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Photography

When You’re Standing Naked Over Phoenix

I’ve gotten involved with various types of modeling since this summer and I’m really enjoying it. In the last few months I’ve gotten to do different types of bodyscaping, portrait work, silhouette work, milk bath work, and even an underwater photoshoot. I love the process of modeling itself and seeing the resulting photos.

Recently, a photographer friend invited me over to do a sunset photoshoot at his downtown Phoenix apartment. Sunsets in Phoenix are gorgeous, especially the way the light glistens against the tall buildings. He got some beautiful shots of me standing just inside the balcony door. Then I decided to step out onto the balcony to do some shots of me overlooking the city, channeling my inner Evita in the pink light.

Photo by Ben Ammon

Photo by Ben Ammon

One thing I learned from this experience was, when you’re standing naked seven floors above the city streets, nobody notices. No one on the sidewalk looked up and I didn’t see any eyes peering at me from the hotel across the street. I giggled knowing that there was a lawyer networking even in the first floor restaurant of that hotel – and not one of them noticed as far as I know.

Prior to this summer, I did some figure modeling for an artist-friend in Oregon who sketched a few portraits of me, but I had never done photography work. It’s really fun to see how photographers work with lights, angles, props, and editing. Given my abuse history, you might think that it would be uncomfortable for me to be naked in front of a photographer. That has never been the case. Every artist I’ve worked with has treated me with respect. There is mutual respect that we are collaborating artists, working together to create beautiful images.

The only time I’ve felt objectified as a model is from some of the responses I get when I post my photographers’ work online. Most people say the images are beautiful, but occasionally someone will say something that makes me feel like they’re treating me like a piece of meat instead of a person. Thankfully responding to those people with “Don’t be creepy,” is enough to get them to keep those thoughts to themselves.

Every photographer I know is also a big nerd. The upside to this is they are almost bashful about working with models and they’re never presumptive about their ideas. I think it’s really sweet when my photographer friend sends me ideas for photoshoots. They always come with the vibe of you-can-say-no-but-what-do-you-think-about-this. It’s cute; and he’s never asked me to do anything that made me feel uncomfortable. At my last shoot, we did some bodyscaping where he spread oil on my torso and then dripped water on me. The water droplets stuck together on top of my skin. The resulting photos were gorgeous.

Too Much To Do - Photo by Ben Ammon

Too Much To Do – Photo by Ben Ammon

This may sound weird, but even when I’m doing nude modeling, I don’t feel sexualized or even particularly sexy. I’m thinking about the body line, angles, and portraying emotions. There is a lot of freedom in photo work to channel different types of energy. The slightest shift of the head, the eyes, or a hand can make a big difference in the final image.

Being a model is a lot of fun too. There’s almost always music playing at the shoot so there are usually a few photos of me dancing around and being silly – regardless of what I’m wearing.

SALK Day 55: Sheila Dee Photography

Sheila Dee is one of my favorite photographers (and people) in the Phoenix area.  She has such a keen eye.  When she first considered doing a professional show of her work, she sought guidance from a fellow photographer who asked, “Is your works special?”  I’d say Sheila’s work is more that special; it’s magnificent.

I love when I see Sheila at events around the valley, like Ignite Phoenix, Podcamp, and Improv AZ events.  She’s usually wearing her green photography backpack that makes her look like a turtle.  When I see her, I know the pictures are going to be magnificent.  Some of my favorite pictures of me where taken by her.  When I met Sheila, I didn’t realize that her specialties were photographs of nature and architectural elements.  Her work on her website, On The Creative Side, is spectacular!

Photo by Sheila Dee

Her first showing was last year at Studio 5C in Tempe, AZ, a gallery that doubles as office space.  One of the people who worked there loved her work so much that he bought a piece before the show even opened.  He picked a beautiful picture of what appears to be an architectural detail.  I was so impressed by her work at the show that I declared that Sheila gets to decorate my first office after I graduate from law school.

I love Sheila’s pictures from her travels.  She has such a unique perspective.  Sheila takes pictures of buildings but she also take the most beautiful pictures of the most ordinary things – an autumn leaf on the ground, a link of chain, a nail sticking out of a board, bubbling water – everyday occurrences but viewed in almost majestic ways.  She has amazing skills with texture and light.

Sheila shared her passion for photography at Ignite Phoenix #8.  She said that her photography is a “personal expression of who I am.”  She gave us an incredible glimpse of how she views the world through her camera.

When asked why she enjoys taking pictures, Sheila responded, “The thought of capturing a moment in time excites me. The idea of showing someone a place they might not have been to prior or allowing them to remember a special place they have visited really pleases me. I enjoy shooting the ordinary and making it special.”

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school. Today’s sponsor is Sheila Dee.  For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.