Sensualight Photography: Blog https://www.sensualight.com/blog en-us (C) Sensualight Photography (Sensualight Photography) Wed, 06 Sep 2023 05:01:00 GMT Wed, 06 Sep 2023 05:01:00 GMT https://www.sensualight.com/img/s/v-12/u464765732-o581052069-50.jpg Sensualight Photography: Blog https://www.sensualight.com/blog 90 120 Luminus and DPW Summer Circuit: One average, one bah humbug https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/9/luminus-and-dpw-summer-circuit-one-average-one-bah-humbug Two more Photographic Society results to report: Luminus salon (India) and DPW Summer Circuit (Serbia).

Luminus first, because frankly, there's not much to report. Open Color, Open Monochrome, Portraiture, Women and Child, Nude, Photojournalism, and Street Life: 7 themes entered, including nude; and out of 28 images, one -- 1! -- was accepted. Just one, a rate of less than 4%! Average acceptance rate for these salons is between 28 and 35 percent by rule, so for someone to individually have only 4% is truly remarkable. In fact, it feels hostile.

India is not usually a country where I feel like there's significant discrimination against nude photography, and certainly not in this salon given that they had a rare "nude" theme. (Statistically, I actually do more poorly in the nude categories than in some of the others; maybe because some photographers submit their best nude images only in those specific categories?) So honestly, it's probably just (bad) luck of the draw. But it's hard not to take such poor results personally, especially when even some images that have been highly popular elsewhere not only didn't make the cut but also received poor scores.

The only image that was accepted was an entry in the "Street Life" theme.

The DPW Summer Circuit results weren't exceptional, but way better than Luminus: I had twelve acceptances in four categories and 3 judgings. 12/(4x3x4)=25%. Still below the average acceptance rate, but within the standard deviation. One of those images received a Salon Honorable Mention -- again, nothing exceptional, but still nice. Only one photo was accepted for the first time, though it got decent scores so I'm happy about that.

I'm really ready to have a truly positive result at a PSA salon again.

DPW Summer Circuit (Serbia), August 1, 2023

  1. "Leverage" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019: Salon Honorable Mention at Aleksinac, accepted at Novi Sad
  2. "On the pier" (Open Monochrome PIDM), DianaJean and Kristy Jessica, Marsh Island, July 2023: Accepted (for the first time) at Aleksinac and Novi Sad
  3. "Beach refuge" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted at Aleksinac and Kula
  4. "Deep roots" (Woman PIDC), Skye, Boxcar Canyon, January 2023: Accepted at Kula and Novi Sad
  5. "States of matter" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019: Accepted at Kula and Novi Sad
  6. "Lower Sunbeam" (Open Color PIDC), Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019: Accepted at Aleksinac
  7. "The cliffs of Discovery" (Woman PIDC), Lillias Right, Discovery Park, June 2015: Accepted at Aleksinac

Leverage (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Honorable Mention, Accepted)Leverage (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Honorable Mention, Accepted) On the pier (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)On the pier (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2) Beach refuge (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)Beach refuge (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2) Deep roots (Woman PIDC) (Accepted x2)Deep roots (Woman PIDC) (Accepted x2) States of matter (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)States of matter (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2) Lower Sunbeam (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Lower Sunbeam (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted) The cliffs of Discovery (Woman PIDC) (Accepted)The cliffs of Discovery (Woman PIDC) (Accepted)

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(Sensualight Photography) Astrid Kallsen award Beach refuge Bunny Luna Deep roots DianaJean Honorable Mention Kristy Jessica Leverage Lillias Right Lower Sunbeam Marzipanned On the pier PSA Skye States of matter The cliffs of Discovery https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/9/luminus-and-dpw-summer-circuit-one-average-one-bah-humbug Thu, 07 Sep 2023 17:00:00 GMT
Preview: Jessa Ray Muse at golden hour on the Moraine Trail https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/9/preview-jessa-ray-muse-at-golden-hour-on-the-moraine-trail I can't believe how quickly this summer has flown by. Here it is well into September already, and I'm still catching up with preview photos from mid-July!

Jessa Ray Muse is a traveling model who visited Portland and Seattle this summer from Colorado. I loved the look of her photos on Model Mayhem, with some magnificent figure work out of doors, so I took a chance and asked if she might consider coming out to Mount Rainier during her visit. Fortunately she agreed!

I already had plans to shoot with Astrid Kallsen on the Moraine Trail, but at sunrise, so when Jessa was available in the evening I thought it would be great to catch both ends of the day.

And what a fantastic evening it was! I wanted to reach the top of the trail right at sunset, so instead of going straight there, we stopped at a cluster of rocks on the way in. I had some great ideas for images, but Jessa also had a great eye and suggested places and poses that I hadn't yet noticed, which ended up being magnificent. For instance, I was so focused on shooting with Mount Rainier in the background that I didn't notice, till Jessa pointed it out, what awesome light and color and shadow was playing across one of the boulders to the side.

The light was gorgeous, and the wind was blowing pretty good across the moraine, whipping up sand, though we were mostly sheltered from it where we were. We had just enough breeze to keep the bugs down, an improvement over the shoot with Astrid the previous week. We were completely alone -- I love this trail because it is so beautiful and yet so lonely. It does take some expert hiking skills, as it's a steep and unmaintained trail with a lot of erosion. Jessa, fortunately, is an expert hiker, someone who has spent a lot of time hiking and backpacking. We chatted at length about her background, growing up in a family that camped out with the Rainbow Tribe, and her aspirations for leading photo tours with photographers, an enterprise she calls "Muses of the West." I would love to go out with her on one of these expeditions -- based on our time together, I'm sure it would be an amazing experience.

Speaking of which, ours continued to get more and more so the later in the evening it got. We finished at our boulders, and moved up the trail toward the high point, but got distracted by a miniature canyon through which a small stream was flowing, filled with moss and jagged rocks and panoramic views and a little waterfall. It was too beautiful to pass up. And in fact, so beautiful that every time we thought we'd found the best view, we'd see an even better one a little further along.

We were having such a productive evening that at one point I told Jessa that we really didn't have time to shoot at the high point of the trail any more, without going over the time I'd allotted to pay her for. But she said don't worry about it, we making such great photographic magic that she didn't mind going over time in order to get in all of the magnificent locations!

We ended up getting to the top of the trail just a few minutes late. I'd have liked to have captured the sun turning into a starburst as it disappeared over the far ridge with Jessa in the foreground, but despite our best efforts to hoof it up the steep trail, the sun was sinking beyond view before we could get stationed and ready to shoot. Nevertheless, the final shots in the blue light of evening shadows, with the Mountain still lit behind, were equally majestic.

All in all, a truly remarkable photo shoot, and a model I can't wait to work with again.

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(Sensualight Photography) figure nude Jessa Ray Muse nude in nature preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/9/preview-jessa-ray-muse-at-golden-hour-on-the-moraine-trail Wed, 06 Sep 2023 04:14:46 GMT
Quest for Passion, PSA Pictorial, and Acruvium salons https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/quest-for-passion-psa-pictorial-and-acruvium-salons Since I last posted updates on Photographic Society contests, I've accumulated three sets of results: "Quest for Passion Circuit" in India; the Photographic Society's own annual Pictorial Division Exhibition; and the "Acruvium Circuit" in Montenegro.

An aside: India, besides having by far the largest number of photographic salons, also has the most interesting names. To my ear sometimes they sound like titles that came out of a random name generator being fed terms related to photography: "Arise to Canvas," "Photography for Life," "Zing of Click." They're not all like that--some are more traditional--but if I see a salon name that looks like a romance novel title, nine times out of ten it's in India.

Anyway, here are my new results:

 

Quest for Passion (India), July 2, 2023

  • "Connection" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, March 2019: Accepted in all 5 judgings
  • "Reclining figure" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019: Accepted in all 5 judgings
  • "Gamekeeper" (Open Color PIDC), Kit Ashton, Seattle, April 2023: Accepted in 2 of 5 judgings
  • "Astrid on the Sound" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted in 2 judging
  • "Crossing" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Katlyn Lacoste, Silver Falls, March 2022: Accepted in 1 judging

Connection (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x5Connection (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x5 Reclining figure (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x5Reclining figure (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x5

Gamekeeper (Open Color PIDC): Accepted x2Gamekeeper (Open Color PIDC): Accepted x2 Astrid on the Sound (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x2Astrid on the Sound (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x2 Crossing (Open Monochrome PIDM): AcceptedCrossing (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted

As you can see, a great result for my black and white photos; not so much for my color images.

 

PSA Pictorial Division Exhibition, July 8, 2023

  • "Classic" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Invy Rose, Puyallup, October 2011: Accepted
  • "Isaac's angel" (Open Color PIDC), Vex Voir, Interlaken Park, Seattle, June 2017: Accepted
  • "Deep roots" (Open Color PIDC), Skye, Boxcar Canyon, January 2023: Accepted
  • "Rapture" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted
  • "You have no power over me" (Portrait Monochrome PIDM), Bowie Monroe, Bellevue, September 2018: Accepted
  • "No neighbors" (Open Color PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022: Accepted

Classic (Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Classic (Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Isaac's angel (Color PIDC) (Accepted)Isaac's angel (Color PIDC) (Accepted) Deep roots (Color PIDC) (Accepted)Deep roots (Color PIDC) (Accepted) Rapture (Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Rapture (Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) You have no power over me (Portrait PIDM) (Accepted)You have no power over me (Portrait PIDM) (Accepted)You have no power over me
6I8A8303 (2018-09-10)
2018-09-01
Bowie Monroe
Bellevue, Washington

2021-05-01 Black Box Gallery (Portland, Oregon), "Focus: Portraiture": Exhibited
2021-06-19 Praxis Photo Arts Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota), "Femalia": Exhibited
2021-10-13 Shadowhunter Circuit (Portrait PIDC) (Croatia, Malta and Serbia): Accepted
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Portraiture PIDC) (Kolkata, India): Accepted
No neighbors (Color PIDC) (Accepted)No neighbors (Color PIDC) (Accepted)

So a decent result, albeit less so in the portrait category.

 

Acruvium Circuit (Montenegro), July 20, 2023

  • "Rapture" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted at Budva and Kotor
  • "Portrait of Shasta" (Monochrome Portrait PIDM), Shasta Wonder, Lynnwood, August 2017: Accepted at Kotor

Rapture (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)Rapture (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2) Portrait of Shasta (Portrait PIDM) (Accepted)Portrait of Shasta (Portrait PIDM) (Accepted)

Interestingly, while my acceptance rate was dismal in the figurative categories, I did uncharacteristically well in Nature and Photo Travel, with three travel and two nature photos receiving a total of eight acceptances in three judgings, and one of them receiving an Honorable Mention.

Congratulations to Astrid for being the model of the hour, with images accepted in all three photo contests!

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(Sensualight Photography) Acruvium Astrid Kallsen Astrid on the Sound award Bowie Monroe Classic Connection Crossing Deep Roots Gamekeeper Honorable Mention Invy Rose Isaac's Angel Katlyn Lacoste Kit Ashton Lior Allay Marzipanned No neighbors Portrait of Shasta PSA Quest for Passion Rapture Reclining figure Shasta Wonder Skye Vex Voir You have no power over me https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/quest-for-passion-psa-pictorial-and-acruvium-salons Mon, 28 Aug 2023 18:32:00 GMT
Preview: AIM.Model at Tahoma Creek https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/preview-aim-model-at-tahoma-creek I've wanted to shoot at this location on Tahoma Creek in clear weather for a long time. I'd been there last year with another model but it was a cloudy day and I couldn't fully take advantage of the magnificent view. In mid-July I corrected that deficit with AIM.Model, traveling through the area and staying at a local Air B&B. We got out to the site early to take advantage of the morning light, and as it turns out it was almost too early, as it took a bit for the light to rise over the trees and low ridge to the east and shine on the river itself.

We did some photography in the forest first, which passed some time, and I love the way those images are looking. As the sunlight arrived, I experimented with various lenses, mostly wide angle, to capture the patterns and perspective lines of the glacial riverbed with its scattered rocks and driftwood.

As we neared the end of the shoot, AIM started scooping up handfuls of sand and throwing them in the air as she gyrated among dance-like poses. At first I was skeptical of this tactic, but the pictures were looking pretty good, and as you can see, some of them are actually turning out amazing. I love the way the sand catches the morning light. It adds a lot of kinetic energy to the images. AIM also grabbed a large stick and used it as a prop in her dancing, and I love the geometry it adds to the photos.

There's more work to be done on this set, but here are a few preview images to whet your appetite. I'll be moving on to preview images of other shoots as well before returning to this one later for a more thorough sort-and-edit.

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(Sensualight Photography) AIM.Model figure nude nude in nature preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/preview-aim-model-at-tahoma-creek Sun, 27 Aug 2023 17:40:05 GMT
New Photos: Tiana Marie at Grotto Falls https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/new-photos-tiana-marie-at-grotto-falls I have been looking forward to this photo shoot! Looking forward to doing it, looking forward to editing it, and now looking forward to sharing it.

"Grotto Falls" is my name for a site I discovered a few years ago at Mount Rainier National Park. It is not on any trail and difficult to get to hiking cross-country, even though it isn't terribly far off the road. And yet, as you can see, it's incredibly beautiful -- a tiny grotto surrounded by sheer rocks, with gnarled firs clinging to cracks and crevices and lichens of every color and configuration painting the walls. In the middle is a deep emerald-green pool, probably 15 feet deep, fed by a low waterfall, beyond which you can glimpse a much larger waterfall so hemmed in by steep cliffs that I have yet to find a safe way to approach it. At the bottom of the grotto the water flows out through a jumble of rocks, like teeth at the mouth of a whale.

I'd shot twice already with Tiana Marie and their partner Corey, a rope bondage shoot in Pack Forest this winter and later on the Boundary Trail at Carbon River in Mount Rainier National Park. At our last shoot I told them about this spot and we immediately made plans to visit it when the weather was warmer, as I've learned from past experience that before the end of July the water at this spot is just too frigid to tolerate.

So we met at the end of July and made the short but steep scramble in to the site. Even as warm as the summer has been, the water was still super-cold, but the lighting was magnificent. The high mid-day sun filters in through the gnarled and twisted trees rimming the grotto and fills the space with diffuse light.

We shot first on a narrow ledge with the waterfall behind Tiana, using a wide lens in the tight quarters to capture Tiana in the foreground with the pool and waterfall behind. After some traditional figure images, Corey tied Tiana and I took some additional photos featuring the rope bondage.

Then we moved to the outlet of the grotto, with Tiana posing on the rocks. These were the most challenging images, as intense sunlight kept breaking through, making Tiana's pale skin shine brightly against the darker background in shadow. But then the light shifted and returned to a more diffuse pattern, with reflection off the water to fill in shadows nicely. Tiana's poses were amazing, like a feline, a lynx crouched on the rock, increasingly merging into the wildness of the landscape.

We finished with another rope set, and this one was the best yet. We debated where and how to do the tie, until I suggested we take advantage of a branch of driftwood stretching all the way across the grotto, pinned among the rocks and polished smooth by the water. Tiana sat in front of the branch, extending their arms to either side, sitting a rock with her feet in one of the channels where water was swiftly flowing. Corey tied their arms securely to the branch, then bound one of their ankles up to the branch for good measure. I couldn't take enough photos, wanting to be absolutely certain that I captured every element of this amazing scene on camera. And the pictures, in my humble opinion, are breathtaking, with Tiana in the foreground and the grotto, pool, and waterfall behind. They are both frankly sensual, even erotic, and also incredibly beautiful at the same time, my very favorite type of art photography.

I'm very proud of these photos.

After the shoot was over, Tiana and I skinny dipped in the deep, cold water, neither of us lasting very long in spite of the warm air temperatures!

This was a day to remember, with photos to match.

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(Sensualight Photography) bondage edited erotic figure nude Grotto Falls nude in nature photoshoot rope rope bondage sensual Shibari Tiana Marie https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/new-photos-tiana-marie-at-grotto-falls Mon, 21 Aug 2023 21:19:00 GMT
Featured in Nude Magazine! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/featured-in-nude-magazine I'm proud to share that six of my photos are featured in the current (August 2023) issue of Nude Magazine, published in France!

I received notification that my entry to their "Landscape" themed issue had been accepted, but I didn't know until closer to the publication date which of my ten photo submissions would actually be published. Here are the images they chose:

Den lille havfrue (Published)Den lille havfrue (Published) Mammals in the mist (Published)Mammals in the mist (Published)Mammals in the mist
B758253 (2021-07-01)
2019-07-16
Bunny Luna
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park

2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Nude PIDC) (Malta and Serbia): Accepted
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Open Monochrome) (Kolkata, India): Accepted
Skinny dipper (Published)Skinny dipper (Published) Twice the beauty (Published)Twice the beauty (Published) States of matter (Published)States of matter (Published) Last light (Published)Last light (Published)Last Light
6I8A8293 (2/24/2021)
7/29/2015
DianaJean
Upper Crystal Lake, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

2021-04-01 Colors of Humanity Art Gallery (online) "Human Nature": Exhibited virtually

  1. "Den lille havfrue," Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018 -- also featured in one of their online promotional images
  2. "Mammals in the mist," Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019
  3. "Skinny dipper," Dolly Mattel, Upper Crystal Lake, September 2021
  4. "Twice the beauty," Invy Rose, Mazama Ridge, August 2022
  5. "States of matter," Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019
  6. "Last light," DianaJean, Upper Crystal Lake, July 2015

One of the things I'm especially pleased about is that Nude Magazine made a point of crediting not only me as the photographer but also each of the models. That's an issue I care about, because I feel that, even when I'm paying the model, their creativity is just as important as mine, and the resulting images are a collaboration. I look forward to sharing news of this publication with the five models featured.

You can purchase digital or physical copies of the magazine, featuring several other photographers as well, at Nude Magazine online; Blurb; MagCloud; Peecho (UK); and JooMag.com.

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(Sensualight Photography) Bunny Luna Den lille havfrue DianaJean Dolly Mattel France Invy Rose Landscapes Last light Mammals in the mist nude in nature Nude Magazine publication published Queen Dandelion Skinny dipper States of matter Twice the beauty https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/featured-in-nude-magazine Sun, 20 Aug 2023 18:18:47 GMT
Thrice, DemonTamer69 and Xhibited at Kolors Studio https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/thrice-demontamer69-and-xhibited-at-kolors-studio I think I've teased this photo set in previous posts, but here it finally is! Usually I share preview images first but this one was a "priority" so I thought there was no need, I'd just post the final edited photos. And then Life happened, and here it is seven weeks later and I'm finally sharing the edited photos with you.

This photo set comes from a photo group called Seattle Nude, Erotic and Boudoir, run by Thrice (who used to have a public Instagram account, but like so many other artists, had that taken down). She's now mostly active on FetLife, and IRL, where she hosts this group roughly once a month, often at Gallery Erato, for whoever wants to come. This time, in June, she offered a "field trip," all the way upstairs to an adjacent photo studio called Kolors Studio.

Unfortunately, the shoot was poorly attended. Thrice and her partner DemonTamer69 were there to be models, along with Xhibited, and about 2/3 of the way through the event a third model showed up. Four photographers were there, including me, so the balance was a bit off, but I was fortunate enough to shoot first with Thrice and DemonTamer69 and later with Xhibited, and to get some great images of both.

The studio had great natural light and a brick wall, which immediately attracted my attention. Thrice and DemonTamer69 posed there on a blue couch, first in underwear and then nude. They were clearly comfortable with each other and comfortable going a little erotic with their poses, though we never crossed the line into anything seriously blue. I love the way the look together -- both their sensual interactions and the contrast between their bodies, female and male, White and Black skin. They're a beautiful couple in both physical and metaphysical ways.

Xhibited, of course, I have photographed before. We did two sets, one on a hanging swing-chair that Xhibited took to a very erotic place, and then in the back window of the studio looking out on the alley, with more themes of brick and light and also, making use of what was handy, a couple of big jars of (plastic) lemons and limes. Actually there was a third set as well, in an old phone booth prop, but I wasn't pleased with how those images turned out; only one of them even cracked my top 100 photos from the day, and that only because I stipulated that one of them be represented.

Xhibited is serious about improving her craft as a model, so we spent some time going over her images, critiquing what worked well, what didn't, what poses looked best, how to make a decent image look even better with a little extra twist to the body or arch of the back. I then got to watch her apply those lessons immediately, as she modeled for Thrice (whose Instagram page as a photographer is here).

More from this set can be seen here. Enjoy!

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(Sensualight Photography) DemonTamer69 edited new Thrice Xhibited https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/thrice-demontamer69-and-xhibited-at-kolors-studio Sun, 06 Aug 2023 18:12:31 GMT
Fly away, X. I've landed at Implied.vip instead. https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/fly-away-x-ive-landed-at-implied-vip-instead Anyone who's been paying attention knows that Twitter has been a shit show lately.

As a site, it was always controversial, a more free-wheeling alternative to the carefully manicured (and, for figure photographers, aggressively pruned) Meta sites. You could post nude photos there, usually without any push-back; in fact, sex workers also posted relatively unimpeded, with explicit images and video clips advertising their Patreon, OnlyFans, and PornHub pages. The site was also famous or infamous for hosting wild discussions among those with extreme political opinions of all varieties, focusing its pruning on only the most virulent misinformation and hate speech. Like a Wild West saloon, you were pretty much guaranteed to run into something offensive, in the form of raw images and verbal hyperbole -- but you walked through the door expecting it, and knowing that the site had decent bouncers that would throw out anyone who threatened violence in the real world.

Then Elon Musk purchased the site, and that finely calibrated balance went to hell. He fired huge swaths of the staff, and re-opened doors that had previously been closed to the worst of the bad actors. He altered algorithms to promote extreme content and obliterated the controls previously in place to keep out nefarious accounts. Worst of all, he explicitly stated his personal alliance with right-wing ideologies, including antisemitism and white nationalism, and his opposition to diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially as it applies to queer people.

As a person of conscience, I've always payed attention to the ideologies that business owners explicitly tie to their companies. On one hand, I don't really care if the CEO or the owner of a business is a rabid Trump supporter so long as they keep it to themself. Lots of companies that sell lots of products have diverse employees, some of whom are bound to be racist or homophobic or worse, even as the official posture of the company may be neutral or even supportive of progress ideas.

But when the company itself, or the CEO on behalf of the company, aligns himself with antisemitic and anti-trans ideologies, and explicitly rebuilds the site in a way that encourages those groups to use his platform to spread their ideas, then it is time for me to leave the room.

When Hobby Lobby went all the way to the Supreme Court to defend their right to limit insurance coverage for their female employees, excluding coverage for birth control and abortion, they explicitly tied their company to that political position, and as a consequence I have never and will never walk through their doors, no matter how good their sales are. When Chick-fil-a took an explicit stand against LGBTQ rights, I vowed that I would rather go hungry than give them a dollar of my business.

I stayed with Twitter for a long time, trying to say that Musk's personal tirades didn't really represent the company. But it has become increasingly obvious that that is wishful thinking.

And so I have not yet deleted my account, but stopped posting on the site at the beginning of July. We'll see how things go, but honestly it looks like Twitter may crash and burn on its own even before I fully divest. Elon Musk is doing everything he can to "X" out any vestige of value.

So, where to go instead? I've explored some of the alternatives floating around out there; I like Mastodon, for example, though when I joined a year ago I found it complicated and confusing. (Case in point: I forgot that Mastodon is actually a collection of federated sites, so the main Mastodon link above didn't even recognize me; I'd forgotten that my federated group is actually at Photog.social. My personal page is here, but I haven't posted to it yet.) I need to go back and explore further and see whether it might be a community of like-minded artists that might appreciate what I have to offer artistically. I can't even remember the names of some of the other sites people are talking about. And Threads? Hell no. The last thing I need is yet another Meta site with ultra-Puritanical attitudes toward art.

I've joined a new site called Implied.vip, and so far this looks like it has the potential to offer what I and so many others are looking for. The site is buggy -- the app sometimes bogs down after scrolling through a few dozen posts and has to be restarted -- but that's presumably fixable. You have to sign up to see anything, which I think is fine, and you have to verify your identity to post, which I also support. But then your public posts can be just about anything you want, so long as they're artistic -- partial and full nudity are OK. The site has options for putting some content behind a pay wall of your choosing, so if you wish, you can, for example, put your more sexually explicit images behind a locked subscription door that costs $5/month, or $10, or $30, to open. I haven't tried this option yet, as I want to get established on the site first, but I've seen others do it. I have to think that the audience on Implied.vip isn't large enough yet for this to provide more than minor income -- most people still post links to their Patreon and OnlyFans pages rather than duplicating those efforts on Implied. But if the site continues to grow, maybe people will start using those services more.

So far, the vibe is less like the Wild West and more like a community art gallery. It attracts all kinds of artists: professional figure photographers, glamour artists, camera hobbyists, sex workers and porn creators. You can see a thread made up only of the people you've chosen to follow, or you can "discover" similar content. In this way you know what you're getting, or approximately so. There are no ads every third post.

Honestly, the only down-side is that the community is still pretty small. I think they just advertised that they'd passed 10,000 users, compared to Instagram and Twitter's millions. It has flown very much under the radar -- I can't find any news stories online about it, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but also makes one wonder about its long-term future. And it remains to be seen whether, as they grow, they can continue to balance the art makers with those who prefer to make pornography.

Right now, I've followed a bunch of figure artists. Only a couple of the models I've worked with are on the site, including Kristy Jessica and Jessa Ray Muse, but it's nice to see their work uncensored, in the form they were originally intended. I see other models and artists lurking, so hopefully they'll join as well.

I hear that they have ideas for making the site even friendlier to photographers and models, including building tools like Model Mayhem has to link people up with collaborators.

But for now, the site is good enough, and easy enough to use, that it's worth my time posting to it, especially since it is literally the only social media option specifically tailored to photographers and models (please correct me if I'm wrong!). Find my content at https://www.implied.vip/sensualight. Sign up and watch my uncensored feed. Get your friends to join, too. Leave comments and join conversations. Watch what happens, and share your experiences with me if you like. I'd love to hear what you like, or don't. Is this the future online community we've been hoping for? What do you think?

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(Sensualight Photography) Implied.vip social media Twitter uncensored XPro https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/fly-away-x-ive-landed-at-implied-vip-instead Sat, 05 Aug 2023 21:16:00 GMT
Preview: Astrid Kallsen at Mount Rainier https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/preview-astrid-kallsen-at-mount-rainier I've been very busy this summer with photo shoots, and I'm super-pleased with the images I'm getting. I'm overdue telling you about them, so let's remedy that, starting with a shoot I did mid-July with Astrid Kallsen.

You'll recall that we shot together in March in Seattle's Discovery Park, where we got some fantastic images on the beach, some of which are already performing well in the photographic salons. I had told her at the time that I'd love to shoot again, this time in the mountains, if she came back to the area in the summer months. She did, so we did!

I've been wanting to shoot at this site for a long time, impeded only by the challenge of finding models willing to make the trek on a challenging trail. As it turns out, I got lucky and found two such adventurers, one (Astrid) to shoot in the morning light, the other (Jessa Ray Muse) to shoot in the evening. I'll tell you about Jessa in a future post.

For this location, the challenge is being there when the light is best. If you're out shooting on a flat plain, of course, you can easily look up when the sunrise or sunset is, and reliably predict that the light will be best during the golden hour around those two times. But this site is in a north-south oriented canyon, with high cliff walls rising up on the west and east. For the first hours after sunrise, the sun may be "up," but from the perspective of someone inside the canyon, the light has not risen over the canyon wall to the east, and the shooting location within the canyon is still in shadow. That's not necessarily a bad thing, if you want images of a dark silhouette against the backdrop of a bright mountain (lit by the sun because it rises above the canyon), but it's not the images I was looking for.

Fortunately there's a great tool available to photographers called "The Photographer's Ephemeris" which allows you to pick a spot on the globe and to see exactly where the sun and the moon will be relative to that location at any point in time. Furthermore, you can pick a spot on the surrounding landscape and see how high the sun needs to be in the sky to be visible above it. That allowed me to predict with confidence that the high point where I wanted to shoot would be touched by light about 8:30 in the morning, and then to work backward from that to plan when Astrid and I should meet in order to drive and hike there. And when the time came, like magic, that spot lit up precisely on schedule!

Of course, by the time the light appeared, it was no longer golden hour, and the sun was higher in the sky than ideal -- but that's the only option available other than shooting in shadow when you're down in a canyon and want to shoot with natural light.

And as expected, Astrid was amazing! Her poses are fantastic in outdoor settings, so compelling; the angles she creates with her long, lithe body mirror well the long slopes and ridgelines of Mount Rainier and the Nisqually Canyon. The wildflowers were beginning to come on strong, and the moraine rocks added additional foreground interest.

I shot with three different lenses: a 35mm Canon lens for basic wide angle landscape shots; a 14mm Rokinon lens for super-wide angles that expand the horizon and make the model a smaller element within a larger setting; and a 70-200mm Canon lens that allows me to pull the background in close so that it looks like Astrid could almost reach out and touch the craggy ice of the glaciers behind her.

We shot at the aforementioned high point, then came back down the ridge to a jumble of rocks, which honestly turned out to be some of the best photos of all in my opinion, with Astrid's pale, smooth body surrounded by the rugged, textured rocks. Her red hair stood out well in that setting, too. (Honestly, I can't imagine any body type or skin tone that wouldn't look fantastic in this spot.)

We were mildly plagued by mosquitoes, and Astrid donated some blood to our artistic cause, along with the sweat of an arduous climb on an unmaintained trail. She was a trooper and never hesitated. I think the photos speak for themselves to demonstrate how fully worth it the effort was.

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(Sensualight Photography) Astrid Kallsen edited figure nude Mount Rainier nude in nature preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/preview-astrid-kallsen-at-mount-rainier Fri, 04 Aug 2023 19:40:00 GMT
Published in Shots Magazine https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/published-in-shots-magazine I really enjoy subscribing to "Shots" magazine, a small-run magazine published out of St. Paul, Minnesota. It's not a slick, high-gloss magazine but rather printed at low cost, with an emphasis on sharing artistry rather than looking pretty. The contributors are often serious amateurs like myself who are passionate about their craft and wildly creative in their interpretation of the quarterly theme. It doesn't cost a lot to subscribe, and along with the subscription you get to contribute images for consideration.

I had a photo published once before already, in the summer 2021 issue, and a second photo is featured in issue 160 that just arrived in the mail with the theme of "Love and Truth."

  • "You have no power over me," Bowie Monroe, Bellevue, September 2018

You have no power over me (Published)You have no power over me (Published)You have no power over me
6I8A8303 (2018-09-10)
2018-09-01
Bowie Monroe
Bellevue, Washington

2021-10-13 Shadowhunter Circuit (Portrait PIDC) (Croatia, Malta and Serbia): Accepted

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(Sensualight Photography) Bowie Monroe publication Shots Magazine You have no power over me https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/published-in-shots-magazine Thu, 03 Aug 2023 23:32:00 GMT
Another Honorable Mention at Monovision https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/another-honorable-mention-at-monovision I've been moderately successful at applying to some of the big online photo contests. It's hard to break through to the top-tier, top-three award level, but it's still an achievement to receive an Honorable Mention.

The latest is at the Monovisions Photography Awards, with an Honorable Mention for my series "Tatoosh Dreams" featuring Bunny Luna on Pinnacle Peak and vicinity in July 2019. I won another Honorable Mention two years ago with my "Three Graces" series, too.

Here's the new series that took honors, and you can see it in context with the other winners on the Monovisions website:

"Tatoosh Dreams," Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019

  1. "Mammals in the mist"
  2. "Parallel worlds"
  3. "Unicorn in the clouds"
  4. "Pure"
  5. "Tatoosh mirror"
  6. "States of matter"

Tatoosh DreamsTatoosh DreamsMammals in the mist
B758253 (2021-07-01)
2019-07-16
Bunny Luna
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park

2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Nude PIDC) (Malta and Serbia): Accepted
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Open Monochrome) (Kolkata, India): Accepted
Tatoosh DreamsTatoosh DreamsParallel Worlds
B75A8286 (2021-07-01)
2019-07-16
Bunny Luna
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park

2021-10-13 Shadowhunter Circuit (Nude PIDC) (Malta): Accepted
Tatoosh DreamsTatoosh Dreams Tatoosh DreamsTatoosh Dreams Tatoosh DreamsTatoosh DreamsTatoosh Mirror
B75A8549 (07-02-2021)
07-17-2019
Bunny Luna
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDM): Accepted
Tatoosh DreamsTatoosh Dreams

This remains one of the most epic photo shoots I've ever done.

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(Sensualight Photography) award Bunny Luna Honorable Mention Mammals in the mist Monovisions Parallel worlds Pure States of matter Tatoosh Dreams Tatoosh mirror Unicorn in the clouds https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/another-honorable-mention-at-monovision Wed, 02 Aug 2023 23:15:00 GMT
PSA, DPA, and ALP, oh my https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/psa-dpa-and-alp-oh-my I'm behind on reporting contest results, so let's take a step toward resolving that with a trio of Photographic Society of America salons.

The first is PSA's Reality Division Exhibition (June 7), which I won't dwell on since it focuses on Photojournalism and Travel rather than figurative art. I went out of my way to submit some of my best images, based on previous contests, to this contest; even so, none of my four entries in the Travel division were accepted. The Photojournalism judges were much friendlier, with two out of four images in the main category accepted, and all four of my entries in the Human Interest sub-category.

I'm pleased that my photojournalistic images have been generally successful, since I really enjoy candid photography of events as they unfold -- parades, festivals, volunteer projects, etc. -- and even my fine art photography tends to follow a more observational style than one that is highly controlled and scripted.

The DPA Circuit (June 20) was a more traditional photo salon, hosted by the Republic of Ireland but with judgings in Montenegro and Serbia as well. This circuit had four categories that I entered: Open Color and Monochrome, Life, and Woman, so a total of 16 images.

Like the recent pattern that I've already posted about, my results were terrible. The Ireland judges only accepted a single image. Montenegro accepted two, and Serbia four. So even the most favorable judges only took 25%, and overall my record was 15%, less than half of the average acceptance rate. Three of those acceptances were a single image that all three judges liked, a recent image of Astrid Kallsen from our fantastic photoshoot in Seattle this spring.

  1. "Of Earth" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted in all three judgings, in Ireland, Montenegro, and Serbia
  2. "Pan's shadow" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Olinka Lickova, Seattle, February 2019: Accepted in Serbia
  3. "Ice and stone" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Haven Model, Mount Rainier National Park, August 2018: Accepted in Serbia
  4. "Gamekeeper" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Kit Ashton, Seattle, April 2023: Accepted in Montenegro
  5. "Reflecting Tahoma" (Open Colour PIDC), Mazama Ridge, August 2023: Accepted in Montenegro

Of Earth (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x3Of Earth (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x3 Pan's shadow (Open Monochrome PIDM)Pan's shadow (Open Monochrome PIDM) Ice and stone (Open Monochrome PIDM): AcceptedIce and stone (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted Gamekeeper (Open Monochrome PIDM): AcceptedGamekeeper (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted Reflecting Tahoma (Open Colour PIDC)Reflecting Tahoma (Open Colour PIDC)

As a complete aside, I was up on Mazama Ridge yesterday, about a week earlier in the season than I was there to photograph Invy Rose last year, and the same time that I captured the above photo of Mount Rainier. This year is completely different. Last year there were still patches of snow on the ground, and the wildflowers were in many places just emerging, after a snowy winter and a cool spring. This year no only was there no snow, but the wildflowers are already waning, despite a slightly above average snowpack but a very hot and dry spring.

The final salon was the ALP Circuit in India (June 26), with five judgings but only two categories that I entered (Open Color and Open Monochrome). So that's a total of 40 possible acceptances, of which I had 7, an acceptance rate of 17.5%, so very similar to DPA. And like that contest, only a few individual photos were actually accepted, one of them four times, another twice, and a third only once, leaving five photos that weren't accepted by any of the five judges.

  1. "Leverage" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019: Accepted in four of the five judgings, including two Merit Awards
  2. "Gloves on" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Kit Ashton, Seattle, April 2023: Accepted in two of the five judgings
  3. "On track" (Open Color PIDC); Skye; Boxcar Canyon, Eatonville, Washington; January 2023

Leverage (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x4, Merit Award x2Leverage (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x4, Merit Award x2 Gloves on (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x2Gloves on (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x2 On track (Open Colour PIDC): AcceptedOn track (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted

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(Sensualight Photography) Astrid Kallsen Award Gamekeeper Gloves on Haven Model Ice and Stone Kit Ashton Leverage Marzipanned Merit Of Earth Olinka Lickova On track Pan's shadow PSA Reflecting Tahoma Skye https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/8/psa-dpa-and-alp-oh-my Tue, 01 Aug 2023 22:50:56 GMT
Preview: DianaJean and Kristy Jessica on Marsh Island https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/preview-dianajean-and-kristy-jessica-on-marsh-island I have lots of photo shoots scheduled this month! They started last week with a morning session in Seattle with DianaJean and Kristy Jessica.

I've shot with both women before -- with Kristy twice, but a long time ago, not long after I started shooting with figure models; and Diana several times over the years, both in the city and the wilderness. Both used to live full-time in Seattle, but Kristy is now living the RV life most of the time, and Diana has moved to San Francisco. Both happened to be in town at the same time, though, and since I've wanted to shoot again with each of them, I proposed working with them together. They readily agreed.

We considered a couple of settings in Seattle: Centennial Park, the Arboretum, and finally I proposed Marsh and Foster Island, a lesser-known trail east of the Montlake Cut that parallels Highway 520 on Lake Washington. I did a scouting trip to Seattle and the trail looked so great in the sunshine, with blue skies and blue seas!

So, of course, the morning of our shoot arrived with the only clouds anywhere in the forecast! That's the challenge of shooting in nature, you're completely at the mercy of the weather, and I've learned over the years that you have to be mentally prepared for anything. So when you're hoping for sunshine and get Seattle Gray, you say "oh well, the light will be less contrasty!" Cloudy days actually are much easier to shoot in than high sun, because it's like a giant softbox in the sky, giving you even lighting and saturated colors and fewer shadows.

It was nice to get caught up with two individuals that have become friends over the years (especially Diana given how regularly I've shot with her), and even nicer to work with two people who are so good at what they do. Both Diana and Kristy each have well over a decade of experience modeling, so probably a good 30 years between the two of them, and they are so intuitive with their poses and so quick to pick up on what I was trying to accomplish. And working together, you'd almost swear that Diana and Kristy could communicate telepathically, as they interacted so naturally with each other, feeding off each other's ideas and creativity, matching each other's poses, making suggestions with just a word or two. I am quite certain that I got at least twice as many shots in our two hours as I would have with less experienced models, because they moved so swiftly and naturally to new poses with minimal input from me.

The trail starts from Montlake and crosses a short boardwalk bridge to Marsh Island. At the far end of the island, it crosses a longer boardwalk to Foster Island, which then connects underneath the 520 Highway to the north edge of the Washington Park Arboretum. There are great views of Lake Washington from the boardwalks, and across the water to the distinctive Husky Stadium at the University of Washington. There are two places on Marsh Island where there are side trails to decks surrounded by lily pads with views to (and from) the highway. There's a larger deck on the other side of the island with views of the Stadium and, this morning, numerous crew rowers headed out on morning practice. Foster Island, then, has a raised observatory with panoramic views northward across the Lake.

Shooting on a cloudy morning, there were a few hikers and runners on the main trail. We shot mostly on the side trails, but not exclusively, so when people came by we just acted professional and people just smiled and passed by. I intentionally wore my UW t-shirt and sweatshirt, thinking that people would just think I was an art student from the University across the Cut!

I loved the way the two models interacted with each other so much, that I never did any shooting with them individually. I usually do, but you can't argue with great results and it was working so well with the two together that it seemed foolish to mess with success. Some of the photos look like friend, or sisters, or even lovers; I love that it completely doesn't matter, and that the viewer can bring whatever interpretation to it that they like.

At the end, Diana and Kristy got into the water among the lily pads for a final set -- we saved the wet and cold for the end, intentionally. We also saw a raccoon fishing along the edge of the water there!

All in all, I'm very pleased with the photos. These are just a few previews; I'll edit the rest of the photos later when I have more time. You can see more of my preview images on my website.

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(Sensualight Photography) DianaJean Kristy Jessica Marsh Island preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/preview-dianajean-and-kristy-jessica-on-marsh-island Tue, 18 Jul 2023 05:11:31 GMT
Geeking out on why my photos aren't doing so well lately https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/geeking-out-on-why-my-photos-arent-doing-so-well-lately No neighbors (2022)No neighbors (2022)No neighbors
4I0A2628 (4/28/22)
3/28/22
Ohanapecosh, Mount Rainier National Park
2022-11-06 Art Life (North Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2023-01-01 New Year Circuit (Serbia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted at Aleksinac, Kolasin, Kula (with Salon Honorable Mention), and Novi Sad
2023-03-01 NSAPK Circuit (North Macedonia) (Woman Man Child PIDC): Accepted at Aleksinac, Kolasin (Salon Gold Medal), Kula, and Podgorica
2023-04-02 Foto Fest Circuit (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in all 3 judgings; Honorable Mention
2023-05-07 Pirin (Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2023-05-28 IAAP World Cup (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2023-07-08 PSA Pictorial Divisions Exhibition (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2023-08-27 Gold Camera (Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
I've had a string of bad luck lately when it comes to submitting my photos to contests, especially those associated with the Photographic Society of America. I have a few more non-successes to add to the list: zeroed at Manifest Gallery's "Nude 15" competition; skunked at LifeFramer's "The Human Body" competition. No word from Shots Magazine, though they just seem to be running behind schedule; and to be fair, I did hear that my entry to Monovisions was "nominated" (meaning it made the first cut but not the final one). And to be fair even further, Manifest and LifeFramer's competitions were highly competitive, so not making the cut is not surprising even for an advanced artist.

Off Season (2022)Off Season (2022)Off Season
4I0A2544 (4/19/2022)
3/28/2022
Katlyn Lacoste
Highway 123 near Ohanapecosh, Mount Rainier National Park
2022-07-21 to 08-20 Artless Bastard Gallery (La Pere, Wisconsin) (Figuratively Speaking): Exhibited
2022-08-15 Photomania Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in three of six judgings
2022-09-10 Montenegro Circuit (Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Salon Honorable Mention
2022-10-10 Bengal Super Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in 2 of 5 judgings
2023-01-17 Dodho Magazine (Barcelona, Spain) Nude Photography Awards: Finalist ("As a finalist your image will be published in the book 'NUDE' to be released next February")
I guess it's those abysmal PSA results that keep weighing on me, and having me dread the upcoming results from the DPA and ALP Circuits.

