying my previous presented position, is that this forum concerns pictures as art and people as artists. Not bodies or any other subjects used in (or for) the pictures, may be a worm or a fly. Subjects' images viewed by the artist - YES, this is for commenting here, but the subjects themselves - NO, unless Photo.net members do not want to transform this forum concerned with the artistic photography in a "scandal forum".

Take this as a personal opinion and a proposition for this forum, not as a rule imposed by Vi O'Rel's will - OK?

Is this comment helpful?

Charles Griffin , August 24, 2001; 11:43 A.M.

Overexposed...

I took a quick look at the whole portfolio. Decent work. In reading the photographer's description of doing the POW shot, I know she is trying to come up with something real. I hope she continues this self portrait series and self-journey as long as she lives. There is beauty and reality at every age and rarely is it recorded thoroughly

Is this comment helpful?

Leopold Scotch , August 24, 2001; 01:05 P.M.

My first time

This is my first exposure to a nude woman. Thank you Amy. In response to Stephen F, I find it more sensual than erotic. Does that make it pornographic?

In any case, if I ever have a son I'll make sure to expose him to some nude portraitures before he turns 30. WHAT HAVE I BEEN MISSING...

Is this comment helpful?

Matthew Wightman , August 24, 2001; 01:26 P.M.

To Seven

Digital is the wave of the future- commercial garbage. My standpoint for still photography is always viewed through the lens of cinematography. That is my occupation as well what one of my three degrees is in. When Sony CineAlta digital motion picture cameras were used by Lucas everyone in my field got nervous. I've been to the Panavision seminars for this new digital motion picture camera. It's all hype. It's the same with still cameras as well. It lacks the resolution, contrast ratio, color saturation- the list goes on. Since the Lumiere Brothers and the coldian wet plate process picture taking has changed very little. That's a few hundred years give or take. Digital photography might be "clear" and it might represent RGB in 20,000 pixels. Film is a chemical process, like how your brain interprets, and can represent just like the eye can see. Film sees the scene in hundreds of thousands of "pixels". It's as natural as it can be. Go to Kodak.com for more information on the reason to use film.

Is this comment helpful?

Laurent de Lageneste , August 24, 2001; 02:32 P.M.

OK, I don't have 3 degrees in cinematography so, could you explain why film is "as natural as can be"?

Is this comment helpful?

Joel Keller , August 24, 2001; 03:07 P.M.

reality check ahead

The works that Amy has put up on this site are unique, eye-catching, and provocative, as this discussion has again proven. She adds a needed shot of life to a site that can sometimes be dry and overly technical (in fact, the dullness made my visits less frequent--until I saw her POW and subsequent discussion). I will not take issue on the artistic or technical merits of this POW for that and other reasons.

I will, however, take issue with the folks who "applaud" Amy for her "bravery" at showing these pictures of herself on this site. Um, anyone ever think that she actually *likes* showing these pictures to the public and getting comments? I've seen some of her other websites and have noticed that she's not exactly a shy person. Why would she use herself as a subject so many times and post the pictures if she didn't have a little bit of the exhibitionist in her?

"Not that there's anything wrong with that," as Seinfeld and Co. would say, but I'm just trying to inject a little bit of reality into the proceedings.

Is this comment helpful?

Amy Powers , August 24, 2001; 03:58 P.M.

Friday

Well...an interesting collection of comments. Thanks very much to the people who congratulated me and offered meaningful input. I am pleased to hear that (at least some) people feel that I "openly engage in discussions...with an intelligent sense of humor". I have always felt that taking oneself too seriously is the surest way to look foolish.

I do see that the "porn" issue, and just now, the "exhibitionist" issue have reared their heads. Its quite simple - if you think my pictures are porn, don't look at them. As for exhibitionism:

ex·hi·bi·tion·ism n.
The act or practice of deliberately behaving so as to attract attention.
Psychiatry. A psychosexual disorder marked by the compulsive exposure of the genitals in public.

