Jolene Hexx and faded memories

Jolene 072012
 Kodachrome - Paul Simon
If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know they'd never match
My sweet imagination...

I worked with Jolene Hexx in late May while in Las Vegas.  She is a local that has great professionalism and is a very high quality model and person to work with.  Her energy worked so well with the mood and feel of what I wanted. I highly recommend her to all the photographers in Las Vegas.

We had two major themes to our photo shoot.  The first was using the couch for quiet time.  The second was using an LCD projector.  Jolene rocked both themes and I am wanting to work with her again.  For today, I want to share some of the couch series.

Jolene - 072012

For these images, I wanted a vintage feel and used a post production "cross processing" technique to give them a feel that is more like a faded memory of mine than truly capturing the details of the complete moment.

I always think back on those key memories and  notice certain elements gain emphasis while other details fade away.  Some of these memories have faded to just certain elements.  The scent in the air, the music we listened to, the wind on my face, the curve of a hip or the sigh softly released in a quiet sensual moment.

I wish my memory for emotionally important moments in my life weren't fading like this.  I have so many useless bits of knowledge that I would gladly give up to keep these memories whole.  I guess though that it is better to remember the essence of them than nothing at all.  

Thanks to Jolene and her beauty and energy she brought to the session.  I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

I have a question for you.  Which do you prefer of the last two?  I love how her hand is touching her face in the one with her eyes closed and I love how beautiful her eyes and lips are in the bottom one.  

Jolene  - 072012

Jolene A - 072012

Jolene B- 072012


  1. The second image in particular really takes me back to the 1950s (remember, I was a teenager then!). The classic '50s couch, the unguarded moment as viewed by a voyeur, for some reason it feels like a night babysitting, so glad to be alone as youth like to be sometimes, not yet aware a woman is never really alone, but always being watched.

    I doubt you intended this interpretation, but that's what it says to me, looking back at the time you signify.

    1. Carla - Thank you for your interpretation of the photo you chose. Probably the most integral and powerful parts of art is the connection that each viewer makes to the piece.

      One of my mentors said it best when he told me, "Everyone has a lifetime of baggage that they bring to everything they experience, including your art. The baggage you carry isn't always bad or good, but will make you see it your way. Just remember to recognize if your baggage is helping or hindering your view of the art and then think about that as well."

      I loved reading your interpretation of it as youthful moment of being alone and yet, as you mentioned, she was being observed by the photographer and now every viewer of the photo. I also appreciate how you picked up on the memory theme as well. I really try to capture people in their own private head space in much of my work.

      Jolene has a magic talent of tuning out the camera and the whole studio scene and go into her own moment.

  2. Karl, first lemme say “wow!” and well done. You and Jolene were there, and it shows.

    I like all of the photos, the sequence you have posted does indeed tell a story. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite from among them, each is integral to the story. Of the last two? I’d lean (slightly) towards the final one, but only slightly, and for this reason: it appears to my eyes as the beginning of a new and as yet untold story. She’s turned the corner on the memory, whatever it brought to her is back in play and she’s looking towards the future.

    I’d like to particularly compliment Jolene on the subtlety of her expressions, her skill as an actress. If I immerse myself in the story it becomes a time of retreat, to my eyes an effort to capture intact the full memory of some sweet lover now gone who had a way of leaving the future something to anticipate with delight rather than dread. In the first three images she is calling back that gift as best she can, trying to relive his style, his vibe in the hope she can recapture a bit of that glow into the present. The total concentration on her face in the third image gives the degree of her effort, the rest of the world is gone in that moment, she’s in another moment. Of course that moment is intimate, sexual, perhaps even orgasmic, but as she’s portrayed it (very, very well portrayed!) the impact of the memory has touched her heart far, far more than her body. The first three images perfectly frame the last two.

    *chuckle* Of course, in the moment in the shoot Jolene might have been thinking of lunch, or more accurate to say dessert after lunch, but if that was the case in reality then that hot caramel sundae (just a guess) she’s thinking of just doesn’t have the wit to realize even a fraction of the emotional content Jolene has tagged to the texture of the sweet candy thickening on her tongue as the ice cream slides away... ;-) Sorry, can’t help it, I always have (and probably always will) wonder at what the lady was actually thinking to get those looks, and how she got from that to what I perceived... the full art of the model is still a delightful mystery.