So what does a scientist/geek do in the face of apparent failure? Search the data for explanations!

OK, consider this. Among my top 100 photos currently, all but one were taken since 2010, the autumn I started working with figure models for the first time. That's 13 years, or more precisely 155 months worth of photos. And that's 167 edited figure photo shoots in that time period (plus interstitial photos of other subjects). Do a little math, and that works out to an average of 0.60 photos per photo shoot ending up in my top 100, and 7.74 photos per year. Ohanapecosh 215 (2022)Ohanapecosh 215 (2022)Ohanapecosh 215
4I0A2631 (4/28/22)
3/28/22
Ohanapecosh, Mount Rainier National Park
2022-08-22 Suvarna (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2022-10-01 Balkan Circuit (Aleksinak, Novi Sad and Vrbas, Serbia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted; Salon Honorable Mention at Novi Sad
2022-10-20 Click U (India) (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted in 5 of 6 judgings; Salon Bronze Medal in one of them
2023-02-01 DPW SBM Circuit (Serbia) (Woman Man Child PIDC): Accepted at Serbia
2023-03-05 Photo Salon Kicevo (North Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2023-04-23 Photo Magic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) (Woman PIDC): Accepted
And that's not a high bar -- my 100th-best photo, by the metrics I use to keep track, holds that position merely by being accepted for a virtual exhibition four times with no awards. (And some photo circuits have four or five chances for acceptance with a single submission, since they're being submitted to multiple judgings.)

So let's assume that the photos I've been submitting to contests are the ones I consider my very best out of the last 13 years of photography. Granted, the judges often work in mysterious ways, celebrating photos I entered on a whim while giving a collective "meh" to ones that I personally adore. Still, I think that my eye for quality roughly mirrors that of the judges. So that has resulted on a lot of photos rising to the top, and once recognized as such, being submitted multiple times to multiple contests, causing them to rise even further.

Twice the beauty (2022)Twice the beauty (2022)Twice the beauty
4I0A2760 (12/1/2022 Square)
8/6/2022
Invy Rose
Mazama Ridge, Mount Rainier National Park
2022-12-04 Ramdhanu Circuit (India) (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted in 1 of 3 judgings; PSA Gold
2023-05-07 Pirin (Bulgaria) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2023-05-01 DPW Four Country Circuit (Serbia) (Woman Man Child PIDC): Accepted in Serbia and Croatia
2023-05-17 Visual Arts (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in 2 of 5 judgings
2023-08-10 Nude Magazine (France): Published in issue 39, "Landscape"

But at some point, there's no reason other than ego to keep submitting the same photos. Sure, I can keep winning, and winning, and winning, so much winning! But I don't spend $20-40 per contest just for the endorphins. I truly want to know which of my photos are the best, and to learn from that success to become even better. And once a photo has won or been accepted 10-20 times, why keep proving the same point? Except, of course, when some truly special contest comes along, that I haven't entered yet, those are the photos I pull out to submit.

So once those cream-of-the-crop photos are out of the picture (so to speak), what next? Well, I have two sources for new photos. One is to reach deeper into Earth, Water and Fire (2022)Earth, Water and Fire (2022)Earth, Water and Fire
4I0A3824 (4/28/22)
3/28/2022
Katlyn Lacoste
Ohanapecosh, Mount Rainier National Park
2022-10-15 Aesthetic Vision (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in 3 of 6 judgings
2022-11-20 Six Seasons Circuit (India) (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted in 2 of 6 judgings
2023-01-01 New Year Circuit (Serbia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted at Kolasin
my existing oeuvre, looking for images I might have missed the first time through, or that the judges might think more highly of than I do myself. That's not a great formula for success, though it does yield some nice surprises now and then.

The second source is new images. And I'm editing new sets all the time, so I always have new photos to choose from! And theoretically (I hope) my photos today are better, as a general rule, than the ones I made 13 years ago. But still, on average, only 0.60 photos per photo shoot end up doing well (accepted four times or more in PSA contests), and only 7.74 out of an entire year's worth of photography. So if I'm entering two contests per month, 24 per year, at least two categories per contest, and four photos per category, Deep roots (2023)Deep roots (2023)Deep roots
4I0A3738 (02/18/2023 edit)
1/31/2023
Boxcar Canyon, Eatonville, Washington
2023-03-05 Photo Salon Kicevo (North Macedonia) (People PJD): Accepted
2023-05-01 DPW Four Country Circuit (Serbia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in Croatia, Ireland and Montenegro; PSA Gold Medal in Croatia
2023-07-08 PSA Pictorial Divisions Exhibition (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2023-08-01 DPW Summer Circuit (Serbia) (Woman PIDC): Accepted at Kula and Novi Sad
and trying to fill out those 200+ slots, less than 8 of which are new photos that will rise to the top 100, well, you see the difficulty.

In fact, when you put it that way, the fact that I'm doing as well as I am is actually notable.

Given the situation, it may be more productive for me to apply to fewer contests, to better match the rate at which I produce new champions. Or, I just need to come to peace with the messy and resource-intensive process of weeding out photos that make the cut.

Beach refuge (2023)Beach refuge (2023)Of Earth
4I0A0842 (5/15/23 edit)
3/21/2023
Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington
2023-05-17 Visual Arts (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in 4 of 5 judgings
2023-08-01 DPW Summer Circuit (Serbia) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted at Aleksinac and Kula
I'll probably take a hybrid approach. I need to be more discriminating about the photos I submit, and be realistic about the number of good photos I have to choose from. If I don't feel like I have enough new images to submit that are of sufficient quality to succeed, then instead of reaching deeper to fill out the quota, maybe it's better to sit out a contest or two until I accumulate more.

After all, every time I edit five photo shoots, I have three shiny new images with the potential to break out!

This blog post, by the way, is illustrated with three photos taken this year that have already cracked the top 100, and seven of the nine from 2022. Twelve photos in a year and a half isn't bad, especially considering how behind I am on actually editing the photo sets from this time period. Of Earth (2023)Of Earth (2023)Of Earth
4I0A0876 (4/10/23 BW edit)
3/21/2023
Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington
2023-04-20 Jadran Circuit (Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted at Kotor
2023-05-28 IAAP World Cup (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2023-06-20 DPA Circuit (Serbia) (Open Monochrome): Accepted in all three judgings, at Ireland, Montenegro, and Serbia
Pictured here:

  1. "No neighbors" (#12 of 100), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022
  2. "Off season" (#15 of 100), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022
  3. "Ohanapecosh 215" (#20 of 100), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022
  4. "Twice the beauty" (#50 of 100), Invy Rose, Mazama Ridge, August 2022
  5. "Earth, water and fire" (#61 of 100), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022
  6. "Deep roots" (#71 of 100), Skye, Boxcar Canyon, January 2023
  7. "Beach refuge" (#87 of 100), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023
  8. "Of Earth" (#88 of 100), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023
  9. "The world comes apart" (#90 of 100), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022

The World Comes Apart (2022)The World Comes Apart (2022)The world comes apart
4I0A2483 (04-19-2022)
03-28-2022
Katlyn Lacoste
Ohanapecosh, Mount Rainier National Park
2022-08-28 Gold Camera (Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-10-01 Balkan Circuit (Novi Sad and Vrbas, Serbia) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-11-20 Six Seasons Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in 1 of 6 judgings

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(Sensualight Photography) Astrid Kallsen Beach refuge Deep roots Earth water and fire Invy Rose Katlyn Lacoste No neighbors Of Earth Off season Ohanapecosh 215 Skye statistics The world comes apart Twice the beauty https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/geeking-out-on-why-my-photos-arent-doing-so-well-lately Mon, 17 Jul 2023 03:43:06 GMT
Haily on Rampart Ridge https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/haily-on-rampart-ridge My photos of Haily on Rampart Ridge are finally edited! I'm really pleased with how these turned out. The conditions were challenging -- contrasty light when the sun came out, and a very complex background to work with, involving rocks and trees of all sizes, underbrush, backlighting, the works.

But Haily is a great model and she really rocked the setting. I love her poses, and the ways that she merges her body with the rocks and the underbrush. My favorites are the closeups in the beargrass--I love the contrast between skin and the lines of the grass. The details are really special. Zoom in and see the stretch marks on Haily's right breast, which perfectly match the lines of the beargrass. That's my favorite part.

What do you think? Which are your faves?

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(Sensualight Photography) edited Haily nude in nature https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/haily-on-rampart-ridge Thu, 13 Jul 2023 03:36:00 GMT
Visual Arts Circuit, Vojvodina, and Indian Super https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/visual-arts-circuit-vojvodina-and-indian-super Three more PSA results to report, one of them OK, the other two, frankly, abysmal.

Visual Arts Circuit (India, May 17, 2023)

  • "Beach refuge" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted in 4 of 5 judgings
  • "The Creation take 2" (Open Color PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Gobbler's Knob Lookout, September 2021: Accepted in 3 judgings
  • "Twice the beauty" (Open Color PIDC), Invy Rose, Mazama Ridge, August 2022: Accepted in 2 judgings
  • "Astrid on the Sound" (Open Color PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted in 1 judging
  • "Primal" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016: Accepted in 1 judging

Beach refuge (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)Beach refuge (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4) The Creation, take 2 (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3)The Creation, take 2 (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3) Twice the beauty (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x2)Twice the beauty (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x2) Astrid on the Sound (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Astrid on the Sound (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted) Primal (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Primal (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)


Vojvodina Circuit (Serbia, June 1, 2023)

  • "As above, so below" (Open Color PIDC), Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, March 2019: Salon Honorable Mention; accepted at Novi Sad and Aleksinac
  • "Gamekeeper" (Portrait PIDC), Kit Ashton, Royal Flash Studio, Seattle, April 2023: Accepted at Novi Sad
  • "Rapture" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted at Kula
  • "Campsite 1 on Snow Lake" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Petals and Pomegranates, Snow Lake, Mount Rainier National Park, October 2020: Accepted at Aleksinac
  • "A space full of light" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Stella Luceat, Seattle, January 2019: Accepted at Aleksinac

As above, so below (Open Color PIDC) (Honorable Mention, Accepted)As above, so below (Open Color PIDC) (Honorable Mention, Accepted) Campsite 1 on Snow Lake (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted)Campsite 1 on Snow Lake (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted) Gamekeeper (Portrait PIDC) (Accepted)Gamekeeper (Portrait PIDC) (Accepted) A space full of light (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)A space full of light (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Rapture (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Rapture (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)


Indian Super Circuit (India, June 12, 2023)

  • "Morning tea" (Open Monochrome PIDM), HaileyJ, Seattle, April 2017: Accepted in 1 of 3 judgings

Morning tea (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Morning tea (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)

So, the Visual Arts Circuit results are OK: 3 categories, 4 photos each, 5 judgings, 14 total acceptances out of 60. That's less than 25%, not great. But Vojvodina is worse: 4 categories, 4 photos each, 3 judgings, 6 acceptances out of 48. 12.5%. Terrible. And the Indian Super Circuit is even worse: 4 categories, 4 photos each, 3 judgings, only 5 acceptances out of 48. And three of those five were the same photo in the travel category, an image of the Golden Gate Bridge that surprisingly was accepted in all three judgings. So in figurative categories the result is more like 1 out of 24. Ouch.

I've noticed a trend lately that my photos aren't being accepted as often. I think that the reason for this may be that when I started applying to PSA salons I was submitting the best photos I'd made across more than a decade. I've submitted a lot of those photos multiple times and it doesn't really help me a whole lot to keep submitting them, so now I'm reaching deeper into my inventory. That's bound to lead to fewer acceptances and more misses.

And, unless I completely change my process, something I'll need to get used to. And try to make up for by making new high quality top tier photos!

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(Sensualight Photography) A space full of light As above so below Astrid Kallsen Astrid on the Sound award Beach refuge Campsite 1 on Snow Lake Dominique Zuniga Gamekeeper HaileyJ Honorable Mention Indian Super Invy Rose Katlyn Lacoste Kit Ashton Lior Allay Morning tea Petals and Pomegranates Primal PSA Rapture Stella Luceat The Creation take 2 Twice the beauty Visual Arts Vojvodina https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/visual-arts-circuit-vojvodina-and-indian-super Wed, 12 Jul 2023 03:11:00 GMT
Photos to be published in "Landscape" issue of Nude Magazine! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/photos-to-be-published-in-landscape-issue-of-nude-magazine After yesterday's bummer, here's a more positive result: my entry to Nude Magazine's "Landscape" issue has been accepted! Presumably, all ten of the photos I submitted will be published, though I won't be certain of that until the issue comes out next month. I feel like this is a pretty good magazine to be published in!

Here are the photos I submitted. I'll share the final result with you when it comes out.

Deep rootsDeep roots Den lille havfrue (Published)Den lille havfrue (Published) Earth, water and fireEarth, water and fire Last light (Published)Last light (Published)Last Light
6I8A8293 (2/24/2021)
7/29/2015
DianaJean
Upper Crystal Lake, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

2021-04-01 Colors of Humanity Art Gallery (online) "Human Nature": Exhibited virtually
Mammals in the mist (Published)Mammals in the mist (Published)Mammals in the mist
B758253 (2021-07-01)
2019-07-16
Bunny Luna
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park

2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Nude PIDC) (Malta and Serbia): Accepted
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Open Monochrome) (Kolkata, India): Accepted
Skinny dipper (Published)Skinny dipper (Published) Spirit of the desertSpirit of the desertSpirit of the Desert
6I8A3574 (3/4/2017)
3/21/2016
Dominique Zuniga
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

2018-04-06 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Rochester, New York): Exhibited digitally
2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Color PIDC), as "Desert Light": Accepted
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Color PIDC): Accepted
States of matter (Published)States of matter (Published) Twice the beauty (Published)Twice the beauty (Published) Winthrop GlacierWinthrop Glacier

  1. "Deep Roots," Skye, Boxcar Canyon, January 2023
  2. "Den lille havfrue," Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018
  3. "Earth, water and fire," Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022
  4. "Last light," DianaJean, Upper Crystal Lake, July 2015
  5. "Mammals in the mist," Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019
  6. "Skinny dipper," Dolly Mattel, Upper Crystal Lake, September 2021
  7. "Spirit of the desert," Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016
  8. "States of matter," Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019
  9. "Twice the beauty," Invy Rose, Mazama Ridge, August 2022
  10. "Winthrop Glacier," Katlyn Lacoste, Third Burroughs, August 2021
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(Sensualight Photography) Bunny Luna Deep Roots Den lille havfrue DianaJean Dolly Mattel Dominique Zuniga Earth water and fire Invy Rose Katlyn Lacoste landscape Last Light Mammals in the mist nude in nature Nude Magazine publication Queen Dandelion Skinny dipper Skye Spirit of the desert States of matter Twice the beauty Winthrop Glacier https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/photos-to-be-published-in-landscape-issue-of-nude-magazine Tue, 11 Jul 2023 02:13:00 GMT
Portfolio rejected by PSA https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/portfolio-rejected-by-psa Well, this one’s a bummer.

The Photographic Society of America has a lot of different forms of recognition that you can compete for, including the “star ratings” that I’ve described before.

Another form of recognition is called “Portfolio Distinctions.” For these, you submit a set of related photos, a “portfolio,” along with a description of your photographic vision. The photo set is reviewed by judges, and if it is accepted, you get to claim a title. You start at the Bronze level, and if you’re successful there, you can next apply for a Silver and then Gold distinction.

I put together what I felt was a very strong sample of my work. Here is the “Overview Image” containing all ten of the photos together, and a link to the full set of individual photos on my website:

Overview ImageOverview Image

Statement of intent:

Body/Identity

So much of who we are is carried in our body—our gender identity, age, race, culture, even our personal history, marked on our skin as tattoos and scars. The way others see us, and the way we see ourselves, is shaped by our body and reflected in it. This is what has made the human figure such a prominent theme throughout the history of art.

The response stings:

Thank you for submitting your Bronze Portfolio entry – Body/Identity – for assessment. Unfortunately, your application was not successful.

Problem areas in your application:

Statement of Intent – A generalization, not giving a definitive intent.

Overview Image – Lacks flow and cohesion. The inclusion of both colour and mono images does not add any value.

Overall Image Quality – Quality in terms of lighting and composition not up to the standard required for a portfolio distinction.

Ouch. Basically a fail on every level.

I can apply again, but this result does not give me confidence.

I always wonder whether my subject matter, being nude figures, contributed to less than favorable results. I suspect, but cannot prove, that this might be the case for certain judges. I can certainly show statistically that there is a vast difference between the acceptance of nude photos in photo salons hosted by various countries, and so I assume the same is true of individual judges. There is, of course, no way to know for sure. And it may simply be true at face value that my submission was sub-par. Fortunately, my work continues to improve, so between that and the hope that I’ll draw a favorable judge next time, I hope for better results in the future!

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(Sensualight Photography) fail portfolio Portfolio Distinction PSA https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/portfolio-rejected-by-psa Mon, 10 Jul 2023 01:31:00 GMT
Washington Trails Association fundraiser photo https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/washington-trails-association-fundraiser-photo Long time no post (except my recent grumpy-old-man post), but (you’ve heard this before) I’ve been busy! Hopefully (you’ve heard this before too) I’ll have more regular updates going forward.

Just a quick update to start things off. This is old news but I haven’t shared it yet: back in April, I received word that my entry to the Washington Trails Association’s Northwest Exposure photo contest had not been selected. That’s hardly big news, but a few days later I received a follow-up message saying that despite my photos not winning awards, one of them was good enough that they wanted to use it for a fundraising promotion!

What can I say, I’m a sucker for helping out causes I believe in, and WTA is one of them. They do thousands of hours of volunteer work at Mount Rainier National Park every year, keeping those trails I love so much in top shape, and tens of thousands more hours around the state. I would never say no to such a cause!

Here’s the photo they chose to use.

4I0A96024I0A9602On the job
4I0A9602 (6/19/22 Color)
6/18/22
Carbon River Trail, Mount Rainier National Park

2023-01-15 Celebration Circuit (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in 1 of 4 judgings
2023-05-03 Washington Trails Association: Used, with permission, in a fundraiser campaign

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(Sensualight Photography) fundraiser On the job Washington Trails Association WTA https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/7/washington-trails-association-fundraiser-photo Sun, 09 Jul 2023 01:04:58 GMT
Social media suck https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/6/social-media-suck I am so fucking tired of social media platforms that do not operate in ways that are supportive of artists.

I have already discussed, ad nauseum, my disgust with censorship of art. But even the hoops you have to jump through to post on sites is an ever-evolving challenge.

It's always been frustrating that different sites have different optimal sizes for posting images, for example. It's less of an issue than it used to be, but for a long time, if you posted an image at a different size from how the platform would display it, that platform would resize your image very badly, and your photo would look terrible. For along time, Facebook's optimal size has been 2048 pixels on the longest dimension. But that number keeps changing, at random, without warning or explanation, and no one can keep up with it. Google "optimal size Facebook" and no one seems to know what the right dimensions are. One site says "1200x628 pixels is ideal," while another says 1200x630, another says 1080x1350, another says 820x312 (which is tiny!), another days 1920x1005, another says 820x462, and yet another 2048 pixels wide regardless of whether your image is oriented landscape or portrait. What the hell is a creator supposed to do with such confusion?


Above: Relative size and aspect of Facebook vs Instagram photos

And regardless of what Facebook is, Instagram is usually different--most recently 1080 pixels wide, 1350 pixels tall, whichever is most restrictive. And they throw in an additional curve ball, which is that the aspect ratio (width to height) can't be more than 4:5. Which means that if your photo is 2:3 (typical for digital photos with professional cameras), you have to crop your image before Instagram will even accept it. So not only are you ruining your art by putting censor bars over it, you're also arbitrarily cutting off the top and bottom of the photo, as if it were irrelevant.

IMG_5845IMG_5845Invy Rose
IMG_5845 (2011-12-03)
2011-12-03
Invy Rose
Puyallup, Washington

2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Nude Mono PIDM), Vidin, Bulgaria: Accepted at Paracin
IMG_5845IMG_5845Invy Rose
IMG_5845 (2011-12-03)
2011-12-03
Invy Rose
Puyallup, Washington

2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Nude Mono PIDM), Vidin, Bulgaria: Accepted at Paracin

Above: Uncropped image, vs forced crop for Instagram

So for every photo you post, you have to create multiple versions for different media.

At least Meta, which runs both Facebook and Instagram, has allowed users to pre-schedule posts, which is a lot more convenient than trying to make live posts every single day when you have a busy schedule. I've been scheduling my posts 2-6 weeks in advance, taking time around the middle of each month to schedule posts for the following month.

But today, when I went to schedule posts for July (yes, June has been busy, and I'm a lot later scheduling posts than I usually am), I got partway through the month and was not able to post for the end of July. So I looked it up and now Meta only allows posts up to 29 days in advance. What the fuck! So now I can't schedule posts 6 weeks in advance anymore, I can only do 4 weeks and 1 day (why 29 days?? that's so random). That's more work and harder to keep track of. And again, no notice or explanation. Why the hell do they care, and why are they making my life harder?

And don't even get me started on Twitter. I've stuck with Twitter for a long time, despite the shenanigans of new owner Elon Musk, because Twitter is very liberal about censoring art, and in fact is the only existing platform with wide reach where I can post my art unmutilated. But my god, Twitter has devolved into a cesspool, and with Elon Musk now gone full-on right-wing fascist in his ideology, saying things like "cisgender is a slur and will be treated as such on Twitter," I can't even control my gag reflex any more. Time to exit.

OK, this has been a rant of the highest order, and honestly, probably no one cares about the behind-the-scenes work that goes into maintaining high quality social media feeds. But it feels good to get it off my chest.

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(Sensualight Photography) Facebook Instagram Meta social media Twitter https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/6/social-media-suck Tue, 27 Jun 2023 20:36:04 GMT
Don't Delete Art https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/6/dont-delete-art 2021-05-31: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."2021-05-31: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation." Today is a "Day of Action" for the group "Don't Delete Art," which is dedicated to pushing back against the censorship of art on social media platforms like Instagram.

Their manifesto is succinct and well-written enough to be worth copying verbatim here:

Social media is a critical avenue for artistic exposure and expression; in 2020, it replaced art fairs as the third most successful way for galleries to sell art. As a result, social media corporations have become cultural gatekeepers with unprecedented power to determine which art works can freely circulate and which ones are banned or pushed into the digital margins.  

Overly restrictive and unclear community guidelines, along with vague definitions as to what counts as “objectionable” material, routinely erase art from search functions, explore functions, and hashtags. Algorithmic errors result in the removal of work, in account deletion, suppression of reach, and in loss of followers. Appeals processes are difficult, protracted, and often ineffective.

As cultural workers and institutions we are deeply concerned about this arbitrary and needlessly aggressive gatekeeping. It negatively impacts artists—who feel fearful and powerless, and often opt to censor themselves—and considerably restricts public access to visual art. Furthermore, as social media companies are held to different and changing regulatory standards in the US, Europe, and the UK, it will be critical for at-risk artists to be considered and valued as companies adapt. The artists and audiences that are likely to be most severely affected are those living in oppressive regimes, those coming from marginal groups, and those who lack museum or gallery representation. 

For social media to be a place where the arts and artists can thrive, we call for the reconsideration of existing restrictions on artistic content; for review of alleged violations; and for a better appeals and notifications process as specified by the Don’t Delete Art Campaign and the Santa Clara Principles. Every platform should have established methods for incorporating artist perspectives into its content moderation policies, as well as special procedures for the review and appeal of art-related posts. 

JOIN US in telling social media companies that there must be greater support of artistic expression on social media.

2021-10-01: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."2021-10-01: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation." This is a very personal issue for me, given the enormous number of my photos that have been removed based on perceived violations of vague and confusing guidelines and so-called "community standards," despite my sincere efforts to be compliant, and the damaging consequences to my free expression as an artist, including having my account suspended, cancelled, and defamed as a tool for "sexual solicitation."

In preparation for today's Day of Action, I have compiled a collection of all of my photos that have been penalized, over the past five years, in one way or another, and have put them into a gallery called "Banned Art" on my website. There are 46 separate photos all together, an average of once every six weeks. And it's actually even more than that, because I've also been slapped repeatedly for sharing, in my stories, photos posted by other artists. In other words, someone else posts a photo in their main feed and doesn't get in trouble for it, but I share it to my story and get accused of "sexual solicitation," which has happened numerous times over the years. That's how arbitrary this all is.

Here are a few highlights (or lowlights) from my experiences over the years.

2018-01-16: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."2018-01-16: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation." The earliest photo I have a record of having removed was this one in January 2018, a (fully censored) image of Thatonekatt posing in a window in 2016. I've always been sensitive about the fact that my work features nudity, and while I don't have the hangups about the human body that so many in our culture do, I've always used blurring or, more commonly, black bars, boxes and circles to cover up the "offensive" parts of the image. Instagram, apparently, agreed that the nudity was properly managed, because this photo was removed for "sexual solicitation," a pattern that ended up being repeated over and over and over throughout the years.

So what is "sexual solicitation?" According to Instagram (now Meta), "we don't allow people to facilitate, encourage or coordinate sexual activity on Instagram. Sexual activities include: Filmed sexual activities and porn; Sexual, erotic or tantric messages; Offering or asking for sex or nude images; Sexualized slang, hints or suggestive statements; Language that describes sex or arousal."

Which of these categories do you think this image violates? Personally, I'm clueless.

But this is a patter than has been repeated over and over. My work is artistic. My models are posing in creative ways, not engaging in sexual activities. Nothing about my work can conceivably be interpreted as asking for sex.

2018-06-10: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."2018-06-10: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation." This image, originally posted in June 2018, is the most baffling of all my censored images. Almost exactly four years after this innocuous photo was published, I received notification that it had been removed because "your post goes against our guidelines on adult sexual solicitation." First of all, it had been online for four years already, but more importantly, it's a goddamn portrait! It contains no nudity, no sexuality, no offensive or suggestive language; it's not even particularly sensual. It's just a sweet portrait of a smiling young woman's face.

But by this time I was clearly on Meta's radar. The drumbeat of condemnation of my art had grown to a crescendo, and although my images hadn't changed, I was by then getting flagged sometimes multiple times a week instead of a few times a year. So something in the coding at Meta had identified me as a threat, and was paying a lot closer attention to my account than it had before.

It's hard to know how much of these problems are caused by high-minded busy-bodies who think they can save the world by "reporting" every post that makes them blush, and how much is the result of artificial intelligence run amok. But it's hard to imagine a human being mistaking this portrait for "sexual solicitation." What's the old saying, "to really screw things up takes a computer"... but also, to maliciously screw things up takes a human, so it goes both ways.

Most of the images that got flagged were less out of the blue than that one, but often not by much. I mean, what's offensive about these two images? They're pretty mild, if you ask me. Yet both of these passive photos, somehow, represent "adult sexual solicitation."

2020-12-30: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."2020-12-30: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation." 2021-04-09: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."2021-04-09: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."

Here are three more that illustrate another point, which is that these accusations of sexual impropriety are clearly divorced from their context within an actual community of artists. The black and white image is called "Exclusive," and has been accepted by Photographic Society of America-affiliated photo salons around the world, in Romania, Montenegro, India and Ireland, and was exhibited physically at 3 Square Art Gallery in Fort Collins, Colorado. The second image is called "Lilith and Eve" and has been part of photo salons in India, North Macedonia, and Bulgaria. The third image, "Diane," has been accepted in Serbia, Hungary, Bulgaria, India, Montenegro, and North Macedonia, and has twice been awarded Honorable Mentions.

2021-04-16: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."2021-04-16: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation." 2022-06-16: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation"2022-06-16: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation" 2021-09-13: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."2021-09-13: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."

But then, so much of this is subjective, random, and unevenly applied. I follow hundreds of other artists, of course, as one does, and as one could argue is the entire point of "social" media. Every day I see artists publishing photos that I wouldn't dare try to get away with, given my own experience, for fear of completely losing my account again. Some images are so minimally censored that I wonder why the artist even bothered. And what's the story with butts?? Yes, Meta's guidelines say they count as "nudity." And yet bare butts are everywhere! I've taken to blocking out the butt crack in all of my photos, having had so many of them removed over the years, and still some of those photos are targeted.

And don't even get me started on the question of challenging a photo's removal, or, even more laughably, trying to get a response from a real live person when you try to appeal. In short: it doesn't happen. Unless you are Pedro Almodovar, there is no way in this Universe to connect with a real person, no matter how good your arguments might be.

2022-07-09: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation."2022-07-09: Removed for "Adult sexual solicitation." And so, after the attacks on my art had reached a crescendo in July 2022, abruptly I received the dreaded message that my account had been cancelled. And yes, I was given the option to appeal, but no, I never received any indication whatsoever, not even an automated response, that indicated my carefully-written appeal had gone anywhere other than a digital dustbin in the basement. Like so many other artists, my creative contacts and networks were just... gone. And I had to start over from scratch.

I'm being even more careful than I was before, with my new account, self-censoring scrupulously; yet still I have photos removed now and then, because it's so hard to know exactly what will and what will not cross the line. Artistic merit plays no part, obviously, and you can't predict how the computers will respond.

2023-06-09: "Can't be recommended to non-followers."2023-06-09: "Can't be recommended to non-followers." The latest development -- and one that I think most people aren't even aware of, because it's so subtle and under the radar -- is that you can now go into your account settings and see whether you might have images in your account that "may go against guidelines for sexual activity or nudity," or that, for that or other reasons, "can't be recommended to non-followers." Which is just a fancy way of saying you've been shadow-banned, that is, dropped out of the algorithm in such a way that your account appears normal, but isn't getting any engagement because Meta isn't showing it to anyone who doesn't intentionally go out of their way to visit your account. Since discovering this feature in February, nine of my photos have shown up in this purgatory. And again, Meta doesn't actually send you a message to warn you of this, they just flag your photos behind the scenes, and the only way you learn about it is to watch your statistics go to zero, or to dig deep into your settings to find the buried notifications. Which is why I've included these nine photos in my "Banned Art" gallery, because they've effectively been ostracized almost as completely as those that were removed entirely.

If you'd like to find out if you're in the same boat:

  1. Go to your account page, and choose the "setting" icon (which looks like an "=" with three lines instead of two) in the upper-right corner.
  2. Choose "Settings and privacy" at the top. (Meta is constantly moving things around, but that's where it is currently.)
  3. Find "Account Status," currently at the very bottom of the list.
  4. You'll see three categories: "Removed content," when "content has been removed for going against our guidelines"; "What can't be recommended," which explains why (in my case) "your account can't be shown to non-followers... your account and content won't appear in places like Explore, Search, Suggested Users, Reels, and Feed Recommendations"; and "Monetization," which indicates whether your violations are so egregious that they won't even take your money. (In my case, they won't show my account to anyone, but they would be perfectly willing to "monetize" my account, if I wanted to throw money at them.)

So what can be done? I wish I knew. Start by going to Don't Delete Art and sign their manifesto. I don't know that it'll make much difference against the Meta juggernaut, but it's worth supporting your fellow artists. Speak out, in any way you can, even though it feels like we are ants protesting the elephants stomping across our tiny trails. Keep making art, obviously. Resist self-censorship. Keep trying to find ways to share art in spite of those who resist it. Remember that this is something artists have been fighting for millennia; social media is new, but prudes and bigots and small minded people and people with power with agendas other than artistic expression have all been around forever. Fight the power.

And Don't Delete Art.

2023-02-10: "Can't be recommended to non-followers."2023-02-10: "Can't be recommended to non-followers."Spirit of the Desert
6I8A3574 (3/4/2017)
3/21/2016
Dominique Zuniga
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

2018-04-06 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Rochester, New York): Exhibited digitally
2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Color PIDC), as "Desert Light": Accepted
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Color PIDC): Accepted

 

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(Sensualight Photography) Beauty on the battlefield censorship Day of Action Diane Dominique Zuniga Don't Delete Art Exclusive Hidden figure Instagram Katlyn Lacoste LiiLii Lilith and Eve Locked out Marzipanned Meta shadow ban Spirit of the Desert Thatonekatt Thrice Vex Voir Woonawanga Zi Gattina https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/6/dont-delete-art Thu, 15 Jun 2023 19:00:49 GMT
Four Country Circuit, Art Story, and IAAP World Cup https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/6/four-country-circuit-art-story-and-iaap-world-cup Three new Photographic Society results to report! I'm behind on blogging these results, so I'll just dive right in:

DPW Four Country Circuit (Serbia), closing May 1, 2023

OK results. Four judgings, in Croatia, Ireland, Montenegro and Serbia; and submissions in Nature (ND), Woman-Man-Child (PIDC),  Open Color (PIDC), and Open Monochrome. So, 64 possibilities, and 16 acceptances, for 25%. That's mediocre. Only one of my nature photos was accepted, but that one in all four countries. I had only 4 acceptances in the Woman-Man-Child category, so that's the same rate of acceptance. Same with monochrome and color: 4 acceptances each. Sixteen total sounds like a lot until you break it down to percentages.

But there's one exception: the color version of "Deep roots," made with Skye this winter, was accepted by three of four judgings, and more significantly, was awarded a PSA Gold Medal by one of them! So that's a gold star in a dark sky.

Figurative results:

  • "Deep roots" (Open Color PIDC), Skye, Boxcar Canyon, January 2023: PSA Gold Medal in Croatia; also accepted in Ireland and Serbia.
  • "Twice the beauty" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Invy Rose, Mazama Ridge, August 2022: Accepted in Croatia and Serbia.
  • "The cliffs of Discovery" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Lillias Right, Discovery Park, June 2015: Accepted in Croatia.
  • "Leo, Hooded" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Leo Velo, in studio, January 2020: Accepted in Ireland.
  • "Mother of shadows" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Xhibited, Seattle, February 2023: Accepted in Serbia.
  • "Athena on the beach" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted in Croatia.
  • "A rose is a rose is a rose" (Open Monochrome PIDM): This isn't exactly a "figurative" image, but I'll make an exception because it has a very Georgia O'Keefe thing going on, with sensual rose petals made even more labia-like by the black and white conversion. (This is also a reminder that you can make great art with a tool as simple as an iPhone.) Accepted in Ireland and Serbia.

Deep roots (Open Color PIDC) (PSA Gold Medal, Accepted x3)Deep roots (Open Color PIDC) (PSA Gold Medal, Accepted x3) Twice the beauty (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted x2)Twice the beauty (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted x2) The cliffs of Discovery (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted)The cliffs of Discovery (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted) Leo, hooded (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Leo, hooded (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Mother of shadows (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted)Mother of shadows (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted) Athena on the beach (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Athena on the beach (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) A rose is a rose is a rose (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)A rose is a rose is a rose (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)

Art Story (North Macedonia), closing May 21, 2023

Eleven acceptances in this one, but just one judging in six categories, so that's 11 out of 24 equals 46% acceptance, almost twice the previous salon. Six of those are figurative photos:

  • "Tristen draped" (Woman PIDC), Tristen, Seattle, October 2010: National Diploma
  • "Diane" (Open Color PIDC), Diane, Seattle, September 2012: Accepted
  • "Light and shadow" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Mikki Marvel, Seattle, August 2015: Accepted
  • "Morning tea" (Open Monochrome PIDM), HaileyJ, Seattle, April 2017: Accepted. Always pleased when I submit an old photo for the first time and it finds success!
  • "Center of the Universe" (Woman PIDC), Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, March 2019: Accepted
  • "Winthrop Glacier" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Katlyn Lacoste, Third Burrough, August 2021: Accepted

Tristen draped (Woman PIDC) (National Diploma)Tristen draped (Woman PIDC) (National Diploma) Diane (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Diane (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Diane
6I8A6460 (2021-09-27)
2021-09-25
Diane
Seattle, Washington

2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Nude Color PIDC): Accepted at Cuprija, Serbia and Pazardzhik, Bulgaria and awarded a Salon Honorable Mention at both.
Light and shadow (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Light and shadow (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Morning tea (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Morning tea (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Center of the Universe (Woman PIDC) (Accepted)Center of the Universe (Woman PIDC) (Accepted) Winthrop Glacier (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Winthrop Glacier (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)

IAAP World Cup, closing May 28, 2023

Finally, a competition by the International Association of Art Photographers, just two categories (Color and Monochrome), and one judging, so just eight chances to be accepted, of which I had six acceptances, a 75% rate! Very pleased by this one. Of course, I also played it pretty safe with this one, submitting photos that had already proved successful elsewhere, but still:

  • "Of Earth" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted
  • "No neighbors" (Open Color PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022: Accepted
  • "As above, so below" (Open Color PIDC), Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, March 2019: Accepted
  • "Den lille havfrue" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018: Accepted
  • "Primal" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016: Accepted. I didn't realize that four out of the six accepted photos were all made in March! What are the chances?
  • "Portend" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Leo Velo, Seattle, February 2016: Accepted

Of Earth (Open Monochrome) (Accepted)Of Earth (Open Monochrome) (Accepted) No neighbors (Open Color) (Accepted)No neighbors (Open Color) (Accepted)

As above, so below (Open Color) (Accepted)As above, so below (Open Color) (Accepted)

 

Den lille havfrue (Open Monochrome) (Accepted)Den lille havfrue (Open Monochrome) (Accepted)

 

Primal (Open Monochrome) (Accepted)Primal (Open Monochrome) (Accepted) Portend (Open Monochrome) (Accepted)Portend (Open Monochrome) (Accepted)

 

 

 

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(Sensualight Photography) A rose is a rose is a rose As above so below Astrid Kallsen Athena on the beach award Center of the Universe Deep roots Den lille havfrue Diane Dominique Zuniga Gold Medal HaileyJ IAAP Invy Rose Katlyn Lacoste Leo hooded Leo Velo Light and shadow Lillias Right Lior Allay Mikki Marvel Morning tea Mother of shadows National Diploma No neighbors Of Earth Portend Primal PSA PSA Gold Medal Queen Dandelion Skye The cliffs of Discovery Tristen Tristen draped Twice the beauty Winthrop Glacier Xhibited https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/6/four-country-circuit-art-story-and-iaap-world-cup Tue, 13 Jun 2023 05:27:00 GMT
Haily, Gin and Ginger at Cedar Flats https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/6/haily-gin-and-ginger-at-cedar-flats In a recent blog post, I described my scouting for a photo shoot with Haily, Gin and Ginger, and promised to tell you how that went. Then I got really busy (it’s that time of year for me) and failed to follow up on that promise. Sorry to keep you in suspense, but I guarantee that the story is worth the wait!

First, and very importantly: this is an erotic photo shoot. If that topic makes you uncomfortable, you might want to skip this one. I won’t be sharing the more explicit photos in this post, but I will be describing and linking to them. The photos are here, and they include both traditional figurative images and images that are explicitly sexual. I have written previously about my thoughts regarding photographing sex, and if you’re interested, you can go back and read all about it. But tl;dr, I believe strongly that a photographer’s job is to document and/or make art out of every aspect of human life, and I don’t believe in drawing lines around certain things and saying they’re “off limits.” Sex and sexuality are important parts of the human experience, and powerful subjects of artistic commentary. And, at least if you’re a grown-ass adult, don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t enjoy as art, for god’s sake.

So with that said, the password for the erotic images is “eros”.

I met Haily, Gin and Ginger in Enumclaw, and we decided to all pile into Haily's car together to drive into the park. We discussed the various places I'd explored, and came to a consensus about where we all wanted to go, which was, first, to Silver Falls, which no one had seen before, and then to Cedar Flats and the Grove of the Patriarchs. The Falls were roaring, and there were people all over the place, not a surprise for Memorial Day and opening weekend of the Ohanapecosh Campground. The light was poor for photographs, so Ginger posed for a few quick nude shots in the forest and we moved on.

We parked at Cedar Flats, and everyone trotted across the log bridge I'd found over that part of the river, into the grove of ancient trees. Everyone was absolutely awestruck, as I knew they would be! Everyone was ripping their clothes off and wandering among the trees. Haily was climbing them, and I was photographing furiously, after confirming with everyone that they didn't mind my doing so.

And it was, in fact, a glorious day. The temperature was perfect, and we only saw a few mosquitoes the whole day. We spent a long while there, with members of the group posing for photos. Right off the bat, as I was getting ready, I looked over and through the gap between two trees that came together like a "V" I could see Haily and Ginger, kneeling among the vanilla leaf, making out furiously. It was erotic and beautiful at the same time, and I got some absolutely amazing images, some of my favorites of the entire day.

And that was how it went all day long. Haily and Gin and Ginger are obviously passionate lovers in every combination, so by the time we left Cedar Flats I had photos of each of them on their own, every possible couple, and all three of them doing things to each other that would make Ron Desantis's head explode. And all of it with a freedom and joy and abandon that was truly inspiring! The light was sometimes perfect, sometimes contrasty and challenging, but there are some amazing images among them.

All told, throughout the day, I took more than 2,200 photos, plus some videos. And it has, since, been a long (but enjoyable) process narrowing them down and editing them! I'm never sure about the audience for such photos -- I certainly can't post them on Instagram, and all of the usual channels for professional photography reject such images outright as pornography, even when they're artistic. So they will probably make their most public appearances on FetLife, literally the only social community I know where such images are welcomed and appreciated.

After exhausting the photographic opportunities at Cedar Flats, the group was keen to see the Grove of the Patriarchs, so we set off through the woods to get there, wading across the stream in two places. No one bothered to get dressed, just threw the clothes in the packs and wandered off through the woods in boots alone, taking even those off to wade through the stream. Finally we arrived at the back end of the boardwalk loop, where the group was awed anew by the even older and more massive trees visible there. Ginger climbed up on the railing of the boardwalk next to the oldest of the trees and just leaned into it, overcome by the power of it all, and I got some really beautiful candid photos of that.

We wandered for a bit, and then Gin said, "I think I'd like to fuck under these big trees over here." He laid out a blanket, and the three lovers sat together discussing their plans, negotiating what they wanted to do and in what order. Ginger and Haily took first shift, scissoring each other to great pleasure, and then Gin stepped in to receive the attentions of them both. At one point, Ginger was riding him reverse-cowboy while Haily rode his face, and the sounds of their pleasure were echoing loudly through the trees. I was glad that there was a noisy river between us and the public trail! Then Haily took a turn being railed from behind by Gin.

Afterward, we continued down the boardwalk, climbing on trees and massive downed logs. There's one place where the massive roots of a tree form a sort of cave, and the group spent a lot of time climbing among the roots, hanging from them upside down, and climbing into the hollow of the tree. They talked about coming back at some point and doing rope suspension here.

Fi nally we all headed back -- back to the end of the boardwalk, back through the forest and twice across the streams, back to Cedar Flats. Here Gin and Ginger got dressed again, but Haily said she'd wait till we were back at the final stream crossing to rinse her feet off. As we were approaching the log bridge, we noticed a man bathing in the river a bit upstream from us. Haily called out a cheery "hello" and he scrambled to hide himself, since he was naked, but Haily said "don't worry, we're naked too!" He did a double-take and said, well, then I guess it's all right then! We all gathered back near the car, and he came across and joined us shortly after. He introduced himself as Sam, from the Ketchikan area of Alaska, but very rural, where he had an isolated property half a mile from the nearest neighbor. He had been here in the lower 48 for the winter making some money to take home and use to install solar panels at his place, to replace the generator. Very much a kindred spirit with our ragtag group, and he smoked with Haily before swapping phone numbers with everyone for future reference.

We were a very contented bunch on the ride back to Enumclaw. It really was a perfect day, and it filled me with such joy to be part of such an amazing group of like-minded people!

The photos, as I said, are a combination of figurative and erotic. I honestly don’t make a distinction, either when I make the photos to begin with, or when I sort and edit them. It’s only when I consider how and where to share the photos with others that the constraints of social convention come into play. So that leads to photos that are hard to categorize. Are they erotic, or figurative? Where’s the line between the two, and what side of the line does each image fall?

And does it really matter? They’re beautiful images that convey powerful emotional messages, of love and freedom and joy and acceptance and harmony with nature, and yes, sensuality and sexuality, all wrapped up together. They are vital and alive, like their subjects. And I am honored to get to document and create art with them.

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(Sensualight Photography) edited erotic erotic art erotic photography Gin and Ginger Haily https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/6/haily-gin-and-ginger-at-cedar-flats Mon, 12 Jun 2023 01:26:18 GMT
Scouting the Eastside canyons https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/scouting-the-eastside-canyons After last Monday's debacle of ranger-borne testosterone poisoning, I at least had this Monday's planned outing with Haily, Gin and Ginger to look forward to. But, I wanted to get out and preview the locations we planned to visit, in order to see what snow levels were like, especially since the road would literally open just three days before the shoot.

We'd talked about several possible spots, ranging from Chinook Creek in the north to the Grove of the Patriarchs in the south. I knew the latter would be more off-the-beaten-path, and the former would probably benefit more from morning light, so I started at Chinook Creek, hiking in at the Deer Creek trailhead. The rivers were full, and the air was cool, but the sun was out so the hiking was quite comfortable.

I found snow at the bottom of the canyon, just in patches along the creek, and the little waterfall that I've photographed so often looked really beautiful in the morning light. I experimented with different lenses and shutter speeds; at half a second, the water looks beautifully streaky, while at a full second it turns ethereal and dream-like. But the latter was right on the edge of technical possibility, because even as early as 8:30 in the morning at f/22 and ISO 100, a full second was almost too much light. I need to remember to take neutral density filters next time.

Of course, shooting with a model, I also have to balance shutter speed with the ability of the model to hold still, so a full second exposure is probably too long anyway. I set up the tripod on the trail bridge and set my camera for intermittent photography and made some self-portraits to see what the compositions would look like from different angles using different lenses. I found that while my Rokinon 14mm lens makes magnificent landscape images, any human figure in the image is almost too small. The 35mm lens seemed to work better--less expansive in scope, but a better match between the landscape and figure.

So, yes, figure self-portraits exist; but no, you won't see them here, at least not while I'm pre-retirement, unless you're a close friend. If you're in the latter category and are interested, feel free to ask.

From the waterfall, I headed three quarters of a mile downstream to the first major bridge on the Eastside Trail, hiking through snow most of the way, though I think it'll only be a week or two before it's all melted. That trail bridge is a magnificent spot for photography, since you can photograph the river from the height and perspective of the bridge, and there are also some great spots on the rocks along the river itself from which to photograph the rapidly-flowing water and the bridge itself. There's even a small waterfall on the downstream side of the bridge, so looking back from the edge of the canyon you can bet both the waterfall and the bridge in the same frame, with several logs cutting angles across the frame where they've come to rest at the bottom.

Figure photography at this spot would be magnificent, and I could probably spend a few hours shooting in this one place. I spent probably an hour and a half just taking reference photos. I was a bit pressed for time, and my camera batteries were running low, so I didn't try any self-portraits here. And I have, in fact, shot at this spot before, with a model who went by the name "Flora and Fauna," several years ago, with great results -- but later in the spring, with less flow in the stream.

Headed back, I stopped to check the light one final time at Chinook Falls, where my last battery died completely. Fortunately I still had my cell phone, good enough for scouting, so after hiking out I made my next stop at Panther Creek. Here the temperature was probably 20 degrees warmer than Chinook Creek! The river's edge, reached by a half-hidden waytrail, was in full sun, and the blue-gray rock looked so inviting for sunbathing, next to the turgid green water of the Ohanapecosh River rushing past. By picking your way around on the rocks, you can find at least some degree of privacy here pretty easily, and I'm sure I will be back again this summer to take advantage of a place to sit naked in the sun, if not for photography. But unfortunately I was still short on time due to an afternoon appointment, so I didn't linger, but continued south to my third and final stop.

The Grove of the Patriarchs is, officially, closed this summer, as it was last summer, due to damage to the suspension bridge that crosses the Ohanapecosh River to the island that contains the famous ancient trees and the boardwalk that loops through them. It's hard to imagine the river so full that something floating on its surface could slam into the bridge like a battering ram, given that under normal circumstances the bridge is a good 15-20 feet above the river; but clearly that is indeed what happened. The bridge is twisted like a braided donut and half knocked off its foundation on one side, so it's been fenced off to prevent visitors from attempting to cross it.

And so, I am not going to divulge how I managed to reach the island. Let's just say I have a magic carpet and leave it at that. If you want to shoot with me in this location, I'll give you a ride.

Suffice it to say that there are some very beautiful patches of forest with some very beautiful trees, with carpets of lush vanilla leaf underneath and little streams flowing through the marshy low spots reflecting the sky. The boardwalk in the Grove itself is covered with a thick layer of hemlock needles and cones, and in one place a tree about eight feet thick has come down across the trail, forcing a stomach-crawl to get underneath it to complete the loop. But the space is serene and quiet, almost surreal in its solitude. I found a child's shoe sitting in the middle of the trail, dropped ages ago by some unknown passer-by before the bridge was closed.

Best of all -- and surely a temporary blessing -- there were almost no mosquitoes out at all. It's that paradisiacal time of year when it's warm enough to expose skin but it hasn't been warm long enough for the first round of mosquito larvae to emerge from the water as winged monsters hungry for blood. I only saw a single mosquito the whole time I wandered through the forest, despite exposing a good deal of skin.

And then I had to scurry off back to the real world. But this was just a preamble, remember, to an upcoming photoshoot. Which location(s) would my models choose? What shape would those photos take? Would there be mosquitos? Bears? Or--worse--bear rangers? Tune in next time to find out!

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(Sensualight Photography) exploring Mount Rainier National Park scouting https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/scouting-the-eastside-canyons Thu, 01 Jun 2023 00:36:19 GMT
Some rangers are bastards https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/some-rangers-are-bastards

 

 

 

I’ve had the amazing good fortune of shooting twice this month with my friend Haily, after (literally) four attempts through the winter that all fell through for one reason or another. Even though these photo shoots were only a week apart, they are different enough to merit separate blog posts for each.

 

 

 

The hike we did together a week ago included the worst encounter I’ve ever had with a National Park Ranger. As a rule, these are amazing and dedicated public servants. But clearly there are exceptions that define the rule.

 

 

 

Last week’s setting was Rampart Ridge, a five mile loop trail out of Longmire in Mount Rainier National Park. The weather was cool and cloudy, though this is May so we also had sunbreaks and warm temperatures on the way up, and cold wind and misty rain for a bit at the top of the ridge.

 

 

 

I had a guess about which location would first catch Haily’s eye, and I was exactly right: a corrugated cliff face near the top of the trail with interesting textures. There was a family (all adults) on the trail that we passed on the way up, so we knew we only had a short time to shoot before they caught up to us, but it wasn’t hard to very quickly find some great poses. The biggest challenge, actually, was that the sun had come out at that point, and the light was very contrasty, which will take a bit of editing to get just right.

 

 

 

We finished just in time, and then continued on up to the viewpoint and beyond. We passed a point next to the trail where the sun shone through the forest canopy, making a pool of light in a patch of beargrass, and Haily suggested we shoot there. I agreed, and she quickly disrobed, leaving her clothes neatly folded on top of her pack, with the underwear on top.

 

 

 

The shots in the beargrass looked great, and then the next patch up the slope looked even better. The rocky ridge above that was also great, and an outcrop beyond that, and then a high spot with a view looking out across the valley to Eagle Peak.

 

 

 

We’d been shooting for fifteen or twenty minutes, when we heard voices coming up the trail, from the opposite direction we were going. We were only about 40 feet off the trail but completely out of sight of it, so Haily crouched down among the rocks as we waited for the hikers to pass. And then:

 

 

 

“Hello! Rangers! Is the owner of this pack nearby?”

 

 

 

Shit! All we wanted was privacy, but le ave it to rangers to find a reason to stop! But it made sense for them to wonder about an abandoned pack, so I called back, “we’re nearby, we’re just taking pictures” – implying, of course, that we were photographing the view of the valley. That should prompt them to move along, right?

 

 

 

But this was no ordinary ranger. “There are bears in these woods,” he hollered. “They’re attracted by food in packs. Is there any food in this pack?”

 

 

 

I looked questioningly at Haily, who shook her head. The pack was full, but she’d already told me she’d packed several layers of clothing, not knowing what to expect in terms of weather, along with lots of water.

 

 

 

“No, no food,” I replied. “I have all the food in my pack, with me.”

 

 

 

Again, another opportunity for the ranger to just move along. But no.

 

 

 

“Are you telling me the truth? If I looked in this pack, would I find food? You know, a fed bear is a dead bear. We have a responsibility to protect the bears.”

 

 

 

“No, I have all the food with me,” I repeated.

 

 

 

“I’m coming up there.”

 

 

 

Shit! Just leave it alone and move on, for God’s sake! I looked at Haily, who whispered, “my underwear is sitting on top of my pack.” She looked calmer than I felt.

 

 

 

In fact, she had no clothing with her at all, it was all back with the pack. I jumped into motion, plunging through the forest back to the trail to retrieve her pack—and clothing. I was there in a few seconds, where two rangers stood next to the pack, a man and a woman. “He already went up to meet you,” the woman said, referring to a third ranger, the one who’d been speaking. She looked embarrassed.

 

 

 

“I told him, there’s no food in this pack,” I said, grabbing it and heading back the way I’d come.

 

 

 

The ranger had taken a higher route, and was now standing on the rocks above Haily, who was crouched calmly and very nakedly below him. I handed her her pack and clothes, and she began getting dressed.

 

 

 

“I told you I was coming up,” the ranger said (like having heard that I wasn’t going to go get Haily her clothes).

 

 

 

“I have the food in my pack, which I’ve had with me,” I said, frustrated.

 

 

 

“Are you lying to me?” the ranger said. Seriously! What is it with this guy! I unzipped my pack and pulled out a bag of trail mix. “Look!” I said. “I have the food. I don’t know what else to tell you.”

 

 

 

“Well, OK,” the ranger said. “But we have to protect the bears, and we can’t leave packs with food in them unattended.” We were just 40 feet away, for God’s sake, and he knew that by now. “And by the way, there’s a viewpoint right here, people can see you if the leave the trail.”

 

 

 

No shit. People who leave the trail can see people who have left the trail so that they can’t be seen by people on the trail. Just go away, asshole.

 

 

 

And finally he did.

 

 

 

In retrospect, I think he was the kind of person who wanted to show off to his coworkers, swinging his dick around to show them what kind of uber-ranger he was. I was fuming. The whole incident could have been avoided, and resolved more positively, with a friendlier, more educational approach. “OK, just checking. There are bears in these woods that might be attracted by food in a pack. I’m glad you’re nearby, but it would be better if you took it with you next time [along with your clothing]. Have a nice day.”

 

 

 

For her part, Haily was just amazed that the ranger was so obsessed by theoretical bears and so apparently unfazed by the real-life bare. She said that when he found her naked in the woods, he was quick to say that “you’re not doing anything wrong, I’m just concerned about the bears” (obsessed is a better word) and “you’re not as private as you think” (not with rangers tracking you like… well… a bear looking for food).

 

 

 

I pointed out that, in fact, there is no prohibition against nudity on Federal land, something that most people aren’t aware of. Even a law enforcement ranger (which these were not) would have nothing to charge a person with, even if that person were sauntering down the trail naked as a bear. Having sex in the middle of the trail while families pass by, maybe, on the grounds of being a public nuisance, but not mere nudity. I’ve actually had conversations about this with actual law enforcement rangers who have actually encountered naked people in the forest, and other than telling them to be discreet, there’s nothing they can do.

 

 

 

And the truth is you seldom encounter an actual ranger on a trail anymore—the parks are way too short-staffed. You might encounter a self-righteous person who would then have to hike back out, find a ranger and make a complaint; and then the ranger would have to find you, tell you that someone complained, and ask you to get dressed or go someplace more private; and then, only then, if you didn’t comply, would they maybe have grounds for causing you trouble.

 

 

 

But feeding the bears is an actual regulation on the books, so that’s a completely different matter!

 

 

 

The whole incident just upset me, and it took a while to regain my equilibrium. It left a bad taste in my mouth. It made me angry to have been treated so accusingly, to actually be called a liar. And for my model and friend to have been put in such a vulnerable position unnecessarily. And, naturally, it put Haily off doing any more modeling that day, either.

 

 

 

Still, looking back, now that I have the photos downloaded and have done a few quick edits, we did create some great art before we were so rudely interrupted! Here are a few samples for you to enjoy. I’m working on better edits and will post those soon.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, y’all get naked in the woods, all right? Tell the rangers I said it was OK. Just take your pack with you.

 

 

 

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(Sensualight Photography) behind the scenes Haily National Parks nude in nature nudity park ranger preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/some-rangers-are-bastards Wed, 31 May 2023 06:24:30 GMT
Xhibited behind the gate https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/xhibited-behind-the-gate

 

 

 

At the beginning of this month, I had the privilege of working with Xhibited for the third time this year. This is a collaboration I am enjoying for all kinds of reasons, not least of which is that we get to explore ways of making art with a body older than the average model.

 

 

 

I don't mean that to sound condescending--not in the least. Nor is this some vanity agenda about "all bodies are beautiful," although I do believe that to be true. My thinking, instead, is this:

 

 

 

1) All people deserve to be honored exactly as they are, and the job of a photographer is to capture the humanity of every person. It is that universal humanity that is beautiful. So, yes, in a purely aesthetic way, a young person's body is more "beautiful" than that of someone, for example, my age. And if all you're looking for is physical beauty, you're probably better off sticking to younger models. But this is such a one-dimensional way of understanding beauty. There's beauty in lived experience, personality, and dignity as well. If something in a photograph resonates with something we understand to be noble, then we feel drawn to that image in the same way that we do if its subject matches some ideal of physical perfection.

 

 

 

I've covered this concept before. The second idea is newer:

 

 

 

2) There are techniques for photographing models with less idealized bodies that actually make them look physically beautiful in spite of their imperfections. This is the radical idea I'm just beginning to truly appreciate. I have already been aware that plus-size models can look fantastic when photographed from certain angles or in certain poses, and older models, too, can reduce some of the obvious signs of age with poses that pull skin tighter, and with editing that softens age lines. But I'm discovering that context is a powerful tool, as well. This is harder to describe. But consider, for example, a model like Xhibited, whose body unavoidably shows signs of having lived a few decades more than the average swimsuit model (Martha Stewart notwithstanding). You can work a lot of magic with skin creams and editing and strategic lighting and clothing to hide those effects -- the techniques that Sports Illustrated used with Stewart. Or, you can lean into those features and match them with an environment that is artistically interesting.

 

 

 

With Xhibited, we shot behind the gate at Ohanapecosh before it opened to the public, so we were able to photograph among some old, rugged, moss-covered boulders along the roadside. Xhibited's body matches this environment perfectly. She looks like she belongs among those rocks. Now, posing a younger model here is also artistically interesting, as you can see in the similar images I made last year in the same place with Katlyn Lacoste. Katlyn's youthful body contrasts with the rocks in the same way that Xhibited's body resonates with it.

 

 

 

I also find it artistically interesting to depict Xhibited in frankly sensual or sexual poses. To me, this adds a vitality, an energy, to the photos that is a middle finger to the idea that older bodies are no longer sexual. Like the environment around her, Xhibited is still alive, in motion, restless, growing, and changing. Even if the landscape appears to be static and stable, you know that these rocks are on the move, crumbling and shifting and eroding and repositioning themselves, even if our attention spans are too short to notice it most of the time.

 

 

 

You can see more of these ideas in the photos of Xhibited in the mineral spring pools along the river. I've chosen not to smooth out and edit blemishes and variations on the skin, but instead, to acknowledge them, to make them part of the image. The texture in the skin is a perfect complement to the infinite variations in the rock, the moss and algae and silt, the variegated shadows falling across the body. Again, you can see the difference with Katlyn's photos from last year, where the youthful body contrasts with the older rock rather than complementing it.

 

 

 

My point is that nude in nature photography is all about finding relationships between the nude human figure and the landscape in which it is placed. Traditionally this has meant finding contrast and complement between a landscape and a youthful female figure with smooth, fair skin. Some of my most popular photographs follow this traditional pattern. But the exact same techniques can be used to create beautiful and compelling images with models who are older, or heavier, or darker skinned. And because this is not the norm, those images, done well, can actually be more compelling than the traditional ones. Not that I feel like I'm there yet, in terms of being an expert at making great art with non-traditional figure models. But now that I've recognized the potential, it's an exciting goal, and one that I look forward to continuing to pursue with models like Xhibited and others.

 

 

 

In fact, 100% serious, if there are any 90-year-old women out there who would like to model with me, I have some great ideas.

 

 

 

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(Sensualight Photography) beauty edited nude in nature older model Xhibited https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/xhibited-behind-the-gate Sun, 28 May 2023 20:00:00 GMT
Results from Jadran and Pirin https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/results-from-jadran-and-pirin May is the busiest month of the year for me at my work, and there's about a two week period in the middle of the month when it's all I can do to just go to work and come home and collapse exhausted on the couch. This has been that two week period, and that's why you haven't heard from me for a bit.

But that doesn't mean things haven't been happening, and I have much to report! Watch this space over the next week for several updates.

Let's start with results on the Photographic Society of America front. I have two more salon results to report: Jadran Circuit, in Montenegro, and Pirin, in Bulgaria. Jadran I entered this year for the first time, but it's my third year in a row for Pirin, because they are one of the few salons to have a specific category for "Nude." I'm pleased by the results at both places, because while I didn't receive major awards, I did get at least some recognition both places, and in both cases, several photos were accepted for the very first time.

So without further ado, here are the figurative results at Jadran:

  • "Of Earth" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Honorable Mention, and accepted (for the first time) in all three judgings. I only photographed Astrid two months ago, and have not yet sorted and edited her full set, but her photos were so good that I did pick out a few obvious favorites and rush them into circulation. Three out of three judges agree that these are great images!
  • "Rapture" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Accepted in two judgings. Another fantastic image accepted for the first time!
  • "Emerald Lake" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Katlyn Lacoste, Mount Rainier National Park, July 2020: Accepted in two judgings. Ironic that the popular version of this photo, named for its color, would be black and white! Accepted for the first time.
  • "As above, so below" (Open Color PIC), Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, March 2019: Accepted in two judgings. The black and white version of this has already been popular, but personally I love the color version even better. This is an HDR interpretation with some enhanced color and I think it's beautiful and ethereal.
  • "Negative space" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Olinka Lickova, Seattle, February 2019: Accepted by one judging. Yet another new photo, and I'm pleased that this more abstract figurative concept was recognized.
  • "Athena on the beach" (Open Color PIDC), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Yet another from Astrid's set, accepted for the first time! Remember from Greek mythology that Athena was often described as a redhead. I love the color in this image.
  • "Gothic sundial" (Open Color PIDC), Psychopomp, Seattle, October 20212: Accepted in one judging. Among all the new images, this one's an old classic!

Of Earth (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Salon HM, Accepted x3)Of Earth (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Salon HM, Accepted x3) Rapture (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)Rapture (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2) Emerald lake (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)Emerald lake (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2) As above, so below (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x2)As above, so below (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x2) Negative space (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Negative space (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Athena on the beach (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Athena on the beach (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted) Gothic sundial (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Gothic sundial (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)

Now, to Pirin. This salon only had one judging:

  • "Mother of shadows" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Xhibited, Seattle, February 2023: IAAP Ribbon. The star of this batch of entries is one that I personally love, made recently and now recognized by the International Association of Art Photographers.
  • "Rapture" (Open Color PIDC), Astrid Kallsen, Discovery Park, March 2023: Look familiar? This is the color version of the one accepted in black and white at Jadran. I love this image so much, in both versions! Entered and accepted for the first time.
  • "Together" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Lior Allay and Cyndical, Discovery Park, June 2017: Another image I love, even though Instagram thinks its too sexual--more about that in a future post...
  • "Survivor II" (Portrait PIDC), Tracy Banks, Seattle, April 2013: An old one but a great portrait, and I'm happy it was recognized.
  • "Twice the beauty" (Open Color PIDC), Invy Rose, Mazama Ridge, August 2022: Invy's images never disappoint, especially when combined with great scenery!
  • "Duty station" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Spencer Parks, July 2016: I believe this is the first time this one has been accepted in its black and white version.
  • "No neighbors" (Nude PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022: If you've been keeping track, this is the only photo accepted in the "nude" category, which is a disappointment given that that is my specialty. And a photo universally acknowledged as exceptional, not anything new. Other photos submitted but not accepted include a classical pose by Katlyn Lacoste and some pretty innovative images of Lior Allay and Lillias Right. Oh well!

Mother of shadows (Open Monochrome PIDM) (IAAP Ribbon)Mother of shadows (Open Monochrome PIDM) (IAAP Ribbon) Rapture (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Rapture (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted) Together (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Together (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Survivor II (Portrait PIDC) (Accepted)Survivor II (Portrait PIDC) (Accepted)Survivor
6I8A9195 (2/16/2014)
4/12/2013
Traci Banks
Seattle, Washington

2014-03-30 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington): Exhibited
2018-04-16 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Rochester, New York): Exhibited digitally
Twice the beauty (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Twice the beauty (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted) Duty station (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Duty station (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) No neighbors (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)No neighbors (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)

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(Sensualight Photography) As above so below Astrid Kallsen Athena on the beach award Cyndical Duty station Emerald Lake Gothic Sundial Honorable Mention IAAP Ribbon Invy Rose Jadran Katlyn Lacoste Lior Allay Mother of shadows Negative space No neighbors nude Of Earth Olinka Lickova Pirin PSA Psychopomp Rapture Spencer Parks Survivor Together Tracy Banks Twice the beauty Xhibited https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/results-from-jadran-and-pirin Sun, 28 May 2023 18:00:45 GMT
Tiana Marie on the Boundary https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/tiana-marie-on-the-boundary So far this year, I'm working with a lot of local models on repeat -- and that's OK. I like the mix of new talent and people I've worked with before, and enjoy getting to know the folks in my own community as much or more than meeting traveling models who are just passing through.

You'll remember Tiana Marie from the rope and forest shoot we did earlier this year. They liked the results well enough to request a second venture, and this time we decided to meet at Carbon River. It was a beautiful Saturday, the first really nice weekend in a long time, so there were people everywhere, parked all along the road outside the park, and hiking in groups up the Carbon River Trail. Fortunately we had a different goal, which was to get up into the forest on the side of the canyon, up in the temperate rain forest.

I had several possible locations in mind, among trees and cliffs, but Tiana and her partner latched onto a waterfall about a mile and a half up the trail that people hiking down said was really special, so we made that our goal. A warning for anyone who might follow in our footsteps: it's steep! The trail meanders on the level through a marsh for a quarter mile, then abruptly starts climbing in tight switchbacks, gaining about 1200 feet in 1.3 miles to the falls. It's relentless. The trail continues beyond the falls to what the trail sign marks as a ridgetop, as if there's a view there: there isn't. And even the waterfall is only incidentally a destination. You see, this is the "Boundary Trail," so named not only because it's along the boundary of the national park, but because its sole purpose is to provide access to the park boundary for patrol rangers watching for poachers in the fall. So viewpoints and waterfalls are not the goals, only to stay as close to the geographic boundary as possible, and that means climbing straight up the sides of the ridges and bisecting cataracts along the way.

This waterfall isn't even named. From the trail crossing, you can look upstream and see a 30-foot plunge followed by a hundred feet of cataract; and below the trail it cataracts another two hundred feet, probably. The forest presses in close on either side, so it's hard to find a spot where you can even get a good view. But after some exploring, I found a small rocky beach alongside the creek where I could get a decent image using my widest lens. Tiana climbed down to join me, and their partner kept watch.

For the most part, where we were, we could shoot undisturbed, though we did wait a bit until a group with teenagers had moved on. Tiana quickly got into a groove, a flow state where they were at one with the water. That's a remarkable thing to witness. I've seen it many times with models. And Tiana afterward described it almost like being in subspace after a rope tie. They found it exhilarating and restorative.

We shot for quite a long time, despite the canyon being about 20 degrees cooler than the surrounding landscape; in fact, we saw patches of snow in a few sheltered spots. And despite having only limited room in which to move around, both Tiana as the model and me as the photographer, we still captured quite a variety of great images. Toward the end, a hiker came along who braved crossing the snowmelt-swollen stream, and you can see his progress in the background of our photos. Tiana didn't even know he was there, since he was about 40 feet behind and 20 feet above, and any sound was drowned out by the roar of the stream. And I'm not sure he even noticed us, either, so intent was he to keep from falling or being swept away by the water. He certainly showed no indication of being any way phased by the nude model and photographer working nearby -- an attitude I've found consistently on the occasions when people have stumbled across us in creative action.

So here are a few favorites, along with a stop-motion video I assembled. Kind of fun to see the whole shoot in sequence, including the hiker carefully moving across the top of the frame at the end. You can see a few more images here.

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(Sensualight Photography) behind the scenes edited nude in nature stop motion Tiana Marie waterfall https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/tiana-marie-on-the-boundary Tue, 16 May 2023 17:17:00 GMT
A random idea https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/a-random-idea I'd love to recreate this iconic photo of the Beatles:

At a Seattle location like this one:

The twist, of course, would be to use four nude female models. With the third one in line wearing shoes.

Any takers?

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(Sensualight Photography) Beatles idea parody Seattle https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/a-random-idea Mon, 15 May 2023 21:26:00 GMT
Foto Fiesta and Photo Magic https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/foto-fiesta-and-photo-magic Over the past week or so I've received results from two more Photographic Society-affiliated contests: the Foto Fiesta Circuit, in India; and the Photo Magic salon in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The results were pretty good, including several awards. As one very bright spot, I received a PSA Gold Medal at Photo Magic, which is a very big deal! (It's for a photojournalism image, not a figurative one.) While Foto Fiesta pretty much accepted photos that have won before, several photos were accepted for the first time at Photo Magic.

Here are the full figurative results:

Foto Fiesta Circuit (India)

  • "No neighbors" (Open Color PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2023: Accepted in all 3 judgings, including an Honorable Mention
  • "Portend" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Leo Velo, Seattle, February 2016: Accepted in 2 judgings, including a Salon Medal
  • "The cliffs of Discovery" (Open Color PIDC), Lillias Right, Discovery Park, June 2015: Accepted in all 3 judgings
  • "States of matter" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019: Accepted in all 3 judgings
  • "Skinny dipper" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Dolly Mattel, Upper Crystal Lake, September 2021: Accepted in 2 judgings

No neighbors (Open Color PIDC) (Honorable Mention, Accepted x3)No neighbors (Open Color PIDC) (Honorable Mention, Accepted x3) Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Fotofiesta Medal, Accepted x2)Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Fotofiesta Medal, Accepted x2) The cliffs of Discovery (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3)The cliffs of Discovery (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3) States of Matter (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3)States of Matter (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3) Skinny Dipper (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)Skinny Dipper (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)

Photo Magic (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

  • "Den lille havfrue" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2019: IAAP Diploma
  • "Mother of Shadows" (Shadows PIDM), Xhibited, Seattle, February 2023: First time accepted
  • "Connection" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, March 2019: First time accepted in B&W
  • "Primal" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016
  • "Exposed" (Shadows PIDM), Mikki Marvel, Seattle, August 2015
  • "Ohanapecosh 215" (Woman PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022

Den lille havfrue (Open Monochrome PIDM) (IAAP Diploma)Den lille havfrue (Open Monochrome PIDM) (IAAP Diploma) Mother of shadows (Shadows PIDM) (Accepted)Mother of shadows (Shadows PIDM) (Accepted) Connection (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Connection (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Primal (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Primal (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Exposed (Shadows PIDM) (Accepted)Exposed (Shadows PIDM) (Accepted)Exposed
6I8A3053 (7/15/2016)
8/29/2015
Mikki Marvel
Seattle, Washington

2018-05-24 Marin Society of Artists (San Rafael, California) "Exposed": Exhibited (as "In the Shadows"
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia and Croatia) (Shadowhunter PID): Exhibited virtually
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Light and Shadows PIDC): Exhibited
Ohanapecosh 215 (Woman PIDC) (Accepted)Ohanapecosh 215 (Woman PIDC) (Accepted)

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(Sensualight Photography) award Bunny Luna Connection Den lille havfrue Dolly Mattel Dominique Zuniga Exposed Honorable Mention IAAP Diploma Katlyn Lacoste Leo Velo Lillias Right Lior Allay Mikki Marvel Mother of shadows No neighbors Ohanapecosh 215 Portend Primal PSA PSA Gold Medal Queen Dandelion Salon Medal Skinny dipper States of matter The cliffs of Discovery Xhibited https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/foto-fiesta-and-photo-magic Sun, 14 May 2023 19:29:00 GMT
Kit Ashton in studio https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/kit-ashton-in-studio Remember Kit Ashton? We did an amazing photo shoot back in February early in the morning in downtown Seattle, ending up at Pike Place Market (with photos that outraged Instagram, even censored -- but that's another story). Kit is also a practitioner and instructor of various leather-based fetishes, including costumes, corsets, leather whips, floggers and crops, puppy masks, and fox ears and tails. They were even Ms. Leather Slut 2018 back in the day!

Kit wanted updated photos of themself for use advertising their classes, so we scheduled a session at Royal Flash Studio in Tukwila. I confess that I really need more practice in studios to feel like I'm actually good at it. I've gotten good at natural light in outdoor settings, and I know the basics in studio, but ideally I need a few hundred hours of practice at the latter in order to match my competence with the former.

Still, I'm pleased with the results Kit and I got after a few hours under the lights. We did several costume changes and shot against both white and black backdrops. I find the black ones more forgiving and better suited to my personal aesthetic, but we got some great images with both. And I got to learn how to tie a corset! Also something I'd need practice to get good at.

Here are some of my favorites from this photo set. You can see more of Kit Ashton, AKA Leftenant Fox, on their Instagram page and the other sites on their Linktree page.

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(Sensualight Photography) corset costume Kit Ashton leather nonbinary portrait puppy play studio https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/kit-ashton-in-studio Sat, 13 May 2023 21:08:05 GMT
All feedback is good feedback https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/all-feedback-is-good-feedback "All feedback is good feedback." That's what I remind myself when I get results like those from the Tower Circuit in Serbia.

This circuit only had three categories: Open Color, Open Monochrome, and Nature. Nature's always been an Achilles' heel, but it didn't cost anything extra to enter, so what the heck. And there were five judgings, so that's 20 chances to get a photo accepted.

They say that Thomas Edison failed a thousand times before he got his light bulb to work. Well, I'm twenty tries closer to that mark. It's becoming clear that my nature photos aren't the kind of sit-in-a-blind-in-Africa-with-an-800mm-lens-while-a-lion-humps-a-lioness photos that they're looking for.* And that's OK. I had a few lucky successes early on that gave me a false sense of possibility. So going forward I'll still enter when there's no extra cost to it, but otherwise it just doesn't seem worth my entry fee.

(*True story: I typed this example without having looked at the photos that were actually accepted in this competition. But here's that exact photo. And also here. And here too, but with cheetahs. And for good measure, kingfishers, toads, and fruit flies. Wildlife photographers love their pictures of animals fucking. I have a few, too, but human animals don't meet their definition of "nature.")

I didn't do a whole lot better in the color category. Three acceptances--two of one photo, one of another--out of twenty. But, the one accepted twice was a figurative photo accepted for the first time. And monochrome was better, with eight acceptances out of twenty, a decent ratio, including another photo accepted for the first time, and one that received an Honorable Mention.

Deep Roots (Open Monochrome PIDM): Salon Honorable MentionDeep Roots (Open Monochrome PIDM): Salon Honorable Mention Misty Morning (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x4Misty Morning (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x4 Morning Light (Open Color PIDC): Accepted x2Morning Light (Open Color PIDC): Accepted x2 Classic (Open Monochrome PIDM): AcceptedClassic (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted

Here's the full list of figurative images:

  • "Deep roots," Skye, Boxcar Canyon, January 2023: accepted once, but awarded Honorable Mention
  • "Misty morning," Bunny Luna, July 2019: accepted four times, and for the first time
  • "Morning light," Spencer Parks, July 2016: accepted twice, for the first time
  • "Classic," Invy Rose, Puyallup, October 2011: accepted once
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(Sensualight Photography) award Bunny Luna Classic Deep Roots Honorable Mention Invy Rose Misty Morning Morning Light PSA Skye Spencer Parks Tower Circuit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/5/all-feedback-is-good-feedback Thu, 04 May 2023 04:27:24 GMT
Double success at SEAF! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/double-success-at-seaf I've been meaning to write all week with an update about the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, but this is an extremely busy time of year for me at work and I just haven't had the energy.

The great news is, two of the three photos I had on display sold! In fact, I heard from a friend who was at the Festival on the first night that they'd already sold then. That's twice the sales I've ever made at any exhibition to date!

The two photos that sold were "Rest and Upheaval," featuring Queen Dandelion at Rialto Beach in July 2018; and "Gothic Sundial," featuring Psychopomp in Seattle in October 2012.

Rest and Upheaval: ACCEPTED and SOLDRest and Upheaval: ACCEPTED and SOLDRest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
Gothic Sundial: ACCEPTED and SOLDGothic Sundial: ACCEPTED and SOLD

P.S. It just occurred to me that this is the second time one of my photos of Psychopomp has been exhibited at SEAF! She now has the honor of being my sole repeat model at the Festival!

And another cool thing happened as well. I visited the Festival on Sunday afternoon, the final day, and took one of the docent-led art tours. I specifically chose one titled "What is a woman?" because that's a theme close to my heart at the moment, both in my art and in contemporary politics. The docent took us around the exhibition, talking about a number of very interesting pieces of art -- there are some amazing pieces in the Festival this year! -- and finished the tour with one of my photos! "Proof," featuring Lior Allay in Freeway Park in March 2019, and also sometimes called "You say that I am," is my third photograph, the one that didn't sell -- but it was a favorite of the person giving the tour. She talked about how compelling it was for her, in its provocative presentation of gender. In fact, she had a perspective that had never occurred to me; with Lior pulling the front of their pants down to reveal their pubic hair, the docent said, "what is the model about to reveal -- and does it even matter?" Knowing the model, I had never thought that, for a less-informed observer, Lior might actually be about to reveal a penis rather than a vulva.

Proof: ACCEPTEDProof: ACCEPTED

I love hearing people's reactions to my art for precisely this reason! Art is a creation of an artist or artists, and it conveys a message intended by them. But like any form of human communication, that's only half of the story, because then that message is received an interpreted by an observer, who may, based on different preconceptions or life experiences or knowledge, interpret the message in a completely different way. When you're trying to be precise, this can be problematic. But with art, it opens the door to layers of meaning beyond even what the artists originally intended, and I think that's wonderful.

I've always loved art like this, whether it's visual art, music, poetry, literature, whatever--pieces with many layers of meaning, such that you can come back to a piece of art repeatedly and get new insights from it every time. I think it's what separates good art from great art, and the paintings and sculptures you see in national galleries typically are there because they continue to be relevant over a long period of time, even as human culture evolves around them.

Which could mean that "Proof" might be the photo that ends up in a museum a hundred years from now, while my other two photos are forgotten. Interesting thought!

There was, as I said, so much good art at the Festival. We all got to vote on our favorites for "Best in Show." I haven't heard anything yet about which pieces were chosen, but for my part, I fell in love with a number of photographs from which it was difficult to narrow down my three favorites. I chose "Acceptance" by Kiara Winter, a Washington state photographer that I'd love to meet, showing a nude female torso on what appears to be a forest floor, covered in ladybugs (the second photo here); "A Fallen Angel" by Jackson Photographix, of two nude men, one sitting and gazing straight into the camera, while possessively holding the leg of another man standing in a more classic art pose, his face obscured by the position of his hand (I unfortunately can't find this image online); and "Roe," by David C. Clay, a nude painting of what appears to be a mixed-race woman, hands held slightly apart from her body, palms out, in a pose of supplication, with the word "ROE" painted in large red letters across the middle of the canvas, dripping paint like blood (the base image is here, and you can see the full piece propped up against a table in one of the photos I snapped for this post).

I also really loved a piece called "Self Photograph 081222" by Dix Steele, a nude portrait of an aging male body builder, and "Naturalist" by John Potter (here, I think), a reclining nude black woman on a rock surrounded by a carpet of brown oak leaves. Both photos are un-airbrushed, showing the effects of time on the skin--wrinkles and sagging skin on the body builder, despite an otherwise exceptional physique; and "tiger stripes" on the hips of the woman, which, in my opinion, only add to the character study and the overall beauty of the individual. "483 Barrio Viejo," by Douglas Fur, was another favorite, depicting a nude Hispanic woman in front of an adobe house (a variation of this one). I could go on at length. So much good art!

And the best part? I'm already accumulating some excellent pieces (in my opinion) to enter into the Festival next year. I hope to see you there!

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(Sensualight Photography) Gothic Sundial Lior Allay Psychopomp Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval SEAF Seattle Erotic Art Festival sold You Say That I Am https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/double-success-at-seaf Sun, 30 Apr 2023 18:00:32 GMT
Eligible for PSA Image of the Year! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/eligible-for-psa-image-of-the-year Following yesterday's over-long and over-complicated explanation of Star Ratings and ROPA Distinctions, here's a much simpler post along the same lines.

I received an email last Friday informing me:

Congratulations: You are eligible to enter the annual IMAGE OF THE YEAR competition for the Projected Image Division (PID)

I think I'd read something about this at some point, but I'm glad they reached out to me because I'd forgotten all about it. Quoting again:

The only images eligible are those that have won a Best of Show or a PSA Gold Medal

...but any images that meet that qualification in a particular year can compete for the honor of being the "Image of the Year." A single color image, and a single monochrome image, will be chosen for 2022 and given an overall Gold Medal. In addition, one Silver Medal will be awarded for each 100 entries.

Two of my images qualify! One black and white, and one color. I went back and looked to see which contests in 2022 provide the eligibility:

Dance in the Light (PIDC)Dance in the Light (PIDC)

Color PIDC: "Dance in the Light," Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016: Received a PSA Gold Medal in the "Shadows and Silhouettes (PIDC)" category of the Magic Life Salon in Turkey, which closed January 30, 2022.

Rest and Upheaval (PIDM)Rest and Upheaval (PIDM)Rest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal

Monochrome PIDM: "Rest and Upheaval," Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018: Received a PSA Gold Medal in the "Open Monochrome (PIDM)" category of the Artistic Creations Circuit in India, which closed March 21, 2022.

Judging will take place in late May and is scheduled to be complete by May 30. I'll let you know how it goes!

By the way, I also received a PSA Gold Medal for my photograph "Death Valley Farewell" in the Nature (ND) category at Serbia's Good Light salon (May 7, 2022). Maybe there isn't an Image of the Year competition in that category. Or maybe they just haven't contacted me about it yet. I also see that I received PSA Gold for "Twice the Beauty," featuring Invy Rose on Mazama Ridge, at the Ramdhanu Circuit in India, which closed December 4, 2022. Unclear why that one wasn't included. And looking forward to next year, I already have a PSA Gold for "Classic," another Invy Rose image, in the PIDM category, at India's Celebration Circuit, which closed January 15, 2023; and a PSA Gold Medal for "Den lille havfrue," with Queen Dandelion at Rialto Beach, also in the PIDM category, at Serbia's NSAPK Circuit closing March 1. (I wonder if it has to be a "PSA Gold Medal" and not just "PSA Gold" as reported by Ramdhanu?)

P.S. Follow-up: it looks like the other categories, including Nature (ND), do have Images of the Year of their own, they just happen slightly later in the year. So I can expect an invitation to apply for the ND award as well. Cool!

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(Sensualight Photography) award Dance in the Light Dominique Zuniga Image of the Year PSA Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/eligible-for-psa-image-of-the-year Thu, 27 Apr 2023 20:00:00 GMT
PPSA Recognition by the Photographic Society of America https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/ppsa-recognition-by-the-photographic-society-of-america I joined the Photographic Society of America a while back in order to participate in the photo salons and circuits they are affiliated with all over the world. These contests are an excellent way to put one's art out there into the world and have it evaluated and assessed by fellow photographers. I wish there were more opportunities for specific feedback, but over time, at least, you can get a sense for what works and what doesn't, as seen through the less partial eyes of someone other than yourself.

There are local clubs, too, of course, and someday I hope to participate in the one closest to me, in Puyallup, though that's a 45-minute drive one-way and at the moment, working full time, that's a lot. Maybe in a few years when I retire.

In the meantime, along with the satisfaction of having photos accepted and published in the catalogs of various salons, the Photographic Society also has three different programs for gaining titles, of a sort, that mean something within the photographic community. These programs are called Star Ratings, ROPA, and Portfolios. Being the competitive person I am, of course I am participating in all three!

"Star Ratings" are based on the number of photos you've had accepted by PSA-affiliated salons. For these purposes, it doesn't matter if you just barely made the cut or if you were the overall gold medal winner--an acceptance is an acceptance. If there are multiple judgings, you can collect multiple acceptances. You earn Stars by listing all of these and turning them in for review. And, there are five different digital categories, all of which are judged separately: Open Color, Open Monochrome, Nature, Travel, and Photojournalism. (There are print categories as well, but it's a lot harder to participate in those except when they happen to occur in cities nearby.) You may have seen references to these categories in previous posts, usually by abbreviation: PIDC (Projected Image Digital Color), PIDM (Projected Image Digital Monochrome), ND (Nature Digital), PTD (Photo Travel Digital), and PJD (Photojournalism Digital). Sometimes you'll see a reference like "Portrait PIDC," which means that the salon is looking for a Projected Image Digital Color photograph that is, specifically, a portrait. Or "Birds ND," a Nature Digital image specifically of birds; or "Sports PJD," a Photojournalism Digital image of a sporting event.

Star Ratings get harder and harder the higher you go. It only takes 18 acceptances to earn Star Rating 1, though they have to represent 6 different images (i.e. an average of 3 acceptances per photo, though some may have more and some may have less). Star Rating 2 requires double each of those (36 acceptances representing 12 photos); Star Rating 3 is twice that; Star Rating 4 is twice that; and Star Rating 5 is (you guessed it) twice that, for a total of 288 acceptances representing 48 different images. And it goes on from there, but now switching from "Stars" to "Galaxies" (1 through 10) and then "Diamonds" (1 through 10). That's enough to keep anyone busy for a lifetime, with Diamond 10 requiring a total of 5,163 acceptances representing 1,096 different photographs! And remember that you collect these separately in five different categories.

For the record, I've currently reached Star 4 in both PIDC (color) and PIDM (monochrome), and will be applying for Star 5 in PIDC soon. I'm only at Star 1 for ND (nature), PTD (travel), and PJD (photojournalism), closing in on Star 2.

It's a lot to keep track of. So that brings us to "ROPA Distinctions." ROPA stands for Recognition of Photographic Achievement, and combines the Star Ratings into a single set of recognition categories. Once you've collected those Star Ratings, in other words, you can turn them in for ROPA Distinctions, which are based on the total number of acceptances, regardless of whether they come from a single one of the digital categories or all five (and print categories are eligible as well). The first four categories, going up in proficiency, are "QPSA" (Qualified), requiring 54 accumulated acceptances documented by Star Rating certificates; "PPSA" (Proficiency), with 288; "EPSA" (Excellence), with 700; and "MPSA" (Master), with 1500. There are levels beyond that, including Master 2, Grand Master, Grand Master Bronze, Grand Master Silver, Grand Master Gold, and finally Grand Master Platinum, which requires a whopping 11,000 acceptances.

Daunting! But who wouldn't want to put a title next to their name indicating that they are "Qualified," or that they have "Proficiency," or better yet, "Excellence?" After that, becoming a "Master" seems like a great ultimate goal. (Becoming a "Master 2" or a "Grand Master" seems more rarified and less meaningful to the average person.)

I reached QPSA status last year, pretty quickly. In the past few weeks, I've finally reached the next level, PPSA, which means that I can now put "PPSA" next to my name when posting photos or entering contests. And I'm on my way to EPSA, Excellence.

And in the meantime, PPSA status gives me the right to post a portfolio of ten images on the Photographic Society of America website. Here's mine! (Note: the "embed slideshow" option doesn't seem to be working at the moment... if all you see below is a big blank white space, then follow this link instead.)


 

The final type of distinction is a "Portfolio Distinction," achieved by entering a portfolio of related images for review by photographic experts. This is a serious and detailed review; it typically takes up to two months, and if successful, results in a "BPSA" title (the "B" standing for "Bronze"). And then, a year later, you can submit a larger portfolio to be considered for "SPSA" distinction (Silver), and then "GPSA" (Gold).

I submitted my portfolio for BPSA review a month ago, so hopefully soon I'll be able to list myself as both PPSA and BPSA. And next year, maybe EPSA/SPSA! And then MPSA/GPSA!

Now aren't you impressed by all those letters?!

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(Sensualight Photography) distinction Portfolio PPSA PSA QPSA ROPA Star Rating https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/ppsa-recognition-by-the-photographic-society-of-america Thu, 27 Apr 2023 01:12:00 GMT
Seattle Erotic Art Festival 2023 opens tomorrow https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/seattle-erotic-art-festival-2023-opens-tomorrow I told someone a few days ago that this is my favorite weekend of the year, at least in terms of art... and I absolutely mean it.

For someone who loves uncensored art, there isn't anything better in the Pacific Northwest than the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, which opens tomorrow evening at the Seattle Center Exhibit Hall. You can read all about it, and get tickets, at SeattleErotic.org, and if you live anyplace within a few hours drive, you owe it to yourself to do so.

In addition to the art, SEAF also has films, interactive exhibits, erotic literature, performances, demonstrations, sales, and lots of interesting people! Friday evening has a nice kick-off vibe, with the opening of the gallery and a sampling of events. Saturday is the Big Day, with things starting slow and picking up throughout the day, culminating in a lively party atmosphere in the evening with things going on in every corner of the space simultaneously. Sunday afternoon is the quietest day, as things simmer down to the final closing. So if you're interested in the art and nothing more, Sunday might be your best day, whereas if you want to see aerial rope performances and live readings of erotic poetry among a large crowd of people in leather fetishwear, Saturday might be more your speed.

Some of us have other things on our calendar and don't really get to choose when we attend, which is unfortunately the case for me; I'll be there Sunday afternoon, hoping to see "sold" dots on the labels next to my three photographs!

Recapping, here are the three photos that were accepted by the Festival this year. I've done something a bit different with these photos -- to make them more unique, even though they are part of an open series, each of them has, on the back, a short narrative that explains a bit about the piece and what it means to me as the artist. Each is individually signed and dated.

Rest and Upheaval

Rest and Upheaval: ACCEPTED and SOLDRest and Upheaval: ACCEPTED and SOLDRest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal

To be human is to live amid contrast and contradiction. We strive for lives that are calm, peaceful, restful; yet the world around us is filled with chaos and turmoil. Nothing conveys this clash between tumult and vulnerability better than the contrast between the soft curves of a human body and the rough, hard textures of this rocky planet on which we live. And yet, even the harshness of nature can, in time, through the action of millions of waves and trillions of grains of sand, smooth sharp edges into polished stone. Nature both threatens and sustains us, and we find balance in the center of the storm.

I photographed Queen Dandelion on Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park in July 2018.

 

Gothic Sundial

Gothic Sundial: ACCEPTED and SOLDGothic Sundial: ACCEPTED and SOLD

How do you define beauty? In the human figure, the popular definition demands youth, svelte bodies, blonde hair, blue eyes, and skin that is smooth, unblemished, and pale, with just a hint of sun-baked glow. But true beauty is so much deeper, so much more complex, like perfectly-aged wine with overtones born of lessons learned, adventures won, hardships and adversities overcome. It encompasses the full range of human diversity, from birth to grave, from the pale north to the richly-hued equator, flawed and imperfect, exploding all categories of gender and queerness. There is so much to celebrate! It’s time to embrace our potential as beautiful and sensual beings.

I photographed Psychopomp in Seattle in October 2012.

Proof

Proof: ACCEPTEDProof: ACCEPTED

Lior Allay is a non-binary artist based in Pennsylvania. Like so many others, Lior’s personal gender and identity are constantly in tension with cultural expectations and preconceptions. Clothing, hair, body structure, and the ever-present obsession with genitalia all play a role in the ways that Lior navigates through modern society every day. For this photo shoot, at Seattle’s Freeway Park in March 2019, we played with these ideas of gender construct and expectations, cheekily asking, who do YOU say I am? And what do you demand, as proof?


I took my photos in to Seattle on Tuesday this week and dropped them off at the Exhibition Hall, and it's always a thrill to see the line of artists bringing their pieces in. Most of them are people you wouldn't give a second glance at on the street--that is, you wouldn't turn to a friend and say "did you see that guy, I bet he creates erotic art." Don't get me wrong, I love me an artist in a crazy outfit with wild hair and paint splashes on their jeans. But I think it's kind of awesome that people everywhere, people of all kinds, are creating erotica. And some of it--well, in terms of the pieces accepted by SEAF, all of it--is really good. Here are a few photos from my art drop-off. The painting propped up in the distance with the word "ROE" on it in big red letters is one I'm looking forward to getting a closer look at. (And I suspect that it will not be the only piece on that theme this year.)

I'm also looking forward to a bonus at the Festival, which is that several of my photographs were invited to be used as part of an immersive light show exhibit put together by Marcell Marias, a "light projection artist." Here's his pitch:

“The intent is to use the chosen pieces and mix them with photos and video of flowers, mostly orchids and other tropicals, along with some computer-generated, animated flowing imagery. The flower and digital imagery would act as overlays on the still imagery, and as transitional elements, helping one image to flow into another, instead of just using dissolves or fades to/from black. I would not alter the artists’ images, other than some needed cropping of frames and extraneous backgrounds that may appear in some of them. I will not post video anywhere online nor share video file with anyone. It will only be projected on location at SEAF on the two event days. Some of the higher resolution photographs would have a Ken Burns pan/tilt effect put on them, zooming into them and animating them.

"Also, if anyone want to check out my work and learn more about me: https://www.instagram.com/lunaglow_art/ https://www.facebook.com/lunaglowart http://marcellmarias.com/"

Hmm, I just noticed his reference to "the two event days." I hope that doesn't mean it won't be there on Sunday, since that's the only day I can attend.

In any case, I gave my approval to use five of my photos, "Rest and Upheaval" and "Gothic Sundial" which are also on display as framed prints, and also "Off season," featuring Katlyn Lacoste at Ohanapecosh in March of last year; "Skinny dipper," featuring Dolly Mattel at Upper Crystal Lake in September 2021; and "Once more, with feeling," featuring Violet at Deadwood Lakes in August of 2017.

Off seasonOff season Skinny DipperSkinny Dipper Once more, with feelingOnce more, with feelingOnce More, with Feeling
6I8A5142 (08-10-2017)
08-04-2017
Violet
Deadwood Lakes, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

2021-11-19 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Rochester, New York): Exhibited digitally

So, I'm looking forward to being in Seattle on Sunday, and I hope that if you're reading this and also attend on Sunday, that you'll find me and say hello! Ask one of the Docents to reach out to me. I'd promise to sign any photo that you buy -- but, they're signed by the artist already! I'll sign anything else you like, how about that?

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(Sensualight Photography) Dolly Mattel exhibition festival Gothic sundial Katlyn Lacoste Lior Allay Lunaglow Art Marcel Marias Off season Once more with feeling Psychopomp Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval SEAF Seattle Erotic Art Festival Skinny dipper Violet Who do you say that I am https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/seattle-erotic-art-festival-2023-opens-tomorrow Thu, 20 Apr 2023 23:31:18 GMT
Boishakhi accepts mostly non-figurative photos https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/boishakhi-accepts-mostly-non-figurative-photos Another Photographic Society-associated circuit has returned its results, three judgings of four categories (that I entered) that returned a total of ten acceptances. That's 10 out of 48 possibilities, a 21% acceptance rate, below average; and only one of the ten accepted images was a figurative piece. The salon in question is the Boishakhi Photo Awards Circuit in Bangladesh.

I make this distinction between figurative and non-figurative photographs mostly because a lot of my non-figurative work includes images of minors. In this case, accepted pieces included "Suspense," an image from a high school women's basketball game, accepted twice; "Yer out,"  a photo from a high school men's baseball game, accepted three times; "Frozen freestyle," from a high school women's swimming match, accepted twice; "Veterans Day Parade," a black and white image featuring a child holding a flag in the rain along side the parade route; and "Nostalgia," a sunset image from the Oregon Coast taken with an iPhone and treated with a filter. I am immensely proud of all of my images, but in the current political climate here in the United States, I hesitate to post photographs of children alongside nudes, even though the vast majority of those nude images are not sexual in any way. It pains me greatly to admit that I am intimidated by the aggressive self-righteousness of some people in America today. I disagree with it vehemently, but it's not a battle I want to take on--not in that way, at least.

So for now, here is the sole figurative photo accepted at Boishakhi, along with the non-threatening sunset:

  1. "Hidden Figure," Zi Gattina, Seattle, June 2017
  2. "Nostalgia," Cannon Beach, Oregon, April 2016 (captured with an iPhone 6)

Hidden figure (Portrait-Street-Architecture PIDM) (Accepted)Hidden figure (Portrait-Street-Architecture PIDM) (Accepted)Hidden Figure
6I8A4015 (4-11-2019)
6-21-2017
Zi Gattina
Seattle, Washington

2021-11-19 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Rochester, New York): Exhibited digitally

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(Sensualight Photography) Boishakhi Photo Awards Circuit censorship Hidden figure Nostalgia PSA Zi Gattina https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/boishakhi-accepts-mostly-non-figurative-photos Wed, 19 Apr 2023 23:53:00 GMT
Seven of 24 at Vesta https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/seven-of-24-at-vesta Another photographic society affiliated contest result is in, this one from the Vesta salon in Montenegro. For this one, I entered six out of the nine categories, a total of 24 photos, and they were all judged only once, which is typical for a salon that includes a "nude" category -- it seems like no matter where you are in the world, it's hard enough to find judges willing to judge specifically figurative photos that it's impossible to put together a circuit. Hey, everyone! I'll be a judge for you! But, I live in the USA, which is too conservative to ever offer a nude category, and tends to run below-average on number of figurative photos accepted. Oh well.

Anyway, out of 24 photos, seven were accepted, including two in photojournalism categories and five figurative. Seven of twenty-four is 29%, which is a pretty average acceptance rate, so it's probably just the lack of multiple acceptances per photo (which you only get in a circuit) that makes it feel tepid. And to be fair, even the ones that weren't accepted were given decent scores. On the flip side, the ones that were accepted were generally given scores just enough to pass. And no awards. So, all in all, kind of a middle-of-the-road, moderate result.

Here are the five figurative photos accepted this time around:

  1. "Calico" (Nude PIDC), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019
  2. "Exclusive" (Nude PIDC), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019
  3. "Rest and Upheaval" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018
  4. "Discretion" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Zi Gattina, Seattle, June 2017
  5. "Sounleip" (Portrait PIDC), Sounleip, Puyallup, October 2011: this one was entered and accepted for the first time.

Calico (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)Calico (Nude PIDC) (Accepted) Exclusive (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)Exclusive (Nude PIDC) (Accepted) Rest and Upheaval (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Rest and Upheaval (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Rest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
Discretion (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Discretion (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Sounleip (Portrait PIDC) (Accepted)Sounleip (Portrait PIDC) (Accepted)

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(Sensualight Photography) Calico Discretion Exclusive Marzipanned PSA Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval Souleip Vesta Zi Gattina https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/seven-of-24-at-vesta Sat, 08 Apr 2023 16:54:00 GMT
On beauty https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/on-beauty I've been thinking a lot lately about the nature of "beauty."

In the context of photography, it's not useful to talk about "inner beauty," because photography by its very nature is the capture of visible (or sometimes other forms of) light. A photograph does not care if you're a beautiful person "inside."

Nevertheless, it is far too reductive to define beauty in purely aesthetic terms. And inner beauty can shine through in subtle and powerful ways.

Rest and Upheaval (2018)Rest and Upheaval (2018)Rest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington
2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missouri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
2022-02-19 to 03-12 House of Shadows Creative Gallery & Market (Tampa, Florida), "XPlicit IV: Erotic Art": Exhibited and Sold
2022-01-15 Man and Work (Zajecar, Serbia) (Free Monochrome PIDM): FIAP Honorable Mention
2022-03-21 Artistic Creations Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): PSA Gold Medal
2022-05-15 PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris (Amateur Nude, series): Honorable Mention
2022-09-12 CAS Photo Academy (India) (Monochrome): Merit Medal Award
2022-10-25 Bosnia (Open Monochrome): Salon Diploma
2022-11-20 ND Photo Awards (ndawards.net) (Non-Professional Fine-Art Nudes): Honorable Mention
2022-11-26 Black and White Spider Awards (Beverly Hills, CA) (Amateur Nude): Nomination
2023-01-06 to 31 The Glasgow Gallery of Photography (Glasgow, Scotland) (International Photography Exhibition: Monochrome): Exhibited
2023-01-17 Dodho Magazine (Barcelona, Spain) Nude Photography Awards: Best Images (top 25, "published in the book 'NUDE' to be released next February" and "exhibited for a year in our online gallery"
2023-04-21 to 23 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington): Exhibited and SOLD
2023-03-26 Vesta (Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
Aesthetic beauty does exist, and artists have sought it for millennia. Art theory has identified patterns that are pleasing to the human brain, and art students learn about the "rule of thirds" and the "golden spiral" and leading lines and negative space and color theory and on and on. Photographers working with figure models make use of these principles to compose their photos. Models pose in ways that emphasize smooth lines and curves and angles that mirror and enhance those in the background. Properly positioned light, or proper positioning of the model within natural light, creates pleasing patterns of light and darkness.

There are aesthetic qualities of the human body that are also pleasing to the human brain. Leonardo da Vinci famously suggested that some of this was because the body conforms to some of the same geometric principles that we consider beautiful in general. Other qualities are more subjective. Most people find beauty in youth, smooth skin, toned muscles. Many people find beauty in the curves of pregnancy, the large eyes of childhood. Some cultures (and individuals, obviously) revere different body shapes: busty or petite, voluptuous or lanky. Standards change over time, even from decade to decade. Some may have a biological basis (those associated with fertility or parental bonding, for example) while others are social preference (such as breast and waist size). Some may reflect a preference for those who look similar to oneself and may be influenced by darker social undercurrents like racism and xenophobia. Others may merely be personal preferences, based on conscious or subconscious associations with good or bad memories. And some are inexplicable.

The cliffs of Discovery (2015)The cliffs of Discovery (2015)The cliffs of Discovery
6I8A4573 (2015-08-08)
2015-06-28
Lillias Right
Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington
2023-01-15 Celebration Circuit (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in 2 of 4 judgings; Chairman Choice certificate
2023-02-01 DPW SBM Circuit (Serbia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted at Serbia
2023-04-02 Foto Fiesta Circuit (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in all 3 judgings
2023-05-01 DPW Four Country Circuit (Serbia) (Woman Man Child PIDC): Accepted in Croatia
2023-08-01 DPW Summer Circuit (Serbia) (Woman): Accepted in Aleksinac
I often wonder, if we ever make contact with beings from other worlds, how much their aesthetic would overlap with our own. Would brains that evolved on different planets, in different conditions, have completely different tastes in art? I think the geometric principles would be far more likely to overlap than the more subjective standards. Though even then, eyes that see different wavelengths of light, brains that evolved to notice different patterns and details than our own, would surely see things completely differently.

Even on our own planet, would a hawk (if it had a more sophisticated brain) look at a digital photograph and obsess over the pixels that are so obvious to its refined vision? Would a dog completely miss the nuances of color, while a butterfly would laugh at how simplistic they are? Part of the reason we can even have "standards" of beauty, as humans, is because we share roughly the same equipment to see and evaluate it: the same eyes, the same basic brain wiring. And the elements that make an image beautiful are standard enough that artists can be trained to recognize and reproduce them, and thus you can have art critics and photo contests. There's still enough subjectivity that it's worth having multiple judges look at the same image, in order to build a consensus, but some works do naturally rise to the top as supreme examples of a collective definition of beauty.

A lot of artists work entirely, or mostly, within this definition of beauty. Their goal is to create aesthetically pleasing images, with great colors and ideal proportions and perfect composition. They work with models who exemplify the standards of physical beauty, women who are young and fit and, often, tall, pale, and large-breasted, with unblemished skin and archetypal features.They pose them in perfect settings with perfect light, and then post them on Instagram or use them to sell cosmetics.

Form (2017)Form (2017)Form
6I8A6307 (2020-03-16)
2017-08-22
Shasta Wonder
Lynnwood, Washington
2021-10-21 Varadinum Photographic Salon (Oradea, Romania) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Croatia, Malta, Montenegro and Serbia): Accepted; Master of Light Bronze Medal (Croatia)
2022-01-15 Man and Work (Free Monochrome PIDM), Zajecar, Serbia: Accepted
2022-04-11 Kanva Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
I'm being facetious, especially since I make those images myself. There's a lot of satisfaction in working with a beautiful woman to create beautiful compositions in beautiful settings. Those images look great on the wall in a gallery or home, and they give the viewer a sense of joy. Something in our brains responds to this kind of beauty in a very direct and straightforward way. Beauty + human brain = satisfaction.

But.

There is a second kind of beauty that is more complicated, that requires more engagement with the mind of the viewer, that involves complex interpretation of context and expression and non-verbal communication. It's the kind of beauty that comes from connecting with the story behind the image, not just the surface elements visible in it.

It's much more intangible and much harder to define. Examples are easier.

Alt.Pixie (2012)Alt.Pixie (2012)Alt.Pixie
6I8A0531 (4/15/2018)
10/26/2012
Psychopomp
Seattle, Washington

2016-04-22 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington): Exhibited
2018-04-21 Peoria Art Guild (Peoria, Illinois), "Nude Attitude": Exhibited
2019-04-26 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival: Exhibited digitally
When you look at a photo of a wizened old woman, someone who looks like she could be 100 years old, her skin wrinkled like a rasin, her teeth falling out, but with a huge smile on her face as she hugs a child that might be her great-great-granddaughter, there is a beauty there that comes from recognizing the joy and love of that human bond, and the connection between the experience of a long life and the freshness of a new one.

When you look at a photo of someone who has survived a great cataclysm, their body broken and scarred, but you see in their face the strength and resolve that comes from overcoming tragedy and moving forward, there is beauty there, because you recognize and celebrate the courage of spirit it takes to get to that place.

When you look at a photo of a nude woman two hundred pounds over the typical weight of someone her size, with stretch marks from giving birth and lines of age around her eyes, her breasts no longer pert, her hair thin, but her gaze is steady and confident, and you know that she is a force to be reckoned with, there is beauty that comes from her whole being, not just in spite of what some would see as physical imperfections, but because of them.

You have no power over me (2018)You have no power over me (2018)You have no power over me
6I8A8303 (2018-09-10)
2018-09-01
Bowie Monroe
Bellevue, Washington
2021-05-01 Black Box Gallery (Portland, Oregon), "Focus: Portraiture": Exhibited
2021-06-19 Praxis Photo Arts Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota), "Femalia": Exhibited
2021-10-13 Shadowhunter Circuit (Portrait PIDC) (Croatia, Malta and Serbia): Accepted
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Portraiture PIDC) (Kolkata, India): Accepted
2022-04-29 to 30 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Auburn, New York): Digital exhibition
2022-06-10 to 07-21 A Smith Gallery ("she") (Johnson City, Texas): Exhibited
2023-07-01 Shots Magazine ("Love & Truth") (St. Paul, MN): Published in issue 160
2023-07-08 PSA Pictorial Divisions Exhibition (Digital Monochrome Portrait): Accepted
This kind of beauty can be harder to capture well on camera, because it takes more than simply manipulating physical elements according to geometric principles. You have to communicate, you have to tell a story, and to do that, you have to use every element of the image to reinforce your message, from setting to posture to captured action to expression and micro-expression. A piece of jewelry, the glisten in an eye, the way the light catches a half-hidden scar, a faded tattoo, a slight part in the lips, a cat looking out the window in the background -- all of these things, and a million more, go into telling the story.

You Say That I Am (2019)You Say That I Am (2019)You Say That I Am
B75A0408 (10-12-2020)
03-15-2019
Lior Allay
Freeway Park, Seattle, Washington
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-02-19 to 03-12 House of Shadows Creative Gallery & Market (Tampa, Florida), "XPlicit IV: Erotic Art" (as "Proof"): Exhibited
2022-04-29 to 30 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Auburn, New York) (as "Proof"): Digital exhibition
2023-04-21 to 23 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington) (as "Proof"): Exhibited
Sometimes the point of the story isn't to be beautiful at all. Sometimes the story is one of tragedy, or righteous anger. Or patriotism, or joy, or lust. Or a million other possibilities. And the photo is judged not just by its aesthetic elements, but also by its effectiveness at communicating its message.

But within the photo, if it is of a person, there is often great beauty, which comes from the viewer recognizing something in the subject of the photo that they value and respect and honor. It may be something as universal as love, or strength of character, or resolve, or passion, or endurance in the face of pain. Or it may be something very specific and personal, a recognition that the person in the photo has experienced something that the viewer understands from having experienced it in their own life.

Somewhere in the pixels, the photographer has managed to capture not just surface geometry, but also a bit of the human soul; and that bit of soul touches the soul of the person viewing the image, forms a connection, and sparks the same reaction in the brain that says "this is beauty" that occurs with a perfectly composed photo of a sunset. Except that often this form of beauty is even more powerful. And often more specific: two people may pass the same photo in a gallery, with one glancing at it and moving on, and the next overwhelmed by emotion.

Together (2017)Together (2017)Together
6I8A3219 (5-14-2022 B&W)
6-19-2017
Lior Allay and Cyndical
Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington
2022-08-15 Foto Art Super Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome): Accepted in one of three judgings
2022-12-26 Colour Pixels Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome): Accepted in 2 of 3 judgings
2023-05-07 Pirin (Bulgaria) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
It's important to note that this kind of beauty is not limited to human figures. I have several landscape photos and paintings in my home that elicit powerful emotions in me, which arise not merely from their technical composition but also from the moods they invoke and the memories of similar places I've visited at similar times of day, in similar seasons, in similar weather.

But this meditation is on human beauty, and what makes a person beautiful. And the truth is that every person has the capacity for beauty. It doesn't matter if that person could be mistaken for a movie star or supermodel, or if that person is as physically opposite that stylized ideal as it's possible to be. It doesn't matter if the person is black, or white, or something in between; if they are male, or female, or both, or neither; if they are a woman with tiny breasts or a man with big ones; if they have smooth skin or tattoos or scars; if they use a walker or a wheelchair to get around; if they are 18 or 118 years old, with lush, beautiful hair or none at all, a clean shaven man or a hirsute woman, fit or fat or skinny or curvy or all of the above in unusual combinations. Every person has the capacity for love, and is worthy of being loved. Every person has the capacity for confidence and courage and generosity and joy, and all of the other things that make us beautiful.

It is the task, the challenge, and the privilege of a portrait or figure photographer to capture that beauty, and to share it with the world.

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(Sensualight Photography) Alt.Pixie art beauty blog Bowie Monroe Cyndical figure photography Lillias Right Lior Allay photography Proof Psychopomp Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval Shasta Shasta Wonder The cliffs of Discovery Together https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/on-beauty Fri, 07 Apr 2023 19:24:18 GMT
Lots of positive results from the Artistic Creations Circuit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/lots-of-positive-results-from-the-artistic-creations-circuit The Photographic Society of America-affiliated "Artistic Creations Circuit" in India released its results a few days ago, and my photos did very well. This salon had five judgings, and I only entered the Open Color and Open Monochrome categories, so that means 40 possibilities for acceptances, of which I received 20. Fifty percent is very good!

A few photos in particular were highly regarded, with one of them receiving a Merit Award and another one receiving two Merit Awards.

All told, three of my four photos in each category were accepted by at least one judge. And interestingly, in both cases it was the lone non-figurative photo I entered in that category.

Here are the full results:

  1. "Asunder" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018: Two Merit Awards, accepted by all 5 judges
  2. "Skyline" (Open Color PIDC), Zoë West, Seattle, June 2015: Merit Award, accepted by 4 judges
  3. "Last light" (Open Color PIDC), DianaJean, Upper Crystal Lake, July 2015: Accepted by 4 judges (first time I've entered this in almost two years, I need to do so more!)
  4. "As above, so below" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, Seattle, March 2019: Accepted by 4 judges
  5. "Under the trestle" (Open Color PIDC), Skye, Boxcar Canyon, Eatonville, January 2023: Accepted by 2 judges (first time entered, first time accepted)
  6. "Deep roots" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Skye, Boxcar Canyon, Eatonville, January 2023: Accepted by 1 judge (first time accepted in its black and white version)

Asunder (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x5, Merit Award x2)Asunder (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x5, Merit Award x2) Skyline (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x4, Merit Award)Skyline (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x4, Merit Award) Last light (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x4)Last light (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x4)Last Light
6I8A8293 (2/24/2021)
7/29/2015
DianaJean
Upper Crystal Lake, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

2021-04-01 Colors of Humanity Art Gallery (online) "Human Nature": Exhibited virtually
As above so below (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)As above so below (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4) Under the trestle (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x2)Under the trestle (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x2) Deep roots (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Deep roots (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)

P.S. Instagram, get off your fucking high horse and stop shadow-banning figurative artists. I tried to pull up Queen Dandelion's Instagram account to link to, and even when I searched for her actual account name, "Queen_Dandelion," it still wouldn't come up in the results list. Fortunately I know her account name and can enter the URL manually, because otherwise it would be totally invisible. Even though it's completely self-censored.

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(Sensualight Photography) Artistic Creations Circuit As above so below Asunder award censorship Deep roots DianaJean Instagram Last light Lior Allay Merit Award PSA Queen Dandelion shadow ban Skye Skyline Under the trestle Zoe West Zoë West https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/lots-of-positive-results-from-the-artistic-creations-circuit Thu, 06 Apr 2023 21:26:00 GMT
2nd Place in the Fine Art Photography Awards! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/2nd-place-in-the-fine-art-photography-awards Hooray, I've finally done better than Honorable Mention in one of the international photography contests! In fact, the Fine Art Photography Awards (based in London) just awarded me Second Place in the Amateur Nude category. I'm pretty stoked!

Here's my winning entry: a five-photo series from my shoot with Bunny Luna in the Tatoosh Range, in Mount Rainier National Park, in July of 2019. The photos, individually, are titled "Mammals in the Mist," "Parallel Worlds," "Unicorn in the Clouds," "Tatoosh Mirror," and "States of Matter." Collectively, the series is called "Tatoosh Dreams."

Tatoosh Dreams (Series)Tatoosh Dreams (Series)Mammals in the mist
B758253 (2021-07-01)
2019-07-16
Bunny Luna
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park

2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Nude PIDC) (Malta and Serbia): Accepted
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Open Monochrome) (Kolkata, India): Accepted
Tatoosh Dreams (Series)Tatoosh Dreams (Series)Parallel Worlds
B75A8286 (2021-07-01)
2019-07-16
Bunny Luna
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park

2021-10-13 Shadowhunter Circuit (Nude PIDC) (Malta): Accepted
Tatoosh Dreams (Series)Tatoosh Dreams (Series) Tatoosh Dreams (Series)Tatoosh Dreams (Series)Tatoosh Mirror
B75A8549 (07-02-2021)
07-17-2019
Bunny Luna
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDM): Accepted
Tatoosh Dreams (Series)Tatoosh Dreams (Series)

Sometimes the best art is born of serendipity. Luna and I had planned a traditional figure shoot in the Tatoosh Range of Mount Rainier National Park in July 2019, dodging hikers among panoramic, sun-drenched vistas. But the day arrived cool and gray, our intended 14,411-foot volcanic backdrop invisible in the clouds. We had the trail completely to ourselves, and the fog moving in and out among the lower peaks made amazing and moody vistas. As we set up a shot among a craggy jumble of granodiorite, a marmot poked its head over the top of the rocks. We expected it to take a quick glance and scurry away, but instead, it stayed and watched, following along as we set up shot after shot, even seeming to pose with us at times. In the quiet mist of the mountains, perhaps it saw in naked Luna a lack of threat, and a kindred spirit, at one with the world among the rocks and snow. After that, the spell was cast, and every pose felt like Luna was part of nature, and me a wildlife photographer, capturing her in her natural element as she moved through the wilderness.
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(Sensualight Photography) 2nd place award Bunny Luna FAPA Fine Art Photography Awards Mammals in the mist Parallel worlds second place series Silver States of matter Tatoosh dreams Tatoosh mirror Unicorn in the clouds https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/2nd-place-in-the-fine-art-photography-awards Wed, 05 Apr 2023 20:31:14 GMT
A stellar shoot with Astrid https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/a-stellar-shoot-with-astrid A few weeks ago, model Astrid Kallsen reached out to me to let me know she'd be visiting Seattle, and asking if I'd like to work with her. Hell yes!

There are a good number of models that I follow on social media and who I would move mountains to work with or when they ever visit my part of the world. Astrid is one of them. I mean, just look at her Instagram account and, even better, her uncensored website. She's a perfect match for my favorite theme of figure modeling in natural settings.

And so, despite the fact that this isn't the most ideal time of year for shooting out of doors, we made a tentative plan. I've wanted to shoot at the lighthouse in Seattle's Discovery Park for some time now, and it just felt like a good fit.

I've selected a few images from the photo shoot to share early edits with you, and you can see for yourself what an enormous success this was. Astrid was easy to work with and knew exactly how to pose in ways that matched the environment around her, with angles and curves that mirrored the rocks and sweep of the beach. She did not hesitate to get dirty and cold, saying that the creative energy kept her warm. (It wasn't super-cold, but definitely a winter day.)

I'll edit more of these over time, but in the meantime, there's no question that I'll be putting these early edits into circulation without delay.

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(Sensualight Photography) Astrid Kallsen figure nude nude in nature preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/4/a-stellar-shoot-with-astrid Sat, 01 Apr 2023 23:13:00 GMT
Xhibited, redux https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/xhibited-redux It is rare for me to do back-to-back photo sessions with the same person. But it is also rare to feel such an intense artistic connection with a model.

That's the situation I found myself in with Xhibited. My first session with her was at night in Seattle, one of the most challenging and complicated settings in which I work. There are so many variables--rain, cold, low light, the public setting, the time of day (evenings are difficult for me due to a chronic health condition). Add to that the challenge of working with a relatively inexperienced model for the first time, and my expectations were, realistically, modest.

But the results were far better than expected artistically, which you can read about in my earlier blog post. And more than that, I found a real human connection with my muse. So when she suggested a follow-up session, I readily agreed.

And what can I say about these photos but... holy moley, Batman. The intensity of these images just blows me away. Seriously, I'm surprised my image sensor didn't melt. The vulnerability, the nakedness of these photos makes even me, a devout nudist, blush. But that same naked vulnerability also gives the images a raw beauty that I find luminous. It's like peering into the heart of a nuclear reactor--awesome and dangerous and transcendent, all at the same time.

With Xhibited's permission, in the second half of our photo session I shifted away from erotic portraiture and more toward abstraction. I wanted to capture body shapes, shadows, angles, textures, folds, creases, swollen hills and damp caverns. I liked the results so much that, with a few of my favorite images, I experimented extensively with various treatments, trying out high key, low key, HDR, color mapping, and exposure curves, like Warhol experimenting with variations on prints of soup cans. The results are abstract enough that you could almost get away with posting them on social media, challenging the AI censors to identify them for what they are. A perfect Captcha: prove you're not a robot by identifying the squares that contain genitalia.

All that's left is to plan the third photo shoot.

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(Sensualight Photography) abstract edited erotic muse Xhibited https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/xhibited-redux Fri, 31 Mar 2023 23:10:00 GMT
They like me in Kolasin, but not in Kotor https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/they-like-me-in-kolasin-but-not-in-kotor Another set of results back, this time from NSAPK Circuit in Serbia. There were only four categories in this salon, including Nature and "Woman Man Child" (such an amorphous group) in addition to Open Color and Monochrome, but six different judgings.

It's so interesting to see how different judges respond to the same sets of photos. On one hand, no one likes my nature photos (still); but on the other hand, the Kotor judges accepted none of my photos (at all) while those in Kolasin accepted all four of my entries in the Open Monochrome and Woman Man Child categories (and one of my four entries in Open Color). Plus Kolasin awarded me not just one but two gold medals! It really is remarkable.

So here are the full results, 22 photos accepted, 19 of them figurative:

  1. "Den lille havfrue" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018: PSA Gold Medal at Kolasin, accepted at Aleksinac, Kula, and Podgorica
  2. "No neighbors" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022: Salon Gold Medal at Kolasin, accepted at Aleksinac, Kula and Podgorica
  3. "Calico" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019: Accepted at Aleksinac, Kolasin, Navi Sad, and Podgorica
  4. "Center of the Universe" (Open Color PIDC), Lior Allay, Seattle, March 2019: Accepted at Kolasin, Kula, and Novi Sad
  5. "Water Spirit" (Open Monochrome PIDM), DianaJean, Upper Crystal Lake, July 2015: Accepted at Kolasin
  6. "A shoulder to lean on" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Thatonekatt and DianaJean, Amanda Park, Washington, July 2016: Accepted at Kolasin
  7. "Together for wilderness" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Katlyn Lacoste and Enigma, Mount Rainier National Park, July 2020: Accepted at Kolasin
  8. "The track not taken" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Skye, Boxcar Canyon, January 2023: Accepted at Kolasin

Den lille havfrue (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4, PSA Gold)Den lille havfrue (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4, PSA Gold) No neighbors (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted x4, Salon Gold)No neighbors (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted x4, Salon Gold) Calico (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted x4)Calico (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted x4) Center of the Universe (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3)Center of the Universe (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3) Water spirit (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Water spirit (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) A shoulder to lean on (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted)A shoulder to lean on (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted) Together for wilderness (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Together for wilderness (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) The track not taken (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted)The track not taken (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted)

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(Sensualight Photography) A shoulder to lean on award Calico Center of the Universe Den lille havfrue DianaJean Enigma gold medal Katlyn Lacoste Lior Allay Marzipanned No neighbors NSAPK Circuit PSA Queen Dandelion Skye Thatonekatt The track not taken Together for wilderness Water Spirit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/they-like-me-in-kolasin-but-not-in-kotor Thu, 30 Mar 2023 16:33:00 GMT
Photo Salon Kicevo likes my nudes https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/photo-salon-kicevo-likes-my-nudes I heard back from Photo Salon Kicevo in North Macedonia the other day, and am satisfied with the results. On one hand, I had a lot of photos not accepted, given that I entered 24 photos in six categories. But ten photos were accepted, which is 42%, not too shabby, and three of my four photos in the Nude category were accepted, with one of them receiving a National Diploma. And, a lot of new photos were accepted, six out of the ten, including two new nude images, one of them fresh out of the camera.

Here's the full set of results on the figurative side (which are in addition to four non-figurative photos):

  1. "Ohanapecosh 215" (Nude PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022 (almost exactly a year ago): National Diploma
  2. "Deep roots" (Nude PIDC), Skye, Boxcar Canyon, January 2023: a new photo!
  3. "Leo, dorsal" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Leo Velo, Eatonville, January 2020: another photo accepted for the first time
  4. "Me and my shadow" (Nude PIDC), Lillias Right, Seattle, July 2016
  5. "Wilderness mirror" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019
  6. "On the rocks" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019

Ohanapecosh 215 (Nude PIDC) (National Diploma)Ohanapecosh 215 (Nude PIDC) (National Diploma) Deep roots (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)Deep roots (Nude PIDC) (Accepted) Leo, dorsal (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Leo, dorsal (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Me and my shadow (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)Me and my shadow (Nude PIDC) (Accepted) Wilderness mirror (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Wilderness mirror (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) On the rocks (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)On the rocks (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)On the Rocks
B75A7166 (05-01-2021)
07-16-2019
Bunny Luna
Pinnacle Peak, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija, Serbia) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted

A side note: it's interesting that I have yet to see a photo salon that offers a "Nude" category do so as part of a circuit (with more than one judging). It's rare enough to offer this category at all, despite how significant the human figure has been in art for millennia. Probably yet another reflection of the modern world's squeamishness about, and disconnect from, its own bodies.

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(Sensualight Photography) award Bunny Luna Deep roots Katlyn Lacoste Leo dorsal Leo Velo Lillias Right Me and my shadow National Diploma nude Ohanapecosh 215 On the rocks PSA Skye Wilderness mirror https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/photo-salon-kicevo-likes-my-nudes Thu, 30 Mar 2023 01:54:19 GMT
Body Revealed virtual exhibition https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/body-revealed-virtual-exhibition Art Square New York is a virtual gallery that recently had a call for art under the topic of "Body Revealed." I can rarely resist applying to contests and exhibitions on a figurative theme, even if they're online! And in this case, two of the three photos I submitted were accepted for "exhibition."

The exhibit opened last week, on March 10, and runs through April 10. Here's the description of the exhibit:

Welcome to our photo exhibition, where we invite you to explore the beauty and complexity of the human body through the eyes of talented photographers from around the world. Our theme, "Body Revealed", encompasses the diversity of the human form, from the youthful exuberance of curves to the wisdom etched in the lines of age. We invite photographers to submit their most striking and thought-provoking images, whether they be candid, defiant, modest, naked, or hidden. We welcome submissions in both black and white and color, and look forward to seeing how each photographer chooses to interpret the theme of "Body Revealed" through their unique perspective. This is a great opportunity for photographers to showcase their work and be a part of a dynamic and exciting exhibition. So, we encourage you to take a moment to explore your creative side and submit your best shots today. Join us on this visual exploration of the human body and be a part of this unique and meaningful exhibition.

Included in this exhibit: "Gothic Sundial," featuring Psychopomp in Seattle in October 2012; and "Skinny Dipper," featuring Dolly Mattel at Upper Crystal Lake in Mount Rainier National Park in September 2021.

The cool thing about this exhibit is that it is displayed online as if it were in a physical space, with the photos on the wall and the ability to move through the space using the arrow keys on your keyboard. The only thing that would be cooler is if they actually had a virtual reality option that you could walk through using a VR headset. I suppose that'll be the next innovation, and I'm totally down for it. I so seldom get to go see my photos in person, when they're exhibited in Illinois or Florida, and rarely do the galleries even send me photos of my work in situ, so even seeing my images in a virtual space is nice. It would be even nicer to see people moving through the space enjoying the photos (see: VR above)!

Along with the virtual exhibit, the photos of "Body Revealed" are also available as a book (or magazine/catalog, I'm not certain which, probably the latter). You can buy a copy, or preview it online. It's only $29, not exactly cheap, but inexpensive in comparison to the Dodho book, so I might actually spring for a copy. I do think that the quality is a little lower than Dodho as well, both in the publication and in the overall quality of the images included, though they're pretty good. My favorite -- the one that made my catch my breath and say "I want to make a photo like that!" -- was the image titled "Alisa" by Ken Lorenz, on page 27 of the catalog. Or, of course, on the wall of the "gallery." I wish I could find him online, I'd like to see more of his work. But unfortunately the gallery doesn't link to his website or social media, and I can't find him. It occurs to me that people who like my photos might have equal trouble finding me...

In any case, go check out "Body Revealed" while it's online!

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(Sensualight Photography) Art Square New York Dolly Mattel exhibition Gothic Sundial online Psychopomp Skinny Dipper virtual https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/body-revealed-virtual-exhibition Sat, 18 Mar 2023 20:23:52 GMT
Xhibited, Edited https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/xhibited-edited A few weeks ago, I blogged a preview of Xhibited's photos, made in Seattle at the beginning of February. Those photos are now finished!

Looking back at my preview post, I don't think there's much new to add. It's always fun to revisit a photo shoot and relive it as I sort and edit the pictures. The two things that stand out, from that process, are how much Xhibited opened up over the course of the evening, like a flower coming alive in the springtime, as she and I got comfortable working with each other; and how much I look forward to working with her again in the future. There is more flowering to be done.

