Not Missing You

Ever since relocating to Palm Springs I have really slowed down my pace.  I love it!  I feel like I have more time to focus on every single project I am working on.  Whether it is a new way to shoot boudoir photography, beauty photography or just personal projects.  I am definitely more centered here.

And don’t get me wrong, I love Ventura, but Palm Springs is definitely more my speed.  It also helps that I have a pool, I’m not going to lie, I really like that aspect a lot!

Part of the move has really made me reflect upon what I want to do and how I want to do it.  I think I’m about done with fashion as it is just too flaky of an industry to me.  Someone agrees to something once and then they say they never said that and it goes on and on like this until nobody knows the real truth.  I’m over that and I’m just not into it anymore and I don’t miss it.

I like my clients and several models I have worked with who I will definitely work with over and over!  These people are cool and just get what the whole experience is about, and I really like that!  I’m almost ready to charge less with a disclaimer that if they don’t get it or don’t understand it, find someone else to do it!  I don’t care about the money, I want to get away from the headache that certain people can give me!

I’m rambling again, but that is fine, I’m in my happy place at the moment.  And living here in Palm Springs has put me in a happy place since I got here, life is good, no complaints and I am not missing the LA scene at all.

Here is one from a shoot a few years ago with Jess, the magazine didn’t run these because they changed formats in between asking me to shoot these and when I sent them in two weeks after that initial email….. now they’re not around anymore, they should have run these because maybe they’d still be around! ;)

Jess Robinson by The Average Jim

Letting Go and Moving Forward

It is kind of funny how if you point out the flaw in someone’s work you are suddenly called a hater.  Really?  That is now the defense of people who do shitty work?  “Oh, you’re just a hater.” No, you do shitty work.  End of argument.  It gets even worse the older I get, now I’m an out dated hater I guess?  Honestly I don’t care what other people do, but don’t expect me to like it just because some internet magazine published it.  You got a good-looking girl naked and took pictures, wow, nobody has ever done that before.

And I’m not leaving myself out of this, I’ve done some shitty work in my day.  Sometimes I got paid to do shitty work!  But those days are gone, I hope!  Now I just want to focus on the positive and work with people who don’t want shitty work.

I really need to stop looking at these new magazines, it really frustrates me that when I find them, they are working with great photographers and then suddenly they work with people they don’t have to pay.  WTF? Really, this is total bait and switch!  A friend of mine was shooting for one magazine, she does killer work, and now they have a ton of guys who are willing to shoot for them for free so they take them up on it.  They use the same models, they have in-house retouchers and now don’t have to pay the photographer.  Honestly, the work isn’t as good but the readers probably can’t tell the difference.  It is sad and it pisses me off.

This is why I just need to focus on my own projects.  Magazine shoots are fun but so are boudoir sessions and art shoots!  So why not focus on that?  It is basically the same thing, just better deadlines and people who want to be there, less ego involved too.  I think I might be on to something here.

I feel as though I need to make a change, I need to let go of something.  Maybe I need to let go of the editorials and just take that experience into the art world?  I sometimes wonder what I could do if I solely focused on that.  I’d probably go broke, but magazines are not paying anymore anyway, so what do I have to lose?  Definitely not money!

I am going to keep on exploring my creative side and see what I can do differently in the boudoir market.  There are plenty of people doing the same thing out there, I just need to do something different!

Lee by The Average Jim

Guilty Pleasures

I have many guilty pleasures in life.  I like movies that some people just don’t understand.  I have some really bad taste sometimes, but that is why it is called a guilty pleasure right?  An example is my affinity for cheesy hair metal music.  I love this stuff, I don’t know why, but I do!

It does give a little bit of insight into the way I think.  I am an extrovert, I love the attention of being on stage and love performing.  I also love the glamour of it all.  There is a lot of attention given to everything going on.  It isn’t just an outfit or an act, it is a way of life.

