Category Archives: Gardening

Elements Of Design

It’s so beautiful out already this morning; the leaves on my giant willow trees in the back yard are beginning to yellow and slowly falling creating a carpet of yellow along the ditch banks. I see the skies begin to clear with some patches of blue. If the sun comes out it’s going to create a brilliant glow that will radiate through out the house. This would be a perfect morning for some beautiful photographs, but I have no one lined up. Thor and I a have been putting so much time into the website that I we have neglected shooting anything new in the past couple of weeks. I am writing early today, even before coffee, because I want to get out and work on the yard today. I have the new deer fence about half way done on the other side of the house, so today’s goal is to get out and finish the fence and start thinking about how to design a gate. For those of you who know me, you know I don’t do anything simple and every element of my life is personally designed.

For those who have been to the studio you know exactly what I mean. The whole house is completely off center, with so many angles and pitches and textures. Everything is about function and has been created for a specific purpose. The pitch in the main room, where I shoot, was set up so that I would have beautiful natural light that would face to the north at a specific angle exposing the sky without ever allowing direct light into the actual room. With the vaulted ceilings, needing the height for lighting equipment to be raised on stands and booms, the whole pitch of the room had to be offset to thirds. See the rule of thirds I use for photography even plays into my design of the house. Because the pitch of the room is offset to the lesser third on the northern side, it creates that effect with the northern skylights. As I was designing the space, I hired a draftsman who could do the drawings of what I envisioned in my head. I defied his rules of logic and he kept moving the lines back to center. Then we hired a structural engineer who told us how to make it happen. The house is very unique and totally matches my personality. It has the balance and flow of a beautiful painting. I design from my heart and often defy what is logical, it becomes more about an expression of emotion and feelings the space evokes. My yard is becoming the same way. The fence is designed for the practical purpose of keeping the deer out, but allowing the small critters that inhabit the yard like my kitties a freedom and flexibility to move through it, and since one of them is deaf, a quick escape from dogs that come upon her unaware. The yard is small so it needs to have a feeling of being open and not restricted. The fence is becoming like these beautiful little trellises that I will also be able to plant and grow climbing flowering vines. And the rough-cut cedar gives it a weight and texture. This year was about creating a rough outline of the garden, next year will be about sculpting it. So since I have no models lined up for this beautiful Sunday morning I am heading out the garden to enjoy another fall day.

Gorgeous Montana Fall

I feel like I am becoming a bit tapped out and have talked about everything possible. Have been working on this website so much that I actually can’t seem to think or function anymore. It’s a time for a diversion! The site is coming along beautifully, but it has grown beyond what I thought it would become. With some minor set backs shutting the process down most of last week, things are back to normal again and it’s almost finished. I don’t think I have ever worked on anything as hard and long as I have this. The rain seems to have passed and the last couple of days have been totally Montana gorgeous as the leaves are now starting to change and vibrant color fills the air. The warm sun feels great after all that cold rain. I have begun my fencing project on the other side of the house so I am going to get out and work on that today. I really need to work with my body and hands, instead of so much with my brain. I am going to put on my work clothes, play some jazz music and head outside.

Idealistic Explosion of Talents

It’s like suddenly The Naked Man Project is kicking into overdrive and I am in heaven. Everyone in Europe and patrons I have been meeting through my social networks had all advised me that I needed to create a presence for myself, to begin to define and refine what it is I want to do. This is the most essential step of my process before anything else can happen and before I make the next step. In less than one month that presence is beginning to emerge and I am seeing a remarkable wonder and extraordinary beauty I have not recognized in myself in a long time. And yes I did get outside yesterday and worked in my garden for a couple of hours; as I transplanted delphinium and cleaned beds, suddenly, all that I have been doing came into sharp focus.

Now that Stephen has done all the housekeeping on most of the image files, I have begun working through each shoot, subject by subject. Wow, what an incredible group of people I had the privilege to work with and explore my creative process with over the years. And they are all here, from Montana. I am now skimming the cream of the crop of each series and extraordinary things are beginning to reveal themselves. I now am beginning to see more what others have been saying about the images for some time. I am often reluctant sometimes and find compliments hard to receive. It’s part of my backstage personality of those years in the theater where I remained hidden, but was the controlling force that kept the show and companies running each night. I tend to also be a fairly humble guy, who believes in keeping everything low key and simple, not the case anymore. This is becoming one of the greatest adventures of my life, every day now is filled with excitement, joy and wonder. My time in the garden yesterday also taught me that this does not have to happen at breakneck speed and to actually savor and enjoy the process as it unfolds. I am so jacked for when I will get to reveal this creation, but know I do not want to rush it or get sloppy.

I met with a new intern yesterday that I am actually jacked about having him join us. His name is Stopher, another gay kid that is funny, witty, smart and cute. He is going to take on the blog element of the site. We have found a module that will import this existing blog into the new site without much loss, and minimal adjustment. The new blog will become easier to archive and search for things. It still amazes me how massive my thoughts have exploded into this format. To be honest I thought we were going to have to start over, or somehow painstakingly transfer it one posting at a time, so I am much relieved to know it will be quite simple.