By the first definition, everyone who posts photos for critique is an exhibitionist. I mean, the root word is "exhibit". Artists generally do exhibit their work.
I trust that no one is seriously suggesting I have a psychiatric disorder because I do self portraits. (If so, at least I will be in good company with many other artists!)
And in fact, I do have trepidations about posting sometimes. There is a feeling of vulnerability. People do have a tendency to comment about me as a model rather than as a photographer. It doesn't offend me but its not what I am looking for - I think the fact that I am the model is incidental. Some days I wish I had not disclosed the fact that these are self-portraits, it seems that some people just can't get past that and focus one whether its a decent shot or not. I wonder what the feedback would have been if I had posted them under a male name, perhaps?

But I have gotten some really excellent advice and made some good connections with people through this site, and so thats why I do this. I can't say I understand why someone would wish to label that as something somehow suspect or even pathological.
Again, thanks very much to the people who commented thoughtfully, I appreciate it...

Eric Sheets , August 24, 2001; 04:43 P.M.

Aesthetics 7, Originality 7

Nice composition.

Is this comment helpful?

roger michel , August 24, 2001; 05:12 P.M.

nude portfolio

i bring certain expectations to self-portraits, among them the idea that the artist is trying to speak to the viewer. the problem with these generally lovely images is that the photog seems to have no rapport with her audience, nor is she trying to cultivate one. i suggest -- and i am no expert -- that in future images, the photog will attempt to make herself more accessible to the viewer. this sounds very strange, of course, since the photog, in fact, has left little to the imagination. what i am talking about is some kind of psychological connection. in truth, many of the images seem a little objectifying. fine, but just not what i would expect from self portraits. on the technical side, i suggest trying to incorporate a few reflectors into your lighting schemes. you might like the subtle results. i hope i haven't sounded to negative. the truth is that many of the images are very, very beautiful. good luck with your work.

Is this comment helpful?

Joel Keller , August 24, 2001; 07:55 P.M.

"Some days I wish I had not disclosed the fact that these are self-portraits, it seems that some people just can't get past that and focus one whether its a decent shot or not. I wonder what the feedback would have been if I had posted them under a male name, perhaps?"

I think that's what makes your pictures so appealing (and controversial) to the masses. Taditional nude photography involves how the artist behind the camera interprets the scene in front of him, which just happens to be a nude human form. He or she manipulates the form in front of his or her lens to get the deired effect. One can look at the picture from less of a personal aspect and more of an aesthetic perspective.

You've put yourself out there by admitting that you are the model and photographer. By doing so, you are saying that not only are you the artist, but your form and body is the art, which is quite high self-praise in anyone's book. How that can be construed in any kind of modest context is beyond me.

I have a family friend who is a photographer; she has been doing nudes for years. When I used to look at her work, I looked at it with the same sense of detachment and appreciation for the art that I knew she must have when she posed and took the picture. In your portfolio, Amy, I see an undercurrent to that objectivity that is decidedly non-aesthetic, and yes, sexual in nature (especially some of the dominatrix-type shots which were either on another site or here at one time and removed).

I'm really not trying to be critical of you (but not succeeding, I guess). I'm really trying to skewer some of the naievete I have been seeing in the comments to your portfolio over the last year.

By the way, the reason why I don't post any "useful" comments is because I don't feel I am in a place where I can critique the technical merits of any photo here, since I don't have any pictures up here myself. POW isn't as much for technical critiques as the normal sets of photo comments, since it's already been shown to be a quality photogrpah just by it's appearance on the POW page.

Is this comment helpful?

Xavier E. Garcia, Jr. , August 24, 2001; 08:07 P.M.

X-Files

wow - she has a striking similarity to Scully...no?

=)

Is this comment helpful?

Amy Powers , August 24, 2001; 08:24 P.M.

Roger- You mention one element of my photos that has been pointed out to me before - that the model (me) doesn't look at the camera, and thus is felt to be less connected with the viewer. Its not only my self portraits in which this is true. If you look at my pictures of other models, you'll see that I rarely compose this way for what I call "art photos."

That may seem a redundant term - let me explain. To me, some shots are portraits and some are art photos. (I don't mean that portraits can't be art, its just a figure of speech.) They differ in the sense that portraits are about the individual in the shot. They are intended to portray "Here is X-person, unique individual. They have thoughts and feelings. Perhaps you'd like them. Perhaps not. But they are human, like you. See them..." Sometimes one is more successful with this than others. But allowing for variations according to the subject, thats what I am trying to do with portraits.
I think the trouble with the term "self-portrait" is that it implies I am trying to do the same thing with myself as a model. Thats not the case. What I am trying to do is make art, as pretentious as that may sound, and I am using myself as material for that. The pictures that I model for are not intended to give people a sense of who I am in any purposeful way. (I am sure one can infer certain things from them...) I feel it would detract from my objective to have people relate to the model as individual - so you could say she (me) is objectified in the sense that she is an icon rather than a person.
So they are not intended to convey any sense of me as an individual, rather, I think of them as a physical expression of concepts or feelings.

