Back to Boudoir?

I hate it when I get a new idea and it is seriously one of the best ideas I have had in a very long time and I’m not quite sure how to make it happen.  I’m driving myself crazy with this because it is exactly where I want to go with my work!  This all came from viewing a folder of past client work and one of my boudoir clients and she just nailed it with her shoot!  I can’t share the images because of the privacy agreement, but damn, she did an amazing job running with the concept!

There are a few other clients I wish I could share on here as well, but when they want privacy I make sure they get it!  But that is a different topic all together.  I was going through old client images because I like seeing the difference between my boudoir clients and the models I work with, and there are several clients who were every bit as good as the models I’ve worked with and even better than a lot of the models I’ve worked with!  I always love it when a client comes in and just rocks the shoot!

I was going to step back from shooting boudoir this year, but now I think I may need to restart this business with my new idea, if I can pull it off!  Honestly, it isn’t the best business plan as far as making a lot of money, but it is affordable and will be super cool and fun.  To me that is what this is all about, having fun and just living the life!  But if I go back to boudoir, it definitely will not be the typical boudoir you see from other photographers, it will be something totally different!

 

Kaley and Parris by The Average Jim

Naked Travels

So I have decided to once again try crowd funding for my road trip project! I am calling it Naked Travels, it is a documentation of different models in my Mercedes while I travel to different parts of the United States.  I am not sure how long it will take me to complete this project but that is kind of what I like about it.  There is no real end in site.

But if you wish to help me out you can donate to my Indie go-go page here.

http://igg.me/p/naked-travels/x/10509563

For as little as $5.00 you will get exclusive images from this project sent to you via email.  These are images that will not be posted here on this site, so the only way to see them is to be a part of this list!  And for an even more exclusive list you can donate $45.00 and receive weekly updates and new images.

Okay, enough with the sales pitch, I’m back to the editing, so far I have photographed over 30 models with this car and it is time to start selecting the images for the first part of the journey!

Desirey by The Average Jim

 

Make It Count

I have never been one to do things the normal way.  Also, I have never really cared what others thought of me while I wasn’t doing things the normal way.  Here is why.

If someone is judging you for what you do, and if what you’re doing isn’t hurting anyone else or illegal, but these other individuals just don’t like it, they are not your friends or fans.  I have lost some “friends” over the years because of the type of work I do.  I can’t blame it on religion because I have some extremely conservative religious friends who love my work!  So what is it that makes people uncomfortable?

A few years ago some friends actually said they had to “unfriend” me on Facebook because it showed what photos I liked in their news feed.  These were just a few (literally a few) photos of models who were friends of mine.  I would like their photo, which was not overtly sexual or even close to nude, but because they were photos of models they had to unfriend me.  It was too “sexy” for them.

Honestly, they’re nice people but they’re not my friends.  One of them actually had a talk with me about how it just wasn’t moral.  Give me a fucking break!  Artists, for centuries, have been amazed and bewildered by the nude human body!  Governments have commissioned works of art that are in the nude!  Churches have commissioned art that is nude!  If me liking a photo of a friend of mine online where she is wearing a t-shirt and shorts is offensive then you have your own issues to deal with!  I guess you’ll be giving your wife a fucking burka for Valentine’s Day.

This is why I say what other people think of me is none of my business.  I didn’t need to hear that from him.  But he felt the need to tell me what I do is wrong.  I work with women, women hire me to take photos of themselves and models contact me to photograph them the way I do.  I’m not forcing anyone into this by any means.  If the women who work with me feel okay with it well then, that is all that matters to me.

I will be embarking on a new project soon, hopefully if all goes well, and this will be in typical Average Jim form.  There are no rules, there are no boundaries and the limitations are only set by the person in front of my lens.  We go where the shoot takes us and that is just what happens.  Sometimes it is sensual sometimes it is fashionable sometimes it is gritty and sometimes it is just cute and fun.  But if you don’t like it, don’t look at it.  If you do like it, feel free to buy some of the work or to hire me to create it for you!  Or just keep coming back for more.