The Naked Man Project is now becoming a team collaboration of local talents and distant advisors. It feels much like creating a show in the theater where all of us function at our most brilliant capacity and are having a blast pulling it together. We challenge and push ourselves each day to see such huge progress. A show in the theater takes months of planning, preparation, rehearsal and tech before the curtain rises. I need to remind myself each day of this process and take a deep breath as I step into the beauty of this extraordinary work I have created, with which I have now surrounded myself.

Organizational Essentials

It feels like Montana is heading into fall already. The nights are getting very cold, though we have not had a major frost yet. This is typically my favorite time of the year, when I actually get out and begin cleaning my gardens out for the season, but this year I feel like I have become oblivious to what’s happening in my outside environment. This morning as the sun is streaming through the studio windows I realize what a shut-in I have become this fall. My focus and energy has completely shifted to The Naked Man Project, 24/7. In many ways I have become obsessive about it. The website is completely taking shape and the overall structure is set. Stephen and I are working through the massive naked catalogues I have amassed over the past 14 years since I took up photography and doing a massive sweep of housekeeping elements I should have established early, but never quite kept up on. I did it for my photography business, but never really for the nude portfolios. The catalog is so massive that we needed to begin copywriting, rating, sorting and key wording all the images so it becomes searchable and manageable. The galleries are built in the website, now we just need to import the images into those galleries. To do a web site of this nature I really cannot just turn it over to someone else and have them build it, because it is my personal connection to each of these shoots and collection of images that will make the project and site interesting. So it really needs to maintain the integrity and vision of what I conceived from the beginning. And the way the Joomla platform, on which the site will operate has already been designed, so the look and feel have already been established; now the content just needs to be inserted, most of the content, here of course, being the images. Stephen is becoming very good at recognizing what I see and am looking for in my own style, but he is still not quite up to speed, so the final selection and elimination needs to remain mine. I had no idea I had such a massive collection of images. One of the reasons I have neglected this kind of housekeeping on my collections was, I never really intended them to be used for anything. So my lesson and advice to artist is to come up with a filing system that you can grow into. Take the time after a shoot, once you have created the images to do some housekeeping on them, make it a part of your workflow, even if you never intend to use the images. Believe me it has taken me years to figure out a filing system that makes for easy access. I use the Adobe Lightroom Program because it has so much depth to the possibility and it one of the most powerful cataloging software programs available.

But most important I am going to take a couple of hours this afternoon and get out into my garden and rut around in the dirt and feel the cool earth in my hands and get back to an essential part of myself I have been missing: my connection to Montana in the fall.

End Of Summer

Something in the air changes and it suddenly feels like fall. Labor Day is somehow that turning point weekend in the United States where the day after summer seems to disappear. It was the first football game of the season, the final family campout, and the last days of the rodeo. This morning I began putting together my fall schedule that will take me through to the end of the year. The University in back in session and I begin a new season of working on their shows tomorrow night. It is also the season when all the new students are back in town and I can begin my process of recruiting some new subjects. I need to get back into my studio again and begin shooting. It feels like I have been distracted the past month or so getting ready and going on the trip that I have not had much time to work on my imagery. I spent most of my spare time throughout the weekend pulling things together for the upcoming new website. It is progressing very well and we should begin putting it up on the server the next couple of days and then begin refining it. I am hoping to have something running by the end of next week, well at least the initial home pages and some of the galleries.

I still have so many images to work through that have piled up. It feels like I start a series and never quite get through it and then never quite get back to it. I have still only worked half way through the images of the trip to Europe and the Mineral County Fair and Rodeo images I took before I left. So I am really going to try to focus on getting caught up today. I have had a few jobs that I needed to complete last week that put me in delay on my personal stuff. I want to work on my yard now that it has cooled outside, but could not even seem to find time for that. The rest of this week I will be slammed but next week it will all begin to open up and I will get back to my fall creative work.

Autumns for me are the times that I accomplish my greatest nude image projects. Everything else begins to slow down as I put the gardens to bed and tie up loose ends from the summer. Glenn typically goes to North Dakota for several months to work on a soil-sampling project and I can totally get into sync with my own rhythm and work at a pace completely uninterrupted. I can work late into the night and often get up early to catch the morning light. Though with this blog project it does seem to eat a good chunk of my day. But there is something about the fall that I feel most focused. I somehow feel this one is going to become on of my most extraordinary ones ever. After beginning this project I felt I have a genuine focus this fall. There are now goals to accomplish and a standard to rise up and create. In a sense I feel like this year of my life has begun to go backwards. It’s like that movie where the guy reverses in aging. I am excited to my core again about who and where I am. It seems the age issues that I have been dealing with have somehow vanished and my life has taken on a greater purpose that is beyond myself.