What concepts? What feelings?- you may ask. Well, thats the question, isn't it? I can tell you what my thoughts were, but I think the reward for the insightful viewer is that they can come to their own conclusions. I've some very interesting conversations at places where my art was hung with people who were looking at it. Its valuable for me to hear what a photo suggests to someone who isn't privy to my process.
Maybe I should rename the folder. I think knowing that I am the model as well as the photographer in these shots is important, as certain issues of composition make no sense without that information, and to give helpful advice people need to know the circumstances of the shot. But aside from practical considerations, the word "self-portrait" may only serve to be misleading people, like Roger, about my intentions.


Addendum to Joel: You say "You've put yourself out there by admitting that you are the model and photographer. By doing so, you are saying that not only are you the artist, but your form and body is the art, which is quite high self-praise in anyone's book. How that can be construed in any kind of modest context is beyond me. "

I am perplexed by your issue with this. Are dancers and singers also immodest too? Is it ok only if they sing songs other people have written, or perform steps others have choreographed? Would I be immodest if someone else had taken these photos?
Yes, I am the artist. And yes, my body is the part of the art. If that seems like hubris to you, then your artistic vison is too restrictive for me. I don't say that all my work is perfect- far from it! I've only just begun. But I do know that good art doesn't get that way by being "modest".

Rich 815 , August 24, 2001; 08:34 P.M.

What if?

Yes, Amy does some wonderful work. I've admired her portfolio for a while now. I cannot help wondering how we would all approach our praise, critique or discussion of this photo and Amy's work in general if, as she mentioned, we did not know they were self-portraits. Or even if somehow Amy were presenting the same photos but herself, the photographer, with a male pseudonym, again as if they were not self-portraits. What would we all think then? Would the photographer just be another nude photog? Would this take away from our admiration of her work, or in discussing it with her? Would it change anyone's point of view or feeling about the work? Are we clouded or influenced to the substance of her work knowing they are self-portraits and that we are discussing them with her, the actual nude model? Does this make a difference? Would there be so much uniqueness to the concept and admiration we all have of "Amy Powers"? This is not meant as criticism but just some thoughts that have come to me as I read everyone's comments. Keep up the wonderful and obviously rewarding work Amy.

Is this comment helpful?

Herman Korowdein , August 24, 2001; 09:51 P.M.

To --Stephen F

Have you ever realized, every time you change into your pyjamas you are looking at PORNOGRAPHY, by your account?- But then, I do not know of what age the viewer may be! My advice: Don't ever take a shower unless properly covered up!! (Adelaide S.A.)

Is this comment helpful?

Matthew Wightman , August 24, 2001; 11:06 P.M.

To Lageneste

The first suggestion I have for you sir is to read- not browse. I stated that one of my degrees was in cinematography. Kind of foolish to get three degrees in the same field. As for elaborating on how I described film- I am not allotted the same courtesy of language and allowed to use 'figures of speech' for reasons of simplicity and length of my post? In essence sir film is a chemical process of the silver halides reacting to the light when the film is exposed. When you 'see' something with your eyes chemical reactions in your brain cause you to 'see' as well. That is precisely why film is as 'natural as can be'. That phrase was illustrating that although film is a man made instrument it represents an image far more naturally than one's and zero's in a digital camera. Again, if you had read my post and put it some effort, instead of bothering me, you'd have seen I directed "you" to Kodak's website. That is where you can research for yourself about film. Ok class you may go to recess and take your potty break.

Is this comment helpful?

Gloria Hopkins , August 24, 2001; 11:58 P.M.

Very nice!

I dont normally comment on POW but felt the need to share my thoughts. It is always interesting to see the debates and I am pleasantly surprised that they can be so energized but remain civil.

Amy I think your work is beautiful. I stumbled across your photot.net home page after seeing one of your posts up for crtique. Im a wildlife photographer but have thought about doing some nude or semi-nude self portraits. I have to tell you that your work really inspired me to try it. I did and they turned out very nice. Im going to try more things and get creative. So, thanks for the inspiration!

As to the critique, its beautiful. I can see how some like the fact that it is overexposed but to me, it really doesnt do much. The skin on your arm appears flat and I dont see the signficance of that in the photo. The very essence of the photo is about curves, but some parts look flat because of the light (or overexposure). The composition and everything else is wonderful.

Is this comment helpful?

George Saronto Stamas , August 25, 2001; 08:36 A.M.

just another opinion

"What I am trying to do is make art, as pretentious as that may sound, and I am using myself as material for that."

Making art is clearly what you are doing. In a fundamental way I think I would describe your efforts as "artless" (an ironic word), therefore not pretentious at all. A painter would never be criticized for doing "nudes" or "self-portraits". As for the overexposure, digital images seem to lend themselves to this, why not use it. Again, I doubt that a painter would be faulted for leaving whole areas as white and thus letting the eye of the beholder fill in the missing information. Why should a photographer not be allowed the same freedom?

Is this comment helpful?

kyle martens , August 25, 2001; 09:44 A.M.

PORN !?!? - W H A T E V E R ! ! !

OH MY GOSH !!! This place has turned into a forth grade tomato slinging war! I can’t believe that some people are actually implying that this image is two pixel short of a “1-900” ad! These must be the same people who feel uncomfortable in an art gallery that doesn’t have fig leaves where you might expect to see them. It is sad to see some people bash clean art just because they have an insecurity complex.

I know how critical women can be about their appearance and their work and so I think it is awesome that Amy would post her pictures for us to admire. I have seen nude models ever since I took art lessons when I was 12 and there is nothing vulgar about displaying or savouring the sight of a beautiful body (and she’s got photography talent too!).

Is this comment helpful?

Gianfranco Vialli , August 25, 2001; 10:35 A.M.

Kyle, you took art lessons with nude models when you were 12? Good on you! They wouldnt allow me to attend life drawing in school even when I was 16, how did you manage that?

Is this comment helpful?

Hank Pennington , August 25, 2001; 02:11 P.M.

Aesthetics 9, Originality 10

Amy-

Like many others I was first struck by the overexposue of the shoulder and arm of the model. Even so, I couldn't break away from the photo. It finally occurred to me that its success in fact hangs specifically on that very aspect.

Our eyes are naturally drawn to light spots in photos, and in this case my view starts at the shoulder, sweeps right along the arm, past the elbow and back to the face. It turns out to be an inovative way to draw attention to the model's face and peaceful, almost contemplative expression.

Another human trait is our need to look where other people have focused their gaze. In this case, even though the model's eyes are closed, we follow that angle of view down to the leg, then follow the curve back up to the torso, and ultimately return to the shoulder to follow the visual pathway again.

This all results in a lot of eye movement and a compulsion to keep looking. It is an especially compelling photo for that reason.

I am rating it as a 9 for aesthetics for only one reason- I can't help wondering how much more compelling the aspects I point out would be if the model were photographed upon a completely black background. I don't have time to do it, but you might try testing this by dropping the background to black using Photoshop.

This is one of the better figure studies I have ever seen, and I encourage you to experiment more with light and dark, and with leading lines. You have struck upon an aspect that I don't see well-explored among the classic masters of the discipline.

This is very, very good work. You have illustrated insites into some potentially exciting new techniques.

Thanks for the treat!

Hank

Is this comment helpful?

Wendy Skratt , August 25, 2001; 07:49 P.M.

Very Interesting...

As I clicked through from the cover page to the comments on this POW, I thought to myself (based on my quick look from the small version) this looks like a nude study done by a guy that is interested in having nude female models around his studio. Not that the image suggests any sexual or pornographic notes in its style, but that the beauty that was being represented looked like it was shot by a man.

Now I will admit that I am particularly sensitive to nude photos of women (very particular about imagery of women in general), generally believing that the subject is overdone (by men in particular for obvious reasons) and rarely original or thought-provoking. Strangely, I've found very few women that have been able to break the mold with regard to the typical "beauty" that it seems men tend to present in nudes of women. So you know my bias right out.