The bottom line is this.  If you feel the need to criticize the work in a negative way based off of your personal beliefs.  I don’t want to hear it because I don’t care.  I live for today and love the freedom that comes with what I do.  My work isn’t about sexuality, it is about freedom, love, throwing caution to the wind and just embracing life.  You only live once, make it count.

Jessica by The Average Jim

Keep Pretending

Okay, so I had said that I was no longer going to rant about the photo industry, but I kind of have to today.  I was on Facebook and saw a forum where someone was asking for advice about some photos they had taken, of course a bunch of photographers pop up and start offering their services to this person.  Everything from workshops to lessons to whatever else they could think of to try to get this person to hire them to be a better photographer.

Here is the problem.  These people should not be teaching anybody anything!  Their work is mediocre at best and they think they are the top professionals in the field.  I’ve talked with a few of them before, they really think they know what they’re doing but honestly their work tells a different story!

It just goes to show that social media can be used to build a name for a business but it doesn’t necessarily promote talent.  I have been told by many people that I should have a much stronger following on Instagram and Twitter, but I just don’t care.  I’m not going to post a ton of self promoting images on Instagram because I am not into it.  Honestly, I photograph models a lot, now mostly for personal projects and some art stuff.  If I had a following of 50,000 people it would most likely be 49,000 guys who just want to see half-naked models.  They wouldn’t care about me or the art of it all.  So why work so hard to entertain people who are not my customers?  I don’t care about the attention, I’m arrogant enough to not need a thousand likes on a photo.

The other thing I found funny is that some of these photographers who were offering lessons and workshops don’t even do photography for a living!  Not because they have a great job and happen to be a great photographer too.  No, it is because they would not make a living as a full-time photographer.  It is hard to do!  I’ve been doing it for years and it is a real struggle to turn a profit!  Every year gets harder and harder.  But to them they have all of the answers.  It is easy to have all of the answers when you have never had to face the tough questions.

Photographers are the new guitarists.  In the 70’s everyone wanted to be a rock star.  In the 80’s everyone wanted to be on MTV.  In the 90’s everyone wanted to be Kurt Cobain.  And now suddenly, everyone wants to be Terry Richardson, but claim not to want to be him, but want to be just like him.

Get a digital camera and a pretty girl to pose for you and suddenly you’re cool and hip!  It doesn’t matter what the image looks like, she’s naked, you’re amazing!  And if anyone tells you otherwise just look at all of those likes you have on Instagram.  1000 paid for likes can’t be wrong!

This is why I choose to do my own thing these days.  Most of the industry is a joke to me, this may offend some of my friends but I really don’t care.  I’m not claiming to be the best photographer in the world here, I just do what I do.  I just laugh at those who think they know everything and have no clue that they have not even scratched the surface of what they should know!

I’m not a teacher, I am not a leader of this industry, I am just a guy who takes pictures of what he wants and how he sees the world.  I’m not going to try to make money off of photographers and be a snake oil salesman.  I am just me and will keep on trying to be the best me I can possibly be.  And I will continue to support those who are leaders in this industry who actually have something amazing to offer.  Everyone else can keep playing their games, keep their internet fame and keep pretending.  Meanwhile, I will keep doing. ;)

Amanda by The Average Jim

It doesn’t have to be art

There is a certain freedom that comes with being an artist.  Actually it is called artistic freedom.  This is the power to do what I want when I want.  I like it this way, in fact I like it so much that I think this is about the only way I will be doing business as a photographer anymore.  Or maybe I won’t be doing business as a photographer anymore and I will just shoot what I want when I want and see if I can make the art I want to make.  And to be perfectly honest, sometimes it will not be art at all.

I like making pretty pictures, or pictures that make you think, or pictures that just make you wonder what in the hell was I thinking?  It is time to follow the voices in my head and just explore the little bits of inspiration which usually get put on hold until they spark a bigger idea.  Maybe the little idea is the big idea?

I need to let photography be my obsession, not my profession.  Well, I shouldn’t be that extreme, I still have people who hire me for what I do and they give me full artistic freedom, so I’m totally cool with that.  I’m just not going to keep trying to make it my main gig financially.  I have some other options and I’m taking them!  And if it pays off I will get to do even more creative photography than ever before!

