Saturday, February 11, 2012

Smokin: Miles A by Roderick Cumming



Whenever I have featured images in the past where the model is posed smoking, or even just holding a cigarette I have gotten comments or e-mails from someone who is bothered with the use of the vice within the imagery. In 2012 no one can really argue smoking is unhealthy, but there should not be an debate about it's use within photography. Composing an image is a creative process, one starting with an idea. When boundaries, on what can and cannot be used, are imposed editing is something something that starts to erode the integrity of an image before it is even taken.



A well done images says something. There is, and should never be, a rule on what that something is. Of course there have to be some boundaries within the shooting process, following the law or course, not harming anyone, physically or emotionally and not using the medium to spread hate. Smoking, much like cassette tapes, VCR's and eating Swanson TV Dinners on a tray in front of the television are a part of our history. Parts that, when used skillfully within imagery, help do what a great photograph should do, instantly take you somewhere.



From the age of about 22 through to a few years ago when I was dragged into my thirties I smoked. I quit about 4 years ago and don't miss one bit. Of course I wish I never smoked but I cannot deny the extreme pleasure that it was to light one up after a meal, sitting on the beach, cigarette in hand, camping and the campfires and freezing outside at work with my co-workers and of course the smoke filled haze of the many clubs and pubs I frequented.



When I first saw the images of model Miles A those beautifully unhealthy memories came flooding back. The memory connection aside, the use of smoke within photography is not just to create an emotional reaction, it also creates a strong visual one. Using any element, rain, wind or clouds within an image, is about ensuring it's relationship with the model, lighting and setting blend seamlessly and are not staged looking. Using any of these elements within a shoot requires not just skill but a high degree of patience as although you can try, usually you must wait for the smoke to give you what your looking for and not the other way around. Roderick says he is actually allergic to cigarette smoke, but...loves the sexiness, mysticism and mood created by smoke so has done several shoots with models and smoking, improving on technique each time.



Miles was born and raised in Elkhart, Indiana but as soon as he was able, quickly moved to the nearest city, Chicago. After finishing school he worked in the medical field for several years but eventually decided it wasn't for him. Now a personal trainer and massage therapist, Miles has been unable to put out the burning desire to model.



'I love my career, friends, partner...my life. Of course, I also love being in front of the camera, guess its the show off in me. Very comfortable with my body I take advantage of any excuse to take my clothes off.'
Miles A



'It was great working with Roderick. Such a nice guy, professional and great with the camera. I think he caught the best shots when I really wasn't even trying. We plan on working together in the future.'
Miles A



'Miles and I worked together all last weekend and had a blast. He is an amazing guy and fabulous model. And we did some absolutely amazingly shots together!'
Roderick



It is trait that streamlines through many of the artists I profile that travel is a big part of their lives. I think part of it must be the need to see beyond what is visualized daily in their familiar home surroundings. To not just create, but experience, visually new and exciting sites and locations. Photographer Roderick has ventured throughout almost every part of the globe, from the Canadian Arctic to the southern tips of New Zealand and Africa, from the beaches of Rio to the cobblestone alleys of Dubrovnik. When not capturing the wildlife, culture and history of far away places, Roderick channels his passions into portraiture, editorial work and model shoots in his Toronto studio.



Miles A on ModelMayhem



No comments: