My name's Ray L'Dera. I'm primarily a fine art and pin up photographer. Please do check out my current casting calls at the bottom of my profile. You might also want to view my work at http://www.redbubble.com/people/raysfineart
and I've just started putting videos up at https://vimeo.com/user9597339
I consider these part of my normal TFCD agreement for those models who would like to have one made of their shoots with me. Most of my shoots take place in my small in-home studio in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx, about a half hour from either Grand Central or Times Square.
I'm 76 years old (as of this writing) and I've been an actor, director, playwright, etc. for over half a century. I'm a member of SAG-AFTRA, a produced playwright, and an honorably withdrawn member of the Dramatists Guild. In my younger days I dabbled in modeling and still get a modeling gig on rare occasions My wife and I ran a successful off-off-Broadway theatre company for 25 years, which we recently laid down. This has allowed me to concentrate on photography.
As a mentor for new models I welcome PMs from newbies on any appropriate subject. We all have specialties, of course, so if your inquiry deals with a genre or a question for which I don't consider myself qualified I'll do my best to refer you to someone better able to help you. And I am very open to shoots for the express purpose of helping the model to expand his or her portfolio or to experiment with new genres. I strongly recommend meaningful participation in all the forums in order to maximize the benefits of MM membership.
I work primarily in the greater New York metropolitan area, New York City itself, its suburbs and in the Hudson River Valley/Catskill Mountain region. From time to time I wander further afield, to areas such as New England and Northeast Pennsylvania or New Orleans.
My Interests as a photographer-
Unless the shot involves something I consider dangerous or degrading to either the model or me, I'm probably happy to shoot it. That said, some of the things I'm especially interested in as a photographer include:
Classic pinup in the style of Vargas or Petty, not necessarily focusing on the hair and makeup styling of the period but rather on the saucy, sexy impertinence that defined the era,
Tasteful, non-exploitative fine art and glamour figure studies, including clothed, full, partial, anonymous and implied nudes and bodyscapes,
Re-creations in the style of classic painters such as Rubens or El Greco, etc. and I'm especially partial to the work of the realists such as Bouguereau,
Fine art portraiture,
That magic word again, tasteful lingerie,
Anything else that the model and I agree is both fun and artistically valid, so long as we stay this side of pornography. At the moment, I'm just beginning to try my hand at both video and body painting, and am especially interested in completing a few body painting projects for my portfolio. I also frequently shoot with no purpose in mind other than to experiment with something I haven't done yet and/or to improve my skill set. I'm a big believer in targeting my efforts and staying on the path, but sometimes it's beneficial to just stop and smell the roses, so I try to leave time for that as well.
If you’re like most people, you probably went straight to the portfolio before reading this, so you’ve already noticed that much of what I shoot involves some degree of nudity. Not only do I find the human body both beautiful and fascinating, but it's been my experience that models who are comfortable enough to work with some degree of nudity tend to be more comfortable and expressive in the use of their bodies than those who do not, even when not shooting nudes. While I enjoy shooting nudes, that's not all I shoot. Whether or not you shoot nudes and if you do, the degree of nudity, is up to you. It's your body; it's your face; it's your decision. I don’t have a heck of a lot of rules other than that we both have to be comfortable in whatever we do. I will always ask since many models are ambivalent on the question of nudity (how much, how soon, with whom, etc). As far as I'm concerned, skin is just another costume, so if I ask you if you can shoot nude, implied, lingerie or bathing suit, it's pretty much the same as asking if you shoot evening gowns, grunge, ethnic costumes, etc. Much better, IMHO, to get these questions out of the way in advance. So if we are to shoot together, it's essential that we communicate, preferably in a sit-down, face-to-face meeting, but if that's not practical, at least in-depth communication via either email or telephone. Saves a lot of misunderstanding later on.
Because I so often shoot nudes I want to avoid even the merest hint of impropriety, so I never shoot anyone under the age of 18.
How I like to work-
At this time in my life I'm not seeking commissions.
For the moment, if I contact you it is to work TFP/CD only. I do not charge models who are willing to work trade with me on projects that interest me. Nor do I pay models, other than in the pictures we make together. I am very happy to work with inexperienced models; we can both develop our portfolios together. In the case of commissioned work, a reasonable model's fee is always budgeted in, however, as I said, I am not seeking commissions at this time.
Many models, especially inexperienced ones, expect to bring an escort to their shoots. Unfortunately, I only allow escorts if they are bona fide caregivers. This is partly because my studio is small, with no room for extra bodies, partly because I have no way to perform a due diligence on the escort, thereby placing myself potentially at risk, but mostly because I feel that bringing an escort to a dangerous place only puts both the model and the escort in a dangerous situation. It does nothing to protect the model, so it’s much better to do your due diligence, check references and if you are not completely certain that the venue is safe, simply don’t shoot there or with that person. I will not shoot with anyone who I feel is afraid to shoot with me.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t have someone drop you off, size me and the location up and come back to pick you up after the shoot. But in between, they’ll have to find something else to do and someplace else to do it. I do invite you to contact any of the models I’ve worked with (most of them are here on MM) and ask them what their experience working with me was like.
Performers frequently want only headshots or compcards for submission to agencies, auditions, etc. As an actor myself, I can certainly understand that but please understand, these are worthless to me for my portfolio, so if that's your sole interest, I'm happy to accommodate you at a very modest fee, but "Trade" does not equal "Free". Indeed, “trade” is really just another form of compensation, one in which we both work on the basis of the model getting services from the photographer that are equal in value to the services the photographer gets from the model. For a trade shoot, you must also accommodate me by shooting something that I feel will enhance either my portfolio or my skill set. Otherwise, it's cash on the barrelhead just as it would be if you didn’t get pictures that enhance your portfolio or your skill set.
If you are interested in modeling for me, please drop me a line. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.
A Special Note: Unfortunately, flakes are a way of life on Model Mayhem. On the other hand, things do come up unexpectedly. I have no problem rescheduling on 24 hours notice but if we set up a meeting or a shoot and you fail to show or cancel on less notice than that with a less than valid reason (Paid work comes first, but I'd question a job that doesn't give you 24 hours in which to cancel), I will probably consider you a flake and block you.
Looking forward to meeting you in person. Thanks for stopping by.