Then after reading the comments and realizing that this was a photo using yourself as a model (I appreciate your distinction that it not be referred to as a self-portrait, although that's a slippery slope) the discussion became interesting to me. I agree with others who noted that the critique was soft and generally complimentary, not only because this is a photo of a nude woman, but also because the critique was being given to the woman that was exposing herself, and mostly to an audience of men. Now this is an interesting social study. (I will leave out, for the sake of simplicity, that several of the critiquers are people you've had discussions with on these boards and who feel they "know" you personally -- which I believe would add to their tendency to flatter and only encourage you.) Men might be willing to be objectively critical to a photo of a nude woman taken by an anonymous photographer, but make the woman that's exposing herself to them the actual subject of that critique and how many men would tend to say anything negative then? In my experience, only men who really thought it was really poor would veer towards a negative comment. (Although, this has not been the case, which again, made this an interesting discussion to follow.)

If you really want the most objective critique of these photos, I don't think you should tell people that you're the photographer as well as the model. But I have to assume that it does matter that it's you in the photo and that the viewer knows that. I know that there's an ease of time restraints and freedom from inhibitions that you have when you use yourself as a model, but I think if you were interested in creating the best compositions and lighting effects to express your ideas that you could best do that with a model. It's not as if a model could not convey the emotions that you do in your photos. It's not as if these poses couldn't be made by models as well as you did them. Having you behind the camera could only improve all the technical aspects of your photos. I find most of your compositions unmeaningful (but not bad). Take, for instance Multiple Max II (nude) compared to your Nude with Mirrors. When you're behind the camera, you can create a better, more effective photo -- except in the case of a self-portrait. So I assume you either have a specific intent of meaning by putting yourself in the photo, or you are doing it to beautify your own body (in which case, you're failing to convey any beauty of interest to me -- see below).

When I know these photos are taken by the subject, I see a woman trying firstly, in most cases, to flatter her body to "standard beauty" norms. Particularly in Water Nude: Self Portrait, until I read your comment about "...half of her is in one world, half another..." I thought, strong shot, but interesting only sexually. I like your theme, but the way you've composed the photo focuses only on the half that's in the air and gives little visual space and no tension to the other half being in the water. The Backbend shot is an exception to this, and is of more interest to me; but again suffers from things that could be improved if you were behind the camera using a model.

This "standard beauty" (for lack of a better term coming to me) is what stands out to me - not the emotions of the body language that, to me, tend to be heavy-handed. My favorite of your photos that I've seen is the Kneeling Nude. It has a meaning that is strongly presented and well executed. Nude Crucifix is also very strong, although besides the visual light play, I'm not getting any particular message of what you're saying about crucifixion -- beyond that you're feeling crucified.

In Draped Nude (Polagraph), you explore the nude subject in a more natural setting, and I think this is more successful. There is a story insinuated in this photo that is absent in so many of your "studio" photos.

All in all, thank you for the interesting POW discussion and best of luck in the future.

-Wendy Skratt

Is this comment helpful?

Amy Powers , August 25, 2001; 08:25 P.M.

Wendy,
Some interesting comments...and given your stated bias, understandable. My position on the matter is different, but...Thanks for your input.
Addendum, later: I glanced over your site, Wendy, and I am a bit surprised. You do a lot of fashion photography, apparently, and very nicely, but given your remarks about being "very particular about imagery of women in general" and "...typical "beauty" I would not have thought that would be your field. I myself am frequently annoyed by fashion photos, finding the messages they send condescending at best...Do you not find yourself frustrated by doing the kind of shots that fashion work (unfortunately) requires?


A note about self-modeling vs. having other people model. I am bemused by how many people assume that I prefer to model for myself, to satisfy some need for attention/ego stroking. Let me instead offer the following...I began with self portraits because I was the person available and I worked for free! And since I have been a model, I know how to do it reasonably well. I think it also helped me to be freed from having to communicate to a model what exactly my idea for the photo was - I could focus more on metering, exposure, etc...

In the past few months I have succeded in finding a few models who will do nudes, who are reasonably available vis-a-vis my schedule, and who are reliable (show up on time, et cetera) and who are good models - this is no small feat. Of course, I have to pay them, which I don't begrudge, but, frankly, it is sometimes beyond my budget.

I have tried shooting some non-professional models, who don't need to be paid, and thats been a disaster - don't get me started, but I won't do it again.

So that leaves me. There is no good reason why I should not use myself as a model if the alternative is that I don't get to shoot at all!

If I wanted ego strokes I could go over to AmIHotOrAmINot.com - thats easy. This is a pretty tough room, and I don't think that people have taken it easy on me because I shoot nudes, some of which are of me. If anyones senses a difference in the tone of my critiques, I would reference the comments above by Steve Wilkensen... I was getting a little nauseated skimming the comments, assuming everybody was fawning because Amy is a visual treat. But Nick made me think and yes, she not only has a face, she provides comments and openly engages in discussions of her work with an intelligent sense of humor instead of the arrogant defensiveness we often see from others. So Amy is not only more real than virtual, but likeably so. That has to influence the feedback she receives about her work. I now attribute the overwhelmingly favorable comments to a higher motivation than originally assumed. And to the very nice and deserving work on Amy's part.

Laurent de Lageneste , August 26, 2001; 12:12 A.M.

Mr. Wightman,

I thought images were carried to the brain (and stored) via electrical signals (OK, electro-chemical...). Sorry I bothered you, I won't do it again. (This is not the place to start a debate and you seem very categoric anyway). Cheers to Amy ;-)

Is this comment helpful?

Joel Keller , August 26, 2001; 01:10 A.M.

Amy, I really think I reacted the way I reacted because of some of your earlier photos. My basic reaction to those initial photos was, "oh, here's this woman who just likes to take pictures of herself naked." I think the tone of your earlier photos brought that out. However, your thoughtful comments to my and others' criticisms shows you're being sincere about what you're doing, and the more recent works show that you are trying to acheive something that comes close to art. I just tend to think that if you started using models other than yourself people will be better able to judge the photographs on their artistic merits, free of the speculation on why you used yourself as the model in the first place. When the people who buy your photographs realize it's you in the photo, does their behavior towards you change? As an earlier respondent said, it would make for an interesting social study.

Is this comment helpful?

Anthony Karnezis , August 26, 2001; 12:06 P.M.

Hello Amy. Like Steve, I wondered whether much of the interest was due simply to the fact that your photos are nudes. You have a lovely figure, and your photos are very tasteful. Then again, the only subject I find more beautiful than nature is a woman, so in that sense it's only natural to be drawn to your work. I'm glad that you have received the feedback you have.

I'm a bit like Wendy Skratt, however, in that I appreciate the beauty of the images (form-wise) and the emotion that they seem to convey, but I miss the deeper meaning that you're trying to get across. I'm probably just more left-brained than others. But seeing that a couple people have felt the same makes me wonder if we're (or you're) missing something? I don't know.

Overall, I enjoyed your portfolio very much. I found the fact that you are both photographer and model very intimate, much more so than if you were only the latter. As for your comment above about why some think you prefer to model for yourself, I would think that's only NATURAL to do so if one has the photographic talent that you do. There is an inherent exhibitionistic nature to posing, and it is satisfied regardless of who the photographer is. The fact that YOU are the photographer is both practical ($, time) and artistic since you can, as you said, be free from the need to communicate to another model what your vision is. It's like the difference between an authorized biography and an autobiography.

A couple technical questions. First, what was your typical success/failure ratio with the Coolpix vs. film (ie. how many photos did you typically throw out with one format or the other)? I ask because I shoot Canon and am thinking of getting the G1 for the same purpose especially since it uses EOS flashes. Second, out of curiosity, why invest in both the Maxxum and the F100?

Again, wonderful photos. Sincerely, Tony

Is this comment helpful?

Wendy Skratt , August 26, 2001; 01:06 P.M.

Response to Amy's Question

Addendum, later: I glanced over your site, Wendy, and I am a bit surprised. You do a lot of fashion photography, apparently, and very nicely, but given your remarks about being "very particular about imagery of women in general" and "...typical "beauty" I would not have thought that would be your field. I myself am frequently annoyed by fashion photos, finding the messages they send condescending at best...Do you not find yourself frustrated by doing the kind of shots that fashion work (unfortunately) requires?