My little world I live in is my way of life.  This may sound crazy but I don’t live in the same world as most people.  Money is trivial to me, I know I need it to pay the rent, but other than that I can’t stand it!  I love being in the moment, I love living in the moment!  If I never had to make another plan for the rest of my life I would seriously love that!  But I know there will be plans to make, I just choose to make as few as possible!

My wife and I went to Hawaii years ago with friends.  I remember our friends asking us what we were planning to do the next day.  My wife and I looked at each other and said, “I don’t know, we will see where we end up.”  Well that is still how I live.  I have no clue where I’m going to be tomorrow, or this afternoon for that matter!

My biggest guilty pleasure is my own time.  I have lived by this philosophy since I can remember.  Money is easy to come by, time isn’t.  So therefore I spend my time wisely because I can always make more money, but I only have so much time.  This is why I do the work I do.  I don’t believe in spending my days doing work I don’t like to do.  I see so many people with jobs to just get by.  I don’t want to spend my life just getting by.

This is where my love of hair metal music comes in.  It’s just about having a good time with life.  It’s about passion, partying and living life to the fullest.  So if you were to ask me what my photography represents, I would say the same thing!  Passion, partying and living life to the fullest, that is what The Average Jim’s Playground is all about!Chelsea by The Average Jim

Risky Business

Ever have those days when you feel like you’re doing something wrong?  Ever have one of those days and realize that you are doing everything wrong?  Well that is how I feel most days.  I love what I do, I love everything about it to be honest with you.  But I am not showing everything I do and I am probably playing it a little safe.

These are things I normally would never do, but this year has been a different year.  I stopped taking certain clients and started taking on other clients.  But for some reason, whenever I try to run a business I tend to play it safe and stop taking as many risks as usual.  And this time of year is when I realize that I need to take more risks!

So while I will still shoot my style of “boudoir photography” and fashion and glamour I am expanding into Pop Art.  I have always wanted to be an artist and now I think it is time to make the jump!  I am working on a new business plan and a whole new marketing strategy.  This could be a huge risk but it is something I have always wanted to do!

My two favorite types of art, outside of photography and music, are Pop Art and Conceptual Art.  I have often used conceptual art ideas with my photography business but never as much as I would have liked.  Now that I’m getting older and hopefully a little wiser I want to push boundaries even more!  No limits, no rules, just unleash the little Average Jim inside of my head!  With great risk comes great reward!

I’m off the deep end for sure, have been for a while, I’m starting to like it here.  It is like having voices inside of your head but they all agree, and when it is unanimous you just have to go with that decision! I know this may sound crazy to some, but if you have an artist mindset you will understand.  Sometimes the idea overpowers rational thought, after all if you build it they will come!  This just means I am building my playground and eventually turning it into an empire.

There will be more positive changes to this blog after the first of the year, once I get everything lined up and ready.  But you can always keep up with my shenanigans via social media.  Just look for me everywhere @theaveragejim tumblr is going to be lots of fun this year along with Snapchat and Instagram!

Life is a great journey, I’m just trying to make the ride a little more fun and a lot more crazy!

Desirey by The Average Jim

Editorial Boudoir

I got an email recently from a potential client asking me about my boudoir photography.  She wanted to know if I shot images based off of what she picked out on Pinterest or if I only did what was on my website?

With so many boudoir photographers out there these days it is kind of hard for clients to find the right one.  I know a lot of photographers who, if I am being honest, have very little creativity.  They need their clients to pull images from Pinterest or other sites just so the can think of how to photograph their clients!  I also know some really creative photographers who have their own style and just like to stick to that.  So I guess the question is, what do I do?

I like to say that the experience one gets when selecting me as their photographer is this.  I shoot every session as if I were shooting for a magazine editorial.  I have shot for many men’s magazines, fashion magazines, and many other publications over the years.  I love to shoot narrative and editorials, it really is probably my favorite thing to shoot.  I don’t mind when clients bring in photos from Pinterest, but I just let them know that we can use those images as inspiration, but we have to make it our own.

