Skin on skin is the closest touch. The reverence evoked when we intimately connect to those who light flames in our hearts is the focus of Adore.

 

Adore presents nudes of couples, confident and comfortable before the camera: photographs celebrating the beauty of affection and intimacy. The images in the exhibition serve as mirrors to private moments, inviting the viewer to witness adoration, and to reflect upon what they see.

 

 

It is this invitation that makes these photographs different; these images were purpose-made to explore and celebrate their focus. In many ways, the photographs are performances, staged collaborations between the couples and me, enacted on cue for the lens, but they also echo and reflect something genuine, and provide a glimpse of the real connection between the models.

 

The images in Adore are a peripheral to my primary work with the Nude; I have never focused on working with couples, nor set out to create a body of work exploring intimacy. I have, however, over more than twenty five years, had the chance to work with some amazing couples, and the opportunity to make some really lovely images in the process.

 

Adore challenges the notion that images of lovers nude have to be sexually explicit; instead my photographs focus on the same celebration of beauty that flows through all my work with the Nude. At a time when issues surrounding sexting scandals, revenge porn and celebrity intimate photo theft seem to be daily news, holding an exhibition that celebrates the beauty of intimacy, of bodies touching, of love and sensuality seems almost absurd. The alternative, however, is to let the power of intimacy be forgotten, and be replaced by tabloid tantalization. I choose to celebrate the beauty of adoration.

The exhibition documentation is available for download.

For the last set of images in this s
For the last set of images in this s

For the last set of images in this session, I asked Jessica and Ryan to stand against the long wall in my apartment - the afternoon light was just beginning to fall across it, and provide some beautiful highlights and shadows. Quite spontaneously, Ryan stood behind Jessica, and she reached up and back, and embraced him. I really like the dynamic quality of this image, with the energy from Ryan’s hands flowing over Jessica’s torso flowing through the entire image.

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Morning Nap
Morning Nap

Alexandra and Liam had stayed overnight during a drive through to Halifax, but had enough time the next morning for a short session. After breakfast, I cleared things away, and moved the futon into the light by my large deck doors, and worked with the couple for close to an hour with the morning sun diffused by the curtains. The session was focused almost exclusively on the two models cuddling on the futon. Almost all the images ended up being narrow panoramas, but as that worked for the subje

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Hands over Hands
Hands over Hands

When Alexandra got in touch about working with me, all the conversation revolved around just her modeling, but, as the e-mails went back and forth, she mentioned that her partner Liam might also be interested in modeling and the plans quickly evolved into our first session focusing on them as a couple. Both Alexandra and Liam proved to be very comfortable in front of the camera, and the session begun with standing embraces; Liam towered over Alexandra, but when he held her from behind, their h

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Sunday Morning
Sunday Morning

I say it so much it must sound tired, but it is such a privilege to work with a couple like Jessica and Ryan; their comfort with being photographed is second only to their comfort with each other. And they are patient too! I’ve fallen in love with high key Nudes in colour; the luminescence it gives to skin is beautiful, and when mixed with the intimate confidence of Jessica and Ryan, it makes for a strikingly personal image.

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How We Sleep
How We Sleep

Made during one of a handful of early sessions with couples, this image is perhaps my best example of why I love working with couples. Part way through the session, between compositions, I told the couple to relax, as I had adjust some equipment. When I glanced back, they had shifted into a relaxed posed, and were just chatting. And it was beautiful.

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New Year's Day
New Year's Day

This session with Krista and Greg was my second of the day - the first had been with Krista and her two room-mates. The winter light was fading, but the opportunity to work with a couple was not to be passed up, so I changed to higher speed film and set about seeing what would come to pass. Though Greg had never modeled nude before (let alone met me), the session went well. Indoor sessions with couples tend to generate their own energy, and it was certainly true of this afternoon. While I wasn’

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Shelter
Shelter

This session with Krista and Greg was my second of the day - the first had been with Krista and her two room-mates. The winter light was fading, but the opportunity to work with a couple was not to be passed up, so I changed to higher speed film and set about seeing what would come to pass. Though Greg had never modeled nude before (let alone met me), the session went well. Indoor sessions with couples tend to generate their own energy, and it was certainly true of this afternoon. While I wasn’

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To Have and to Hold
To Have and to Hold

This session began with Miles and Natasha posing on white sheets that covered both the futon below, and the window behind them. We started out with prone poses, both models lying on the couch and embracing, but eventually shifted to sitting and kneeling poses; the variations of pose and composition possible when both models are lying down is somewhat limited. The best of the kneeling poses were of Miles embracing Natasha from behind, their knees formed a solid base for the image to sit upon.

