BLISS: In today’s market, more and more images are relying on Photoshop to achieve a certain look, both in the model and the overall image, yet you don’t use Photoshop. Is there a reason behind this decision?
TAKEURPICTURE: I have nothing against Photoshop and people who use it. But when choosing someone to work with I base it on their look, so why would I want to alter anything. Our flaws and imperfections are our own perfections. Its like a major movie studio producing a special effects, 3D movie for millions and then a small independent company producing a small low budget but beautifully perfect, imperfect film. Which is better? I had models send me their pictures, to work with me, that were digitally reproduced and when I met them, they looked nothing like their picture....I think that is sad.
B: Do you appreciate the work of other photographers who do rely on the program, or do you view them more as graphic artists?
TUP: To me everyone who produces something of substance and value is an artist. Who am I to judge?
B: You believe in showcasing the natural beauty of your subjects. What attributes do you find most attractive in your models?
TUP: The eyes have it! LOL Really the eyes say so much and of course, the mouth. A smile and lips can be sexy and yet innocent and that coupled with beautiful expressive eyes that are a match made in photography heaven.
B: The bulk of the images I’ve seen in your port are of men. Is this what you specialize in or do you shoot other subjects as well?
TUP: I do all types of shoots, but right now that is what I choose to display.
B: The first aspect of your work that caught my attention was that you seem to focus on ethnic models, primarily African American and Hispanic, which is refreshing in an industry that tends to overlook them. Is this your primary interest?
TUP: No, it is just what gravitates towards me. And I live in Atlanta, which is probably home to the best looking African American men anywhere. As a matter of fact, when I post for models and people see my work, they assume I am a black male. So when I meet a model for the first time, they are blown away that I am a "white guy," as so many have expressed.
B: Where do you find most of your models?
TUP: I post on Model Mayhem, but to be honest the best models I have worked with came from Craig's List. Now trust me you have to weed them out, but definitely Craig's List.
B: What physical characteristics do you look for when choosing a model?
TUP: I don't really have any physical characteristics. I don't go looking for huge muscles or anything like that. But a person’s appearance does say something about them as a person. So I will leave it at that and say I choose a person based on that person and the interaction prior to a shoot. I try and meet a model prior to my initial shooting with them.
B: When working with your models, do you plan your shoots in advance or let the sessions flow naturally?
TUP: I go in with ideas, but then just see how it flows. The most important thing is for a model to feel comfortable with me so we can both get the best possible results out of the shoot.
B: How would you describe your style of photography?
TUP: Not sure if I have a style because I hate being pigeonholed. I would like to think I am diverse in my style but hope my photographs bring out the best of each individual I shoot and hopefully that also comes across to the people who view my work.
B: You reside in Atlanta. Is this where you are from?
TUP: I was born in Philadelphia and raised in New York City and Philadelphia. I moved here a few years ago for a job and long to go back home. I will always be a northerner. I am a second generation Italian American and have strong family roots. All my family still resides in Little Italy in New York and South Philadelphia/ Center City Philadelphia. I try to go home every 3-6 months to get my northern fix...
B: What do you like most about the city?
TUP: My mother always told me if you can't say anything nice don't any anything.
B: When did you first get interested in photography? Did you always shoot people or was this something you gravitated towards later?
TUP: I graduated Temple University in Philadelphia with a BA in Journalism. As an undergrad, I took one photography course. I feel in love with it and the teacher became my mentor. I did one independent study with him on the works of Diane Arbus and Duane Michaels, two of my favorite photographers. When I graduated, he asked me to stay on and teach 8 photography lab classes while I went on for my Masters. So for two years I taught college level darkroom classes and received my Masters in Communications. And from then on I have been hooked.
B: You utilize the outdoors and natural light a great deal in your work. Do you prefer location shoots or in the studio?
TUP: I never use studios. I guess it goes along with the Photoshop idea…all natural, real and clean.
B: Is there a particular session or model that stands out as being the most memorable for you?
TUP: The first models I shot in Atlanta were Curtis, Lewis and Ty. And I guess they are my favorites and still to this day have become great friends. It’s funny, one has become a father and now I am going to shoot his son. It's crazy! So goes the Circle of Life!
B: You also do not shy away from nudity in your work. What is your opinion regarding male nudity and the stigma that it carries as opposed to female nudity? Do you think there is a double standard?
TUP: The only stigma it carries is on Model Mayhem. But I am not here to grandstand....
B: How do you prepare for a nude shoot as opposed to a regular shoot, or do you treat them the same?
TUP: To me they are the same.....but maybe you should ask the model...
B: Do you shoot standard nudes or have you also done erotic work?
B: When posing nude for you, what is the number one concern that models have?
TUP: If anyone had a concern they never expressed it. That is why when shooting a nude model for the first time, I will meet with them and sit and talk just so the first time we shoot they won't be nude. It would have been the second time...LOL Something about meeting someone for the time and you’re naked. Not the best situation, I'm guessing.
B: Almost every photographer has had that one shoot or one model that created difficulty. Have you ever had a session that went poorly or stood out as having the most issues? If so, how did you handle the situation?
TUP: Recently I had two models that were so difficult and complained about everything. So what I did was pay them and told them to go, the shoot was over. I do not relate well to drama. And I am certainly not paying for it!
B: You are a photographer who believes in the business side of modeling and state that you always pay your models. How do you make a return on that investment? Is there somewhere that viewers can go to purchase your work?
TUP: Photography is a hobby for me and for the models it is a business. I respect them as models and feel their time is money. I always pay, within reason, and my pay remains the same for everyone, which varies on the type of shoot. The only return on my investment is seeing a great photograph that has both pleased me and the model. There is no higher reward than that! I am just looking to show the beauty of photography and the beauty of my subject in one visual. And if I have succeeded, that is my return investment. I have never sold my work. Not saying I never will, but as of today, I never have done it for profit.
B: What new projects or models do you have lined up for the end of this year, and what can we look forward to in 2012?
TUP: I have learned to live for each day. I don't make plans that far in advance. But if you have any ideas or models, pass them on....
B: What would you like to be remembered for most as an artist?
TUP: For me it is more important being remembered as a person. Artist is a name..title, and I don't like to group people under a title or name.
B: Can you name five things that you could not live without?
TUP: No I can't but the two things I cannot live without is the love and support of my family and friends. That brought me to where I am today and I could not be happier.
B: What is the best way for models and fans to reach you?
TUP: Thought Model Mayhem or my personal email, firstname.lastname@example.org
B: Any last words for your fans?
TUP: LOL...I didn't know I had fans. But for those individuals who have viewed my work and liked it thank you. And thank you for showing an interest in my work. I am flattered and honored. Peace
©2011 – Sean Dibble