|Spotlight: Louis LaSalle Fine Art Photography|
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This month in the Paragon Spotlight, we present the work of renowned male physique photographer Louis LaSalle, who was also kind enough to grant us an in-depth interview about his art.
My studio is located in Sunnyvale California, about 45 minutes south of San Francisco. The majority of my work is shot in the studio, but I do some location work, both outdoors and interiors.
What are your thoughts on shooting in studio vs. shooting outside a studio setting?
Each has its attractions.
Studio shooting allows the greatest degree of control. You can put light wherever you need it to be. And my particular style of lighting requires multiple light sources; something that's a little hard to get when shooting in the wild. Studio shooting also provides the greatest deal of comfort and privacy for both the model and the photographer.
But most of all for me, studio shooting, against a plain background, reduces the physique to pure essentials -- no distractions. It becomes sculptural in nature.
Location shooting has it's advantages too. Shooting in the wild can bring out primal tendencies. It resonates with the animal within who misses the times when the great outdoors were the office. It gives the model something real, natural and uncontrived to interact with. And of course, naked men outdoors cause all sorts of fantasies to run wild.
Indoor location shooting fits somewhere in between. It offers the control and comforts of the studio, along with the real environment to interact with and the fantasy possibilities of location shooting. Naked men on a bed or in a shower is rather obvious, but naked men in a baroque opera house can be pretty striking.
You're among the world's most admired photographer of the nude male form. How did your career start and develop? How were you trained? How long have you been a photographer?
I've been around cameras and photography all my life. My father actually ran a camera shop when I was quite small, and taught me to use a super-8 movie camera when I was 8 years old. While my "day job" is in the computer industry, I do have a bachelor's degree in motion picture production. But shooting still photographs is a very different thing than film and video. I got my start shooting nudes at a weekend workshop in LA in the late summer of 1997. I hoped to maybe get 1 or 2 good shots. In actuality, I discovered a hidden talent, and I've stuck with it ever since. Readers can view the results of the weekend workshop here on my website.
Do you have any basic advice for aspiring photographers?
It really all comes down to Shoot, Review, Revise. First, shoot, shoot lots (pixels are almost free). Review your work critically, deciding what you like and don't like; what you think you did right and what you wished you'd done differently. Based on that, revise your technique and go shoot again. Keep doing that and you'll get better and better.
And expose yourself to as much photography as you can. It's all around us; it's really hard to avoid. But really look at the work, and think about it and decide what you like and what you don't. Another way this helps, is it simply reminds you what the human body is capable of.