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The Lowest Sound
The Lowest Sound

Sarah and Adele were only able to spend a morning modelling for me, and wanted to pose as both a couple, and as two distinct models. We began with the couple images, simply because it was morning and the light in their room was beautiful. For most of the session, the couple seemed almost oblivious of me, they simply hung out on their bed, cuddled and talked. Occasionally I asked them to stay still or rearrange themselves, but for the most part, it was very quiet making image after image, with

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Contra-jour
Contra-jour

The happenstance of seeing some flare in an image minutes earlier lead to this image - for much of the winter, the sun in the afternoon came right into my apartment, and with the camera in just the right place, the flare was just perfect. I made perhaps two dozen images of this composition to ensure that at least one had the flare in the perfect place.

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Eloquent Silence
Eloquent Silence

A week before I made this image, during presentation of my work at the University of Maine, I was asked what separated my images of couples from pornography. After some consideration, I replied that it was a personal line that was clear to me - while I might photograph a nude couple holding each other or cuddling, I didn’t think it would work to take an image of, say a kiss, while the models were nude. Laurel and Neil blew that idea out of the water. Over the course of the 90 minutes we worked

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Lay Me Down
Lay Me Down

This photo was made during an experimental session of sorts; I was beginning to experiment with digital infrafred photography, and made some test images with Miranda at the start of this afternoon session. The rest of the session was spent working with Miranda on the bed, lit by the window behind it. The experiments with the infrared filter at the start of the session had been focused on standing poses, so I thought working with sitting and reclining poses would add some variety. In the middle o

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Endearment
Endearment

The best feature of my house in Moncton was the glass deck doors on the back side of the house; the light that these let in was just perfect to photograph with. This session with Alexandra and Liam worked exclusively with the window light, though it was only in the later portion of the session, when the couple shifted from working on the futon to standing against the wall, that the light really began to work well.

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Not Built for Two
Not Built for Two

When Nicole told me her apartment had a claw footed bathtub I immediately asked her if she’d be interested in modeling in it. A week later, I was trying to fit my camera gear into the smallest bathroom I have seen in ages. Towards the end of the session, Nicole’s boyfriend joined her for a small set of images; the bath wasn’t built for two, so posing options were limited, but the two of them were more than patient as I worked with them to find something that worked.

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Seven Days
Seven Days

Gilda and Miles had expressed an interest in modeling together for me, so after a New Year’s Day dinner, the three of us took over the guest room at Miranda’s for an hour of photography. Having worked with Miles for years, and photographed Gilda that morning with two other models, there was already a good rapport between myself and the models. Even though Gilda had little previous experience with modeling, there was little time spent working on poses during this session - with couples, I tend

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Adore
Adore

I have two versions of this image - one with Jessica’s eyes open, looking at the camera, and this one, with a tighter composition, and less identifiable. I love the fierceness in the first, but it reinforces the voyeuristic nature of the viewing experience, where this photograph works better as a window into the tenderness of lovers.

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Not "Mine" or "Thine"
Not "Mine" or "Thine"

Joe and Bilje were visiting Halifax for Christmas, and has arranged for several sessions - a Christmas Day studio session (which focused on working on a mirror)was already complete when they came over to models on Boxing Day morning. After a short shower, they dried off, and spent an hour or so cuddling before a wall of white sheets spread over sun-lit windows. The results were luminous and bright.

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Gravitation
Gravitation

The best work of this session came from the images of Miles and J_ together, focusing on the interplay between lovers. At one point, during a break between more posed compositions, J_ arched back across Miles’ legs, stretching. Miles, looking down at her, lightly placed his hands between her breasts, upon her heart.

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Cradle
Cradle

The best thing about working with couples is how easily the compositions come; most sessions are completely spontaneous in terms of posing, with the couple’s natural synergy providing moments of visual grace. The interesting part is that while some moments between couples are near universal (hugs, holding hands etc), others, like Jessica cradling Ryan’s head on her belly, stand out as singular to a couple.

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Allure
Allure

Joe and Billie has arranged to spend Boxing Day afternoon posing for me, beginning with shower nudes. The day was overcast, with less light than I had hoped for, but between high-speed film and bright lenses, I figured I could manage. The results of the session were very encouraging; a number of the images manage to convey a very powerful story, without words - they are images that cry out for an explanation, and when left alone, seem to create their own pasts. Overall, the images are both far

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Limerence
Limerence

This session was with Victoria and Joe, both of them generously letting me gaze though a photographic window into their relationship and affection for each other. Though Victoria has had extensive experience modeling, both for photo and drawing, the session was Joe’s first time being photographed Nude, but he was more than enthusiastic.

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Like Oxygen
Like Oxygen

After working with studio lighting for 30 minutes or so, I decided to change pace and return to working with Jessica and Ryan on white sheets below a large window. By far this is my favorite way to work, with the luminous back light providing a lovely setting to work in, and perfect for focusing on the intimacy between the couple.

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The Space Between
The Space Between

My last session of 1999 was the most successful of all the natural light sessions I did over a handful of days with Joe and Billie. Unlike the first session in the front room two days earlier, the sun was shining and the light was perfect. The light permitted me to use the slower speed 50 ISO Astia film, which is by far my favorite for skin-tones. The importance in selecting the right film for the right subject cannot be overstated. This is true in black and white film, and is doubly true for c

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