After a full decade of doing underwater photography, I have officially closed that section of my shutter-snapping hobby. But why would I cease doing something that allowed me to work with so many wonderful people to create so many wonderful images? Well, the decision came down to two things:
Right at the end of the 2018 season, my camera's underwater case developed a leak and flooded. My camera was totally fried.
And then we had the pool filled in.
So there you have it, no camera and no pool. Kind of puts a damper on doing underwater stuff.
In the Self Censored Portraits project, participants were invited to censor their naked selves any way they saw fit. The first version of this project happened in 2010, when I assembled 100 images into a single finished piece. In 2018, I brought the project to the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival and had nearly 200 people censor themselves. A few have graciously allowed their photos to be shared publicly.
In 2015 I spun up a project called Me By Me, where participants draw a life-sized nude portrait of themselves, and then pose next to it. I did about 20 shots in the basement studio, and then packed the whole thing up and took it to the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival. Over the course of the event, 80 more people picked up their markers and threw off their clothes to make some art!
Two years later, I decided to restage Me By Me at SEAF. This time, 95 people went through the process. Yikes... that's around 200 since I first started this project!
Since this is now becoming somewhat of a thing, I decided to put together a gallery of sample images. I asked participants if any would like to opt-in to being included, and happily quite a few have been willing to show off their artistic skills.
Want to see the shots? Have a look:
Earlier this year, I proclaimed that this was going to be the "Summer of Sanity," a three-month stretch of blissful calm that I have been trying to realize for the past few years. For the Summer of Sanity to become a reality, I identified four things that needed to happen: no traveling, no house guests, no major house projects, and -- most important -- wildly pulling back on the number of underwater photo sessions. I'm happy to report that the Summer of Sanity was a smashing success, even if that does mean I have few photos than normal to show you.
This season's underwater work was by invitation only, which meant saying "no" to quite a few people who had hoped to jump in the pool. But having fewer models meant I was able to spend far more time with each of them and did not get seriously backlogged when it came time to process the images. I invited a couple models who I've worked with previously, and a couple who were new to the whole underwater experience. All-in-all I'm quite pleased with the way things turned out. Have a look:
I have no idea what the 2017 season will look like. In fact, I'm not even going to spend any time pondering that right now, as I'm about to launch a new large-scale project that should keep me plenty busy through the spring!