I build my playground to suit the way I like to shoot!  So when someone comes to me for a photo shoot they get more than just a “boudoir” session.  They get an editorial of themselves.  This is just how I like to shoot.  Not all of my clients get undressed, several do several don’t.  Some just have fashion images taken or beauty shots.

There is a common misconception that boudoir photography has to be cheesy glamour shots from the 1980’s!  This is not the case at all.  Even though I do take some inspiration from the photos of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, I prefer to avoid being to cheesy when at all possible!

I personally think more photographers need to define their own style and figure out what really works for them.  For me, I just offer magazine style sessions from a photographer who has actually shot for magazines!  All women (or men) of all shapes and sizes are welcome at The Average Jim’s Playground.  I just like having fun and shooting what I love!

Danielle by The Average Jim

Art Isn’t Dead!! …. It is just taking a break.

I’m probably going to come off as an old purist ranting about the new, young photographers in this industry but I really don’t care.  I’ve seen some really good work out there and then I have seen some bad work out there, but what really gets me is this celebration of mediocrity!

I saw an editorial this morning from a newer magazine featuring a model I know (one who has wanted to work with me) and I have seen the photographers work before.  Talk about unimpressive and blah.  I thought to myself, how did this even get published?  I could blame the photographer for not having an original idea and for poorly executing his composition, but I have to blame the editor of the magazine for allowing this crap.

I started looking at other editorials in the magazine and saw the same thing over and over and then it hit me.  People today, with the digital revolution of photography, have no clue how to spot, take or print a good photograph.   Apparently putting a half-naked, fairly pretty girl in front of a camera is all you need to get published these days.  Who needs good composition?  Who needs talent?  Who needs an understanding of light?  Go to Target or Cosco and buy a digital camera, hire a nude model, call it fashion and have her strip in front of you making faces and throwing her hands up in the air.  And models, if you’re not 5’8″ no worries!  If you’ve got a decent body and are willing to show it off, you too can get published!  I know several website where I can get you published, feel free to hit me up!

I have no issue with nudity or new photographers.  My issue is with magazines publishing shitty work.  They lower the standard when they are supposed to be setting the standard.  I’m sorry my work isn’t shitty enough to publish in your magazine, I’m sorry I like the rule of thirds and intentional images.  For decades photographers have looked to fashion magazines to set the trends, we have looked at them to see what the top photographers were doing.  Now it seems that if you have 10,000 paid for friends on Instagram you will get the gig over someone with talent.  Not that it matters as these gigs don’t pay anyway.

I figure I have to make a choice.  I can try to shoot with the “cool” models who just run around and do their thing in front of the camera.  I can shoot mediocre images and try to get noticed that way.  I can do what all these other people are doing and play the game.  Or I can say fuck it and just do my own thing like always and just point out when people suck.  It won’t make a difference anyway, people are going to think their work is awesome, it is a narcissistic world run by social media and photo editors who don’t know shit about art, composition or good photography.  I am of course excluding the real fashion magazines out there, they do still exist and they publish articles as well as photos of models in wardrobe, both male and female I might add!  If all you publish is (mostly) naked female models you are not a fashion magazine FYI!

I have already stated that I am not submitting to magazines that I would not actually buy anymore.  So for the most part all of this doesn’t really affect me one way or the other.  I just hate the lowering of standards of any art form.  But then I see articles on major news websites with major grammatical errors.  I know the economy is down and nobody can afford to pay anyone, but this is the biggest example of “you get what you pay for” that I have seen in a very long time!

Technology is a great thing, unfortunately the untalented hacks of the world have the same access to it as the rest of us.  Art isn’t dead, I think it is just taking a break for a while until we can get all of the bugs out of the system.  There are some people who are doing great things with technology, but once again, the majority will always be the ones who are not doing great things with it!

I’m going to keep doing what I do because it is what I love the most.  But the next time someone asks me why I’m not submitting to certain magazines, I’m going to flat-out say why.  I still try not to out people on this site, but maybe I should?  Or maybe they are not worth the time?

Either way, I’m happy that my work isn’t on that magazine’s site.  If it was, I’d have to kick my own ass!

Here is one from the archives!  Have I mentioned I love shooting in my old Mercedes? ;)

Tori by The Average Jim

 

 

The Waiting

I think the most frustrating part of any art form is the self-doubt.  Self doubt comes in many forms, everything from doubting your ability, doubting if anyone really likes what you do, doubting your success before your death and the list goes on.

My doubt is a little different but I’m sure someone out there will feel the same.  My doubt changes day by day of wanting to do the same thing.  I get bored easily with my work, especially when I sit back and look at it.  I always think I could have done better, even when it is some of my best work!  People will tell me they love it but I don’t always believe them.  Granted this is a trait that has pushed me to higher levels of work, but it can also be deadly.

There are times I have almost completely walked away from photography, and I have taken many breaks from it too!  I’m kind of in a break right now, I have not shot a personal project in months and it is starting to show.  The problem is that I have an idea in my head that I want to shoot and I know I don’t have the budget set aside to pull it off the way I want to.  This is frustrating because I don’t want to half-ass it!

I know I could probably do it with less of a budget or possibly no budget and nobody else would know, but I would know and it would drive me insane!  I had someone set up for this shoot but now their career has boomed and they want too much  money, and others who seem like they would be worth paying just talk about the rate rather than the concept.  The internet has nearly ruined the modeling industry!  Everybody thinks they are a star and everybody wants top dollar but not everybody has a killer look and too many don’t want to take direction, they’re too busy knowing how to move.  Bullshit.

My doubt stems from knowing how I want something and not being able to make it happen due to outside resources, and this sucks!  There is plenty of talent out there, but finding the right team is always the hardest part.  And right now, I am surrounded by a lot of talent, but unfortunately it is the wrong team for this particular job.  Ugh, I’ll make it happen soon, but as Tom Petty said, the waiting is the hardest part!

Here is one of my summertime assistant Robyn… I think I might need another assistant here in Palm Springs…..

Robyn by The Average Jim

The Gritty Side of Beauty

I think I know why I really like boudoir photography and fashion photography.  I have always been a fan of fine art photography as well, but honestly, my work has never been fine art.  What I have wanted to get out of my photography is this, I am an artist, and I do require a certain amount of space to create my work as well as to ponder what it is I want to create next.  So I have what I call “The Average Jim’s Playground.”

The Playground is my environment, this is where the magic takes place.  I am not one who wants a normal photography studio.  My first studio was a nearly vacant home!  My next was a commercial building that I was able to remodel as often as I wished.  I had that place for over 16 years!  I still have access to it, but my new Playground is in Palm Springs.  I really like it here too!

Part of what I wish to accomplish by moving here is to really push myself creatively and to shoot in a way that my boudoir clients are coming in for not just “sexy” photos but to be a part of a piece of artwork.  Anyone can take photos of women in lingerie, and a lot of them do really cheesy poses and very glamour looks.  I like things a little more raw and gritty.  I like images to reflect the person in the image as well as how I see them.

I have always tried to incorporate my philosophy into my photography.  There are those who will just see it all as the same, some male photographer who take photos of women, and then there are those who get it and see that it is so much more than that.  In a sense I am a beauty photographer, and no matter what you will always get funny looks from people when they find this out.  It is human nature here in America to assume someone must be a pervert if they photograph nude women.  For some reason people love to assume that nudity equal sex, when it just doesn’t!  If you have ever been to a nude beach or to a nudist colony you will see that nudity does not equal sex!  But of course those closed-minded people will still think it does.

Assumption can never replace fact, no matter how hard closed-minded people try.  There is a super conservative Christian group who is constantly trying to get the amazing photographer Jock Sturges arrested claiming he is a pedophile.  They made allegations of this to the police, his home and studio were ransacked by police, destroying some of his equipment and some of his work.  It went to court and the judge threw the case out based on the fact that the images he shot of people at a nudist colony were not child pornography at all, it was art.

