Fae DeCay - 012413

I watched the documentary, Thinking XXX.  It chronicles the making of a photo series by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders where he takes two portraits of porn stars (male, female, gay and straight porn), one clothed, one nude.   Much of the movie has the stars talking about the industry.  It also has rich commentary and analysis by John Waters and Gore Vidal.  In it, Gore Vidal shared this great thought on porn and the human condition.

We never seem to tire at looking at naked bodies.  That is true, but they always have to be new ones. Gore Vidal from the movie Thinking XXX.
This quote has two great features, the hook and then the yank of the hook.  In the hook or the first part, he describes how we endlessly enjoy viewing the nude.  I enjoy looking at the nude form.  I prefer female nudes, but appreciate male nudes as well.  For centuries, artists, and many creators lacking artistic intent,  captured the nude form through paintings, sculptures, photography, writing, etc.  We can't help but look when confronted.  For me, I enjoy seeing not only the nude form, but how the artist captured it.

Ludovica Albertoni Cetera - Bernini - my photo 012413

Ludovica Albertoni Cetera - Bernini - my photo 012413
The master sculptors Bernini and Rodin both captured nudes, but in different ways.  The almost-photo realism of the Bernini's art makes me want to touch it and feel the real moment captured.  I want to feel St. Teresa's  ecstasy.  I can almost feel the passion, fear, and arousal in his masterpiece, "The Rape of Prosperpina" where you can see how his hands are pressing into the flesh of her thigh.   As for Rodin, he is not so much a realist as much as sharing the raw emotions and behaviors of the moment.  Whether it is the elegant simpleness of "The Kiss" or the sultry passion of the "Lovers, 1911" or the torn and conflicted pain of "The Tragic Muse" (one of my favorites), I am feeling what is being represented in the work.   I not only want to, desire to, and seek these nudes out, I must see them.  I am drawn to them at both the primal animal self and the intellectual appreciative self as well.
The Tragic Muse - Rodin - Photographer unknown

This desire leads to the second part, the yank and setting of the hook in Vidal's quote about always needing to see new ones.   Even though I have personal favorites of nude imagery, sculpture,  erotica, porn, etc., I will always want to see new ones - new faces, bodies, stories, and themes.   It is lust, need, and appreciation that I need to look at them and want more.

This desire for change, variety, and novel experiences applies to my art as well.  Once I create and refine an image, or set of images, from a photo shoot with a model, I start getting inspired for the next shoot.  If it is with the same model, I focus on where can we go deeper and change it up.  If it is a new model, what new things will she bring that I haven't seen or created before.  Regardless, I tend to then lose some interest in the work I created and completed and desire the next one, and then the next one.

Am I shallow for continually wanting and not being satisfied with how I create and consume the nude form?  On one hand, this insatiable desire sometimes leads me to feeling it is more of an obsession or thirst that can never be quenched.  On the other hand, if this desire ever stopped or was denied to me, would I become less of who I am?


  1. Karl, not all artists do this - routinely require "new" nude models. Picasso, Edward Weston, Man Ray, and so on, had their muses who were sometimes their lovers or spouses. They painted / photographed the same woman, often for years. Maybe you just haven't found the right one yet? - although you do return to some of them often, such as Candace Nirvana and Valya. Of course, we all want to infuse new life into every new work. But that's artistic development, sexually gratifying or not.

    1. Thank you for mentioning Valya and Candace. I have worked with number of models more than once. Along with Valya and Candace, I've worked with Fae, Rain, Jacqui, and Leila twice, if not more. With that said, that is still a long list of models.

      If I look at it in the reverse, every model I've worked with has not been exclusive to me. A few of them even had other shoots the same day. I guess if the term for having multiple lovers at the same time is "polyamorous", then I am "polymodel" and they are polyphotographer.

    2. It's not the number of photographers these models work with - it's the quality of their work with you that makes me think they are your muses, especially Valya. Perhaps the best is yet to come.

    3. I do miss working with her.

  2. Purple hair - sultry stare
    Wee bit of smile - just to beguile
    Upraised knees - oh just to tease
    Played like a harlot - displaying that erotic spot
    Fingers to point - where to anoint
    Looking like an invitation - I now stand at attention
    Wishing with a sigh - to be rubbing against those thighs
    But sadly I look upon my screen - for I really can’t be seen

    I went and watched XXX and it was interesting. Two things I noticed as I watched.

    It was interesting to me that he used examples of classic or old paintings as a start of his book and as reference poses for some of the models. As you did here.

    Then as he is positioning models and moving their bodies around, sometimes in very minute increments, he states at one point "for me it's all about the expression". By which he means facial expression and he's right. Without the right facial expression to go with the pose the image won't work. Naked, clothed, erotic or not; if the expression is not there it's a dead image. If Fae had a different expression I don't think it would be as strong of an image.

    Isn't the desire to obtain and the consuming of the object of your art the reason for being an artist? Is there really any being satisfied to the point of; that's it it's perfect? I don't think an artist can reach the point where they say - that's it, I don't need to do any more, that's the perfect one. If that did happen the energy would just be transferred to something else, wood working, sewing, putting rocks in piles. I think the point an artist reaches is that point where that particular piece of art is the best that can be done. For that day, that time, that pose, that model, that light - it's the best I can do and I'm satisfied. A new model, new face, new body, different pose, different light, all create new possibilities. Is it not the - what if I - possibilities that fuel the beast?

    D.L. Wood

    1. Thank you for the poem. It summarizes the simple, yet intense pleasures of this photo of Fae.

      You are right about what fuels the beast. It all fuels me, the lust, the sex, the art, the craft, the uniqueness of each day and moment, whether with a new model or one I've enjoyed working with many times before.


So,what are you thinking about?