When it comes to living life I like to think of myself as an explorer.  I don’t believe in the regular 9 to 5 job, I believe in taking as many vacations as possible and I believe in enjoying every moment you can.  My wife gave me some inspiration yesterday as to what I should be doing to make money and, as usual, I think she is right!  It is still in my creative wheelhouse and has nothing to do with selling out!  This will also allow me to focus on the creative side of taking pictures again full-time!  And this makes my energy go through the roof!

I now feel like I am chomping at the bit and ready to charge, but I know I need to restrain myself at first.  There are some hurdles in the way, nothing too huge, but I do need to get passed them before charging forward, as I do not wish to fall flat on my face!

And welcome to my world of being a creative!  Always thinking of new ways to survive in a world that wants your product, but never has the budget to pay you.  The true creativity sometimes comes in how you find new ways to get paid for what you do rather than actually doing what you do!  If you are a creative person, don’t let this stop you, just think of it as part of the creative process and you will find yourself far less frustrated!  Trust me, this is something I know about!

This is from an editorial I shot last year with Charley, we really didn’t have a plan, just walk around Portland and see what happens next, it is definitely my kind of plan!

Charley by The Average Jim

The Epiphany Addendum

Yesterday I talked about why I don’t go to certain photography conferences.  I would like to make an addendum to that post, and here it is.

I live in Palm Springs, and we have one of the best photo festivals around!  Now this really isn’t your typical photography conference.  They bring in industry professionals from all over the world as well as some of the most respected, working photographers.  A four-day workshop with a master is the same as some hacks charge!  This is the real deal.  So real, that I am actually volunteering just so I can be a part of it!

There is only one issue I have with it.  This festival feeds my wanderlust a little too much.  It pushes me to push myself and dive into the type of work I wish to create more of.  And when I get in this mood my first thought is to put everything I own up for sale on Craigslist and take off with my Mercedes, a backpack and my camera!  I call it “The Average Jim’s Adventure Kit.”

I woke up way to early this morning thinking of my future travels and what I should be doing next to get there.  I came up with some ideas, now I must sort them out and figure out which ones are realistic and which ones are pure fantasy!  Sometimes it is hard to tell!

I made the joke about my muse being inside of my head and just tormenting me a few posts ago.  Well it is true!  And she likes to wake me up at 4 AM and give me thousands of ideas and she leaves me there to sift through them for the good ones.  Sometimes I pick the right ones, sometimes I don’t.  I’m starting to think my muse might be a little bipolar.

The thing I need to focus on more is only shooting what inspires me.  This is tricky as well because it also means turning down work, and as an artist money is something you usually need.  But when you take that risk, sometimes there is a greater reward.  Or sometimes you end up homeless.

Something tells me to wait for this festival and wait until I can talk to more artists who have a similar career as to what I wish to have.  Basically taking my own advice from yesterday.  Meet someone who is doing what I wish to do, someone’s work that I admire and talk to them directly.  No aimlessly searching for answers, but going directly to the source.  It could be like a prescription of lithium for my muse! ;)

This is from one of my favorite sessions.  Nothing fancy, just a really cool shoot.

Gracesa by The Average Jim

 

Just Say No, or Hire Me. ;)

I was asked why I don’t go to too many photography conventions anymore.  What was funny is that it was asked by someone who says they read my blog, I swear I’ve mentioned this before but here goes.

Conventions (in my opinion) are there for the industry to suck new photographers dry of all of their money.  They get presenters who often don’t make their living off of actually being a photographer.  There is a well-known photography duo back east who actually gets photographers to pay them to help them shoot weddings!  How genius/insane is that?  Pay me money and I will let you shoot a wedding with me to learn how amazing I am!!!! Oh, but you don’t get to use the images.