This country is so conservative that I honestly stay away from photographing anyone under the age of 18 most of the time!  I am honestly afraid of what people will try to say about me because they may see the work on this site and just assume I am some creep who is trying to exploit the children.  It kind of sucks because I have some amazing ideas for children photography, and I probably will start shooting it soon.  I will just brace myself for the onslaught of hate from narrow-minded automatons!

For now, I am pursuing boudoir, art and fashion photography of people of all ages.  I can’t not be who I am, especially since I am not out to hurt anyone!  I love beauty, I love photography, and I see beauty everywhere, this is just one more reason why I do what I do, even if beauty is sometimes a little gritty!

Maddy by The Average Jim

For The Love of Print

I am a huge advocate for printed, tangible products.  One of the main reasons I do what I do is because I love the way prints look!  I have prints hanging all over my house, my office alone has dozens of photos hanging on the walls!  I have floor to ceiling bookshelves filled with art and magazines and more prints.  If Facebook were to shut down I would have plenty to look at!

I am always looking for new products to showcase my work.  The biggest seller is my “Little Black Book” which is amazing for my boudoir clients, but I want to incorporate the style of that book with more of an art book feel.  I still might try to make an art book out of it, but I’ve got a few other ideas as well.

The more I dive into art and read about it, the more creative I want to get with each and every session I shoot.  I think I want to make a book for every session just to have a library of my own work.  Even if I don’t sell it, it would just be cool to have.

This is really the reason behind my new pricing.  Books and prints are just cool to look at.  To hold it in your hands and to flip through the images, it takes you there.  There is something about the feeling of seeing the print in front of you rather than on a computer monitor.  And don’t get me wrong, I love searching for images online and I love blogging images.  But I still do not believe that the digital image can compete with a print.

Maybe I’m a little old school that way.  All I know is that I am going to start printing a lot more of my work!  Some will be for sale, some won’t.  Even though I love to sell art prints, there are some images I have created that are just for me.

Annelise by The Average Jim

Mediocre is Not Acceptable

What is boudoir photography? Really, what exactly is it?  I know there are a lot of photographers out there who shoot weddings and portraits who are now offering it as a service, but are they doing it justice?  I guess I’m not asking what is boudoir photography as much as I am asking why are so many photographers trying to do it?

Now I’m not wanting to sound like the whole authority on this subject, because I’m not!  I just know what I like and what I like to shoot.  It is just that I see so many bad boudoir photographers out there.  Terrible posing, terrible lighting, and just not a good understanding of the female form.  Just putting someone in lingerie on a bed is not what I would consider good boudoir photography!

So often I have clients email me before a shoot or before they even book me and say “but I don’t look like the women on your website” and honestly, you don’t have to!  Yes I show models on my website, and I do show the clients who allow me to show images, but I work with women of all shapes and sizes.  It is my job to know how to put them in the best pose, how to not show what they don’t want seen and how to use lighting to make everything look it’s best!

Just because you have a camera does not make you a professional photographer, and just because you can photograph a wedding day or a portrait session does not always mean you can shoot boudoir.  I know some fashion photographers who only work with agency models and they flat out say they cannot photograph non models!  I know another wedding photographer who flat out says she can only photograph skinny people.  Not everyone can do this, and not every photographer should try!

I’m just saying this because I didn’t even know I was good at this type of photography until I just happened into it!  I wanted to shoot landscapes and wildlife, or so I thought.  But I honestly wasn’t good at it!  I photographed my friend’s girlfriend who was a model and that led me to her agent who loved my work and sent me more models.  Then my friend’s girlfriends started hiring me to photograph “sexy” photos of them as gifts to their boyfriends.  This was back in the early 1990’s!  Luckily I fell into the right category and I have fun every day with my job.  I get to meet interesting people, I get to work in a relaxed atmosphere and I get to be creative.

Like I said before, not everyone should be a boudoir photographer, just like I should not be a landscape photographer!  I make landscapes look mediocre, why would you want a boudoir photographer to make you look mediocre?  Just my opinion….. ;)

Casey by The Average Jim

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