For now, here are some more photos for you to enjoy from this wonderful set!

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(Sensualight Photography) edited Xhibited https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/xhibited-edited Thu, 09 Mar 2023 20:06:28 GMT
Buy me a book! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/buy-me-a-book They did follow through!

About five weeks ago, I received word that two of my photos had been accepted for publication by Dodho Magazine. I've just heard that published it has been indeed!

So, you can go see my photos online... or you can download a digital version of a gorgeous book containing my photos for free (there's a great deal!)... or you can buy a physical copy of said book, with my photos and a lot of other fantastic images by artists I am honored to be in the company of, for the low low price of... well, 149.90 Euros. OK, not so low. But it is gorgeous.

So who out there wants to be the patron of my art?? I would love to have a copy of this book with my own work in it. Don't think I'm able to spend $159.65 (today's conversion) to get it, though. Who's feeling generous? One for you, one for me?

Meanwhile, what the hell, go download the digital version. It truly is beautiful.

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(Sensualight Photography) Dodho Magazine Katlyn Lacoste Off Season publication Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/buy-me-a-book Sat, 04 Mar 2023 16:14:00 GMT
Mixed results at DPW SBM Circuit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/mixed-results-at-dpw-sbm-circuit Another photo salon! The results are in from the DPW SBM Circuit in Serbia. I entered four different photo categories: Nature (ND), "Woman Man Child" (PIDC), Open Color (PIDC), and Open Monochrome (PIDM), each of which were judged three times: in Serbia, Luxembourg, and Belgium.

Given that that's a total of 48 photo judgings, I'm disappointed that there were only seven acceptances, a rate of only 14.6%. Half the overall rate for the salon. And, once more, not a single one of my entries was accepted in the Nature category. Sigh.

But, I can't be completely disappointed by the photos that were accepted. This includes six photos, two of which were accepted for the first time. Here's the list:

  1. "Portend," Leo Velocity, Seattle, February 2016 (Open Monochrome PIDM): accepted in Serbia and Belgium.
  2. "Ciphr," Vex Voir and Katlyn Lacoste, Interlaken Park, Seattle, June 2017 (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted for the first time, in Serbia.
  3. "Between Earth and Sky," Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, Seattle, March 2019 (Open Color PIDC): Accepted for the first time, in Belgium.
  4. "The cliffs of Discovery," Lillias Right, Discovery Park, Seattle, June 2015 (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in Serbia.
  5. "Classic," Invy Rose, Puyallup, October 2011 (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in Luxembourg.
  6. "Ohanapecosh 215," Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022 (Woman Man Child PIDC): Accepted in Serbia.

Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2) Ciphr (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Ciphr (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Between Earth and Sky (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Between Earth and Sky (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted) The cliffs of Discovery (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)The cliffs of Discovery (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted) Classic (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Classic (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Ohanapecosh 215 (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted)Ohanapecosh 215 (Woman Man Child PIDC) (Accepted)

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(Sensualight Photography) Between Earth and Sky Ciphr Classic Invy Rose Katlyn Lacoste Leo Velo Lillias Right Lior Allay Ohanapecosh 215 Portend PSA The cliffs of Discovery Vex Voir https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/mixed-results-at-dpw-sbm-circuit Sat, 04 Mar 2023 00:05:51 GMT
Figures or Faces exhibition now open online https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/figures-or-faces-exhibition-now-open-online The "Figures or Faces" exhibition, curated by Las Lagunas Art Gallery in California, is now online!

This is a wonderful collection of art and I'm honored to be part of it. You'll find my photograph, "Vernal Light," featuring Marzipanned, on page 16 (the pieces are organized aphabetically by title).

Accepted!Accepted!

I always enjoy going through collections that I'm a part of, to choose my own favorites. I recommend:

  1. "JessaRay," photograph by Dave Hanson
  2. "Taylor," photographic print by Edward Dose
  3. "Desire," acrylic by Leah Witherell
  4. "Chrysalis," mixed media on canvas by D'Amelio
  5. "A Boy with a Straight Face," giclee printed on the back of glass by Leroy Skalstad

The exhibition will run through the end of this month.

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(Sensualight Photography) exhibition Las Lagunas Gallery Marzipanned online Vernal Light https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/3/figures-or-faces-exhibition-now-open-online Fri, 03 Mar 2023 01:30:00 GMT
Kit Ashton in the City https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/kit-ashton-in-the-city Another photo set done!

As I said in my preview blog post, night photography is damn difficult... but also really interesting. And Kit Ashton was a very interesting model to work with. They were completely on board with what I was trying to accomplish, showcasing an alternative idea of body acceptance and an alternative definition of the natural state of human beings. We had so much fun playing with these ideas--shooting in public places like an overpass and Pike Place Market, at urban viewpoints with skyscrapers and the waterfront in the background, and finding cheeky visual puns in a parking garage.

I hope you enjoy these images as much as I do!

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(Sensualight Photography) edited Kit Ashton Seattle https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/kit-ashton-in-the-city Sun, 26 Feb 2023 20:32:05 GMT
Skye in Boxcar Canyon https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/skye-in-boxcar-canyon I finished up editing my photos of Skye over the weekend, and I am so pleased with them. I think some of these will go far on the contests and exhibits circuit. There were so many good ones to choose from -- we did sets at numerous locations, some nude, some with fabrics; some on the tracks, some along the river, some posing with graffiti; and every option had great results. These were all in a river canyon near Eatonville, Washington.

I'll share with you a larger number of sample images than usual, just because there are so many to choose from. Enjoy these fantastic images of a talented new model!

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(Sensualight Photography) edited Skye https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/skye-in-boxcar-canyon Thu, 23 Feb 2023 19:54:00 GMT
Celebrating Gold! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/celebrating-gold I received results from the Celebration Circuit salon in India a few days ago, and am pleased to announce that, along with a total of 15 acceptances in four judgings (having only entered eight photos in two categories), I received two "Chairman Choice" certificates and a PSA Gold Medal! The latter is a rare achievement and one I'm very proud of. Ironically, it was for a photo made waaaay back at the beginning of my figure photography career, at a class in studio lighting.

Here are the full results:

  • "Classic," Invy Rose, Puyallup, Washington, October 2011: PSA Gold Medal and Chairman Choice Certificate, accepted by all four judges
  • "The cliffs of Discovery," Lillias Right, Discovery Park, Seattle, June 2015: Chairman Choice Certificate, accepted by two of four judges. This is the debut appearance for this photo!
  • "As above, so below," Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, Seattle, March 2019: Accepted by all four judges
  • "Lower Sunbeam," Bunny Luna, Lower Sunbeam Falls, Mount Rainier National Park, July 2019: Accepted by two of four judges. This is the debut appearance for this photo, too!
  • "Wilderness mirror," Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park, July 2019: Accepted by two of four judges. This is only the second appearance by this photo, having previously received a Bronze Award as part of a photo series at the Budapest International Foto Awards a year and a half ago.

Classic (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4, PSA Gold, Chairman Choice)Classic (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4, PSA Gold, Chairman Choice) The cliffs of Discovery (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted x2, Chairman Choice)The cliffs of Discovery (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted x2, Chairman Choice) Lower Sunbeam (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted x2)Lower Sunbeam (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted x2) As above, so below (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)As above, so below (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4) Wilderness mirror (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)Wilderness mirror (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)

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(Sensualight Photography) As above so below award Bunny Luna Celebration Circuit Chairman Choice Classic gold medal Invy Rose Lillias Right Lior Allay Lower Sunbeam PSA PSA gold medal The cliffs of Discovery Wilderness mirror https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/celebrating-gold Wed, 22 Feb 2023 19:22:45 GMT
Tiana Marie: New photos! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/tiana-marie-new-photos The first edited photos from my series of recent shoots are done and posted! This was my photoshoot with Tiana Marie a little over two weeks ago in Pack Forest, a combination of documentary-style photos of a rope bondage session and figurative nudes in nature. I already described this shoot in an earlier post, so without further ado, here are some of my favorites from the edited set!

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(Sensualight Photography) edited Tiana Marie https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/tiana-marie-new-photos Fri, 17 Feb 2023 03:08:00 GMT
The exhibit not taken https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/the-exhibit-not-taken I've had a pretty remarkable run of success entering photo exhibitions, contests, and festivals so far this year. Not every contest I enter, however, leads to my photos being selected. The hardest part about this is not knowing the reasons, because knowing could help improve my photography going forward. I'm sure in many cases it's just that my photos didn't match what the exhibit organizers were looking for, and that's perfectly fine of course. Other times I'm sure it's that my photos just weren't as good as the competition.

Looking at the photos that were selected I'm usually extremely impressed by the quality of art that exists out in the world. But it would be nice, once in a while, to get feedback: the winning photo employed the golden ratio, while yours was poorly composed; this photo was crystal clear while yours had a slight blur around the eyes; that photo, while technically imperfect, captured a sense of emotional power while yours, while technically perfect, was static and less compelling.

I completely realize that there's no way most competition judges have time to provide such feedback. All I can do is to look at the photos of mine that have been accepted and rewarded over and over, and look for the common elements that make them successful... and, conversely, look for common elements in those that weren't accepted to find common features to avoid, going forward. All while understanding that it may have nothing to do with the quality of the photo, and more to do with just not matching what the curator was looking for in their assembled exhibit.

Here are four calls for art that I entered in the past six weeks for which none of my photos were accepted:

  1. Black and White (F-Stop Magazine)
    I was able to submit twelve photos for this publication, but none of them were accepted. Looking at past photos that were accepted, it appears that the magazine is looking for photos that convey a story or impression more than images that are perfectly processed. I tried to choose images of my own that match this style. I could see my images fitting with the photos that were selected, but their choices are pretty fine without them.
  2. Celebrating the Sacred Feminine: Honoring Women's Herstory Month (Ludington Area Center for the Arts in Michigan)
    It's always hard to know, with these local exhibitions, exactly what they're looking for. Even though they are ostensibly an "international" call for art, will they favor local artists? Will they favor non-photographic work? Will they shy away from figurative images in a "family-oriented" gallery? I always try to look at the work they've featured in the past to get a clue about these things, but still, it's a crap shoot. I loved the theme, however, so I couldn't resist entering, and contributed two photos from an amazing photoshoot with Dominique Zuniga back in March 2016 at Valley of Fire State Park, a shoot that truly embodied the idea of the "sacred feminine," whether its images were selected or not. As of this writing, the gallery of selected art isn't posted on LACA's website yet (the physical exhibit is March 3-31), so I'm interested to see the works they did choose.
    6I8A35276I8A3527Dance in the Light
    6I8A3527 (2/24/2021)
    3/21/2016
    Dominique Zuniga
    Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

    2021-04-01 Colors of Humanity Art Gallery (online), "Human Nature": Exhibited online
    2021-04-05 Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery (online), "Figurative", as "Dance for the Earth": Exhibited with Special Recognition
    6I8A32426I8A3242Rebirth
    6I8A3242 (4/15/18)
    3/21/16
    Dominique Zuniga
    Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

    2018-05-18 Linus Galleries (Pasadena, California) "Femme": Exhibited digitally
    2019-04-26 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Rochester, New York): Exhibited digitally
    2021-04-05 Light Space & Time Online Gallery, "Figurative": Exhibited online, awarded 8th place
  3. Figures in the Landscape (Aplomb Gallery, Dover, New Hampshire)
    How could I not enter an exhibition focused on figures in the landscape? That's my primary theme! And they allowed for five entries. I was pretty confident about this one, but alas, it was not to be. I entered a combination of wide sweeping vistas and more intimate images; color and black and white; and photos that have been highly successful (including "Rest and Upheaval," far and away my most awarded image) along with ones that I personally love but have not been as widely recognized as I'd like. This exhibit opens March 4 and closes April 30, twice as long as most exhibits seem to run these days, but there are no images posted on the website yet. I look forward to seeing what I'm sure will be a collection of amazing work when photos appear online.
    Dance for the EarthDance for the Earth Parallel WorldsParallel WorldsParallel Worlds
    B75A8286 (2021-07-01)
    2019-07-16
    Bunny Luna
    Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park

    2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Nude PIDC) (Malta): Accepted
  4. Black and White (ReFocus Awards)
    Another Black and White contest, this one wanted a set of photos on the same theme. So I submitted one of my most reliable collections, five photos from my photo shoot with Queen Dandelion on Rialto Beach at the end of July 2018. The actual winners are very good, so I'm not put out that I wasn't selected at all. In fact, I enjoy browsing the winning photos, because they give me a lot of great ideas about what to do next in my own photography!
    Rest and Upheaval 1Rest and Upheaval 1Rest and Upheaval
    6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
    07-31-2018
    Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

    2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
    2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
    2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
    2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
    2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
    2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
    2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
    2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
    2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
    2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
    Rest and Upheaval 2Rest and Upheaval 2Rest and Upheaval (series of 7)
    6I8A4676 (09-17-2020)
    07-31-2018
    Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

    2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude): Honorable Mention
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(Sensualight Photography) Aplomb Gallery Between two firs Black and White Bunny Luna Celebrating the Sacred Feminine Curiosity Dance in the light declined Dolly Mattel Dominique Zuniga entries Figures in the Landscape F-Stop Magazine Haven Model Katlyn Lacoste Like no one is watching Lonna Manson Luding Area Center for the Arts Parallel Worlds Queen Dandelion Rebirth ReFocus Awards Rest and Upheaval Skinny Dipper Tahoma Taking off https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/the-exhibit-not-taken Thu, 16 Feb 2023 00:42:00 GMT
Xhibited: Preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/xhibited-preview Sometimes, the experience of modeling is as much of a journey for the model as it is an artistic expression of the photographer. It think it's important to recognize and honor that. Of course, all that the public sees, in the end, is the resulting photos; but the stories behind the photos continue to interest me just as much as the photos themselves. For me, they add dimension and context, and may even lead to a new interpretation of the image.

Xhibited reached out to me when I advertised that I was looking for someone to do night photos in Seattle. She's done some modeling before, though to keep her identity private for professional reasons she always wears a mask. She finds the experience of modeling to be a freeing one, one that contrasts a celebration of the body with her upbringing in a culture that frowned on such things. She's artistic by nature and enjoys participating in the process of creation. And, finally, there's some pleasure that comes from submitting the self to be the raw material for another person's vision.

These are the things I've gleaned from conversation with Xhibited. She's also an older model than most, with the time-weary effects that has on the skin, to which none of us are exempt no matter how physically fit we may be. She'll never be a centerfold in Playboy without a lot of digital surgery. But in strong contrast to that, I personally find these characteristics to not be "imperfections" at all. They simply are. They are part of Xhibited's body, and they represent her, at this point in her life, with all of the experiences that have shaped her, both physically and spiritually. In my opinion, she is one of the most beautiful models I've worked with.

It'll be a couple of weeks until I finish my final edits on this set, but for now, here are a couple of previews to show you what we accomplished. It was a dark, cold, rainy evening in Seattle; we timed our session in hopes of avoiding both crowds and rain, based on the forecast. And we were mostly successful in both respects. At our viewpoint in Gas Works Park we encountered three other photographers also trying to get images of the city lights across Lake Union, but only had to wait about ten minutes before they gave up and left (during which time we were planning and preparing our shots) -- they were dissatisfied with the lack of a reflection of the city on still water. (Why they thought there would be a reflection in the midst of a rainstorm, I don't know.) As for ourselves, sure, a reflection would have been nice, but it was the lights themselves we were looking for, and the lighted foreground under the streetlights to spotlight my model. Due to the darkness I took photos with a shallow depth of field, but I also photographed the city more sharply individually, and will experiment with compositing that into the final versions of the photos.

You can see that Xhibited is still a bit nervous in this set; we'd just started, she hadn't relaxed into the experience yet, and the setting was fairly public. I'm happy with the images we got, though, in spite of her nervousness.

After Gas Works, we walked along the waterfront, stopping at a little viewpoint for more photos, then continued down the Burke-Gilman Trail toward Fremont. The second preview I'll share with you here is under the Aurora Street Bridge, a gate tucked into an ivy-covered wall leading to a private boat dock. It has a motion-sensitive light that comes on whenever anyone enters its radius, creating a pool of light amid the darkness that I was immediately drawn to. We experimented with a lot of different poses; I think this is one of my favorites. Xhibited is small in stature to begin with, but next to the gate she appears even more diminutive, reminding me of a Hobbit knocking on the outsized door to the Prancing Pony in the human town of Bree.

Xhibited is warming up here, not so much physically as in her comfort level working with me. It's a more private location, to be sure, but she's also trusting me more to create something of beauty while keeping her safe. So much so, that she suggested a very open and well-lit area for the next set of pictures. I haven't included any of those photos here, but you can see them among the extended set of preview images in my website gallery.

She was getting cold, so we discussed wrapping up, but decided to do one final set of images. I'd scouted another couple of locations further down the Burke-Gilman Trail, but at the last minute, decided to "call an audible" and substitute a location I'd just spotted, along the foundation of the Aurora Street Bridge, lit by street lamps with the shadows of trees swaying in the breeze. I thought we might be able to play with those shadows and use them to add intrigue to a set of images.

And oh boy did that work well! We shot a long series here, both clothed, partially clothed, and unclothed. These are personally my favorites of the night, because I think they best capture Xhibited's personality. You can see in her face that she has finally relaxed completely into the experience, enjoying it almost ecstatically as the shadows and the breeze dance across her skin and catch her hair. There's a sense of joy, a power and confidence that finally comes out: she is a woman who knows she is beautiful and owns it in front of the camera.

And then it was all over. We walked back to the car and warmed up a bit before parting ways. The photos are memories not only of creativity, but also an experience that we will both cherish, when artist and model shared a process that resulted in both great art and personal transformation.

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(Sensualight Photography) night preview Seattle Xhibited https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/xhibited-preview Wed, 15 Feb 2023 00:30:00 GMT
Rochester Erotic Arts Festival: 5th year in a row! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/rochester-erotic-arts-festival-5th-year-in-a-row One of the most reliable exhibitions I've entered over the years is the Rochester Erotic Arts Festival. It's not a super-high bar -- you can enter ten photos at a time, and if you're not local enough to hand-deliver your art, you're competing for a digital exhibition. So it's not like they're going to run out of wall space by accepting a lot of photos.

Still, it's a point of pride that I've entered every year since 2018 (except 2020 when the Festival was cancelled due to Covid), and have had multiple images accepted every time... five years in a row now.

This year I submitted the usual ten images, and three of them have been accepted for digital exhibition. Here they are, and you can see them projected in all their glory at the Festival, which will be at the Holiday Inn in Auburn, New York from April 14 to 16:

Close Shave (accepted)Close Shave (accepted) Dance in the light (accepted)Dance in the light (accepted) Jacob's Angel (accepted)Jacob's Angel (accepted)

  1. "Close Shave," Gin and Ginger, Seattle, May 2022
  2. "Dance in the Light," Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016
  3. "Jacob's Angel," Vex Voir, Interlaken Park, Seattle, June 2017
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(Sensualight Photography) Close Shave' Dance in the light digital exhibition Dominique Zuniga festival Gin and Ginger Isaac's Angel Jacob's Angel REAF Rochester Erotic Arts Festival Vex Voir https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/rochester-erotic-arts-festival-5th-year-in-a-row Tue, 14 Feb 2023 01:00:00 GMT
Talent Award at Art Show International https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/talent-award-at-art-show-international FIGURATIVE 5A - Kevin BacherFIGURATIVE 5A - Kevin Bacher Want an upbeat story with a strange twist at the end? Here you go.

Art Show International, an online gallery based in Los Angeles, had a competition recently on the theme "Figurative." Right up my alley, right? So I submitted two photos. I just heard back a few days ago -- one of my photos won a "Talent Award" and the other an Honorable Mention!

To put this in some context, the gallery offers a single "First Place Award," two "Runner-up Awards," three "Merit Awards," and 100 Talent Awards. That makes winning a Talent Award a bit less novel, but it does come with a $25 prize, so that's something, and the next two levels, Honorable Mention and Finalist, have 366 and 309 winners respectively. So even if every photo submitted was slotted into one of those categories, I still have a photo in the top 14%, and a check for $25. Which makes up for the $20 entry fee, plus a cup of coffee and bragging rights.

Here are the two photos that won: "Jacob's Angel" (Vex Voir, Interlaken Park, June 2017) with the Talent Award, and "Skinny Dipper" (Dolly Mattel, Crystal Lake, September 2021) with the Honorable Mention.

Jacob's Angel (Talent Award)Jacob's Angel (Talent Award) Skinny Dipper (Honorable Mention)Skinny Dipper (Honorable Mention)

Now the twist. As I was recording these results, I discovered that I actually entered this same competition last year, under the same theme. Which wouldn't be unusual, except that one of the photos I entered, which earned an Honorable Mention, was Jacob's Angel. Of all the photos in my collection, I submitted the same image! And it was accepted two years in a row. Oops. Totally inadvertent. But it is nice to know that their judgment of its quality isn't a fluke, but rather, something replicable. Makes it feel more scientific!

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(Sensualight Photography) Art Show International award Dolly Mattel Figurative Honorable Mention Isaac's Angel Jacob's Angel Skinny Dipper Talent Award https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/talent-award-at-art-show-international Sun, 12 Feb 2023 17:38:00 GMT
Kit Ashton: Preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/kit-ashton-preview It's ironic that my photos of Lillias Right at dawn in Seattle have just been published in Lightreadings Magazine, because -- purely coincidentally -- I've been working on repeating that theme. It's one I'm drawn to as the dark counterpoint to my theme of nudes in nature: depicting not scenes of humans in their natural state in harmony with nature, but rather, humans in their most natural state contrasted with an urban environment. But it's devilishly difficult to do, and not just because it requires traveling a couple of hours up the road to the city at obscene hours of the day. The very nature of a night shoot is that light is as thin as oxygen on the summit of a mountain -- the camera's sensor gasps for it, seeing stars in the form of digital noise, its vision shallow, its shutter slow and vulnerable to the slightest shake.

You compensate as well as you can, bracing the camera on a tripod or monopod, exhorting the model to hold still, taking half a dozen shots at a time in hopes that one of them will be reasonably blur-free. It's a delicate balance. ISO: too high, and the details disappear into noise. Shutter: too slow and even the click of the shutter, or the model's breathing, ruins the picture. Aperture: too wide, and your focus has to be spot-on to even have a chance of sharpness, and you hope it's the eyes and not the adjacent cheek rather than vice versa.

You throw away a lot of pictures.

But that's part of the challenge as well, and the feeling of accomplishment when it all works is very satisfying.

Which brings us to Kit Ashton! I'd put out a call for models and a couple of people responded. Two of them followed through -- you'll hear about the other in another post. Kit's a local non-binary model and member of the Seattle fetish community who was very enthusiastic about the art I was trying to create. Another challenge of this theme is that it necessarily involves being nude out in public in the middle of a city, which takes a bold person, but Kit assured me that "luckily people don't bother me," and luckily for me they were being 100% honest!

We did a lot of planning ahead of time, each of us scouting routes and agreeing on a general itinerary and time. We met at 4am at the top of Pike Street, shooting at striking viewpoints of the city just off the busy road (albeit not so busy that time of the morning). There's a set of classical Greek pillars at one intersection, and just down the road from it a nice view out across Interstate 5 looking toward a new annex of the Convention Center. We took an extended detour through the edge of Freeway Park, with views of the skyline and geometric staircases. (I was so focused on my photography that I didn't even notice, till I looked at the photos later, a security camera right above that staircase. If anyone was watching, they didn't send anyone to intervene.) Kit's girlfriend, along for the adventure, was incredibly helpful, not only keeping an eye out, but also suggesting poses and settings, and making minor adjustments to Kit's hair and hand placement that had major positive effects on the resulting image.

Ultimately, as the hour got later (or, less early), we decided to skip the middle part of Pike Street and skip to the end for a few shots at Pike Place Market. Again, most people would have steered away from such a busy location just as it was waking up for the day, but Kit was unfazed. We got some fantastic shots in the street in front of the Market, then inside, and finally behind the Market overlooking the waterfront. In most cases people completely ignored us (we tried to keep our distance, but it's a busy place), but in front of the Market, as we were wrapping up our set, one of the vendors approached us to say we'd made his day, he'd never seen anything like us before.

I have a couple of other shoots to edit first, but it won't be too long till I have edited versions of this set to share with you. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these early previews!

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(Sensualight Photography) Kit Ashton preview urban nudes https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/kit-ashton-preview Sat, 11 Feb 2023 17:42:00 GMT
Back to the Seattle Erotic Art Festival! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/back-to-the-seattle-erotic-art-festival I am thrilled, over the moon, to announce that I'm going back to the Seattle Erotic Art Festival!

For context, read my post from a few weeks ago... tl;dr, I had photos accepted in the Festival five years in a row, but the last three years have drawn a blank. So it was with great trepidation that I looked up the results this weekend, to discover that I have three photos accepted for exhibition (out of ten entered). And three photos that I'm very proud of, too! Of course, yes, I only submitted photos that I'm very proud of, so that follows. But I'm especially happy that the photo of Lior Allay was accepted, because it's one that I find personally very compelling, but which hasn't done as well as I'd have liked it to in other exhibition entries.

Anyway, here are the details: the Festival runs from April 21 to April 23, 2023, and you can find all of the details, including ticket sales, at seattleerotic.org. The Festival will have lots of great visual art on display and for sale, as well as interactive art, literary art, erotic films, performances, and participatory events. The attendees are really part of the exhibit, too, as they often show up in full fetishwear. It's a sensory feast, and you can go home with my art!

Here are my three accepted pieces, along with the brief narrative that will accompany each of them. I'm experimenting with making my art more personal and unique -- a longer version of these narratives will be attached to the back of each matted and framed photograph, with my artist's signature. Hopefully that will help them sell -- and I like that it'll add some depth and context to the pieces regardless.

Proof: ACCEPTEDProof: ACCEPTED
Proof
For a non-binary individual like Lior Allay, photographed at Freeway Park in Seattle in March 2019, gender and identity are in constant tension with cultural expectations. Clothing, hair, body structure and society’s ever-present obsession with genitalia all play a role. Here, we cheekily ask, who do YOU say I am? And what do you ask for, as proof?

Gothic Sundial: ACCEPTED and SOLDGothic Sundial: ACCEPTED and SOLD
Gothic Sundial
It’s time to stop limiting the definition of “beauty” to blonde hair and svelte bodies. It’s time to be inclusive in our definition of human sensuality. There is so much to celebrate! It’s time to embrace our full potential as sensual beings. I photographed Psychopomp in Seattle in October 2012.

Rest and Upheaval: ACCEPTED and SOLDRest and Upheaval: ACCEPTED and SOLDRest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal

Rest and Upheaval
To be human is to live amid contrast and contradiction. We strive for restful calm; yet the world is filled with chaos and turmoil. But waves and tide can, in time, smooth sharp edges into polished stone. Nature both threatens and sustains us, and we find balance in the center of the storm. I photographed Queen Dandelion at Rialto Beach, July 2018.

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(Sensualight Photography) exhibition festival Gothic Sundial Lior Allay Proof Psychopomp Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval SEAF Seattle Erotic Art Festival https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/back-to-the-seattle-erotic-art-festival Sat, 11 Feb 2023 00:30:00 GMT
Get Dirty in Detroit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/get-dirty-in-detroit Dirty Show 23 opens today! It sounds like a lot of fun, with events and art galore. I wish I weren't 2,384 miles away, according to Google, 206 hours away on my bicycle, which means I should have started pedaling a month ago. If you're closer to the Russell Center in Detroit, swing by and enjoy the festivities, including my photo "Flight," featuring Abi Blue, on display through next weekend on February 18. Send me a photo! Even better, consider purchasing this matted and framed print, with my signed artist notes on the back! Support figurative art!

Flight (Exhibited)Flight (Exhibited)

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(Sensualight Photography) Abi Blue Dirty Show exhibition Flight https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/get-dirty-in-detroit Fri, 10 Feb 2023 16:00:00 GMT
Published in The Psychology of Night https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/published-in-the-psychology-of-night I watch, on a regular basis, for Calls for Art that look interesting and along the lines of my photographic style. I saw one recently that intrigued me, a brand new publication called Lightreadings Magazine whose first issue was themed "The Psychology of Night."

"There is a certain psychology of the night. The night can be an incredibly suggestive time. Mystery, introspection, quiet or loud, and behaviors not abiding by the mainstream rules of the day, with the darkness useful for creating mystery or an unnerving atmosphere. Scenes we overlook during the day often take on a fascinating new appearance at night – in a literal or abstract way.

"More than 320 photographers from all over the world submitted work to our open call “The Psychology of Night”. Lightreadings’ editor in-chief Panos Kasimis -not participating in the selection process- received and distributed their work to the rest of the team. We each chose those works that we found most visually interesting and coherent, and suggested them to the rest. After several discussions and debates -often lasting several hours- and also taking into account the final format of both the exhibition and publication, we arrived at the forty photographers participating in this issue."

I'm honored to be one of those photographers!

A pair of photo shoots I did back in 2016 immediately came to mind when I saw this call: with Lillias Right, and a few days later with Mikki Marvel, at dawn in Seattle. I ultimately submitted seven photos from the session with Lillias, and Lightreadings Magazine published five of them.

The magazine is published bilingually in English and Greek, so I assume the magazine is based in Greece, though I can't find that information for sure. You can download the whole magazine on their website, and it's really interesting to see the many different interpretations of the theme. This'll be an interesting magazine to watch, going forward.

All of these photos are of Lillias Right in Seattle in July 2016, titled, respectively:

  1. "Me and my shadow"
  2. "Pier 56"
  3. "Lillias and the Wheel"
  4. "Cupcakes"
  5. "A Rock and a Hard place"

PublishedPublished PublishedPublished PublishedPublished PublishedPublished PublishedPublished

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(Sensualight Photography) A Rock and a Hard place Cupcakes Lightreadings Magazine Lillias and the Wheel Lillias Right Me and my shadow Pier 56 publication The Psychology of Night https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/published-in-the-psychology-of-night Thu, 09 Feb 2023 18:57:00 GMT
Nude Nite opens in Orlando https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/nude-nite-opens-in-orlando Flight (Exhibited)Flight (Exhibited)

Just a reminder that Nude Nite: Orlando opens today at 6pm! Stop by (1401 Florida Mall Ave in Orlando, Florida) and see (and buy) my matted and framed photo of "Flight," featuring Abi Blue in Seattle in June 2021! The Festival closes on Saturday the 11th.

 

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(Sensualight Photography) Abi Blue festival Flight Nude Nite Nude Nite Orlando https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/nude-nite-opens-in-orlando Thu, 09 Feb 2023 14:45:00 GMT
Skye: Preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/skye-preview A week or so ago, I had the privilege of working with a brand new model that I think is going to create some phenomenal art. Skye's first photo shoot was only a week before mine, a lingerie shoot in the snow up on Snoqualmie Pass, so I feel honored that she chose me to reach out to for her second. After some negotiation of ideas, she expressed interest in shooting along some abandoned railroad tracks near my home. I went out and scouted a couple of specific locations, in the process re-discovering a site I'd nearly forgotten about, but which is breathtakingly dramatic, and also has an interesting combination of natural beauty and urban graffiti. After sharing some location photos with her, Skye immediately selected this as the site for our shoot.

Let me interject here that I completely understand that railroad tracks are dangerous. I would never shoot on any tracks that I wasn't 100% certain beyond a shadow of a doubt were inactive. It's helpful when the tracks not only have vegetation growing up through them but also have large branches down across them. It's clear that significant and obvious work is necessary before even a handcart makes passage on these rails.

Skye and I shot on a cool, cloudy afternoon. I don't like to shoot mid-day because the light can be harsh, but here in the Pacific Northwest our infamous clouds can turn the sky into an enormous softbox. Besides, I wanted a time of day when any of the teenagers who created the graffiti would be otherwise occupied with school and wouldn't wander into our photo shoot.

As you'll see in these preview images, Skye is a strawberry blonde with Scottish heritage, a beautiful woman with great muscle tone and a smile that lights up her face. She's confident with her body and her background in dance serves her well as she selects poses. She's creative and was game to try whatever I suggested and to offer her own ideas.

Combine all of that talent with old railroad tracks curving across an old trestle a hundred feet or more above a rugged canyon, and you've got ingredients for some compelling images. We saw a bald eagle flying overhead on two occasions, and you can see ice cascading down the cliffs in the background in some photos. The graffiti varies from colorful and artistic to juvenile and ironic.

I'll be back in a week or two with fully edited versions of these photos. for now, here are a few previews of what will likely be a top-tier set. And if you're a local photographer looking for new talent, you wouldn't go wrong to reach out to Skye.

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(Sensualight Photography) preview Skye https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/skye-preview Thu, 09 Feb 2023 00:54:00 GMT
Tiana Marie: Preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/tiana-marie-preview I told someone yesterday that the biggest challenge in accomplishing my goal of representing diversity in my photography is that people who are not traditionally represented in art are conditioned by society to not want to model. It's one thing to lament that your own body type or skin color or age is not represented; it's another thing entirely to put your own body out there at the alternative, and to subject yourself to society's judgment, however unfair.

One of the places I have been most successful at finding alternative models is FetLife, an online forum for the kink community. I've had an account for several years and have slowly built a reputation as a reputable photographer, and every so often that pays off when an individual or couple reaches out to me with an interest in modeling. And because of the sex-positive attitude that is more prevalent on FetLife, and the body-positive attitude that goes along with it, it is more common for those who reach out to me to be people with real bodies--beautiful bodies, but that do not confirm to the 0.2% of body types that make up 99% of popular art.

Tiana is just such an example. Latinx, non-binary, a delightful individual whose body has scars and curves and hair and life experience, and who happens to love being tied up naked in nature. They and their partner spent a lovely couple of hours with me in a local forest on a cool, cloudy day, getting rope-drunk tied to a tree and modeling for photos.

There is great beauty in someone who is so comfortable with their own body, who relishes the fresh air on their skin and the mud on their bare feet, who goes into subspace from the drip of dew on the nape of their neck. There is beauty in the act of submission, and the loving act of their partner tying them. It honors me to document that deep form of love, the care and respect that goes into doing it well, the careful fastening of ropes and constant checking for feedback, the efforts to heighten sensation, and the attentive after-care when the ropes are removed. When I'm photographing such a scene, I feel like a documentarian, hovering around the fringes, capturing the action and the emotion and the interaction between dom and sub, telling the story.

And of course when Tiana was fully tied, they had very little capacity to stretch and pose in typical ways, their interaction with the camera limited to the movement of eyes and face, and the act of breathing. I documented, as well as I could, Tiana's place in that space, their smooth skin pressed against the rough bark of the tree, their folded body anchored to the roots of a grove of trees that stretched away into the distance, their body resting on cool, damp earth littered with fallen leaves.

After being untied, and recovering somewhat, Tiana did a few more traditional poses among the trees. By this point she was, mentally, fully immersed in the space, one more living thing among the rest.

Edited images will be coming soon. Meanwhile, here are three preview images to give you a taste for what we created.

 

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(Sensualight Photography) bondage preview rope Shibari Tiana Marie https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/2/tiana-marie-preview Thu, 02 Feb 2023 00:43:46 GMT
Eleven at Colour Pixels https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/eleven-at-colour-pixels Interestingly, as of this writing I'm still waiting for an official "report card" for my entry to the Colour Pixels Circuit in India, which closed on December 26. But their website does already include a list of which photos were accepted and awarded by each of their three sets of judges, so I can at least report on that.

To wit, I had eleven acceptances: four in the Photojournalism category (two photos each accepted by two judges); four in the Open Colour category (three photos, one accepted by two judges); and three in the Open Monochrome category (two photos, one accepted by two judges).

As results go, that's about average. And the monochrome results included one photo ("Together") that hasn't seen much attention in the past, as well as another ("Morning stroll") that's a newcomer on the scene. Both of these are photos that I'll be submitting again, though probably cautiously -- both of them are a bit on the sensual side, which can be tricky with certain judges.

Together (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)Together (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2) Godiva in the evening (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted x2)Godiva in the evening (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted x2)Godiva in the Evening
6I8A5669 (5/1/2021)
9/14/2014
Courtney Appleseed (AKA Stella Luceat)
Bend, Oregon

2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Open Color PIDC): Exhibited virtually
Morning stroll (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Morning stroll (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Winthrop Glacier (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Winthrop Glacier (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Lilith and Eve (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted)Lilith and Eve (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted)

Here are the full figurative results:

  1. "Together" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Lior Allay and Cyndical, Discovery Park, Seattle, June 2017: Accepted by two judges
  2. "Godiva in the Evening" (Open Colour PIDC), Stella Luceat (modeling at that time as Courtney Appleseed), Bend, Oregon, September 2014: Accepted by two judges
  3. "Morning stroll" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Lillias Right, Seattle, July 2016: Accepted by one judge
  4. "Winthrop Glacier" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Katlyn Lacoste, Third Burroughs, Mount Rainier National Park, August 2021: Accepted by one judge
  5. "Lilith and Eve" (Open Colour PIDC), Vex Voir and Katlyn Lacoste, Interlaken Park, Seattle, June 2017: Accepted by one judge
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(Sensualight Photography) Colour Pixels Circuit Courtney Appleseed Cyndical Godiva in the evening Katlyn Lacoste Lilith and Eve Lillias Right Lior Allay Morning stroll PSA Stella Luceat Together Vex Voir Winthrop Glacier https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/eleven-at-colour-pixels Tue, 31 Jan 2023 18:32:00 GMT
Preview: Rollii and Maddie https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/preview-rollii-and-maddie My first photo shoot of the year was a last minute addition. Rollii, a model from southern California, contacted me to say she would be traveling in Seattle, and invited me to shoot with her and her traveling companion, Maddie. While I was initially on the fence, I eventually agreed to the shoot, even though it didn't fit my more typical theme of outdoor figurative nudes. Rollii and Maddie mostly shoot more erotic content, and more typically in studios; they had booked the Dayton Street Studio in Edmonds for their visit, which is a great space that I've shot in before. I've been wanting to experiment with some more erotic content, so figured this would be an opportunity to do so with willing models.

As it happened, I went in a different direction. Most of what I have in mind for erotic art is better shot in a bedroom or boudoir setting than in a studio; I'm interested in the eroticism of everyday environments, not the artificiality of a studio with blank backdrops and stage props.  So I'll follow that up another day, with another model.

And in fact what finally made me agree to this photo shoot was an idea for how to avoid the standard studio shoot -- by literally turning the camera around and shooting, instead, amid the clutter of the studio rather than against the blank cyclorama. The idea was to try to capture something that looked more "behind the scenes," less artificial.

I think it worked, at least partially. It's going to be interesting to think through this photo shoot and figure out what worked and what didn't. I don't think this will be an approach I use regularly. But it resulted in some interesting images, and the idea of shooting "behind the scenes" is one that could be applied elsewhere.

What do you think?

I shot for an hour with Rollii, and then another hour with Maddie, who, it turns out, is local, when she's not traveling, and a hiker, so look for her someday in a more typical photoshoot out in the wilderness somewhere. Here are a few favorite preview images; you can see more here.

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(Sensualight Photography) Maddie preview Rollii studio https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/preview-rollii-and-maddie Tue, 31 Jan 2023 00:39:00 GMT
Seventeen accepted, one Honorable Mention at New Year Circuit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/seventeen-accepted-one-honorable-mention-at-new-year-circuit The results are back from the New Year Circuit, a Photographic Society-affiliated contest in Serbia that closed on (of course) New Year's Day. I'm decently pleased with the results; with five judgings, I received a total of eleven acceptances in the Color category and six in monochrome. One of my color images received an Honorable Mention.

I'm less pleased with the fact that none, zip, nada of my entries in the Nature theme were accepted by any judge. But it was already clear that this is a category in which I struggle, and the only reason I submitted photos was because the price structure of the Circuit allowed me to enter a third theme (besides just Open Color and Open Monochrome) at no additional cost. So I wasn't out anything for trying.

No neighbors (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x4, HM)No neighbors (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x4, HM) States of matter (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)States of matter (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4) Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4) Light in the darkness (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3)Light in the darkness (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3) Earth, Water and Fire (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Earth, Water and Fire (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)

My accepted and awarded images include:

  • "No Neighbors" (Open Color PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022: Salon Honorable Mention at Kula, accepted at Aleksinac, Kolasin, and Novi Sad
  • "States of Matter" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019: Accepted at Aleksinac, Kolasin, Kula and Novi Sad
  • "Portend" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Leo Velo, Seattle, February 2016: Accepted at Aleksinac, Kolasin, Kula and Novi Sad
  • "Light in the Darkness" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Mikki Marvel, July 2016: Accepted at Aleksinac, Kula and Novi Sad
  • "Earth, Water and Fire" (Open Color PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022: Accepted at Kolasin
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(Sensualight Photography) award Bunny Luna Earth Water and Fire Honorable Mention Katlyn Lacoste Leo Velo Light in the Darkness Mikki Marvel New Year Circuit No neighbors Portend PSA States of matter https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/seventeen-accepted-one-honorable-mention-at-new-year-circuit Mon, 30 Jan 2023 17:31:42 GMT
Honorable Mention at 3 Square Art! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/honorable-mention-at-3-square-art I have received word that my photo "Exclusive" (featuring Marzipanned at Frink Park in Seattle in January 2019) was selected for an Honorable Mention at 3 Square Art Gallery in Fort Collins, Colorado!

The exhibition presented a Gold, Silver, Bronze, and four Honorable Mentions, out of 51 finalists. So Honorable Mention's pretty good!

The exhibit, titled "Figure That!", is one I've applied to before, and the second time in a row that I've received an award!

One interesting side note on this. 3 Square Art posted its top award winners on Facebook and Instagram... unedited. The Bronze award also features a figure nude, but in mixed media (pen and paint, I think). Mine is a black and white photograph. That's the kind of thing that usually gets you banned by the Meta Monster. But apparently it's more clear that it's not "sexual solicitation" when it's an art gallery posting the image than when it's the original artist.

I find that fascinating.

 

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(Sensualight Photography) 3 Square Art Gallery award censorship exclusive exhibition Facebook Honorable Mention Instagram Marzipanned Meta https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/honorable-mention-at-3-square-art Sun, 29 Jan 2023 22:50:00 GMT
Nude Nite takes Flight in Orlando https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/nude-nite-takes-flight-in-orlando For the fourth time, one of my photos has been accepted for exhibition (and, hopefully, sale!) at the Nude Nite festival in Florida!

Flight (Exhibited)Flight (Exhibited) Previously, my photos were exhibited at the Tampa Nude Nite in 2019 and 2020, and at the Orlando event in 2020. The Orlando photo sold, so hopefully my luck will repeat this year.

The accepted photo is "Flight," with Abi Blue in Seattle in June 2021. A personal favorite image of mine, for sure!

The festival opens at 6pm on February 9, 2023 and closes at midnight on February 11, 2023. Tickets are available here. (If someone wants to buy me a plane ticket from Seattle to Orlando, I'll buy my own ticket to the Festival!)

In a bit of behind-the-scenes intrigue, I received an email from Nude Nite saying:

NUDE NITE ORLANDO 2023 VENUE UPDATE:

Due to safety concerns, the venue has changed to Canvas Event Venue located at 1401 Florida Mall Ave, Orlando, FL 32809

NUDE NITE TAMPA 2023 UPDATE:

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Nude Nite Tampa 2023 has been cancelled. Ticket purchases will automatically be refunded.

If you'd like to attend Nude Nite in Orlando, show proof of a refunded Tampa ticket and we'll offer you 50% off a ticket at the door in Orlando.

If you are an artist that submitted art to our Tampa show, your submission fees will be refunded.

I would very much like to know what the circumstances were that caused the Tampa show to be cancelled, and the Orlando one to be moved "due to safety concerns." Our world has become so dangerous lately, with hate-fueled mass shootings, and I wonder if that was the concern in this case. Florida is certainly earning a reputation, under its current governor, of being a place with open intolerance for those that conservative politicians view as being outside the mainstream.

You'd think nudity would be the ultimate mainstream -- what's more universal than the human body? -- but, there you go.

If anyone has any insight into this matter, I'd love to hear from you.

Here's my entry for Nude Nite: Tampa, the show that got cancelled.

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(Sensualight Photography) Abi Blue festival Flight Nude Nite Nude Nite Orlando Nude Nite Tampa https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/nude-nite-takes-flight-in-orlando Sun, 29 Jan 2023 18:04:39 GMT
Top images in Nude Photography Awards https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/top-images-in-nude-photography-awards So this one's pretty cool, especially if they follow through with what's promised.

Rest and Upheaval (Top Images, to be published)Rest and Upheaval (Top Images, to be published)Rest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
Dodho Magazine
(published in Barcelona) advertised a "Nude Photography Awards" contest, which I only discovered last month, just in time for the New Year's Eve deadline. The entry fee was reasonable, so how could I not apply? I submitted three photos and got set to wait -- the text said results would come "the second week of July" (!).

But then I heard from them on January 17, so maybe their English translation was incorrect and they meant January all along.

And the results are good! Two of my three photos were selected. Here's the full text of what that supposedly means:

From Dodho Magazine we are pleased to inform you that your fantastic photography "Archive: Off Season" has been selected as a finalist in the Nude Photography Awards. As a finalist your image will be published in the book “NUDE” to be released next February. As you know in this book only the 100 best images received in the convocation are published.

Also inform you that your other image "Archive: Rest and Upheaval" has been selected as the best 25 images of the call, for this reason it will be exhibited for a year in our online gallery, which receives thousands of views monthly.

To prepare the book and gallery we need you to send us the images in high resolution (300 dpi) Along with links to your website or other links to your social networks. At any time if you have any questions, please contact me. Once again, I would like to wish you our heartfelt congratulations on your talented work.

Note: We attach the link to the winners images of the Nude Photography Awards

I Off Season (Finalist, to be published)Off Season (Finalist, to be published) 'm not sure why the titles came through to them with "Archive:" in front of the names, except that they were sent as zipped files so maybe that had something to do with it. I corrected the names when I wrote back.

It'll be cool to see my images included in a book of high quality nude images. And I mean high quality. Seriously. Follow the link. These are some great photos. I am really jazzed to be included among them.

If the publication comes through, I presume they'll let me know about it (and probably ask me to buy a copy at $64 apiece...), and I'll pass the info on to you.

The two images featured are:

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(Sensualight Photography) award Dodho Magazine Finalist Katlyn Lacoste Nude Photography Awards Off Season publication Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval Top Image https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/top-images-in-nude-photography-awards Sun, 29 Jan 2023 07:08:35 GMT
Figures or Faces: Online Exhibition at Las Laguna https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/figures-or-faces-online-exhibition-at-las-laguna I've fallen way behind on what's been going on with Sensualight Photography. I'll try to dig myself out over the next few days!

About two weeks ago, I received the results of my entry to the "Figures or Faces" exhibition at Las Laguna Art Gallery in Las Laguna, California. Out of three photos, one was chosen to be included in an online exhibit that opens on March 2, 2023, and presumably runs at least through the rest of the month. A small number of photos, apparently, were chosen for physical exhibition, but I haven't heard anything further, so assume mine was not one of them. Still, nice to be included, and this image is a good one to represent my work.

Accepted!Accepted!

"Vernal Light," Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019

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(Sensualight Photography) Las Laguna Art Gallery Marzipanned online exhibition Vernal Light https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/figures-or-faces-online-exhibition-at-las-laguna Sun, 29 Jan 2023 05:49:30 GMT
Figure That! opens in Fort Collins https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/figure-that-opens-in-fort-collins Just a quick note that the "Figure That!" exhibition opens today at 3 Square Art gallery in Fort Collins, Colorado, including my framed and matted print of "Exclusive," featuring Marzipanned. If you happen to be in the area, take a photo for me (or consider buying it)! The exhibit runs through February 17.

Exclusive (Exhibited, Honorable Mention)Exclusive (Exhibited, Honorable Mention)

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(Sensualight Photography) Exclusive exhibition Figure That Marzipanned https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/figure-that-opens-in-fort-collins Fri, 20 Jan 2023 16:00:00 GMT
Are online photography contests worth entering? https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/are-online-photography-contests-worth-entering The title of this blog entry is the search term I entered in Google. The range of responses is quite interesting. Some highlights, in order of their appearance in Google's SEO:

  • "Photography contests are a great way to find out if your images are up to scratch. By participating in these competitions, you can win big—either cash prizes, camera equipment, or having your work exhibited. You might not win any money. But posting your images on the competition’s website has a lot of benefits." But it goes on to say "ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money." So, a biased source.
  • "It depends.... Photography contests typically don’t offer you any detailed feedback on your images, other than a pass/fail grade — you either win or you don’t. So, contests are not an effective way to evaluate your skills. But they can be fun. And most of us got into photography because we enjoy it. So, if you enjoy entering contests, then of course there’s nothing wrong with doing so.... Above all, do what you feel like doing. Photography is supposed to be fun. Win or lose, your images are your images, and if you like them, and you enjoyed making them, you’ve already won." This page also has a great summary of the difference between "contest" and "exhibitions," including those sponsored by the Photographic Society of America, and why the latter are so valuable.
  • "Photo contests are one of the most controversial areas of photo sharing, and not without good reason. Many online photo contests amount to little more than a rights grab with “exposure” as your prize.... I saw a small spike in visitors to my web page for a couple of days and I gained a few facebook followers. I have not booked a single session or even gained a subscriber to my email list as a result of this usage that put my work in front of millions of viewers.... Exposure is fun and it's worthwhile if it's for a cause you believe in, but it is rarely worth much beyond that, so don't fool yourself. [But] if a reputable contest is offering a prize that you covet, for an entry fee that you are comfortable with, then by all means, you should enter any photo you feel has a remote possibility of winning.... Photo contests can be a great way to get valuable feedback and see how your photos rank amongst a group of your peers. Sometimes, you may even win cool prizes, just make sure you're not selling the cow for a handful of magic beans."
  • "Are photography contests actually worth it? Our answer in short is yes. Photo contests aren’t about vanity or bragging rights—well maybe a little. But mostly they’re a smart business decision that puts you in front of a new audience, motivates you to evaluate your work, and gives your SEO a boost.... With a contest winner badge on your website, you automatically set yourself apart from other photographers. Winning photography contests adds credibility to you, your images, and your website. It’s an extra added bonus that’ll help transform website viewers into loyal customers.... Submitting to contests presents the perfect opportunity to do a deep evaluation of your work.... So no, we don’t think that winning a photo contest makes you a better photographer, but the process of evaluating your work on a regular basis will.... Getting featured in a popular photo contest gives you great SEO juice. Your Google rankings will increase when credible sites are linking to you."
  • "Competitions offer a seemingly quick route to recognition and success. The thing is, though, I do not know of a single photographer who has landed a client because they have won awards, nor have I ever had a client ask me to show them my awards resume. Clients generally only care about the images you produce and if you can provide them with a satisfactory professional experience. And so, before you expend effort and spend your money on entering a competition, be sure you are doing it for the right reasons. If you want to enter them for personal gratification, by all means, go for it, but if you are trying to increase your professional standing, that money and effort are probably best spent elsewhere, like improving your craft."
  • "A lot can happen during a photo contest process (from judging to the exhibition), and becoming more aware of what you’re good at and where you need improvement will help you develop your photography career.... Although it’s essential to stick with styles or subjects that you know well, shooting for contests often forces you to try something new and explore different creative possibilities. This type of exposure can push you outside your comfort zone and help you develop new interests, and make you a better photographer overall.... If you want to enter a photography competition with an entry fee, you should keep in mind that you are paying to get professionals in the field to look at your work and give an impartial judgment.... Check the reputation of the brand organizing the contest. The sponsors, the qualifications of the judges, how well-known the contest organizers are, and how often the competition is held. Check out their website to see reviews and comments. You can also look up the previous winners and how they have advanced in their careers after winning.... The Sony World Photography Awards: is one of the most prestigious photography awards.... Some other well-known photography competitions are the IPA or International Photography Awards, the Monovisions Photography Awards, the National Geographic Photo Contest, and the Pulitzer Prize for Photography."
  • "That competitive edge is a really good way of driving your photography on by that extra few percent.... In the same way that a themed contest can give you direction, it can also push you out of your comfort zone.... Having a winning entry, be that the overall winner or a top ten photo gives your photography validation. There is nothing that beats this when it comes to things like growing your photography business. The ability to call yourself a prize-winning photographer can go a long way.... If you’re lucky, you might get direct feedback from the person judging the contest. Those contests that allow comments may also lead to fellow contestants commenting on your work. Getting feedback on what you do is a great way to grow as a photographer."
  • "Photo contests are worth it, they help you improve your skills and creativity.... Instead of thinking about the destination - the contest prize - consider your journey to submitting the photographs instead. You'll learn something new, no matter the outcome. This knowledge will lead to better photoshoots and a stronger creative intuition."
  • "I have two major issues with most of the photo contests I have seen or entered: incentive and transparency. Every photo contest is driven by an “incentive” not necessarily aligned with the photographer’s interest. National Geographic wants to sell magazines, Getty wants to recruit stock photographers, and 500px wants more active users. A city council wants free arts, an event host wants to sell tickets, and many miscellaneous photo contests just want your money. The list goes on and on. The key is: As a photographer you have to examine the incentive that drives a photo contest, and you want to enter only the ones best aligned with your objective and how you want to be evaluated. But, is it possible? Is it possible to know how your works are evaluated in a contest? This brings to my other concern: lack of transparency.... Usually, the only information you get before entering a contest are: prizes, fees, some basic rules, and a big button calling you for action. Sometimes you don’t get to know who the jury are, let alone their qualifications. Other times you don’t get to know the criteria or the process for the evaluation that your works are subject to. It literally feels like money sucked up by a vampire when you “lose” in a photo contest because you get zero response and zero feedback. You don’t even know how you lose! So are photo contests worthwhile competing in? As an amateur photographer, I have to say: Not really. Yes, you do get exposure if you win, but... you are also unlikely to learn much when you lose because of the silent treatment you get. By all means, enter a photo contest if there is a specific goal you want to achieve. Competitions have forced me to examine my skills and made me think (or guess since I receive no feedback) when I lose. It also proves that your works are more than a wow from your friends and family when you do win. Just know what you are getting into and be selective!"

Honorable Mention!Honorable Mention! So in summary, it sounds like:

  • Photo contests can be great exercises to self-evaluate your work. I've certainly found this to be true myself.
  • The ideal contests are those that actually provide feedback to participants about their photos. I've found few contests that actually do this. The PSA contests come closest, in that they at least give you a numerical score so you can see quantitatively how good the judges think your images are.
  • "Exposure" is great in principle, but seldom makes much of a difference IRL. Best practice might be to put your award banners prominently on your page so people looking to hire you can be impressed by your credentials, and to choose prestigious contests that link back to your website to improve your SEO.
  • Contests can be fun and self-affirming, and those are good enough reasons to consider them.
  • If you're looking to improve your photography, communities like ViewBug and local Photography Clubs might be better ways to get actual feedback.

Lots to think about.

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(Sensualight Photography) award https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/are-online-photography-contests-worth-entering Sun, 15 Jan 2023 22:50:00 GMT
Seattle Erotic entry 2023 https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/seattle-erotic-entry-2023 My entry of photos at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival is undoubtedly the one that means more to me than any other. It's my hometown festival, for one thing, and my own neighbors doing the judging, exhibiting, and selling. Most of my photos were made in Seattle or nearby. This is one of the few places I've ever exhibited where I actually have a chance to go see my own work on display. It was one of the first places I ever submitted my work, and after a few years not accepted, I had several years in which I was accepted every year. 2014, 2015, 2016; in 2017 three of my photos were accepted, and one of them sold; 2018, 2019 and another one sold.

So it stung when my photos were declined in 2020. And 2021. And again in 2022. I tell myself that everyone has a different idea of what is great art, and the art that the Festival has exhibited has been fantastic. But I'd still like to get back on the walls myself.

The last few years I've put a lot of effort into trying to guess what the Festival is going to like. This year I finally just said "to hell with it," I'm going to define my own standard of excellence and submit the images that I am most proud of, and feel good about it regardless of what the judges think.

So I'm going to celebrate these images before the judging. I'll come back to them if they win, obviously, but this is a great opportunity for me to share some photos that I love very much. Each required an artist statement describing my thoughts on the image, though limited to 350 characters, which isn't much. without further ado, please enjoy my personal Erotic Art Festival, which starts here and now:

 

ExclusiveExclusive
Exclusive

For most of Western history, women have been locked out. Locked out of power, locked out of control over their own bodies, locked out of history itself. Isn’t it understandable, then, that locked doors quickly become symbolic of so much more? Marzipanned was photographed in Seattle’s Frink Park in January 2019.



FlightFlight
Flight

We shroud ourselves in fabric and leather, our origins in the natural world lost in urban canyons of concrete and steel. And yet—isn’t there a part of us that still remembers what it is like to live freely in the world, barefoot and bare skinned, leaping ecstatically into the sky like a gull? I photographed Abi Blue in Seattle in June 2021.



Off seasonOff season
Off Season

In wilderness, we resume our place in the natural world, free and unfettered by the artificial limits of modern society. These refuges are dwindling not just for flora and fauna but also for humans of similar spirit. Sometimes you just have to make do with a tourist road in the off season. I photographed Katlyn Lacoste at Ohanapecosh in March 2022.



Rest and Upheaval: ACCEPTED and SOLDRest and Upheaval: ACCEPTED and SOLDRest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal

Rest and Upheaval

To be human is to live amid contrast and contradiction. We strive for restful calm; yet the world is filled with chaos and turmoil. But waves and tide can, in time, smooth sharp edges into polished stone. Nature both threatens and sustains us, and we find balance in the center of the storm. I photographed Queen Dandelion at Rialto Beach, July 2018.



Skinny DipperSkinny Dipper
Skinny Dipper

Sometimes it’s not so bad to go hiking on a cool, drizzly September day: instead of a trail full of hikers, you have the wilderness to yourself, which makes it a lot easier to strip off your clothes and go skinny dipping. I photographed Dolly Mattel at Crystal Lakes in September 2021.



Gothic Sundial: ACCEPTED and SOLDGothic Sundial: ACCEPTED and SOLD
Gothic Sundial

It’s time to stop limiting the definition of “beauty” to blonde hair and svelte bodies. It’s time to be inclusive in our definition of human sensuality. There is so much to celebrate! It’s time to embrace our full potential as sensual beings. I photographed Psychopomp in Seattle in October 2012.



Me and my shadowMe and my shadow
Me and my shadow

To contrast the natural human body with the urban environment, I photographed Lillias Right at dawn on the Seattle waterfront in July 2016, before most of the city was awake. I used slow shutter speeds and a tripod, relying on the warm ambient light of street lamps, and capturing the skyline, shops, and ferries in the faint light of early morning.



Proof: ACCEPTEDProof: ACCEPTED
Proof

For a non-binary individual like Lior Allay, photographed at Freeway Park in Seattle in March 2019, gender and identity are in constant tension with cultural expectations. Clothing, hair, body structure and society’s ever-present obsession with genitalia all play a role. Here, we cheekily ask, who do YOU say I am? And what do you ask for, as proof?



Role ReversalRole ReversalRole Reversal
B75A5311 (01-10-2021)
04-23-2019
Melancholic and Despondent
Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington

2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited, Finalist
2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Pazardzhik and Paracin, Bulgaria) (Nude Color PIDC): Accepted
2021-11-12 Knox Contemporary Art Gallery (online exhibition based in Calgary, Alberta), "XPOSED: Naked and Not Afraid": Exhibited online

Role Reversal

“For five thousand years, you have been telling me that it’s a war between the sexes, that one gender must win and the other must lose, and that men are the naturally superior sex. I call bullshit. It’s time to beat you at your own game.” - Melancholic (paraphrased), photographed at Discovery Park in Seattle in April 2019.



Once more, with feelingOnce more, with feelingOnce More, with Feeling
6I8A5142 (08-10-2017)
08-04-2017
Violet
Deadwood Lakes, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

2021-11-19 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Rochester, New York): Exhibited digitally

Once more, with feeling

After an exhausting day running around naked in the wilderness, being tied up on ridge tops, and skinny dipping in muddy mountain lakes, you can be excused for lying down among the daisies and taking a moment to enjoy the feel of your own skin. A true story with Violet at Deadwood Lakes in August 2017.

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(Sensualight Photography) Abi Blue Despondent Dolly Mattel entry Exclusive Flight Gothic Sundial Katlyn Lacoste Lillias Right Lior Allay Marzipanned Me and my shadow Melancholic Off Season Once more with feeling Proof Psychopomp Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval Role Reversal Seattle Erotic Art Festival Skinny Dipper Violet https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/seattle-erotic-entry-2023 Fri, 13 Jan 2023 15:45:00 GMT
Newly edited photos: Petals and Pomegranates https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/newly-edited-photos-petals-and-pomegranates Last year I did seventeen figurative photoshoots, and edited seventeen photo sets. That at least meant that I didn't fall further behind. But I also didn't catch up further. And since I always prioritize TFP shoots over ones I've paid for, those in the latter category have a tendency to languish for a long time.

This photoshoot got to a point of real embarrassment: October of 2020, yes, two years and three months ago. I really need to make an effort to actually catch up.

Anyway, it's finally edited! Petals and Pomegranates was a lot of fun to work with, very free spirited, very comfortable with her body, a trait I admire. We shot right at the end of the season at Snow Lake in Mount Rainier National Park, and given the lateness of the year the colors were fantastic (albeit starting to fade) and the crowds were small. The light was really tricky. I had planned to shoot in the evening for good light, but the truth was that in most cases the light was just super-contrasty -- bright on the cliffs and shadowed in the canyon, making it difficult to include both in the same image without using HDR, which doesn't look good applied to the human body.

Nevertheless, there are some great images here, and they got better and better as the evening progressed and the light equalized. My favorite photos of the whole photoshoot were the final dozen made just as the sun was dropping behind the Tatoosh Range. I mean, literally, we got to the final location, and I said hurry hurry hurry, we only have seconds to capture these last images, and Petals threw off her clothes and did some quick modeling, and my camera went click click click click click, and then the light was gone and the photo shoot was done. And those were the best photos.

So much of photography is exactly like that.

See for yourself. My ten favorites from this set, without further ado.

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(Sensualight Photography) edited Petals and Pomegranates https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/newly-edited-photos-petals-and-pomegranates Thu, 12 Jan 2023 15:45:00 GMT
Monochrome Photography Awards: Honorable Mention, again https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/monochrome-photography-awards-honorable-mention-again Monochrome Photography Awards, Amateur Nude category, Honorable Mention: "Mammals in the Mist," Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019.

Mammals in the Mist (Honorable Mention)Mammals in the Mist (Honorable Mention)Mammals in the mist
B758253 (2021-07-01)
2019-07-16
Bunny Luna
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park

2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Nude PIDC) (Malta and Serbia): Accepted
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Open Monochrome) (Kolkata, India): Accepted

There are a number of online photography contests that (let's be honest) may or may not be more a means of making money than promoting photographers. Leastwise, it's hard to know whether the benefit of having a "win" at one of these contests on your resume is actually an advantage, or something that, for example, gallery managers or sales representatives even care about. I go through this angst repeatedly, and wish there were better resources for knowing whether it's worth the money to keep applying to these websites.

Still, it's pretty nice to see your photo among so many other great images, and to have another "Honorable Mention" on the list. Maybe someday I'll break through into that rarified air of a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place win. But with 74 Honorable Mentions in my category it's way more likely that I'll keep landing in that zone. Of course, then one wonders just how many photos were submitted in the "Amateur Nude" category. What if there were only 77 people who entered, and each of them had one of their photos awarded?? There is literally no way to know. The overall 1st place winner wins an award of $1000 ($2K in the professional category), but the rest of the winners just get "exposure to galleries around the world," none of which have contacted me so far. Even the category 1st place winners, other than the overall winner, just get published in an annual book, which may benefit the Monochrome Photography Awards more than the photographers themselves.

This one, at least, doesn't charge as much for an entry as a lot of similar contest websites do. And it is pretty cool to have the win. But I still wonder if I'm paying more for vanity than substance.

I'd love to hear from anyone who has real knowledge about these things.

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(Sensualight Photography) award Bunny Luna Honorable Mention Mammals in the Mist Monochrome Photography Awards https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/monochrome-photography-awards-honorable-mention-again Thu, 12 Jan 2023 04:11:02 GMT
Rest and Upheaval in Scotland https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/rest-and-upheaval-in-scotland Rest and Upheaval (Exhibited)Rest and Upheaval (Exhibited)Rest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
I almost forgot to officially announce that my photo "Rest and Upheaval" was selected for exhibition in Scotland this month! The Glasgow Gallery of Photography had asked that I not announce which of my photos had been selected until the opening day of the exhibition, which was yesterday.

It's really nice, with international exhibitions, when galleries agree up front to print images from digital files for display. It allows for a physical exhibition, in addition to the digital exhibit online, even though it would have been prohibitively expensive to actually send a physical print overseas. And it's pretty exciting to know that my image is hanging on the wall in a gallery in Scotland right now. (I've previously had prints hanging in the PH21 Gallery in Hungary through the same process.)

If you find yourself in Scotland, take a photo for me! The exhibit closes on January 31.

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(Sensualight Photography) exhibition Glasgow Gallery of Photography Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval Scotland https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/rest-and-upheaval-in-scotland Sat, 07 Jan 2023 15:38:00 GMT
Gold and silver medals at Ramdhanu https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/gold-and-silver-medals-at-ramdhanu The Ramdhanu Circuit posted report cards last night, and generally I'm pretty pleased with the results. Sure, the Photojournalism section sucked -- only one acceptance out of four photos and three judgings -- but the Colour and Monochrome sections had nine acceptances between them, not exceptional but not bad, and came with some nice hardware, including a PSA Gold Medal, Ramdhanu Silver Medal, and three Merit Awards. And the accepted images included four never accepted previously, three of them figurative.

Here's a full summary:

x Primal (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3, Silver, Merit)Primal (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3, Silver, Merit) The kiss (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted x2, Merit x2)The kiss (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted x2, Merit x2) Twice the beauty (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted, Gold)Twice the beauty (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted, Gold) Ad astra (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted)Ad astra (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted) Tahoma (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Tahoma (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Tahoma
6I8A5678 (04-12-2021)
08-01-2018
Ice Caves Trail, Mount Rainier National Park

2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
Tatoosh Mirror (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Tatoosh Mirror (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Tatoosh Mirror
B75A8549 (07-02-2021)
07-17-2019
Bunny Luna
Tatoosh Range, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDM): Accepted

  • "Primal" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Ramdhanu Silver Medal and Merit Award, Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016
  • "The Kiss" (Open Colour PIDC), two Merit Awards, Gin & Ginger, Seattle, May 2022 (accepted for the first time)
  • "Twice the Beauty" (Open Colour PIDC), PSA Gold Medal, Invy Rose, Mazama Ridge, August 2022 (accepted for the first time)
  • "Ad Astra" (Open Colour PIDC), Lonna Manson, Seattle, April 2017 (accepted for the first time)
  • "Tatoosh Mirror" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Bunny Luna, Tatoosh Range, July 2019
  • "Tahoma" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Haven Model, Mount Rainier National Park, August 2018
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(Sensualight Photography) Ad Astra award Bunny Luna Dominique Zuniga Gin and Ginger Gold Medal Haven Model Invy Rose Lonna Manson Merit Award Primal PSA Ramdhanu Circuit Silver Medal Tahoma Tatoosh Mirror The Kiss Twice the Beauty https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/gold-and-silver-medals-at-ramdhanu Sat, 07 Jan 2023 02:01:12 GMT
Bling from India and Serbia https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/bling-from-india-and-serbia It's always fun to get a notice in the mailbox that I have a registered envelope to sign for at the Post Office, because usually it means an award has arrived from some exotic location halfway around the world. Last week it was a ribbon from Serbia, this week a medal from India.

Funny how these tchotchkes feel so motivating. But someone went to a lot of effort to put one of these things into the mail, fill out a lot of paperwork, wrap it in half a roll of packing tape, and send it off into the international mail. That's gratifying in a weird way. And receiving it, and carefully opening it, surgically peeling away the tape in case whatever is inside is delicate, feels like Christmas morning.

Here's my latest haul, along with the exotic accoutrements. The Indian package smells musty, like the back room of a museum, with a hint of spice. But maybe the latter is my excited imagination.

The ribbon is from the "Man and Work" Salon in Serbia, which closed all the way back on January 15 of 2022 -- almost a year ago! The one from India is more prompt, from the CAS Photo Academy salon in September, and which promised to send awards out at the end of December. They're ironically for the same image, "Rest and Upheaval" featuring Queen Dandelion at Rialto Beach in July 2018, though the ribbon also represents "Old Roots" from that same photo shoot.

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(Sensualight Photography) award CAS Photo Academy Honorable Mention India Man and Work Merit Medal Old Roots Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval Serbia https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/bling-from-india-and-serbia Fri, 06 Jan 2023 22:05:43 GMT
Top ten of 2022 https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/top-ten-of-2022 Following up yesterday's 2022-in-review blog post, Here are my top ten photos of 2022. This is based on a combination of acceptances to exhibitions and PSA-affiliated salons, publications, and awards won, and like last night's post, reflects photos submitted to calls with closing dates between December 1, 2021 and November 30, 2022.

1. "Rest and Upheaval," Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018

Same as last year, this image continues to excel far above the rest of my portfolio. This year's highlights include exhibition in galleries in Florida (where it was sold) and, coming up, in Glasgow, Scotland; Honorable Mentions as the lead image in a series at PX3 Prix in Paris, in the Black & White Spider Awards, and in the ND Photo Awards; and six acceptances in four PSA salons, where it won a Gold Medal and three Honorable Mentions or the equivalent.

Rest and Upheaval (2018)Rest and Upheaval (2018)Rest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington
2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missouri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
2022-02-19 to 03-12 House of Shadows Creative Gallery & Market (Tampa, Florida), "XPlicit IV: Erotic Art": Exhibited and Sold
2022-01-15 Man and Work (Zajecar, Serbia) (Free Monochrome PIDM): FIAP Honorable Mention
2022-03-21 Artistic Creations Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): PSA Gold Medal
2022-05-15 PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris (Amateur Nude, series): Honorable Mention
2022-09-12 CAS Photo Academy (India) (Monochrome): Merit Medal Award
2022-10-25 Bosnia (Open Monochrome): Salon Diploma
2022-11-20 ND Photo Awards (ndawards.net) (Non-Professional Fine-Art Nudes): Honorable Mention
2022-11-26 Black and White Spider Awards (Beverly Hills, CA) (Amateur Nude): Nomination
2023-01-06 to 31 The Glasgow Gallery of Photography (Glasgow, Scotland) (International Photography Exhibition: Monochrome): Exhibited
2023-01-17 Dodho Magazine (Barcelona, Spain) Nude Photography Awards: Best Images (top 25, "published in the book 'NUDE' to be released next February" and "exhibited for a year in our online gallery"
2023-04-21 to 23 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington): Exhibited and SOLD
2023-03-26 Vesta (Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted

2. "Jacob's Angel," Vex Voir, Interlaken Park, June 2017

This photo was a wonderful surprise. I hadn't used it at all in 2021, but it took the PSA salons by storm, landing in the number two slot for this year and all the way up to number 3 in all-time rank. Highlights include exhibition at a gallery in Arizona; Honorable Mention at the online Art Show International; and 15 acceptances at nine PSA salons, including three Honorable Mention awards or the equivalent.

Jacob's Angel (2017)Jacob's Angel (2017)Isaac's Angel
6I8A9798 (1/26/2019)
6/8/2017
Vex Voir
Interlaken Park, Seattle, Washington
2022-01-15 Full Frame International Salon (Mumbai, India) (Nature ND): Accepted
2022-01-15 Man and Work (Zajecar, Serbia) (Free Color PIDC): Accepted
2022-02-20 Gold Shadow Exhibition (Cuprija, Serbia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2022-03-01 Onyx Salon (Romania) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2022-04-01 Tower Circuit (Kula, Novi Sad, Aleksinac, Ruma, and Vrbas) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2022-06-27 Lanki (Sri Lanka) (Open Color PIDC): Judge's Choice in one of three judgings
2022-09-12 CAS Photo Academy (India) (Colour PIDC): Accepted
2022-10-10 Photo Fest Bitola (North Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2022-10-10 Bengal Super Circuit (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in 3 of 5 judgings; Merit Award in two of them
2023-02-07 Art Show International (Online) (Figurative) (As "Jacob's Angel"): Talent Award ($25) (equivalent of 4th place, below 1st, Runner-up, and Merit but above Honorable Mention)
2023-04-14 to 16 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Auburn, NY) (as Jacob's Angel): Digital exhibition
2023-07-08 PSA Pictorial Divisions Exhibition (Digital Color): Accepted

3. "Gothic Sundial," Psychopomp, Seattle, October 2012

Another happy surprise, this image dates back a decade, but was immediately treated positively by contest judges when I finally submitted it. It was accepted nine times at six PSA salons, earning three Honorable Mention awards or the equivalent in addition to the "Highest Score" at one salon. It was also included in this year's digital exhibition at the Rochester Erotic Arts Festival.

Gothic Sundial (2012)Gothic Sundial (2012)Gothic Sundial
6I8A0566 (10/26/2012)
10/26/2012
Seattle, Washington
2022-01-30 Salon Singidunum (Face and Body PIDC) (Belgrade, Serbia): Accepted
2022-02-15 WSP Hungary (Woman PIDC) (Budapest, Hungary): Salon Honorable Mention
2022-02-21 Legends of Future (Portrait & Body PIDC) (Bangladesh): Salon Ribbon, Thumbs Up Certificate for high score image
2022-04-29 to 30 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Auburn, New York): Digital exhibition
2022-10-10 Photo Fest Bitola (North Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): National Diploma
2022-11-20 Click U (India) (Portrait and Body PIDC): Accepted in 3 of 6 judgings
2023-03-10 to 04-10 Art Square Gallery NY (Online) (Body Revealed): Online exhibition
2023-04-20 Jadran Circuit (Montenegro) (Open Color): Accepted at Budva
2023-04-21 to 23 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington): Exhibited and SOLD

 

4. "Shasta II," Shasta Wonder, Lynnwood, August 2017

 

This photo was ranked number 20 in 2021, and is now 6th in all-time rank. It was accepted 13 times at 7 PSA salons.

 

Shasta II (2017)Shasta II (2017)Shasta II
6I8A6319 (3-16-2020)
08-22-2017
Shasta Wonder
Lynnwood, Washington
2021-11-20 Vidin Spring Circuit (Bulgaria and Serbia) (Nude Mono PIDM), as "Shasta": Accepted; Salon Gold Medal in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria
2022-01-30 Unlimited Photo (Podgorica, Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-02-15 WSP Hungary (Budapest, Hungary) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-03-21 Artistic Creations Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome): Accepted
2022-09-11 Photo Story (North Macedonia) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-10-03 Varadinum (Romania) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-10-15 Aesthetic Vision (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in 5 of 6 judgings
2022-11-06 Art Life (North Macedonia) (Open Monochrome): Accepted

5. "Godiva in the Evening," Stella Luceat, Bend, Oregon, September 2014

Another old photo, this time from 2014, this one ranked number 41 last year but is now 8th in all-time rank. It was accepted 12 times at seven PSA salons.

Godiva in the Evening (2014)Godiva in the Evening (2014)Godiva in the Evening
6I8A5669 (5/1/2021)
9/14/2014
Stella Luceat (as Courtney Appleseed)
Bend, Oregon
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2022-02-20 Gold Shadow Exhibition (Cuprija, Serbia) (People PIDC): Accepted
2022-03-21 Artistic Creations Circuit (Open Color PIDC) (India): Accepted
2022-05-15 WSP Budapest (Hungary) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2022-06-27 Lanki (Sri Lanka) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in one of three judgings
2022-09-11 Photo Story (North Macedonia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2022-10-15 FKA Autumn Circuit (Novi Sad, Serbia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in 1 of 3 judgings
2022-11-15 Three Country Grand Circuit (Montenegro and Serbia) (Woman PIDC): Accepted
2022-12-26 Colour Pixels Circuit (India) (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted in 2 of 3 judgings

6. "Vantage," Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016

Another photo unused in 2021, this selection from one of my most memorable photo shoots (on an extraordinarily beautiful evening in one of the most beautiful places on earth) now ranks 12th all-time. It was accepted 10 times at eight PSA salons, and received a Bronze Medal and Honorable Mention.

Vantage (2016)Vantage (2016)Vantage
6I8A3068 (3/1/2017)
3/21/2016
Dominique Zuniga
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
2022-01-15 Full Frame International Salon (Nature ND): Accepted
2022-01-30 Magic Life International Contest of Art Photography (Yenişehir-Mersin, Turkey) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-02-15 Photo Salon Kicevo (North Macedonia) (Light and Shadows PIDC): Accepted
2022-03-10 MNE PBK Circuit (Budva, Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-04-24 Pirin Salon (Pirin, Bulgaria) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-06-27 Lanki (Sri Lanka) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in one of three judgings
2022-09-12 Zodiac (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted and Salon Bronze in one of four judgings
2022-10-15 FKA Autumn Circuit (Aleksinac, Kula and Novi Sad, Serbia) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in all 3 salons; Salon Honorable Mention at Kula

7. "Shelter," Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018

 

This photo shoot continues to surpass all others in every measure of success. This particular image wasn't used in contests last year but is now 11th in overall rank. It was accepted 11 times at 5 PSA salons this year and received an Honorable Mention.

 

Shelter (2018)Shelter (2018)Shelter
6I8A5012 (9-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Queen Dandelion
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park
2022-02-15 WSP Hungary (Budapest, Hungary) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-03-10 MNE PBK Circuit (Podgorica, Montenegro) (Woman Monochrome PIDM): Honorable Mention
2022-04-24 Pirin Salon (Pirin, Bulgaria) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-08-15 Photomania Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in five of six judgings
2022-10-10 Bengal Super Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in 3 of 5 judgings

8. "Calico," Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019

 

This photo set was fully edited by the beginning of last year, but I didn't include it in contests until this year. I think its success is partly due to how charismatic the furry co-model is! This year's success brings it to number 15 in all-time rank. It was accepted 11 times at 6 PSA salons.

 

Calico (2019)Calico (2019)Calico
B75A1871 (2/11/2022)
1/4/2019
Marzipanned
Seattle, Washington
2022-07-10 Odessos (Bulgaria) (Portrait and Body PIDC): Accepted
2022-09-12 CAS Photo Academy (India) (Face & Body PIDC): Accepted
2022-10-03 Varadinum (Romania) (Face & Body PIDC): Accepted
2022-10-10 Bengal Super Circuit (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in 4 of 5 judgings
2022-11-06 Art Life (North Macedonia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2022-11-20 Click U (India) (Portrait and Body PIDC): Accepted in 3 of 6 judgings
2023-03-01 NSAPK Circuit (Serbia) (Woman Man Child PIDC): Accepted at Aleksinac, Kolasin, Novi Sad and Podgorica
2023-03-26 Vesta (Montenegro) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2023-09-09 to 10-08 Blue Koi Gallery (Online) (Figurative): 3rd Place

9. "Asunder," Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018

 

Yet another photo from that great photo shoot at Rialto Beach in the summer of 2018. This photo was ranked number 3 last year and remains in the top ten, including all-time rank, where it's number 5. It was accepted 7 times at 5 PSA salons, and earned a Gold Medal and two Honorable Mentions. It was also one of a 6-photo series that received an Honorable Mention at the PX3 Prix online contest in Paris.

 

Asunder (2018)Asunder (2018)Asunder
6I8A5210 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Pazardzhik and Paracin, Bulgaria; Cuprija, Serbia) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; awarded DIPA Honorable Mention in Cuprija and Salon Honorable Mention in Paracin
2021-11-06 Black & White Spider Awards (based in Beverly Hills, California) (Amateur Nude): Nomination
2022-01-30 Magic Life International Contest of Art Photography (Yenişehir-Mersin, Turkey) (Open Monochrome): Club Gold Medal
2022-03-10 MNE PBK Circuit (Podgorica, Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
2022-04-24 Pirin Salon (Pirin, Bulgaria) (Open Monochrome): Accepted, but erroneously submitted as "Center of the Storm"
2022-05-15 PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris (Amateur Nude, series): Honorable Mention
2022-08-15 World System Photo (Hungary) (Open Monochrome): Accepted
2022-10-10 South Asian Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in all three salons; Merit Medal in two of them
2023-02-27 Artistic Creations Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in 5 of 5 judgings, Merit Award in two of them

10. "Ohanapecosh 215," Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022

Katlyn and I made this photo in March of this year, hiking a couple of miles in on a road not yet open to summer vehicle traffic. It was totally worth it, as the photos are awesome and have been climbing the ranks of my best images, led by this one, which is now ranked number 17 overall. It was accepted nine times at three PSA salons, and won a Bronze Medal and Honorable Mention.

Ohanapecosh 215 (2022)Ohanapecosh 215 (2022)Ohanapecosh 215
4I0A2631 (4/28/22)
3/28/22
Ohanapecosh, Mount Rainier National Park
2022-08-22 Suvarna (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
2022-10-01 Balkan Circuit (Aleksinak, Novi Sad and Vrbas, Serbia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted; Salon Honorable Mention at Novi Sad
2022-10-20 Click U (India) (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted in 5 of 6 judgings; Salon Bronze Medal in one of them
2023-02-01 DPW SBM Circuit (Serbia) (Woman Man Child PIDC): Accepted at Serbia
2023-03-05 Photo Salon Kicevo (North Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2023-04-23 Photo Magic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) (Woman PIDC): Accepted

Want to check out my complete ranking of all the photos that have been submitted to exhibitions and contests over the years? Check out the full collection on my Exhibitions page!

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(Sensualight Photography) Asunder award Calico Dominique Zuniga Godiva in the evening Gothic Sundial Isaac's Angel Jacob's Angel Katlyn Lacoste Marzipanned Ohanapecosh 215 PSA Psychopomp Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval Shasta Shasta Wonder Shelter Stella Luceat Vantage Vex Voir https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/top-ten-of-2022 Tue, 03 Jan 2023 15:47:00 GMT
2022 Year in Review https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/2022-year-in-review It's been a good year!

I've been reviewing my photographic accomplishments for the year and feel like I've achieved some great recognition, and learned a great deal about what makes a good photograph. Honestly, I didn't realize that I'd invested in so many contests and exhibitions, but I learn something from each of them.

In summary (with submission deadlines of December 2021 through November 2022; results usually take about a month):

Rest and Upheaval (Accepted)Rest and Upheaval (Accepted)SOLD! Rest and Upheaval<br/>6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)<br/>07-31-2018<br/>Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington<br/><br/>2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted<br/>2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice<br/>2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published<br/>2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), &quot;14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show&quot;: Exhibited<br/>2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled &quot;Rest and Upheaval&quot;: Honorable Mention<br/>2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), &quot;Figure That!&quot;: Exhibited with a Gold Award<br/>2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)<br/>2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)<br/>2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit<br/>2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal 20 Photos exhibited in 10 physical galleries and one digital exhibition; one sold

  • Three photos in “Unmasking Ourselves: Celebrating our Differences and Challenging Misconceptions” at Drury University Art & Art History Program (Springfield, Missouri), February 4-25, 2022
  • One photo in “Feminine/Masculine” at PH21 Gallery (Budapest, Hungary), February 10-March 5, 2022
  • One photo at Dirty Show 22 (Detroit, Michigan), February 11-19, 2022
  • Five photos (one sold!) in “Explicit IV: Erotic Art” at House of Shadows Creative Gallery (Tampa, Florida), February 19-March 12, 2022
  • One photo in “Stripped Down” at Vestige Gallery (Pittsburg, Pennsylvania), February 19 – March 20, 2022
  • Three photos digitally exhibited at Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Auburn, New York), April 29-30, 2022
  • One photo in “Human Nature” at Decode Gallery (Tucson, Arizona), June 11 to July 2, 2022
  • Two photos in “Figuratively Speaking” at Artless Bastard Gallery (De Pere, Wisconsin), July 21 to August 20, 2022
  • One photo in “Nude” at Decode Gallery (again) (Tucson, Arizona), October 8 to November 5, 2022
  • One photo in “International Photography Exhibition: Monochrome” at The Glasgow Gallery of Photography (Glasgow, Scotland) coming up January 6-31, 2023
  • One photo in “Figure That!,” 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado) coming up January 20 to February 17, 2023

Nine online exhibitions and contests; five Honorable Mentions

  • Two photos in “Figures & Faces,” online at Fusion Arts, December 5, 2021 to January 4, 2022, including an Honorable Mention
  • One photo in “Human Faces and Figures,” online at Las Laguna Art Gallery, January 6-29, 2022
  • One photo in “she,” online at A Smith Gallery, June 10 to July 21, 2022
  • A series of six photos in the Amateur Nude category, online at PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris, August 29, 2022: Honorable Mention
  • One photo in “Figurative Art,” online at Art Show International, September 5-30, 2022: Honorable Mention
  • One photo included in “NFTittities,” an online fundraiser for breast cancer research, October 1-31, 2022
  • One photo in the “Non-Professional Fine-Art Nudes” category at ND Photo Awards, online, November 20, 2022: Honorable Mention
  • One photo in the “Amateur Nude” category at the online Black and White Spider Awards, November 26, 2022: Nominee
  • One photo in the “Amateur Nude” category at the online Chromatic Awards, December 18, 2022: Honorable Mention

One publication, including cover photo

  • 24 photos published in the “Art of Nude” issue, number 32, of Art of Portrait Magazine, January 2022, including cover photo

420 Acceptances in Photographic Society of America-affiliated contests in 12 Countries; 4 Gold Medals, 4 Silver Medals, 3 Bronze Medals, and 37 Honorable Mentions or equivalent!

