Before I start writing anything, please allow me to shout out, “THIS IS SO OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE!”

Pardon me.

“How should I even start this?” That was basically how I felt right at the beginning, when I was standing there, holding my camera, didn’t even know what to do.

Michael Ward is an art model from Victoria, B.C., with more than 35 years of experience being a life model for drawing, painting, sculpture and photography; he is also the 3rd generation art model from his family, after his grandmother and his mother. Looking at Michael’s extensive CV, he has been modeling for various art institutions, including Victoria College of Art & Design, University of Victoria, Vancouver Island University, and many other amazing art colleges and art groups in Vancouver, Ottawa, etc. The impressive references keep going on and on with many artists and photographers that he has modeled for throughout the entire Canada.

I first met Michael Ward through an art nude photography workshop organized by a fellow photographer friend of mine – Kevin Stenhouse. This workshop was not really related to wedding or family portrait that I usually do, but I attended it just for art admiration and mainly for a weekend fun. Studio photography is something I rarely do, needless to say art nude photography. It’s totally out of my comfort zone and I didn’t know what to do when I was first given the chance to photograph Michael.

Michael‘s modeling technique is very unique, organic and no pose guidance needed. He basically works his element with whatever situation being thrown at him. Despite this was my first time doing an art nude photography in a studio environment, it felt strangely familiar to me because it reminded me the good old time when I was a contemporary dancer performing on stage, how I enjoyed the lightings shining on me. The difference this time would be I was the audience and the photographer. It’s really amazing to see how Michael modeled and improvised, just like I was watching an incredible improv dance performance on stage, and I get the chance to be up close and personal documenting the whole performance.

The other interesting observation I have noticed was how different my approaches compare to other photographers attended the same workshop. Some how, my usual habit in event photography has translated into the studio work – I was capturing the negative space around Michael; it surprisingly enhanced the dramatic effect of the moody, emotional, occasionally sorrow “performance”.

Since this whole experience is so unusual, I am pushing the limit even more in this blog post. I strongly encourage you to enjoy the entire post along with the accompanied music (by clicking the play button below), enjoy my documentary approach of capturing Michael improvising around with the environment. It’s like watching a high quality butoh performance, he is just absolutely amazing!

 

 
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