Do you find my fashion photos to be sending condescending messages? I don't believe I've been forced into that by choosing to take fashion photographs. I try to explore themes that I find interesting within the realm of fashion photography (as well as other genres). I believe it's a place where work with substantive value can actually be given an extensive audience. I don't believe that the huge majority of fashion photography has any positive value, but that doesn't mean I can't use the genre to create images that I'd like seen in the media. So, yes, I am very critical about popular imagery of women and I try to create my own which has some value and an audience.

-Wendy

Is this comment helpful?

Malcolm Low , August 26, 2001; 03:27 P.M.

Number of comments

Congratulation Amy. By now this picture has already received the highest number of comments of all the POWs!!

Is this comment helpful?

Tom McCoy , August 26, 2001; 05:27 P.M.

Fine Work Amy

Super work, Congrats on POW, it's much deserved. I look forward to seeing more great work from you!

Is this comment helpful?

Amy Powers , August 26, 2001; 09:00 P.M.

Wendy,

I didn't look over your site photo by photo, so I cannot comment on your work per se. My point isn't about you personally. It is that fashion photography is a male-dominated industry that is all about traditional beauty (and youth!) and its about getting people to buy things. To that end, it plays on people's insecurities and tells them that they'll feel good, or be loved and accepted - or both - if they buy this product. I strongly resent being manipulated in this way, although (or because!) I am aware that I am not always able to resist it.

This being the case, your remarks were surprising. Perhaps its that since you do work in such an industry, having to deal with that kind of thing has made you more "sensitive", as you put it, to images of women in non-commercial art.
Like you, I think my work has value. Both nudes and fashion photos have the potential to be positive or negative. Like you, its my feeling that I am creating something positive within a genre.

George Saronto Stamas , August 26, 2001; 09:56 P.M.

comment to Wendy

When you speak of a male bias for "standard beauty" I think I know what you are saying. It is probably more accurate to see it as a contemporary bias, and not necessarily just a male preference. On one of my photos I got this "critique": >>The flab detracts from the image's appeal. -- Tian Xian << With Amy's work, I don't see any effort to display the figure with a current ideal. A lot of her work seems to be based on an "idea" she has. Often she is successful on this level and I think that is why many people like her work (male and female) and not because they think they know her. Any misperception on the part of the viewer due to cultural ideals or stereotypes should not be considered the fault of the photographer.

Is this comment helpful?

Lou Wisely , August 27, 2001; 12:34 A.M.

beautiful

Amy. I love this picture and a lot of the others from your gallery. Very impressive, especially for a p and s digital camera. You are definately taleneted and very beautiful. You deserve all the praise said above. Keep it up.

Is this comment helpful?

John Lommler , August 28, 2001; 11:22 P.M.

I like the black areas in the composition. Reminds me of an Edward Weston nude. I view such compositions as still lifes, and consider the positive and negative spaces. In this photo the negative space could be more tightly composed, and I suggest that cropping could improve the composition.

Is this comment helpful?

Amy Powers , August 28, 2001; 11:52 P.M.

Looking for a comment

Mike Sullivan, you rated this photo a 1/1. Care to comment on why?

marc holloway , September 05, 2001; 06:24 P.M.

cold but warm

I find this picture a cross of coldness from black and white, with the warmth smoothness of the models body/hair, well done great pic. marc

Is this comment helpful?

James Mogul , September 19, 2001; 10:17 P.M.

porn? so what?

I'm never disapointed in some folk's sex negative views of porn. If the image is pornographic (which by the way is not illegal according to the US supreme court and is protected as such...whether it is immoral is a personal choice) ...so what?

An image that stirs is a good one. Put your labels aside and experience it.

James

PS to Amy - congrats, lovely.

Is this comment helpful?

James Mogul , September 19, 2001; 10:49 P.M.

digital bashing

yeah yeah, Matt, we've heard it all before. For a moment assume this -

As a digital photographer I just don't respect film. I'm sorry I just don't think that darkroom workers know what it's like to labor for hours in photoshop, execute digital workflow, or achieve and maintain a semblance of color management, or wrestle with screen to print match.

Now don't I sound like an artist?

-end sarcasm-

James

Is this comment helpful?

Ian Krieger , October 08, 2001; 11:35 P.M.

Whilst one of the more conservative poses of the presentation, still I really like composition and contrast.

Is this comment helpful?