Over this twelve-month period, 157 separate photos were accepted at one contest or exhibition or another. Looking forward to growing more in my art in 2023!

 

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(Sensualight Photography) award contest exhibition PSA https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2023/1/2022-year-in-review Tue, 03 Jan 2023 04:39:40 GMT
Spicy Foxglove: New photos! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/spicy-foxglove-new-photos It's been busy over the holidays -- but I'm finally done with the edits of Spicy Foxglove's photo set!

You can read more about this photo shoot in last week's post. For now, here's the important part. Here are my top ten favorites from this photo set, and you'd like, more, here's a link to my top 100! The password -- just for those of you reading this blog -- is "blogaccess".

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(Sensualight Photography) edited new Spicy Foxglove https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/spicy-foxglove-new-photos Sat, 31 Dec 2022 23:16:46 GMT
Bronze Medal at Click U https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/bronze-medal-at-click-u Merry Christmas, everyone!

This morning I received results from the "Click U Winter Circuit" in India, a Photographic Society-affiliated contest. I entered three themes: open colour and monochrome, and "Portrait & Body" (PIDC). All three themes had photos accepted, but, unusually, this time it was the open colour category that was the most successful, largely due to the Click U judges really like my photo "Ohanapecosh 215." I don't blame them, of course--it's a favorite of mine as well!

Here's a summary of the results, from six judgings:

  • "Ohanapecosh 215" (Open Colour PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2022, accepted in five judgings, one of which awarded a Circuit Bronze Medal
  • "Gothic Sundial" (Portrait & Body PIDC), Psychopomp, Seattle, October 2012, accepted in three judgings
  • "Calico" (Portrait & Body PIDC), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019, accepted in three judgings
  • "Nook" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018, accepted in two judgings
  • "360 Degree View" (Open Colour PIDC), Spencer Parks, Cascades Mountains, July 2016, accepted (for the first time) in one judging
  • "Light in the darkness" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Mikki Marvel, Seattle, July 2016, accepted in one judging

Ohanapecosh 215 (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted x5 including Bronze MedalOhanapecosh 215 (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted x5 including Bronze Medal Gothic Sundial (Portrait & Body PIDC): Accepted x3Gothic Sundial (Portrait & Body PIDC): Accepted x3 Calico (Portrait & Body PIDC)Calico (Portrait & Body PIDC) Nook (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x2Nook (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted x2 360 degree view (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted360 degree view (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted Light in the darkness (Open Monochrome PIDM): AcceptedLight in the darkness (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted

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(Sensualight Photography) 360 Degree View A light in the darkness award Bronze Medal Calico Gothic Sundial Katlyn Lacoste Marzipanned Mikki Marvel Nook Ohanapecosh 215 PSA Psychopomp Queen Dandelion Spencer Parks https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/bronze-medal-at-click-u Mon, 26 Dec 2022 00:28:14 GMT
Preview: Spicy Foxglove https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/preview-spicy-foxglove The challenge with doing a TFP photoshoot this time of year is that I am so busy with the holidays that it's hard to turn around edited photos in a timely manner. Thus I'm just now sharing a preview with you of a shoot I did with Foxglove in Seattle at the end of November.

But this is going to be a good one. We shot at a Peerspace rental in Fremont that had three rooms to choose from. We shot in two of them, the "jungle room" featuring lots of green plants and wallpaper and the "powder room" outfitted as a drawing room with more of a pink color scheme. Both had massive windows that brought light in through sheer curtains. It was a cloudy day, so the light was relatively dim, but also very even, and the resulting natural light portraits are fantastic.

We primarily shot boudoir and figure nudes, though we ended with a set in which Foxglove was dressed in a pink Shibari karada (one of the best I've ever tied, honestly) -- still not exactly erotic, but slightly more so than the more portrait-style images of the rest of the set.

Here's an in-progress screen shot to show you just how fantastic Foxglove's images look.

I'm also experimenting with a new tool that so far I'm really liking: a Colorchecker card, which allows me to build a color profile specific to my camera and the lighting conditions. The above image is with the profile applied. Here's what the image would have looked like without the Colorchecker profile, along with a split-screen comparison and close-up. You can see the differences especially in the skin, and to a lesser extent in the greenery and background. The colors are brighter, with more contrast; the effect is subtle but real. I like it.

The Colorchecker card that works with software to build the custom profile looks like this:

Given family gatherings over the next few days, it's likely Foxglove's set won't be finished till after Christmas. I'll share more with you then.

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(Sensualight Photography) Colorchecker editing Foxglove natural light Peerspace preview https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/preview-spicy-foxglove Sat, 24 Dec 2022 23:57:00 GMT
Trofeu Pell likes my landscapes https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/trofeu-pell-likes-my-landscapes Chalk this one up as another contest (in a Catholic-dominated country) that prefers my landscapes to my figure photography. Applying to the Trofeu Pell Circuit in Spain was a bit of a novelty, actually -- it was kind of fun to figure out how to submit photos on a website that, until the last few days of the contest, did not have an English version. And it's fun to check another country off the list of places that have accepted my photographs (19 countries now).

In this case, all four of my Landscape (PIDC) submissions were accepted in at least one of the four judgings, seven acceptances all told, including one (actually captured during my photo session with Invy Rose this August) that was awarded an AFI Diploma. Figurative photos were panned in the Open Monochrome category, but then, non-figurative photos were also ignored in the Open Color category. Two of my figurative photos in the "Backlight" (PIDC) special category were accepted:

  • "Framed by Light I" (Backlight PIDC), DianaJean, Amanda Park, Washington, July 2016: accepted in two judgings; and
  • "Dance in the Light" (Backlight PIDC), Dominique Zuniga, Valey of Fire, March 2016: accepted in one judging.

Framed by light I (Backlight PIDC) (Accepted x2)Framed by light I (Backlight PIDC) (Accepted x2)Framed by Light I
6I8A8543 (4/3/2021)
7/24/2016
DianaJean
Amanda Park, Washington

2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Vidin, Pazardzhik, and Paracin, Bulgaria) (Nude Color PIDC), as "Framed by Light": Master of Light Gold Medal at Vidin; Master of Light Honorable Mention at both Pazardzhik and Paracin
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro) (Shadowhunter PID): Accepted
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Light and Shadows PIDC): IAAP Silver Medal
Dance in the light (Backlight PIDC) (Accepted)Dance in the light (Backlight PIDC) (Accepted)Dance in the Light
6I8A3527 (2/24/2021)
3/21/2016
Dominique Zuniga
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

2021-04-01 Colors of Humanity Art Gallery (online), "Human Nature": Exhibited online
2021-04-05 Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery (online), "Figurative", as "Dance for the Earth": Exhibited with Special Recognition

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(Sensualight Photography) AFI Diploma award Dance in the light DianaJean Dominique Zuniga Framed by Light PSA Trofeu Pell https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/trofeu-pell-likes-my-landscapes Sat, 24 Dec 2022 14:10:00 GMT
Three Country Circuit: good results for non-figurative photographs https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/three-country-circuit-good-results-for-non-figurative-photographs Results are back from the Three Country Grand Circuit, sponsored by the Republic of Ireland and also including judgings in Montenegro and Serbia. I actually had a fair number of acceptances at this Photographic Society associated contest, but most of them among the non-figurative photos I submitted. I had seven acceptances among my four entries to the Landscape (PIDC) category, for example, along with two each in the Life (PIDC) and Photojournalism (PJD) categories.

I wonder if success with figurative photographs can be correlated to the percentage of Roman Catholic (e.g. Ireland) or Muslim population, with their more conservative views on nudity? It would take a much larger sample than this, of course. And of course it's only fair to note that none of my Open Colour photos were accepted, even though (anticipating conservative judges) I didn't submit anything figurative in that category.

Anyway, here are the results of my figurative images, of which I submitted eight in the Woman (PIDC) and Open Monochrome (PIDM) categories:

  • "As above, so below" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Lior Allay, Seattle, March 2019: Accepted in Ireland and Montenegro
  • "Godiva in the evening" (Woman PIDC), Stella Luceat (at that time going by Courtney Appleseed), Bend, Oregon, September 2014: Accepted in Montenegro and Serbia
  • "Exclusive" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019: Accepted in Montenegro

As above, so below (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)As above, so below (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2) Godiva in the evening (Woman PIDC) (Accepted x2)Godiva in the evening (Woman PIDC) (Accepted x2)Godiva in the Evening
6I8A5669 (5/1/2021)
9/14/2014
Courtney Appleseed (AKA Stella Luceat)
Bend, Oregon

2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Open Color PIDC): Exhibited virtually
Exclusive (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Exclusive (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)

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(Sensualight Photography) As above so below Courtney Appleseed Exclusive Godiva in the evening Lior Allay Marzipanned PSA Stella Luceat Three Country Circuit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/three-country-circuit-good-results-for-non-figurative-photographs Sat, 24 Dec 2022 05:46:00 GMT
Chromatic Awards Honorable Mention https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/chromatic-awards-honorable-mention This past week has been crazy, with travel disrupted by weather. But in the midst of it all, a new batch of contest results have come in.

I'll start with the Chromatic Awards, a pleasant surprise to actually win some recognition for one of my color photos, which seems to be less common than the monochromes. I haven't submitted this photo many places, but maybe I should. And maybe an "Honorable Mention" in the Amateur Nude category isn't the best award I could have received, but it's one of a limited number chosen, and the company looks great.

This is "Me and my shadow," featuring Lillias Right at dawn on the Seattle waterfront in July 2016.

Me and my shadow (Honorable Mention)Me and my shadow (Honorable Mention)

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(Sensualight Photography) award Chromatic Awards contest Honorable Mention Lillias Right Me and my shadow https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/chromatic-awards-honorable-mention Fri, 23 Dec 2022 20:53:32 GMT
Six Seasons Circuit 2022 https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/six-seasons-circuit-2022 November 20, 2022, "Six Seasons Circuit," PSA 2022-629, India, Photographic Society contest

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(Sensualight Photography) Award Bunny Luna Certificate of Merit Earth Water and Fire Katlyn Lacoste Leo Velo Portend PSA States of Matter The Bridge The world comes apart https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/six-seasons-circuit-2022 Tue, 20 Dec 2022 20:08:00 GMT
Figure That! Back again at 3 Square Art https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/figure-that-back-again-at-3-square-art Exclusive (Exhibited, Honorable Mention)Exclusive (Exhibited, Honorable Mention) A year and a half ago, two of my photos were accepted for exhibition at 3 Square Art Gallery in Fort Collins, Colorado, and one of them received the Gold Award along with $300! Short of my photos selling, that's about as good a result as one could get.

Well, I'm back! Another of my photos has been accepted for the 2023 version of the same show, "Figure That: 5th Annual Portraiture and Figurative Art Juried Exhibition." I submitted three photos; the one that was accepted was "Exclusive," with Marzipanned at Frink Park in Seattle in January 2019, and a photo I've really come to love. I think the selection of medal winners comes later, so we'll see how this photo does--I have no expectations that lightning will strike twice with another gold medal, but you never know. Maybe it'll sell this time!

As usual, I wish I could be in Fort Collins to see it, but if anyone reading this is near there, stop by and send me a photo! The exhibit runs from January 20 to February 17, 2023.

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(Sensualight Photography) 3 Square Art Exclusive exhibition Marzipanned https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/figure-that-back-again-at-3-square-art Fri, 16 Dec 2022 21:30:43 GMT
All About Women https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/all-about-women Sometimes an entry to a competition just feels right.

Of course, that's no guarantee that the judges will even give it a second look. But there's a lot of satisfaction in curating a set of images that feel to yourself very strong, cohesive, and on-theme.

Here is my entry for All About Photo's Call for Entries on the theme of "Women." Of course, this has been a favorite theme of mine for a long time, but I think this set of six images really captures a lot of what's strongest about my art. From my own perspective. Now we'll see what the judges think!

FeathersFeathersFeathers
6I8A6385 (2012-09-27)
2021-09-25
Diane
Seattle, Washington

2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (People Color PIDC): Accepted at Cuprija, Serbia and Pazardzhik, Bulgaria
Gothic sundialGothic sundial Bad motherBad motherBad Mother
6I8A7795 (2014-03-17)
2014-03-01
Leila Deschanel
Seattle, Washington

2015-04-23 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington): Exhibited
2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted, Honorable Mention
2021-10-06 Photo Club Montenegro (Montenegro) (Woman PIDC): Accepted
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Croatia and Serbia): Accepted
Lilith and EveLilith and Eve Lean on meLean on meLean on me
6I8A2592 (2017-09-13)
2017-06-19
Cyndical and Lior Allay
Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington

2018-03-24 1650 Gallery (Los Angeles, California), "Together": Exhibited
2019-04-26 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington): Exhibited and Sold
2019-05-01 Black Box Gallery (Portland, Oregon), "Portraiture: Through the Lens": Exhibited
2019-10-26 Verum Ultimum (Portland, Oregon), "Chasing Ghosts IV": Exhibited
2020-04-03 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missouri), "Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2020-09-25 International Festival of Erotic Arts (online, based in Barcelona, Spain): Exhibited online, online symposium presenter
2021-03-01 118 Online Art Gallery (online), "When She Rises, We all Rise": Exhibited online
2021-03-08 Bifarin.com (online), "Diversia: Woman 2021": Exhibited online
2021-07-03 The Studio Door (San Diego, California), "Proud+ 2021": Exhibited
2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Vidin, Bulgaria) (People Mono PIDM): Accepted
2021-1-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Malta): Accepted
ExclusiveExclusive

  1. "Feathers," Diane, Seattle, September 2012.
  2. "Gothic sundial," Psychopomp, Seattle, October 2012.
  3. "Bad mother," Leila Deschanel, Seattle, March 2014.
  4. "Lilith and Eve," Vex Voir and Katlyn Lacoste, Seattle, June 2017.
  5. "Lean on me," Cyndical and Lior Allay, Seattle, June 2017.
  6. "Exclusive," Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019.

Here are the winners of last year's similarly-themed gallery.

I should hear the results about February 3, 2023. Winning entries will be published in Issue 29 of AAP Magazine.

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(Sensualight Photography) AAP Magazine Bad Mother Cyndical Diane entry Exclusive Feathers Gothic Sundial Katlyn Lacoste Lean on me Leila Deschanel Lilith and Eve Lior Allay Marzipanned Psychopomp Vex Voir Women https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/all-about-women Sun, 11 Dec 2022 02:24:26 GMT
Dirty in Detroit; Coming Soon to Glasgow https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/dirty-in-detroit-coming-soon-to-glasgow Festival judges never cease to surprise me. Just when I think I might have figured out what kinds of images they like and don't like, they reverse course on me by 180 degrees and pick something I'd almost given up on.

Case in point: When I submitted photos to Dirty Show 23 (AKA Dirty Detroit), I thought I had a couple of real winners in the erotic art category, from an excellent studio session with Gin & Ginger that included a couple of really cool high concept bondage scenes. I almost sent three photos from that one session, but then, at the last minute, thought well.... maybe I should include something different, just in case. I went with "Flight," an urban nude featuring Abi Blue last year in downtown Seattle, a photo I personally really love but which I had guessed would be less interesting to the Detroit judges.

Flight (Exhibited)Flight (Exhibited) Guess which one got picked?

Yup, "Flight." The other two were passed over, cool concepts and all.

I guess the lesson here is to submit as wide a range of possible themes and styles as possible, since you never know what the judges will be looking for.

And maybe--just speculating--the reason this photo got picked might be because everyone else was submitting high concept studio photos, and they wanted some diversity in their choice of images.

Regardless, I'm thrilled to be part of the show, and thrilled that this image, which I am so proud of, will be featured! I've already ordered a framed and matted print to forward on to the Festival. Maybe I'll even get lucky and it'll sell!

If you're in Detroit, check out Dirty Show 23 from February 10 to 18. Sure would be fun to be there in person, but I don't see how that's possible. Good thing our own Seattle Erotic Art Festival is coming up!

Meanwhile, in other good news, I'll be adding another nation to my list of exhibitions. Yes, one of my submissions was accepted at the Glasgow Gallery of Photography, for their International Monochrome exhibit starting January 6, 2023! Unfortunately, the rules of the exhibition prohibit me from announcing which photo it is until the exhibit begins, so watch for that announcement in about a month. Suffice it to say that I'm pleased with the selection and, again, wish that my travel budget was no object, so that I could see it in person, and do some photo shoots in the magnificent landscapes of Scotland!

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(Sensualight Photography) Abi Blue Dirty Detroit Dirty Show exhibition Flight Glasgow Gallery of Photography International Photography Exhibition Monochrome https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/dirty-in-detroit-coming-soon-to-glasgow Sat, 10 Dec 2022 20:41:00 GMT
Objects of Agency submission https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/objects-of-agency-submission I don't submit entries for a lot of virtual exhibits any more, but this is one that speaks to me, being a topic I feel passionately about. "Objects of Agency" is an exhibition hosted by Hera Gallery in Rhode Island, focusing on female agency in light of the recent Supreme Court decision removing the universal right to an abortion, i.e. unrestricted women's health care.

From the Call for Entries:

Objects of Agency addresses the health care crisis which has recently culminated in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization and stripped thousands of people of the right to bodily autonomy.

The United States has the worst maternal mortality rate among other similarly developed countries. According to the University of Colorado, due to the Dobbs decision, maternal mortality rates are projected to go up 14%. For women of color, it is 20%. Simply due to women’s health care becoming more restrictive and less accessible.

When “abortion” is typed into a Google search, the first page that comes up is a misleading website filled with fear slogans and misinformation to prevent women from seeking necessary and viable health care options. A recent research study by the Center for Countering Digital Hate showed that in many right wing states, 1/10 Google search results for abortion services lead to anti-abortion fake clinics. When abortion is typed into Instagram, the first hashtag is #abortionisevil. 

So, what do we do? How can we use our creative voices to counteract misinformation and false advertising and provide viable discourse and inspiration? 

At Hera Gallery, we invite you to fight, cry, rage, and make art. We invite you to connect with others through creative expression in hopes that it brings a sense of insight, or deep feeling, beauty, education, perseverance, protest, connection and/or community. We invite you to share your voice through the virtual exhibition Objects of Agency. 

Objects of Agency is looking for 53 works which speak to abortion rights in the United States. The virtual exhibition will take place over the 52 weeks of 2023. All selected works will be on virtual display throughout the duration of the exhibition on heragallery.org.  Each week, Hera Gallery will choose one featured artist and artwork from the exhibition to represent the current tribulations and inspirations of the current state of women’s health care in America. Featured artists will be posted on all social media accounts. Objects of Agency aims to stimulate, educate, and encourage abortion care. It aims to challenge the anti-abortion campaigns and false information which dominate the internet. It aims to provide access to factual information and ultimately to create a platform and a network to share the voices, choices, and stories of all women and female identifying persons.

The call for entries closes December 17. There's no listed date of notification, but high resolution images have to be delivered by January 3, so I expect the turnaround time will be pretty quick. Here are my five entries:

ExclusiveExclusive Lean on meLean on meLean on me
6I8A2592 (2017-09-13)
2017-06-19
Cyndical and Lior Allay
Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington

2018-03-24 1650 Gallery (Los Angeles, California), "Together": Exhibited
2019-04-26 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington): Exhibited and Sold
2019-05-01 Black Box Gallery (Portland, Oregon), "Portraiture: Through the Lens": Exhibited
2019-10-26 Verum Ultimum (Portland, Oregon), "Chasing Ghosts IV": Exhibited
2020-04-03 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missouri), "Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2020-09-25 International Festival of Erotic Arts (online, based in Barcelona, Spain): Exhibited online, online symposium presenter
2021-03-01 118 Online Art Gallery (online), "When She Rises, We all Rise": Exhibited online
2021-03-08 Bifarin.com (online), "Diversia: Woman 2021": Exhibited online
2021-07-03 The Studio Door (San Diego, California), "Proud+ 2021": Exhibited
2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Vidin, Bulgaria) (People Mono PIDM): Accepted
2021-1-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Malta): Accepted
Proof 2Proof 2 Role ReversalRole ReversalRole Reversal
B75A5311 (01-10-2021)
04-23-2019
Melancholic and Despondent
Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington

2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited, Finalist
2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Pazardzhik and Paracin, Bulgaria) (Nude Color PIDC): Accepted
2021-11-12 Knox Contemporary Art Gallery (online exhibition based in Calgary, Alberta), "XPOSED: Naked and Not Afraid": Exhibited online
TogetherTogether

  1. "Exclusive," Marzipanned, Frink Park, Seattle, January 2019
  2. "Lean on me," Cyndical and Lior Allay, Discovery Park, Seattle, June 2017
  3. "Proof 2," Lior Allay, Freeway Park, Seattle, March 2019
  4. "Role Reversal," Melancholic and Despondent, Discovery Park, Seattle, April 2019
  5. "Together," Lior Allay and Cyndical, Discovery Park, Seattle, June 2017

 

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(Sensualight Photography) abortion Cyndical Despondent Exclusive health care Hera Gallery Lean on me Lior Allay Marzipanned Melancholic Objects of Agency Proof Role Reversal submission Together women's rights https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/12/objects-of-agency-submission Fri, 09 Dec 2022 16:52:20 GMT
Nomination, nothing more, at Spider Awards https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/nomination-nothing-more-at-spider-awards G iven how successful the images have been elsewhere, I was hopeful that one of my Queen Dandelion photos at Rialto Beach might get further than the "Nominee" status I received last year. Or maybe one of my newer images of which I'm proud. Unfortunately, no dice: my best image, "Rest and Upheaval," did equally well but no further. Oh well!

The competition looks good -- but honestly, not spectacular.

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(Sensualight Photography) award Black and White Spider Awards nomination Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval Spider Awards https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/nomination-nothing-more-at-spider-awards Tue, 29 Nov 2022 00:44:00 GMT
PSA statistics by theme (AKA fun with statistics) https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/psa-statistics-by-theme-aka-fun-with-statistics How successful are my photos in Photographic Society of America competitions? Let's take a look!

PSA guidelines say that the acceptance rate for any category should be between 28 and 34%. I've been tracking my entries to PSA competitions in various categories, so I can say approximately how well my photos are doing in comparison to the average. Here's where I stand, for categories in which I've submitted at least 50 photos (to provide a good sample size):

 

  1. Nude (116 photos): 37.9% (18 awards, 15.5%)
  2. Photojournalism (64 photos): 37.5% (4 awards, 6.3%)
  3. Open Monochrome (408 photos): 35.3% (12 awards, 2.9%)
  4. Open Color (425 photos): 26.4% (7 awards, 1.6%)
  5. Woman (120 photos): 22.5% (6 awards, 5.0%)
  6. Portrait (68 photos): 22.1% (2 awards, 2.9%)
  7. Travel (139 photos): 16.5% (0 awards)
  8. Nature (262 photos): 16.4% (9 awards, 3.4%)

In short: My nude images are highly successful, both in their rate of acceptance and the percentage of those acceptances that win awards. Photojournalism is surprisingly close behind on acceptances, and also performs well in awards. I've felt like I don't have many PJD images to submit, but maybe I should rethink that. Open Monochrome also performs ahead of the averages, though with a modest rate of award winners.

My color photos are performing less well than average, which shows where I need to grow artistically. I've always thought I did well in the "woman" category, but clearly that's not borne out by the acceptance data, though I've done a decent job winning awards. The portrait category I'm aware is a weakness (though slightly better as "Portrait and Body" with 12 of 48), and travel and nature as well, which is why I don't enter those categories much any more unless I can do so at no extra cost. I have a surprising number of awards in the nature category, but that (and the acceptances, really) is thanks to just a few good images.

Statistics are fun!

And also just for fun, here are my most successful images in the figurative categories above:

  1. Nude: "Rest and Upheaval," Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018: No surprise! An 11 out of 13 acceptance rate, including a gold medal, silver medal, two bronze medals, Judge's Choice, Diploma, Ribbon, and Certificate! In the color nude category, the top choice is "Framed by Light I," with 4 out of 7 and a gold medal, bronze medal, and two Honorable Mentions.
    Rest and Upheaval (2018)Rest and Upheaval (2018)Rest and Upheaval
    6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
    07-31-2018
    Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington
    2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
    2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
    2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
    2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missouri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
    2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
    2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
    2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
    2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
    2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
    2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
    2022-02-19 to 03-12 House of Shadows Creative Gallery & Market (Tampa, Florida), "XPlicit IV: Erotic Art": Exhibited and Sold
    2022-01-15 Man and Work (Zajecar, Serbia) (Free Monochrome PIDM): FIAP Honorable Mention
    2022-03-21 Artistic Creations Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): PSA Gold Medal
    2022-05-15 PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris (Amateur Nude, series): Honorable Mention
    2022-09-12 CAS Photo Academy (India) (Monochrome): Merit Medal Award
    2022-10-25 Bosnia (Open Monochrome): Salon Diploma
    2022-11-20 ND Photo Awards (ndawards.net) (Non-Professional Fine-Art Nudes): Honorable Mention
    2022-11-26 Black and White Spider Awards (Beverly Hills, CA) (Amateur Nude): Nomination
    2023-01-06 to 31 The Glasgow Gallery of Photography (Glasgow, Scotland) (International Photography Exhibition: Monochrome): Exhibited
    2023-01-17 Dodho Magazine (Barcelona, Spain) Nude Photography Awards: Best Images (top 25, "published in the book 'NUDE' to be released next February" and "exhibited for a year in our online gallery"
    2023-04-21 to 23 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington): Exhibited and SOLD
    2023-03-26 Vesta (Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
    Framed by Light I (2016)Framed by Light I (2016)Framed by Light I
    6I8A8543 (4/3/2021)
    7/24/2016
    DianaJean
    Amanda Park, Washington
    2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Vidin, Pazardzhik, and Paracin, Bulgaria) (Nude Color PIDC), as "Framed by Light": Master of Light Gold Medal at Vidin; Master of Light Honorable Mention at both Pazardzhik and Paracin
    2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, and Montenegro) (Shadowhunter PID): Accepted
    2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Light and Shadows PIDC): IAAP Silver Medal
    2021-12-19 Chromatic Awards (Online) (Amateur Nude): Honorable Mention
    2022-02-15 Photo Salon Kicevo (North Macedonia) (Light and Shadows PIDC): Accepted
    2022-04-24 Pirin Salon (Pirin, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
    2022-10-01 Balkan Circuit (Aleksinak, Novi Sad and Ruma, Serbia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
    2022-12-05 Trofeu Pell (Spain) (Backlight PIDC): Accepted in 2 of 4 judgings
  2. Open Monochrome: "Shasta II," Shasta Wonder, Lynnwood, August 2017: Accepted in 13 of 19 entries. No awards, oddly, but just consistently high scores. My most awarded image is, as in the nude category, "Rest and Upheaval," alongside several others from that same photo shoot that are also popular with the judges.
    Shasta II (2017)Shasta II (2017)Shasta II
    6I8A6319 (3-16-2020)
    08-22-2017
    Shasta Wonder
    Lynnwood, Washington
    2021-11-20 Vidin Spring Circuit (Bulgaria and Serbia) (Nude Mono PIDM), as "Shasta": Accepted; Salon Gold Medal in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria
    2022-01-30 Unlimited Photo (Podgorica, Montenegro) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
    2022-02-15 WSP Hungary (Budapest, Hungary) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
    2022-03-21 Artistic Creations Circuit (India) (Open Monochrome): Accepted
    2022-09-11 Photo Story (North Macedonia) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
    2022-10-03 Varadinum (Romania) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
    2022-10-15 Aesthetic Vision (India) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted in 5 of 6 judgings
    2022-11-06 Art Life (North Macedonia) (Open Monochrome): Accepted
  3. Open Color: "Isaac's Angel," Vex Voir, Interlaken Park, June 2017: Accepted in 14 of 20 entries. Awarded a Judge's Choice and two Merit Awards.
    Jacob's Angel (2017)Jacob's Angel (2017)Isaac's Angel
    6I8A9798 (1/26/2019)
    6/8/2017
    Vex Voir
    Interlaken Park, Seattle, Washington
    2022-01-15 Full Frame International Salon (Mumbai, India) (Nature ND): Accepted
    2022-01-15 Man and Work (Zajecar, Serbia) (Free Color PIDC): Accepted
    2022-02-20 Gold Shadow Exhibition (Cuprija, Serbia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
    2022-03-01 Onyx Salon (Romania) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
    2022-04-01 Tower Circuit (Kula, Novi Sad, Aleksinac, Ruma, and Vrbas) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
    2022-06-27 Lanki (Sri Lanka) (Open Color PIDC): Judge's Choice in one of three judgings
    2022-09-12 CAS Photo Academy (India) (Colour PIDC): Accepted
    2022-10-10 Photo Fest Bitola (North Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
    2022-10-10 Bengal Super Circuit (India) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted in 3 of 5 judgings; Merit Award in two of them
    2023-02-07 Art Show International (Online) (Figurative) (As "Jacob's Angel"): Talent Award ($25) (equivalent of 4th place, below 1st, Runner-up, and Merit but above Honorable Mention)
    2023-04-14 to 16 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Auburn, NY) (as Jacob's Angel): Digital exhibition
    2023-07-08 PSA Pictorial Divisions Exhibition (Digital Color): Accepted
  4. Woman: "Tristen Draped," Tristen, Seattle, October 2010: Accepted in 6 of 12 entries and awarded a silver medal and Honorable Mention. Monochrome images are too rare in this category to mention.
    Tristen Draped (2010)Tristen Draped (2010)Tristen Draped
    6I8A3256 (10/3/2010)
    10/2/2010
    Tristen
    Seattle, Washington
    2022-01-30 Magic Life International Contest of Art Photography (Yenişehir-Mersin, Turkey) (Woman PIDC): Club Silver Medal
    2022-03-10 MNE PBK Circuit (Kotor, Montenegro) (Woman Color PIDC): Accepted
    2022-05-01 DPW Four Country Circuit (Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia) (Woman PIDC): Accepted; Salon Honorable Mention in Croatia
    2022-10-15 FKA Autumn Circuit (Kula, Serbia) (Woman PIDC): Accepted
    2023-05-21 Art Story (North Macedonia) (Woman PIDC): National Diploma
  5. Portrait: "You have no power over me," Bowie Monroe, Bellevue, September 2018: Accepted in 4 of 6. In the color variation, "Diane" (Seattle, September 2012) is close behind with 3 of 5.
    You have no power over me (2018)You have no power over me (2018)You have no power over me
    6I8A8303 (2018-09-10)
    2018-09-01
    Bowie Monroe
    Bellevue, Washington
    2021-05-01 Black Box Gallery (Portland, Oregon), "Focus: Portraiture": Exhibited
    2021-06-19 Praxis Photo Arts Center (Minneapolis, Minnesota), "Femalia": Exhibited
    2021-10-13 Shadowhunter Circuit (Portrait PIDC) (Croatia, Malta and Serbia): Accepted
    2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Portraiture PIDC) (Kolkata, India): Accepted
    2022-04-29 to 30 Rochester Erotic Arts Festival (Auburn, New York): Digital exhibition
    2022-06-10 to 07-21 A Smith Gallery ("she") (Johnson City, Texas): Exhibited
    2023-07-01 Shots Magazine ("Love & Truth") (St. Paul, MN): Published in issue 160
    2023-07-08 PSA Pictorial Divisions Exhibition (Digital Monochrome Portrait): Accepted
    Diane (2012)Diane (2012)Diane
    6I8A6460 (2021-09-27)
    2021-09-25
    Diane
    Seattle, Washington
    2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Nude Color PIDC): Accepted at Cuprija, Serbia and Pazardzhik, Bulgaria and awarded a Salon Honorable Mention at both
    2022-01-30 Magic Life International Contest of Art Photography (Yenişehir-Mersin, Turkey) (Woman PIDC): Accepted
    2022-02-15 WSP Hungary (Budapest, Hungary) (Portrait PIDC): Accepted
    2022-04-24 Pirin Salon (Pirin, Bulgari) (Open Color): Accepted
    2022-08-22 Suvarna (India) (Portrait PIDC): Accepted
    2022-08-28 Gold Camera (Montenegro) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted
    2022-10-10 Photo Fest Bitola (North Macedonia) (Portrait PIDC): Accepted
    2023-05-21 Art Story (North Macedonia) (Open Color PIDC): Accepted

 

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(Sensualight Photography) award PSA statistics https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/psa-statistics-by-theme-aka-fun-with-statistics Mon, 28 Nov 2022 16:23:00 GMT
Seven of twelve at Art Life https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/seven-of-twelve-at-art-life The results came in a few days ago from Art Life salon in North Macedonia, and I'm quite pleased. In only entered three categories -- open color and mono, and nude -- so, twelve photos total -- but seven of them were accepted, a rate double the typical acceptance rate for a PSA contest. That's two photos each in color and nude, and three in monochrome.

Winners this round include:

No neighbors (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)No neighbors (Nude PIDC) (Accepted) Lilith and Eve (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)Lilith and Eve (Nude PIDC) (Accepted) Lady of the Lake (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Lady of the Lake (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted) Calico (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Calico (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted) Cardinal sins (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Cardinal sins (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Cardinal Sins
B75A9622 (05-19-2019)
03-15-2019
Lior Allay
Gas Works Park, Seattle, Washington

2021-05-18 Photoshoot Awards (online contest), "Nude2021": Finalist
Center of the storm (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Center of the storm (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Rest and Upheaval (series of 7)
6I8A5285 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude): Honorable Mention
Shasta II (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Shasta II (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Shasta II
6I8A6319 (3-16-2020)
08-22-2017
Shasta Wonder
Lynnwood, Washington

2021-11-20 Vidin Spring Circuit (Bulgaria and Serbia) (Nude Mono PIDM), as "Shasta": Accepted; Salon Gold Medal in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria

  1. "No neighbors" (Nude PIDC), Katlyn Lacoste, March 2022: a variation on a similar image that has also been popular
  2. "Lilith and Eve" (Nude PIDC), Vex Voir and Katlyn Lacoste, June 2017
  3. "Lady of the Lake" (Open Color PIDC), a first-time winner by Ronin- at Eunice Lake in August 2022
  4. "Calico" (Open Color PIDC), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019
  5. "Cardinal sins" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, March 2019
  6. "Center of the storm" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018
  7. "Shasta II" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Shasta Wonder, Lynnwood, August 2017

By the way, Shasta Wonder seems to have dropped off social media; even her website is unresponsive. I assume she's just stopped modeling, a loss for the art world (but her own choice of course). I hope that's all it is.

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(Sensualight Photography) Art Life Calico Cardinal sins Center of the storm Katlyn Lacoste Lady of the Lake Lilith and Eve Lior Allay Marzipanned No neighbors PSA Queen Dandelion Ronin Shasta Shasta Wonder Vex Voir https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/seven-of-twelve-at-art-life Sun, 27 Nov 2022 23:26:26 GMT
Entering Dirty Detroit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/entering-dirty-detroit It's post-Thanksgiving, and so we're now in erotic photography festival season! I'm not sure why they're all packed into this corner of the year (Dirty Detroit, Seattle Erotic, Rochester Erotic, Nude Nite Tampa and Orlando, for starters), but that seems to be the case, every year.

Dirty Show 23 is the first deadline this year, due December 1, with a quick turnaround on the decision by December 7. The festival is February 10-18.

I love being able to submit photos without having to worry about self-censoring. And I have a couple of great options this year! Decided to go with two explicitly erotic images and, to mix things up, a third more in my more typical figurative theme. Detroit only allows three entries, and they have to be photos made in 2020-2022, so, only recent images. Here are my three entries: two from a fantastic studio session with Gin and Ginger this year, and the third, an urban nude with Abi Blue last summer.

Close ShaveClose Shave Full Service BarFull Service Bar Flight (Exhibited)Flight (Exhibited)

  1. "Close Shave"
  2. "Full Service Bar"
  3. "Flight"
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(Sensualight Photography) Abi Blue Close Shave Dirty Detroit Dirty Show entry Festival Flight Full Service Bar Gin and Ginger https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/entering-dirty-detroit Sat, 26 Nov 2022 21:43:38 GMT
A basket of contest entries https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/a-basket-of-contest-entries Been working on applying for more contests. I really should be editing my backlog of photoshoots, but those don't have deadlines...

I submitted entries for four different PSA contests due during the month of November. I'll share a sample image submitted to each one, just for the fun of it:

  • Art Life (North Macedonia): Open Color, Open Monochrome, and Nude! So few contests have a nude theme, so how could I resist this one? Here's a new variation on a photo that's already been successful in other contests -- I call this one "No neighbors." It's Katlyn Lacoste at Ohanapecosh this March:
    No neighbors (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)No neighbors (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)
  • Three Country Circuit (Republic of Ireland): Open Colour, Woman, Landscape, Life, Open Monochrome, and Photojournalism. This is "Lady of the Lake," which you'll recognize a Ronin- at Eunice Lake this August:
    Lady of the Lake (Woman PIDC)Lady of the Lake (Woman PIDC)
  • Six Seasons (India): Nature, Open Colour, and Open Monochrome. Here's one from the latter category--another one with Katlyn Lacoste this March, on the trail bridge at Silver Falls, called "The Bridge":
    The bridge (Open Monochrome PIDM)The bridge (Open Monochrome PIDM)
  • ClickU (India): Open Colour, Open Monochrome, Portrait & Body. Here's one from the Open Colour category, with Spencer Parks in the Cascades Mountains in July 2016, that I call "360 degree view":
    360 degree view (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted360 degree view (Open Colour PIDC): Accepted

I've also submitted photos to two different gallery exhibitions. The International Photography Exhibition is a Monochrome gallery in Glasgow, Scotland. I guess this is actually an online show, given that it's international. I entered eight photos. This one is called "Dance for the Earth"; it's Haven Model in Mount Rainier National Park in August 2018:

22

And this is from my entry for "Figure That" at 3 Square Art in Fort Collins, Colorado, which exhibited two of my photos last year. Out of three submitted photos, this one is "Exclusive," with Marzipanned in Seattle's Frink Park, January 2019:

Exclusive (Exhibited, Honorable Mention)Exclusive (Exhibited, Honorable Mention)

I can expect results from Glasgow about November 26... Art Life about November 30... Three County Circuit, December 15... 3 Square Art, December 17... Six Seasons on New Year's Eve... and ClickU on Christmas day.

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(Sensualight Photography) 3 Square Art 360 degree view Art Life ClickU Dance for the Earth entries Exclusive Figure That Glasgow Photography Gallery Haven Model International Photography Exhibition Katlyn Lacoste Lady of the Lake Marzipanned No neighbors Ronin- Six Seasons Spencer Parks The bridge Three Country Circuit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/a-basket-of-contest-entries Mon, 21 Nov 2022 16:03:00 GMT
Hnorable Mention at ND Photo Awards https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/hnorable-mention-at-nd-photo-awards For the second year in a row, I've been awarded Honorable Mention at the online ND Photo Awards, in the Non-Professional Fine-Art Nudes category.

I have no idea if ND Photo Awards is a reputable organization. But it is nice to be given an award.

Here's ND's Honorable Mentions page, and, if you're interested, their page of higher awards. There's some nice photography here to be in the company of.

Rest and Upheaval (Honorable Mention)Rest and Upheaval (Honorable Mention)Rest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal

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(Sensualight Photography) award Honorable Mention ND Awards ND Photo Awards Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/hnorable-mention-at-nd-photo-awards Sun, 20 Nov 2022 23:13:11 GMT
A baker's half dozen Honorable Mentions at the FKA Autumn Circuit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/a-bakers-half-dozen-honorable-mentions-at-the-fka-autumn-circuit Well now, I don't think I've ever entered a contest that gave me so many awards all at once! This at FKA Autumn Circuit in Serbia. All of them are the same thing, Honorable Mentions, but seven, count 'em, seven of 'em! This among a total of fifteen acceptances in three salons and five categories, including the usual Open Color and Open Mono along with Portrait, Nature, and "Woman Man Child," apparently a catch-all category for... something. (These special categories are often poorly defined and even less well explained.)

Anyway, this brings me a whole passel of fancy digital certificates along with bragging rights and a lot of pretty pictures in the eventual salon catalog. I'll look forward to that. Here's a preview:

  • "Bad Mother" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Leila Deschanel, Seattle, May 2014: two Honorable Mentions for a perennial favorite
  • "Vantage" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016: three acceptances and an Honorable Mention for an image that is rising rapidly up the list of my most successful images
  • "Kimber" (Portrait PIDC), Kimber Collins, Puyallup, March 2012: Honorable Mention and a first-time acceptance for an image I've personally been partial to from the beginning
  • "Vernal Light" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019: Honorable Mention for a photo of someone who is either a woman, man, or child
  • "Tristen Draped" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Tristen, Seattle, October 2011: Honorable Mention for an image a woman with child
  • "Godiva in the evening" (Open Color PIDC), Courtney Appleseed AKA Stella Luceat, Bend, September 2014: a personal favorite but merely accepted without an award, not complaining
  • "Flight" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Abi Blue, Seattle, June 2021: Accepted... I really love this photo and hope it earns awards someday too
  • "Symmetry" (Woman Man Child PIDC), Shasta Wonder, Lynnwood, August 2018: Accepted. Definitely a "woman."

