Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ushanka: Vlad by t a mueller

I am not sure I could ever live anywhere that didn't gift it's inhabitants with four separate seasons. There are such incredible things about each of the four separate times of year. Not just the things we talk on and on about like the the heat and humidity, the cold and snow, but things that are harder to describe. Each season has a different smell and different energies that fill the air. My favorite part of each season however is the visual palette which changes about every three or four months.

Today when I opened my door to go out, I was visually greeted by all white, blistering cold and wind and and nothing in sight by blankets of snow. In March and April, all I will see is brown lawns and the pink from lilac and vibrant yellow's and reds from tulips and other annuals. Summer will bring deep greens from both lawns and leaves and the purples and blues from the plants in front of my house. Then in October, my favorite month of the year, the world outside my door is orange, yellow and red as the colors of Autumn transition once again to the white of winter.

It's not that every season is perfect, as we reach the end of one, I often long for the beginning of the next. As the humidity of August starts to drive me crazy, the crisp cool fall gives me something to look forward to. Just when I think I can't stand one more snowy day, and paying for one more tank of furnace oil, I hold on knowing spring is just around the corner.

It is the changes and differences that I love most. Some huge, some more subtle. Knowing that when I step outside, the sights, sounds and smells are ever changing. I often think that if I lived in the South or far North, where the changes were less dramatic, I might go crazy. My body has come to not only expect, but to crave the regular changes of the seasons. Swimming when it is hot, jogging when it is cool and skiing when it gets cold. It is one of the reasons I try when possible, to theme my artist profiles to shoots that match what is going on around me. It would be strangely difficult for me, almost unnatural, to post shoots shot on the beach in January or models in the snow in July. As winter began, and snow once again entered my life, winter themed posts such as the recent Tuqued, that become a focus.

I know of several photographers, especially ones without their own studio space, whose work ebbs and flow with the weather. This makes sense of course, it is not easy to be outside shooting when it is freezing cold. It would be especially difficult for the naked, or half naked model, standing in front of you waiting patiently as you wiggle your frozen fingers around in your gloves so you can take the shot. Difficult yes, but for me, it is some of these shoots, especially those that embrace the weather and use natural backdrop of winter and autumn, that are often my favorites.

It is no coincidence that on this day in early January I am featuring the work of Ohio photographer t a mueller. I first discovered Troy's work last summer when I was researching the amazing Vlad when profiling the 20 year old model and his work with Robert Colgan. (A Major Distraction) While researching Vlad, I immediately saved one of Troy's images, one of my favorites of him wearing the ushanka to contact him later. For some reason that image got lost in the shuffle, but a couple of weeks ago, when profiling Jason Rafael, I again came upon Troy's work.

Living in Ohio, Troy also experiences the four seasons, and thankfully, along with Vlad, embraced winter for this unique and beautiful series. Vlad has such and amazing look and Troy's images of him are some of my favorites. Troy says it is the creating of the images that appeals to him most and that it really doesn't matter what he is shooting, wildlife, jewelry or the human form. It was about one year ago, in January of 2012 that Troy first connected with Vlad about shooting together. Luckily, Vlad's college dorm is only a few blocks away from where Troy lives, so they were able to meet up at a local coffee shop before beginning to shoot. Troy tries to meet up with models before shooting to help ensure they are on the same page, and comfortable with each other, especially when a shoot involves artistic nudity.

'Working with Vlad has been such a pleasure. He can come across as shy at first, but when he's in front of the camera, the extrovert in him comes out. Vlad is always open to ideas, willing to try just about anything and will try his hardest until we get the perfect shots. Since we live so close to each other when he's at school, we have done about 8 different photo shoots. I look forward to working with him in the future and watch as his career grows.'

'After our meeting, Vlad and I set up a date in February to shoot outdoor nudes. The idea behind the photo shoot was one of vulnerability in the wintry outdoors. Vlad was quite comfortable in front of my camera. He knew exactly how to work the camera angles so that the his face and body looked the most appealing. Despite the fact that it was below freezing outside, he never once complained about being cold. I actually had to suggest that we take a few breaks so that he could put is coat on and warm up before moving on with the shoot. I think that if it were up to him, we would have just kept shooting.'

'Toward the end of the shoot, I asked him if there were any specific things that he would like to shoot. He said that he'd like to get some shots of him in the water. Being around 30F, I thought he was joking and said, "OK, sure". Well he wasn't joking. He immediately slipped off his boots and got into the water. Some people think that modeling is easy. Well I assure you that there is nothing easy about being naked and in the water in February in Ohio. I was cold just looking at the scene through my lens even though I was heavily dressed in a winter coat and insulated overalls.'
Troy Mueller

Thanks to Troy and Vlad for braving the elements and sharing your work with FH!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We only have two seasons where I live. Hot season and Warm season. I'm so jealous of those that get snow every year. We get a few flurries once every 10 years.