The industry is full of opportunists who just want to make money off of their peers.  The worst ones are the uber religious photographers who get other religious photographers to pay them money to teach them how to shoot with a 50mm 1.2 lens “wide open” which is complete bullshit in my mind.  You know, they make aperture 1.2 for a reason and 22 for a reason.  “Oh but professionals only shoot at 1.2″ …… no, they don’t.

These are just some of the reasons I don’t go to conventions.  People like to act like they are “Rock stars” when they are really just mediocre photographers in leather.  One guy claims to be “fashion” when his work is cheesy mid-west glam at best.  But he calls himself fashion so that is what they say he is.

If you want to learn how to be a photographer, don’t go to a workshop, don’t go to a convention.  Find someone who has work you love and contact them directly and ask what they would charge to mentor you.  Or just buy a book and try to figure it out on your own.  You will save a ton of money and probably learn a lot more!  Also, only take business advice, or workshops for that matter, from photographers who are actually working as photographers!  Just because they teach at conventions does not mean they know how to run a business!  And if they make more of their living off of workshops than they do from shooting, pass on it!

Just my thoughts on this, and I’m sure in a month or two someone will ask me again why I do not go to conventions. ;)

Here is one from a fun shoot I had with Monique from last year.

Monique by The Average Jim

The Average Escape

I can definitely say that I do not like to go along with the norm.  It has taken me years but I finally realize that I just see the world differently and many people will not understand it.  And sometimes, what I like in an image has little to do with what the image actually looks like to others or with what you may think I might like about it.

Photography lets me live in my own little secret world inside the lens.  I get to be a kid and play make-believe all I want to.  It can be the apocalypse or I can be on some grand adventure.  It doesn’t matter where I go, I just get to go!

This may sound absurd to some, but to me this is my life.  I get to escape into the images and be who I want to be on a daily basis.  It isn’t about escaping real life, it is about bringing my vision to life in the real world.  It is about making dreams reality and living them to the fullest.

You can’t sit around and wait for it to happen, you have to make it happen.  This is what I do, this is what I love to do.  I’m just happy to share it with everyone and hope you find a place to escape to in the images as well!

Joni by The Average Jim

Postcards From The Average Edge

I think I just want to have fun from now on.  If people want to pay me to have fun that would be cool too, but overall, I think I just want to play at my playground.  A little lifestyle, a little fashion, a lot way out there.  That could be a lot of fun.  I have often thought of just selling postcards of my work, not a lot of money in that, but you never know.

I feel as though I am on a journey of randomness with my work at the moment.  I have ideas, I have thoughts and I actually have some new concepts, but I am not sure exactly how I am going to pull it all off.  I kind of like these challenges, they keep me on my toes.

It is times like these I almost wish I really had voices in my head.  Maybe they would know what to do?  The United States of The Average Jim would be interesting too, different personalities, a whole group of people living inside my head and every now and then they would take over my body…. That could get weird.

I think I’ll stick to my playground and to creating postcards from the edge, sorry for the Carrie Fisher rip off, but she kind of had it right.  If you go crazy, just embrace it and buckle up, it could be a fun ride! In the end you can always write a book!

Joni by The Average Jim

Inspiration is a MF’er

Inspiration is a mother fucker.  There are days when you just want to curl up and quit and sometimes this stretch will go on for days or even weeks.  But then, out of nowhere, suddenly you have this little flicker of a thought, which turns into an idea, which turns into hope which turns into obsession.  And this is a cycle which repeats itself over and over throughout your career!  Just when you think you have it figured out, it disappears and leaves you alone only to return again when least expected.

Every time it leaves you swear you are done, you swear you will never put yourself through that again.  It is the most dysfunctional relationship you will ever have, and it is totally emotionally abusive in my opinion!  Inspiration is like heroin, you are always chasing the dragon, except that every time it strikes it is the best high ever!  This must be why so many artists have had their muse, maybe one day I’ll find one and stick to it.  But I seriously doubt that.  I think my muse is somewhere in my head, messing with me.

So yes, I was inspired again, and now sit here totally confused.  Fuck you inspiration!  You addicting, lovable, heart-breaking, head-pounding source of all frustration and exhilaration!  And also, thank you. ;)

Jana by The Average Jim

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