Bad Mother (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Honorable Mention x2)Bad Mother (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Honorable Mention x2)Bad Mother
6I8A7795 (2014-03-17)
2014-03-01
Leila Deschanel
Seattle, Washington

2015-04-23 Seattle Erotic Art Festival (Seattle, Washington): Exhibited
2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted, Honorable Mention
2021-10-06 Photo Club Montenegro (Montenegro) (Woman PIDC): Accepted
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Croatia and Serbia): Accepted
Vantage (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3, Honorable Mention)Vantage (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3, Honorable Mention) Kimber (Portrait PIDC) (Honorable Mention)Kimber (Portrait PIDC) (Honorable Mention) Vernal light (Woman/Man/Child PIDC) (Honorable Mention)Vernal light (Woman/Man/Child PIDC) (Honorable Mention) Tristen draped (Woman/Man/Child PIDC) (Accepted)Tristen draped (Woman/Man/Child PIDC) (Accepted) Godiva in the evening (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Godiva in the evening (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Godiva in the Evening
6I8A5669 (5/1/2021)
9/14/2014
Courtney Appleseed (AKA Stella Luceat)
Bend, Oregon

2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Open Color PIDC): Exhibited virtually
Flight (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Flight (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Symmetry (Woman/Man/Child PIDC) (Accepted)Symmetry (Woman/Man/Child PIDC) (Accepted)

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(Sensualight Photography) Abi Blue award Bad Mother Courtney Appleseed Dominique Zuniga FKA Autumn Circuit Flight Godiva in the evening Honorable Mention Kimber Kimber Collins Leila Deschanel Marzipanned PSA Shasta Wonder Stella Luceat Symmetry Tristen Tristen Draped Vantage Vernal Light https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/a-bakers-half-dozen-honorable-mentions-at-the-fka-autumn-circuit Thu, 17 Nov 2022 15:15:00 GMT
Salon Diploma in Bosnia https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/salon-diploma-in-bosnia Another result that came in this past week: "Bosnia," in (naturally) Bosnia and Herzogovina. This one was only a single salon, but I entered six different categories, including Open Color and Monochrome, Woman, Landscapes, Portrait (in monochrome), and Photojournalism. I had eight photos accepted, five of them figurative, and one of those received a "Salon Diploma."

  • "Rest and Upheaval" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018: Salon Diploma for an oft-awarded photo
  • "Dance in the light" (Woman PIDC), Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016
  • "Classic" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Invy Rose, Puyallup, Washington, October 2011: an older photo receiving recognition for the first time
  • "Winthrop Glacier" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Katlyn Lacoste, Third Burroughs, Mount Rainier National Park, August 2021: a black and white version of an image that has previously been accepted in color
  • "Leo, hooded" (Portrait PIDM), Leo Velo, Eatonville, Washington, January 2020

Rest and Upheaval (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Salon Diploma)Rest and Upheaval (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Salon Diploma)Rest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
Classic (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Classic (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Dance in the light (Woman PIDC) (Accepted)Dance in the light (Woman PIDC) (Accepted)Dance in the Light
6I8A3527 (2/24/2021)
3/21/2016
Dominique Zuniga
Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

2021-04-01 Colors of Humanity Art Gallery (online), "Human Nature": Exhibited online
2021-04-05 Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery (online), "Figurative", as "Dance for the Earth": Exhibited with Special Recognition
Winthrop Glacier (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Winthrop Glacier (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Leo hooded (Portrait PIDM) (Accepted)Leo hooded (Portrait PIDM) (Accepted)

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(Sensualight Photography) Bosnia Classic Dance in the Light Dominique Zuniga Invy Rose Katlyn Lacoste Leo Velo Leo Hooded PSA Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval Salon Diploma Winthrop Glacier https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/salon-diploma-in-bosnia Thu, 17 Nov 2022 05:45:00 GMT
Merit Medals at South Asian Circuit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/merit-medals-at-south-asian-circuit Notifications were due from the South Asian Circuit in India on October 30. When they were over a week overdue, I wrote to ask if there was a problem, and got to response. I still haven't heard anything officially. But the results are finally posted on their website, though the promised certificates of acceptance and awards merely bring up error pages. Subpar.

Anyway, the results are decent; three judgings and three categories entered (open mono and color, photojournalism), ten acceptances all told, and one photo ("Asunder") receiving Merit Medals from two judges.

The full skinny on five figurative images:

  • "Asunder" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018: Accepted in all three salons; Merit Medals in Salons 1 and 2
  • "Duty Station" (Open Color PIDC), Spencer Parks, Cascades Mountains, July 2016: Accepted in Salon 1
  • "Last Light" (Open Monochrome PIDM), DianaJean, Upper Crystal Lake, July 2015: Accepted in Salon 1
  • "Evergreen" (Open Color PIDC), HaileyJ, Seattle, April 2016: Accepted in Salon 2
  • "Flight" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Abi Blue, Seattle, June 2021: Accepted in Salon 2

Asunder (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3, Merit Medal x2)Asunder (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3, Merit Medal x2) Duty Station (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted)Duty Station (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted) Last Light (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Last Light (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Last Light
6I8A8293 (2/24/2021)
7/29/2015
DianaJean
Upper Crystal Lake, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

2021-04-01 Colors of Humanity Art Gallery (online) "Human Nature": Exhibited virtually
Evergreen (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted)Evergreen (Open Colour PIDC) (Accepted) Flight (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Flight (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)

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(Sensualight Photography) Abi Blue Asunder award DianaJean Duty Station Evergreen Flight HaileyJ Last Light Merit Medal PSA Queen Dandelion South Asian Circuit Spencer Parks https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/merit-medals-at-south-asian-circuit Wed, 16 Nov 2022 21:06:19 GMT
Bengal Super Circuit 2022 https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/bengal-super-circuit-2022 October 10, 2022, "Bengal Super Circuit," PSA 2022-552, India, Photographic Society contest

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(Sensualight Photography) award Calico Dominique Zuniga Isaac's Angel Katlyn Lacoste Marzipanned Merit Award Off Season Primal PSA Queen Dandelion Shelter Skyline Vernal Light Vex Rising Vex Voir Zoe West https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/bengal-super-circuit-2022 Thu, 10 Nov 2022 19:56:00 GMT
I am uter-you https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/i-am-uter-you You say that I amYou say that I amYou Say That I Am II
B75A0408 (10-12-2020)
03-15-2019
Lior Allay
Freeway Park, Seattle, Washington

2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Open Monochrome PIDM): Accepted
Warning: Minor rant ahead.

It's frustrating when an exhibition does not make their requirements clear from the outset.

Case in point: "It's Uter-us, Not Uter-you!" by Womenswork.art. I suppose I should have guessed from the name of the gallery that entries to their exhibition would be limited to "Women, Femme or non-binary artists," but the call for entry did not say that anywhere. What it said was that the show "will be a special online exhibition to fundraise and raise awareness for reproductive rights in the United States as a response to the recent overturning of Roe V Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court and the state of reproductive rights and body autonomy in American society." That's a topic I support passionately, and for which I actually have (I think) some pretty relevant art.

Don't get me wrong: I am absolutely OK with an exhibition being limited to a certain subset of artists who can speak to their own issues. The whole point of this one is, as it turns out, for women to speak for themselves. I've seen similar limits on exhibitions that speak to the experience of people of color, or members of the LGBTQ community. Those of us who are allies have important things to say... but there is a time and place for stepping back and deferring to those whose literal skin is in the game.

ExclusiveExclusive What frustrates me is when this isn't made clear in the announcement. In this case, it's only after you click "Apply" that you get the message saying don't go any further unless... Which, if it had been said sooner, means I would have respectfully moved on, rather than spending time to sort through my image collection looking for art to submit, only to find out when I was ready to enter that I wasn't actually qualified.

Oh well. I'll get over it, and there's probably a good metaphor here about the experience of women in our society. In fact, one of the images I was going to submit literally depicts a woman being locked out of a space labeled for men only.

Role ReversalRole ReversalRole Reversal
B75A5311 (01-10-2021)
04-23-2019
Melancholic and Despondent
Discovery Park, Seattle, Washington

2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited, Finalist
2021-08-11 Vidin Spring Circuit (Pazardzhik and Paracin, Bulgaria) (Nude Color PIDC): Accepted
2021-11-12 Knox Contemporary Art Gallery (online exhibition based in Calgary, Alberta), "XPOSED: Naked and Not Afraid": Exhibited online
And again, it's not being unable to submit that bothers me--only that the exhibition wasn't clearly labeled as such.

So here are the three photos I would have submitted, if I had been able. I'm a uter-you, not a uter-us; but I support with all my being the right to agency and self-determination in all matters, including healthcare, by those who do possess a uterus.

Which makes this a good time to remind you that whether you possess one or not, please, VOTE.

Pictured (from the top): "You Say That I am," with Lior Allay, a non-binary artist and model, in Seattle's Freeway Park, March 2019; "Exclusive," with Marzipanned, in Seattle's Frink Park, January 2019; and "Role Reversal," with Melancholic and Despondent in Seattle's Discovery Park in April 2019.

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(Sensualight Photography) abortion Despondent Exclusive exhibition Lior Allay Marzipanned Melancholic Role Reversal women You say that I am https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/i-am-uter-you Sat, 05 Nov 2022 21:14:44 GMT
More great results at Aesthetic Vision--except... https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/more-great-results-at-aesthetic-vision--except Got my report card from the Aesthetic Vision circuit in India this morning, and it's another great set of results. 28 acceptances across 6 judgings, all but one of them in the Open Color and Open Monochrome categories (and tilted two to one toward monochrome).

Lots to report on. Let's kick it off with:

Light in the darkness (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Club Silver, Accepted x5)Light in the darkness (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Club Silver, Accepted x5) Lilith and Eve (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x5)Lilith and Eve (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x5) Shasta II (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x5)Shasta II (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x5)Shasta II
6I8A6319 (3-16-2020)
08-22-2017
Shasta Wonder
Lynnwood, Washington

2021-11-20 Vidin Spring Circuit (Bulgaria and Serbia) (Nude Mono PIDM), as "Shasta": Accepted; Salon Gold Medal in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria

  1. "Light in the darkness," Mikki Marvel, downtown Seattle, July 2016: Silver Medal! And accepted in 5 of 6 judgings. I submitted this photo twice before -- in a "Shadows" special theme and, in its color version, in a "Woman" theme; neither were successful, though both came close in their scoring. I'm pleased -- I really like this image, especially in its color version. I like the symmetry and symbolism of it, with "light" representing both the literal light on the top of the Alaska Building in the background and in the alleyway, and figuratively the naturalness of the human body in its unclothed state.
  2. "Lilith and Eve," Vex Voir and Katlyn Lacoste, Interlaken Park, Seattle, June 2017: accepted in 5 of 6 judgings. I've submitted this photo a lot of places and it's gratifying to see it finally succeed somewhere, because I absolutely love this photo too. I like the figurative references, both in the title and imagery, to the Garden of Eden, and I like the subtle touch of fading to black and white around the edges, as if the Garden and the naturalness it represents is surrounded by something less vibrant. It's a similar theme to the previous image, actually.
  3. "Shasta II," Shasta Wonder, Lynnwood, August 2017: accepted in 5 of 6 judgings. Just a simple figure study. I'm really pleased by how well this set of images has done over the years, given that it's nothing more than the raw talent of Shasta as a model posed against a textured white kitchen wall in natural light.
    Cardinal Sins (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)Cardinal Sins (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)Cardinal Sins
    B75A9622 (05-19-2019)
    03-15-2019
    Lior Allay
    Gas Works Park, Seattle, Washington

    2021-05-18 Photoshoot Awards (online contest), "Nude2021": Finalist
    On the rocks (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)On the rocks (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)On the Rocks
    B75A7166 (05-01-2021)
    07-16-2019
    Bunny Luna
    Pinnacle Peak, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

    2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija, Serbia) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted
  4. "Cardinal Sins," Lior Allay, Gas Works Park, Seattle, March 2019: accepted in 4 of 6 judgings. Another variation on my favorite theme, this time reversing the concept and metaphorically showing the natural nude human body in conflict with the modern urbanized world. Lior is such an amazing artist and conveyed so much emotion in this set of images, made at dawn on a late-winter day. The title is a visual pun based on the bas-relief sculpture of cardinal directions at the top of the hill, and society's assessment of the natural human body as sinful.
  5. "On the rocks," Bunny Luna, Pinnacle Peak, Mount Rainier National Park, July 2019. Accepted in 4 of 6 judgings. Another simple figure study, with an interesting composition on the granodioritic rock of the Tatoosh Range. Interesting features include the visible scuff-marks on Bunny's torso from earlier in the photoshoot, and, if you zoom in, a mosquito sampling their left breast. I probably should have edited out both, but it also makes for an interesting image.
    Earth, Water and Fire (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3)Earth, Water and Fire (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3) Clay (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Clay (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)
  6. "Earth, Wind and Fire," Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, Mount Rainier National Park, March 2022. Accepted in 3 of 6 judgings. I love this location, I love this pose, and I especially love the combination of the two. It's both natural and surreal at the same time. And the colors are not enhanced in any way -- the water really is this blue-green. And Katlyn really is this fire.
  7. "Clay," Katlyn Lacoste, Shriner Peak, Mount Rainier National Park, September 2020. Accepted in 1 of 6 judgings. The least "successful" of my accepted images from a judging standpoint, but I love this image nonetheless. For one thing, we worked damn hard to get to the top of this peak for a sunset photoshoot. And Katlyn's ability to effortlessly create sculptures with her body is why I titled this one "Clay."

The single acceptance outside the open categories was in Photo Travel. Just one acceptance out of 24 possibilities. Ouch. And in the nature category, none at all. Double ouch. Overall I think it's become clear that my skills are not in the specialized fields (nature, travel, and photojournalism) but rather in the more general artistic realm. At least in comparison to other photographers. And I'm OK with that. It's good to know. I won't waste my money entering those categories in the future (though I'll still contribute if I can do so with no additional cost).

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(Sensualight Photography) Aesthetic Vision award Bunny Luna Cardinal sins Clay Earth Water and Fire Katlyn Lacoste Light in the darkness Lilith and Eve Lior Allay Medal Mikki Marvel nature On the rocks photo travel PSA Shasta Shasta Wonder Silver Vex Voir https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/11/more-great-results-at-aesthetic-vision--except Fri, 04 Nov 2022 20:46:48 GMT
23 Acceptances, 3 Honorable Mentions at Balkan Circuit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/23-acceptances-3-honorable-mentions-at-balkan-circuit Today, a hugely successful report card from the Balkan Circuit in Serbia! This salon had only three categories -- open color and monochrome, and nature -- so I only entered twelve photos, which were judged five times within the circuit. That's 60 entries, of which 23 were accepted. Ten of my twelve photos were accepted by at least one judging. Two of my photos were awarded Salon Honorable Mentions, one of them in two different judgings. So all in all a highly successful result!

Let's talk photos! Here are the eight figure nude photos accepted by the Balkan Circuit:

  1. "Den lille havfrue": accepted at Novi Sad, Ruma and Vrbas, and received Salon Honorable Mention awards at Novi Sad and Vrbas! Queen Dandelion's work at Rialto Beach in July 2018 continues to excel.
  2. "Ohanapecosh 215": accepted at Aleksinac, Novi Sad, and Vrbas, and received a Salon Honorable Mention at Novi Sad! Katlyn Lacoste is another amazing artist and model, and this photo from March of this year has tremendous promise.
  3. "Portend": Leo Velo's portrait from Seattle in February 2016 was accepted at Aleksinac, Novi Sad, Ruma and Vrbas! I'm so pleased that this older photo is finally receiving the attention it deserves.
  4. "Framed by Light I": DianaJean at Amanda Park, Washington in July 2016. An reliable favorite that this time was accepted at Aleksinac, Novi Sad, and Ruma.
  5. "The world comes apart" is another photo of Katlyn Lacoste at Ohanapecosh this March. I love both the color and black & white versions of this image, and both have been successful. This one was accepted at Novi Sad and Vrbas.
  6. "Gothic sundial" is the oldest of this set, from all the way back in October 2012 in Seattle. But I love this image of Psychopomp and am pleased that the judges in Novi Sad and Vrbas liked it too.
  7. "A Rose on Mazama Ridge," by contrast, is the newest photo in this list, made with Invy Rose at Mount Rainier National Park this August, and accepted at Vrbas. (Photographed responsibly using Leave No Trace techniques.)
  8. "Exclusive" has both color and black & white versions. This was the color version and was accepted at Novi Sad. The model is Marzipanned, photographed in Frink Park in January 2019.

Den lille havfrue (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3, HM x2)Den lille havfrue (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x3, HM x2) Ohanapecosh 215 (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3, HM)Ohanapecosh 215 (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3, HM) Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4) Framed by Light I (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3)Framed by Light I (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3) The world comes apart (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2)The world comes apart (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x2) Gothic Sundial (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x2)Gothic Sundial (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x2) A Rose on Mazama Ridge (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)A Rose on Mazama Ridge (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Exclusive (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)Exclusive (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted)

Other thoughts: I've been operating under a theory that past levels of accepting figure nude photos is predictive of how successful my own entries will be. I think that's still valid in cases where the acceptance rate is extremely low, though those can often be predicted just by the sponsoring country. This result, though, casts doubt on the predictive power of mid-range acceptance rates. I would have expected only mediocre results rather than the success actually experienced (and recent salons I would have expected good results from have proved disappointing). I guess the lesson is that my theory isn't as predictive as I thought it might be.


  • October 1, 2022, Balkan Circuit (2022-534), Serbia, Photographic Society Contest
    • "Den lille havfrue" (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Novi Sad, Ruma and Vrbas), Salon Honorable Mention at Novi Sad and Vrbas, Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, July 2018
    • "Ohanapecosh 215" (Open Color PIDC) (Aleksinac, Novi Sad and Vrbas), Salon Honorable Mention at Novi Sad, Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, Mount Rainier National Park, March 2022
    • "Portend" (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Aleksinac, Novi Sad, Ruma and Vrbas), Seattle, February 2016
    • "Framed by Light I" (Open Color PIDC) (Aleksinac, Novi Sad and Ruma), Amanda Park, Washington, July 2016
    • "The world comes apart" (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Novi Sad and Vrbas), Ohanapecosh, Mount Rainier National Park, March 2022
    • "Gothic Sundial" (Open Color PIDC) (Novi Sad and Vrbas), Psychopomp, Seattle, October 2012
    • "A Rose on Mazama Ridge" (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Vrbas), Invy Rose, Mazama Ridge, Mount Rainier National Park, August 2022
    • "Exclusive" (Open Color PIDC) (Novi Sad), Marzipanned, Frink Park, Seattle, January 2019
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(Sensualight Photography) A Rose on Mazama Ridge award Balkan Circuit Den lille havfrue DianaJean Exclusive Framed by Light Gothic sundial Honorable Mention Invy Rose Katlyn Lacoste Leo Velo Marzipanned Ohanapecosh 215 Portend PSA Psychopomp Queen Dandelion The world comes apart https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/23-acceptances-3-honorable-mentions-at-balkan-circuit Mon, 31 Oct 2022 00:46:57 GMT
National Diploma at Photo Fest Bitola https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/national-diploma-at-photo-fest-bitola The results are back from Photo Fest Bitola in North Macedonia! Six photos accepted. Yet another mixed bag -- several acceptances, and some of the best scores in the "Nude" category, which is gratifying. And I really didn't expect to be accepted in the "Lines" category, since all I had available to submit was a set of nudes among backgrounds with strong leading lines -- I only submitted anything at all because it didn't cost anything extra so I figured nothing ventured nothing gained. And those photos got good scores even though they weren't accepted. But only one photo accepted out of eight in the open categories? Ouch.

Oh well. The art forges on! Here are the four figure nude photos that were accepted:

  1. "Gothic Sundial" (Nude PIDC), National Diploma, Psychopomp, Seattle, October 2012
  2. "Isaac's Angel" (Nude PIDC), Vex Voir, Interurban Park, Seattle, June 2017
  3. "Nook" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018
  4. "Diane" (Portrait PIDC), Diane, Seattle, September 2012

This is the first time I've submitted "Nook" and the first time it was accepted. That photoshoot on Rialto Beach has turned out to be my most productive one ever. I think everything I've ever submitted from that shoot has been received positively.

Gothic sundial (Nude PIDC) (National Diploma)Gothic sundial (Nude PIDC) (National Diploma) Diane (Portrait PIDC) (Accepted)Diane (Portrait PIDC) (Accepted)Diane
6I8A6460 (2021-09-27)
2021-09-25
Diane
Seattle, Washington

2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Nude Color PIDC): Accepted at Cuprija, Serbia and Pazardzhik, Bulgaria and awarded a Salon Honorable Mention at both.
Isaac's angel (Nude PIDC) (Accepted)Isaac's angel (Nude PIDC) (Accepted) Nook (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Nook (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)


  • October 12, 2022, Photo Fest Bitola (2022-511), North Macedonia, Photographic Society Contest
    • Gothic Sundial" (Nude PIDC), National Diploma, Psychopomp, Seattle, October 2012
    • "Isaac's Angel" (Nude PIDC), Vex Voir, Interurban Park, Seattle, June 2017
    • "Nook" (Open Monochrome PIDM), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018
    • "Diane" (Portrait PIDC), Diane, Seattle, September 2012
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(Sensualight Photography) award Diane Gothic Sundial Isaac's Angel National Diploma Nook nude Photo Fest Bitola Psychopomp Queen Dandelion Vex Voir https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/national-diploma-at-photo-fest-bitola Thu, 27 Oct 2022 23:57:49 GMT
Katlyn Lacoste and Jane Air: Newly edited photos! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/katlyn-lacoste-and-jane-air-newly-edited-photos Another photoset edited!

This one's from Autumn of last year, with Katlyn Lacoste and Jane Air at Gobbler's Knob fire lookout in the southwest corner of Mount Rainier National Park. We made a stop on the way up at Lake George, where we spent some quality time swimming and sunning among the butterflies and dragonflies, then shot against the backdrop of the majestic volcano. I love the combination of these talented models and the epic landscapes of the Mount Rainier wilderness. Here are my favorites for you to enjoy.

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(Sensualight Photography) figure nude Gobbler's Knob Jane Air Katlyn Lacoste Mount Rainier nude in nature wilderness https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/katlyn-lacoste-and-jane-air-newly-edited-photos Wed, 26 Oct 2022 04:31:19 GMT
Entries to seven salons https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/entries-to-seven-salons In the first half of October, I've submitted photos to seven different salons and circuits. That's a higher rate than usual, and I don't expect to continue entering contests at that rate in the weeks to come. But now I have a lot of entries for which to anticipate results!

Entered:

  1. Balkan Circuit, closing October 1, PSA 2022-534 in Serbia. Judging in 5 salons in 3 themes: Nature, Open Color, and Open Monochrome.
    Highlights: entered "A Rose on Mazama Ridge" for the first time -- Invy Rose from August 2022; entered "Portend" for the first time in a PSA contest (it had been accepted at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival in 2017) -- Leo Velo in Seattle, February 2016.
    A Rose on Mazama Ridge (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)A Rose on Mazama Ridge (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)
  2. South Asian Circuit, closing October 10, PSA 2022-553 in India. Three judgings, in which I entered Open Colour, Open Monochrome, and Photojournalism themes but skipped Nature and Photo Travel.
    Highlights: entered "Honeymoon" for the first time, featuring Samara Mae in Puyallup from December 2011; and "Last Light" in its black and white version, featuring DianaJean at Crystal Lakes in July 2015.
    Honeymoon (Open Monochrome PIDM)Honeymoon (Open Monochrome PIDM) Last Light (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Last Light (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Last Light
    6I8A8293 (2/24/2021)
    7/29/2015
    DianaJean
    Upper Crystal Lake, Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

    2021-04-01 Colors of Humanity Art Gallery (online) "Human Nature": Exhibited virtually
  3. Photo Fest Bitola, closing October 10, PSA 2022-511 in North Macedonia. One judging, but I entered all 9 themes.
    Highlights: Entered for the first time "Canyon," with Katlyn Lacoste at Ohanapecosh in March 2022; "Nook," with Queen Dandelion at Rialto Beach in July 2018; "Spencer on Tolmie Peak," with Spencer Parks in July 2016; "Admonito" with Leo Velo in January 2020; "Skinny dippers at Hidden Lake" with Lily and Haily in August 2022; "Window Dressing" with Lonna Manson in Seattle in April 2017; and "Clay," with Katlyn Lacoste on Shriner Peak in September 2020, in a rare "Nude" theme.
    Canyon (Open Monochrome PIDM)Canyon (Open Monochrome PIDM) Nook (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Nook (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Spencer on Tolmie Peak (Open Monochrome PIDM)Spencer on Tolmie Peak (Open Monochrome PIDM) Admonito (Portrait PIDC)Admonito (Portrait PIDC) Skinny dippers at Hidden Lake (Life PJD)Skinny dippers at Hidden Lake (Life PJD) Window dressing (Lines PIDM)Window dressing (Lines PIDM) Clay (Nude PIDC)Clay (Nude PIDC)
  4. Bengal Super Circuit, closing October 10, PSA 2022-552 in India. 5 judgings, 4 themes.
    Highlights: Entered for the first time, "Primal," featuring Dominique Zuniga at Valley of Fire in March 2016; and "Vex Rising," with Vex Voir at Interlaken Park in June 2017.
    Vantage (Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)Vantage (Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4) Vex rising (Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Vex rising (Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)
  5. Aesthetic Vision, closing October 15, PSA 2022-325 in India. 6 judgings, 4 themes.
    Highlights: "Cardinal Sins" entered for the first time in a PSA contest (it was previously a finalist in the online Photoshoot Awards), with Lior Allay at Gas Works Park in Seattle in March 2019; and "Earth, Water and Fire," with Katlyn Lacoste at Ohanapecosh in March 2022.
    Cardinal Sins (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)Cardinal Sins (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted x4)Cardinal Sins
    B75A9622 (05-19-2019)
    03-15-2019
    Lior Allay
    Gas Works Park, Seattle, Washington

    2021-05-18 Photoshoot Awards (online contest), "Nude2021": Finalist
    Earth, Water and Fire (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3)Earth, Water and Fire (Open Color PIDC) (Accepted x3)
  6. FKA Autumn Circuit, closing October 15, PSA 2022-562 in Serbia. 3 judgings, 4 themes.
    Highlights: Entered for the first time, "In the gray," a portrait of Leo Velo in January 2020; "Symmetry," with Shasta Wonder in Lynnwood in August 2017; and "The Kiss," with Gin and Ginger in May 2022.
    In the gray (Portrait PIDC)In the gray (Portrait PIDC) Symmetry (Woman/Man/Child PIDC) (Accepted)Symmetry (Woman/Man/Child PIDC) (Accepted) The kiss (Open Color PIDC)The kiss (Open Color PIDC)
  7. Bosnia salon, closing October 25, PSA 2022-582 in Bosnia and Herzogovina. One judging, in which I entered six of twelve possible themes.
    Highlights: Entered for the first time, "Classic," with Invy Rose in Puyallup in October 2011; and "Lady of the Lake," with Ronin- at Eunice Lake in August 2022. I also entered a lot of newly-edited photos in the Landscapes and Photojournalism themes.
    Classic (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Classic (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Lady of the Lake (Open Monochrome PIDM)Lady of the Lake (Open Monochrome PIDM)

 

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(Sensualight Photography) A Rose on Mazama Ridge Admonito Aesthenic Vision Balkan Circuit Bengal Super Circuit Bosnia Canyon Cardinal Sins Classic Clay DianaJean Dominique Zuniga Earth Water and Fire FKA Autumn Circuit Gin and Ginger Haily Honeymoon In the gray Invy Rose Katlyn Lacoste Lady of the Lake Last Light Leo Velo Lily Lior Allay Lonna Manson Nook Photo Fest Bitola Portend Primal Queen Dandelion Ronin Samara Mae Shasta Wonder Skinny Dippers at Hidden Lake South Asian Circuit Spencer on Tolmie Peak Spencer Parks Symmetry The Kiss Vex Rising Vex Voir Window Dressing https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/entries-to-seven-salons Tue, 18 Oct 2022 20:12:07 GMT
Bronze medal at Zodiac salon https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/bronze-medal-at-zodiac-salon The results are in for the Zodiac Circuit. Once again, it's a mixed result: only two acceptances... I only entered the open color and open monochrome sections, so that means only eight photos submitted, but they had four judgings, so two out of 32 isn't great. Still, one photo, "Vantage," featuring Dominique Zuniga at Valley of Fire in March 2016, received a bronze medal. It's another example of the wide variability in judging... that one awarded it with 15 points (out of an unknown maximum), when no other photo received more than 11 -- including the other three judgings, which awarded this same photo 7, 8, and 10 points.

Anyway, such is art, and I'm happy to be accepted and awarded in any case! Here are the two accepted photos. The second one is "Between Two Firs," with Queen Dandelion at Rialto Beach in July 2018. This is the first time it's been accepted in any contest.

Vantage (Monochrome PIDM) (Salon Bronze)Vantage (Monochrome PIDM) (Salon Bronze) Between Two Firs (Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Between Two Firs (Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Rest and Upheaval (series of 7)
6I8A4676 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude): Honorable Mention

 


  • September 12, 2022, Zodiac Circuit (2022-497), India, Photographic Society Contest
    • "Vantage" (Monochrome PIDM, Aquarius judging), Dominique Zuniga, Valley of Fire, March 2016
    • "Between Two Firs" (Monochrome PIDM, Aquarius judging), Queen Dandelion, Rialto Beach, July 2018
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(Sensualight Photography) award Between Two Firs Bronze Medal Dominique Zuniga PSA Queen Dandelion Vantage Zodiac Circuit https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/bronze-medal-at-zodiac-salon Tue, 18 Oct 2022 18:13:47 GMT
Ronin-: New edited photos! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/ronin--new-edited-photos I completed my edits of Ronin-'s photos a month ago, but have been waiting for her approval of which ones to publish. This is very common when I work with non-professional models, and it comes with pros and cons for me as a photographer. I love working with people who are exploring the idea of their bodies as art for the first time, and the experience of being part of that process is worthwhile in its own right. It comes with a need to trust the model and to unconditionally accept where they are in their personal journey. And often that means accepting that they're not ready for every single picture to be fair game for publication, the way a professional model would be.

Ronin-'s condition, as she anticipated would be the case before we ever started shooting, is to publish only photos that are either clothed or do not show her face. The images I cannot share with you are striking and powerful. But they belong to her, exclusively. And that's that.

Fortunately the rest of the images are also fantastic! As you may recall from an earlier post, Ronin- had a concept in mind, and we pulled it off. The "Lady of the Lake" theme turned out amazingly well. And with that... I'll shut up and let you see for yourself!

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(Sensualight Photography) Eunice Lake Lady of the Lake Ronin Tolmie Peak https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/ronin--new-edited-photos Tue, 18 Oct 2022 03:10:26 GMT
Two photos accepted at Varadinum Salon https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/two-photos-accepted-at-varadinum-salon Results have arrived from the Varadinum salon in Romania, with both good news and bad news. The good news is that twice as many of my photos were accepted this year as were accepted last year. The bad news is that that means just two photos out of twelve submitted in three categories. So a weak result two years in a row. I suspect this will be one I won't enter next year.

The photos accepted were "Shasta II," in the Monochrome category, and "Calico," in the Face & Body category (PIDC).

Shasta II (Open Mono PIDM) (Accepted)Shasta II (Open Mono PIDM) (Accepted)Shasta II
6I8A6319 (3-16-2020)
08-22-2017
Shasta Wonder
Lynnwood, Washington

2021-11-20 Vidin Spring Circuit (Bulgaria and Serbia) (Nude Mono PIDM), as "Shasta": Accepted; Salon Gold Medal in Pazardzhik, Bulgaria
Calico (Face and Body PIDC) (Accepted)Calico (Face and Body PIDC) (Accepted)


  • October 3, 2022, Varadinum salon (2022-229), Romania, Photographic Society Contest
    • "Shasta II" (Monochrome PIDM), Shasta Wonder, Lynnwood, August 2017
    • "Calico" (Face & Body PIDC), Marzipanned, Seattle, January 2019
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(Sensualight Photography) Calico Marzipanned PSA Shasta Shasta Wonder Varadinum https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/two-photos-accepted-at-varadinum-salon Thu, 13 Oct 2022 18:23:58 GMT
Opening night at Decode Gallery https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/opening-night-at-decode-gallery I love it when gallery owners send photos of how an exhibition actually looks in situ, especially when it's too far away for me to visit personally. The "Nude" exhibition just opened this past weekend at Decode Gallery in Tucson, and will be on display through early November. Here are a few photos from opening night. My photo, "Parallel Worlds," is the top-right image on the left wall in each of these images.

nude opening night. My photo top right.nude opening night. My photo top right. nude opening. My photo top right on left wall.nude opening. My photo top right on left wall. nude opening. My photo top right.nude opening. My photo top right. nude opening. My photo top right on left wall.nude opening. My photo top right on left wall.

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(Sensualight Photography) Bunny Luna Decode Gallery exhibition gallery Nude opening night Parallel Worlds https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/opening-night-at-decode-gallery Wed, 12 Oct 2022 16:24:25 GMT
Honorable Mention at Montenegro 2022 https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/honorable-mention-at-montenegro-2022 One of my favorite recent photos has earned an Honorable Mention at the Montenegro Circuit: "Off Season," with Katlyn Lacoste at Ohanapecosh this March. I love this image, and someone in Kotor, Montenegro did too. They gave it 24 out of a total possible 27 points!

Unfortunately, the other judges in Montenegro weren't so positive, awarding it 16, 16 and 14 points. This is what's so maddening about art: its inherent subjectivity and unpredictability. Next time I submit this photo, will it receive the points necessary for acceptance, plus four to spare and an honorable mention award? Or will it receive six points fewer than the number required? There's no way to no.

Further disappointing at Montenegro, none of my other photos were accepted. I entered four photos each in the color and monochrome categories, which were reviewed by four different judges. 32 photo judgings all told, and only one accepted. Frustrating. But it's an honorable mention! So there's that.

Better luck next time, I suppose.

Off Season (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Honorable Mention)Off Season (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Honorable Mention)


  • September 10, 2022, Montenegro Circuit (2022-471), Montenegro, Photographic Society Contest
    • "Off Season" (Monochrome PIDM) (Salon Honorable Mention), Katlyn Lacoste, Ohanapecosh, March 2021
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(Sensualight Photography) award Honorable Mention Katlyn Lacoste Montenegro Off Season PSA https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/10/honorable-mention-at-montenegro-2022 Fri, 07 Oct 2022 20:45:02 GMT
Sensualight joins NFTitties! https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/9/sensualight-joins-nftitties Ladies and gentlemen, nons and fluids, Sensualight is entering the 21st century!

Back in July, I discovered one of the most interesting photographic exhibitions I have yet run across: NFTitties.

Yes, NFTitties. "A women-led #NFT art drop celebrating boobs in all shapes and sizes 🔵🟥🔶."

Here's how it works: artists submit artistic images of women's breasts. The curators of the exhibit choose the best, and make them available as NFTs, "Non-Fungible Tokens." (No, I'm not 100% sure I understand what NFTs are. Give me a break. I'm a Gen-Xer.) Throughout the month of October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, people will be able to purchase these NFTs using digital currency. A portion of the proceeds will go to the artist, while the remainder will be donated to causes fighting breast cancer, promoting gender equality in Web3 (nope, not sure I know what that is either), and fighting censorship of art (definitely know what that one is, thank you Instagram).

Even though it's a bit over my head, I love the idea, the creativity, and the energy behind this project. So what the hell, I submitted two photos for consideration, and one of them was selected! Here's a reduced version of my NFT, which will be sold in all of its high definition glory for 0.1 ETH (sort of know what that means) starting October 1. This is a crop of my photo called "Locked Out," featuring Marzipanned at Frink Park in Seattle in January 2019.

So if you'd like to contribute in a creative way toward breast cancer research, strike a blow for gender equality, fight censorship, and own a token piece of great digital art that isn't fungible, check out NFTitties to find out how to buy my photo! Or somebody else's. Seriously, how can I complain when it's for such a good cause?

Find NFTitties online here:


  • October 1, 2022, NFTitties, Online Exhibit and Fundraiser
    • "Locked Out," Marzipanned, Frink Park, Seattle, January 2019
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(Sensualight Photography) auction boobs breast cancer Locked Out Marzipanned NFT NFTitties https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/9/sensualight-joins-nftitties Thu, 29 Sep 2022 16:07:00 GMT
Haily and Lily at Hidden Lake: New Photos https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/9/haily-and-lily-at-hidden-lake New photos are posted, hooray!

These are from my photoshoot with Haily and Lily last month, at Hidden Lake in Mount Rainier National Park. It was such a beautiful day in a beautiful location, and we had a great time playing and photographing in the lake and among the massive oblong boulders. Making pictures is always something I enjoy, and when it's with friends old and new, that's even better. The best days are when every photograph could turn out blurred beyond use and the memories of a good day in the wilderness would still make every step of the trip worthwhile.

But, the photos aren't blurred. In fact, they're gorgeous, thanks to these two strong, beautiful women! I think you'll think so too. So, without further ado: here are my favorites. Enjoy!

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(Sensualight Photography) figure photography Haily Hidden Lake Lily nude in nature https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/9/haily-and-lily-at-hidden-lake Thu, 29 Sep 2022 04:05:54 GMT
Merit Medal Award for an old favorite at CAS Photo Academy https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/9/merit-medal-award-for-an-old-favorite-at-cas-photo-academy Here's the next Photographic Society results, this time from CAS Photo Academy in India. On one hand, I entered photos in four different themes, and only had four photos accepted; not the best rate of return. On the other hand, one of my photos received a Merit Medal Award. Not bad. But a predictable choice: one of my most successful photos, "Rest and Upheaval," with Queen Dandelion at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park. Also pictured here: "Calico," accepted in a PSA contest for the second time, featuring Marzipanned and a friend in Seattle in January 2019.

Rest and Upheaval (Monochrome Open PIDM) (Merit Medal Award)Rest and Upheaval (Monochrome Open PIDM) (Merit Medal Award)Rest and Upheaval
6I8A5363 (09-17-2020)
07-31-2018
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park, Washington

2021-05-02 Pirin Salon (Razlog, Bulgaria) (Nude PIDC): Accepted
2021-05-29 MTN Photo Salon (Kolkota, India) (Nude PIDM): Judge's Choice
2021-06-30 Marika Magazine (published in Toronto, Canada) (Summer 2021): Published
2021-07-02 Hilliard Gallery (Kansas City, Missoiuri), "14th Annual Contemporary Figurative Show": Exhibited
2021-07-05 Moscow International Foto Awards (online contest based in Moscow, Russia) (Amateur Nude), as part of a 7-photo series titled "Rest and Upheaval": Honorable Mention
2021-07-30 3 Square Art Gallery (Fort Collins, Colorado), "Figure That!": Exhibited with a Gold Award
2021-10-15 Kladovo Summer Circuit (Cuprija and Kladovo, Serbia; Vidin, Bulgaria) (Nude Mono PIDM): Accepted; Salon Gold (Cuprija)
2021-11-20 Shadowhunter Circuit (Serbia, Croatia, Malta, and Montenegro) (Nude PID): Accepted; Salon Silver (Croatia); Salon Ribbon (Serbia); DIPA Diploma (Montenegro)
2021-11-29 Clickerz International Salon (Kolkata, India) (Nude PIDC): Certificate of Merit
2021-11-30 Photo Fest Bitola (Bitola, Macedonia) (Nude PIDC): IAAP Bronze Medal
Calico (Face and Body PIDC) (Accepted)Calico (Face and Body PIDC) (Accepted)

Oh, and one more thing! This time around, the results came with an extra message:

* Further to inform you that we shall start the preparation for our Annual Print Gallery Exhibition from next month where our Mission is to Promote the Awarded Author's Art Work to a Larger Audience , in this regard we are requesting you to send the Awarded Picture / Pictures Softcopy in High Resolution Format ( 18 x 12 inch , 5400 x 3600 pixel - 300 Dpi) for our Print Exhibition which is scheduled on January 2023 at a Premium Art Gallery of Kolkata , India .

So, cool. If you're in Kolkata this coming January, look for my photo.


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(Sensualight Photography) award Calico exhibition Isaac's Angel Marzipanned Merit Medal PSA Queen Dandelion Rest and Upheaval Vex Voir https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/9/merit-medal-award-for-an-old-favorite-at-cas-photo-academy Wed, 28 Sep 2022 16:44:00 GMT
Five photos accepted at Photo Story Macedonia https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/9/five-photos-accepted-at-photo-story-macedonia Another round of Photographic Society-associated competitions are posting results! The first of these is Photo Story in North Macedonia, for which I submitted photos in three themes (Open Monochrome, Open Color, and Women) and had five of them accepted. Among these, I'll feature two here. "Discretion," with Zi Gattina, was photographed in Seattle in June 2017. I submitted it for consideration for the first time in a PSA contest, though it had been accepted and exhibited at the Midwest Center for Photography back in 2019. (Given that success, I probably should have submitted it to PSA contests sooner.) "Portend" is another photo with past success that I submitted to photo salons for the first time. It was made with Leo Velo in Seattle in February 2016, and then was accepted and exhibited at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival in April 2017. (I really like the name I came up with for this image, which nods to the Grim Reaper-reminiscent scythe hanging over Leo's head.)

Discretion (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Discretion (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted) Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)Portend (Open Monochrome PIDM) (Accepted)


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(Sensualight Photography) Courtney Appleseed Discretion Evening Swim figure photography Godiva in the Evening Leo Velo Michelle Rogue Portend PSA Shasta Shasta Wonder Stella Luceat Zi Gattina https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/9/five-photos-accepted-at-photo-story-macedonia Wed, 28 Sep 2022 04:17:05 GMT
Suvarna Salon accepts six photos https://www.sensualight.com/blog/2022/9/suvarna-salon-accepts-six-photos The results are back from the Suvarna salon in India, and they include six accepted photos -- two of them accepted by an exhibition or contest for the first time.

Still, I'm disappointed. Suvarna is one of a very few salons to have a specific "Nude" category... and none of my entries in this category were accepted.

I have learned, repeatedly, that art is subjective, and that results vary from place to place and person to person. It is only by seeing how a broad range of people respond to my art that I can glimpse any sense of what the community overall sees as quality. One contest may give my image the highest marks available, and first place awards; while another contest doesn't even accept the same image. I submitted some of my most reliable images to this contest, and none were accepted. When I look at the images that were accepted, and those given awards, I may get a sense for why mine weren't successful. This contest, and its judges, clearly valued highly polished images, either in studio settings or, if out of doors, extremely stylized. This is not my kind of photography, as I favor a grittier, more realistic style.

Sour grapes? I hope not. The images that won are excellent images. They're just excellent in ways that are consistently different from mine.

I already preview the kinds of images a salon has accepted in the past, to see which salons are more likely to accept nude images. Certain countries (China, Italy, Turkey, the United States) consistently have few if any nude photos accepted by their photo clubs. Other countries, and certain clubs within them, consistently seem to place a higher value on figurative art, with one in five images, or more, including nudity within the "open" categories.

It's daunting to even consider looking at individual photo styles accepted in past contests and comparing them to my own. Plus, judges vary, so the favored images likely vary from year to year as well. In the end, trying to game the system becomes more trouble than it's worth. You just have to submit what you think is your own best work, and hope for the best. And over time, the community of photographers will give you a sense for which of your photos are respected, at least by a subset of judges.

Meanwhile, I don't mean in any way to diminish the worth of the