Brian Mackey , November 11, 2001; 09:01 A.M.

Incredible

I am standing in awe of your self portraits. Please let me know when the book is available :) I'll be the first one on line.. Wonderful, just wonderful Brian

Is this comment helpful?

Alan Hancock , November 18, 2001; 05:57 P.M.

I read in your comments that you sometimes use mirrors, even to see the lcd screen on the camera. Many digital cameras have a video output and a well placed TV monitor would make composition easier.

Is this comment helpful?

Peter Somers , December 10, 2001; 09:13 A.M.

Texture of Skin

I just love the skin texture in your overexposed series and this photograph shows it best. My first thought was what I wonderful job on capturing the softness and smoothness. I then asked myself, "What film is this?" and upon checking it out, it is digital (great comment on digital quality).

Keep up the great work.

Is this comment helpful?

Daniel Ro Paccino , May 20, 2002; 12:17 A.M.

HERMOSA-

HERMOSAS FOTOS ANY-----

Is this comment helpful?

Matthew Shipp , February 10, 2003; 04:54 A.M.

Good Photo

I am a new member of the photo.net forum and this is the first shot of Amy I have ever seen. I like it.I am a beginner and my interests lie mainly in portraits(whether nude or not).Nudes should always be as tastefully done as this shot is, focusing on the overall beauty of the female form, not just on areas of sexual interest as many are.I do not have any nudes at this point, but I hope that when I do, they are as good as this one.I know that the lighting may not be"perfect" but that is what makes this photo appealing. I am no expert in f stops and exposure modes at this point, and I would venture to say many in this forum are not, but I know what I like.Each of us have our own opinion and that is what the comments section is all about, diversity in judgement. But I would prefer judgement of photographs, not personal attacks on the morality of someone who chooses to use nudes as their way to express themselves. Keep up the good work Amy...and keep defending yourself.

Is this comment helpful?

Cameron Sawyer , March 31, 2003; 03:16 A.M.

The lighting is splendid -- the overexposed arm kind of a shining frame around the face; highlights on the hair and temples, face slightly darker -- splended!

Good choice of focal length, good composition -- how do you do this Amy? I understand these are self-portraits?! Do you just shoot blind and then crop?

Would be interesting to see how this would print using chemical photography -- would the arm be blown out?

Is this comment helpful?

Raimo Lielbriedis , April 14, 2003; 08:48 A.M.

Large format

Dear Amy! I think it is good idea to try the same kind of work on real medium or even large format film instead of small digital. Lighting is very impressive, so just go ahead. It would be nice to know what do you say about large format? Just one more thing: I believe it is very complicate to manage a frame while posing for yoursef, but try it again. A number of your pictures should better composed. I mean you have to place figure in picture more accurate. Thank you very much!

Yours Raimo Lielbriedis, photographer from Latvia

Is this comment helpful?

Carolina Butterworth , September 01, 2003; 10:01 P.M.

too common

I've seen this shot done so many times. Maybe a new position would be better.

Is this comment helpful?

Alex B. , September 04, 2003; 01:16 P.M.

This whole folder is very original. The composition of all photos is just incredible. It's hard for many of us to achieve that while we behind camera, you managed to do that while being in front! If you could share your technic of self portraite with us-that would be great! Of course, very few of us would look as stunning in front of camera as you.

Is this comment helpful?

suresh gundappa , April 06, 2004; 06:13 A.M.

cluttered mind

Amy, it's good, No doubt u have done a good job of self portrait. I would like to bring 2 ur notice the state of mind you are in - in most of the pictures. this is the reason why some the readers feel there is no connection between viewer and the art. I guess u are either too focused on shot, lighting and the pose - you can see certain tension in hands, fingers, tummy, and other parts. the realaxation is what you have missed to certain degree.even in ur eys shot. probably during the shots ur thoughts are on the outcome which is unlikely in model shots. may be try little playful ones. but over all thumbs up! no doubts. way to go lady! Suresh sg_bangalore@hotmail.com

Is this comment helpful?

Ann Dream , December 29, 2009; 01:47 P.M.

comment

damn thats really nice, love it

Is this comment helpful?

Similar / Related Photos  

View other images enjoyed by photo.net members who like this photo.

Find Related Photos


More Photos by Member

View Entire Portfolio