    Momma, don’t take my Kodachrome away...

    1. CD - Thank you for noticing the loose narrative relationship of the sequence of photos. That is something I started appreciating a few years ago and continue to both struggle with and love to work with in my photography. I do have stand alone images, but I love me a good series.

      You mentioned appreciating Jolene's acting skills. After reflecting on your comment and my memories of working with her, I discovered on of the things I loved about her work - she doesn't overdo the moment. Sometimes I work with models that overact the moment and I have redirect them to not to "go to 11" (gratuitous "Spinal Tap" reference) in the first photos. Jolene so subtly turned up the heat over the time that it felt natural, organic and real.

      I often wonder what the model's think during the sessions where I don't direct them into a mindset. For many shoots, I give the model a scenario or idea and want her to explore it. It could be as vague as, "Think about your feelings if your lover left you. Think deep on your reactions and how it hurts." I then start taking photos with little to no further direction. For other shoots, I want the model's mind to drift to where ever it wants to go. I almost never ask what they are thinking about though because "... I know they'd never match My sweet imagination.."

  3. I vote for A.

    In A she has the look of being caught unaware and in a light sleep or moment of reflection. She doesn't look posed. In B we see her aware and focused on something. To me because of the way her hair is sticking out she might even be caught in between poses.

    As the quote goes - the devil is in the details. There is something that draws my eye in both images and it might be something you didn't notice when shooting. The window on the wall behind her. It's slightly lighter than anything else, it's in the middle and her elbow points to it. While you probably couldn't do much about the position of the window. The one thing that for some reason bugs me is that the curtain does not cover it. So my eye is drawn up to a light space that shows curtain but also a sliver of outside and and frame. To me - somewhat distracting. I know what you are thinking. A beautiful naked woman and he's looking at the fricking window. lol

    It is but a small thing in what I see as wonderful images. The model is beautiful and beautifully portrayed with the mood I think you had envisioned in all of them. I look forward to seeing more of your work together.

    In fact, out of these, my favorite is actually the second one. That we could be behind her observing her intimate moments of arousal like U.L. says "as viewed by a voyeur" makes it a nice capture for me. Imagining that it is the babysitter makes it better. Thanks U.L.

    I like the fact her nipples are erect. Again a small point but so many times in images that are meant to show a woman in a state of sexual excitement and her nipple are flat. If my memory serves me right; any woman I've been with that has gotten sexually aroused has had erect nipples. 8-)

    D.L. Wood

    1. D.L. - Thank you for your critique. One of the best parts of your comment is noticing the "devil in the details". I agree that the window is a distraction. In these photos, I shot with limited depth-of-field to blur them and greatly burned them down as much as possible in post production. I experimented with cloning them out as well. At one point though, they started to look to Jerry-rigged due to the my Photo Shop skill limitations. As I look further into it, I do appreciate that it gives the feeling of "real home" and not the perfect photo studio set. I hope it makes it feel more "real" and closer to the memories I have. On the other hand, all that could be me rationalizing them. To be honest, due to the direction, quality, and quantity of light coming in on her, I couldn't move the couch or me to remove the back window from the scene. I may try these in black and white to see how they do in that medium.

      I have to now disclose something. My favorite of this group is also the second one. I love it for the same reasons you mentioned, but also due to some small details that excite me. I love her hands and how the one behind her head has a little tension while the one entwined in her panties is more relaxed. I love how her hands are in a vertical line from each other, guiding the view to both. I really like the light and shadows on her arms. I greatly appreciate how the arch of her foot, the area between her thumb and fore finger touching her panties, her nipple, and her hair are very similar in color. That rich reddish-orange makes a sensual connection for me.

      You are right to appreciate and notice the little things. As Roland Barthes mentions - those are "punctum" that pokes into the "studium" of the photo.

  4. Good work, Karl. Hope to get to work with her myself one of these days. Dude, I need somebody here in Guatemala, soooo bad! I already know I'm coming back.

    1. Hey T - She is a great gem to work with. AS for Guatemala, you are living the the life, my friend.


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