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This is the second interview with a nude photography enthusiast. I had the chance to meet Phil, like me a fellow citizen of Switzerland, a few years ago during a workshop. Meanwhile, he very successfully displayed his work in exhibitions and art galleries worldwide.
Phil, in real life an IT project manager, describes himself as a Fantasy and Romance Fine Art Photographer. In his photographic work he sometimes uses nudity elements for storytelling and in a conceptual manner.
This October (2013) Phil will open his very own photo studio in Switzerland .
Interview by Dan Hostettler
Where do you live and what is your primary profession?
I live in a small village near Lucerne, right in the middle of Switzerland. I did my primary and secondary education in computer science.
Since when is nude photography your hobby?
Around 20 years ago I realized that my brain is just focused on technical stuff and mathematics. To not become too narrowed I started searching for some creative hobbies and finally found photography. That’s where I met creativity and a way to express feelings in a totally different way.
What is the fascination that got you started shooting nude-oriented photos?
After having been taught all the dark room development skills by the seniors of a photo club I’ve joined, motives like ‘railway sceneries’ and ‘flowers’ were the main topics. I started look around for some more interesting objects. And what is more beautiful and fascinating as the eternal beauty of a lady?
Do you prefer a certain style (like NudeArt, glamNudes) and what is your idea/vision behind it all?
My style has its own development. In the early times I was interested in doing similar work like from well-known masters. Not because to copy something, it was rather to find out if I am skilled enough to do such a good job too.
Over the time I got the feeling that I am able to achieve a certain standard and then the urge to find an own characterisme led me to more experimental shoots. So I call the alley I’m travelling ‘unearthly fantasies’.
How do you cast the models for your projects?
Since I am a founding member of nudeART.ch I know many models out of the scene. This is one source for models while Modelmayhem.com always was a another good one. And nowadays many models ask me if they may do a shooting with me because they love to have one of my fantasy work in their portfolio.
Do you normally pay the models for a shoot or do you negotiate other deals like e.g. TFP (Time for Print)?
I guess it is about 50/50. If a model’s looking for a shoot with me and she fits with a type of person I am missing in my portfolio then we do a TFP. But if I have again a crazy idea and need for example a professional ballet dancer for a specific project, then it’s a paid job for the model.
Where and how do you present and publish your work (e.g. competitions, guest blogs, real galleries)?
My works are primarily shown in real galleries, mainly in Switzerland but I have had artworks displayed in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles and Miami too. You may find photographs of mine also in online galleries and in international photo competitions.
How do you continue your education to stay up-to-date in nude photography (e.g. gear, styles, societal influence and trends)?
I just opened an own place, called “atelier by the creek” – http://atelier-am-bach.ch .
Among my team I have a very avant-garde make-up artist and fashion designer. They support me in new fantasy dresses and setups so the next months we will work on some trendsetting projects.
On the other hand I built the place to be a location where the masters meet. In this role I am the organizer of workshops with top cracks as Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz, Roger Michel Fichmann and Uli Staiger to give some examples. I hope to get some tricks out of these workshops for me too…
Many enthusiasts would like to explore nude photography but just don’t know how to get started. Any advice for those taking their first steps?
If you gather all your courage and ask someone among your friends you will find the one helping you doing the first nude shoot. To finally succeed it helps that you have an idea established and fixed those with some sketches. To prove you can handle camera and light you may shoot a dummy mannequin first. With these results you can easier convince a person to be your first nude model.
Alternatively you can join a workshop and learn from others the first steps. You may find a suitable workshop at the Atelier-am-Bach.ch . Just check it out:)
What are your next photography goals?
Actually that’s a secret. But I can give you some pre-information: For a planned exhibition next spring I am working on a circle of images. The general theme lies in the past, where gods and goddesses were closer to our world and left some traces.
Based on those traces I will tell some stories with fine made photographs enhanced with ‘Phil-Art’.
Tech QNA: Phil’s Gear DNA
What type of camera(s) do you work with?
I work with Nikon equipment, currently my best friend is a D800E. As backup I have a D200 and for really dangerous things (water shootings) I use a Panasonic Lumix.
Do you prefer shooting indoors, in a studio or rather outdoors?
Both types are important to me. While working indoor I am more flexible with gear and building up requisites, but I need the time out in the nature. Next to waterfalls and small creeks my brain switches off and the fantasy ideas start being awake… The creativity process starts for me out in the nature.
What lighting equipment do you set up for a shoot?
This is very much depending on the projects. It varies from simple foreground- and background studio flashes up to seven projectors combined with mist- and wind machines.
How important is Photoshop for your final images?
My goal starting this hobby was about being away from computers and to recreate from screen-works. Today the films and darkrooms are gone and all post-shooting process are computer based too. Of course I also use Photoshop – but I still try to minimize my time on the screen. Therefore I rather use an hour more on the shooting set to make my image perfect. What is done right on first hand doesn’t need too much attention on the computer…
But as you see on my Phil-Art gallery, it still takes the one or other night to get the results I am satisfied with.
Are you rather a Mac or a PC lover?
Grown up with PCs it took a long time to get along with Macs. I work with both systems but my main workstation still remains a PC.
Phil, thanks a lot for joining us and the time you dedicated to my readers.