Forums > Photography Talk > Arbiter...?


R Bruce Duncan

Posts: 1163

Santa Barbara, California, US

Who sets the photographic style you most admire, and, perhaps, emulate?

I've been away from model photography for at least a decade.

I've never been concerned with fashion myself--although I hit the Brooks Brothers outlet store when I can afford it--and, well, have never really made "Fashion", Capital F, images.

My idea of Fashion is portraits with nice clothes.

Many of the most popular images on Model Mayhem seem alien to me.

My goal has always been to make timeless photographs.

Whereas here, digital manupulation seems ultimately valued.

I digress.

This is really a style issue.

My real question, once again, is... if you shoot models, where do you find your inspiration?

All of this is prompted by a model's blog, where I found a reference to "Interview Magazine."

At one time, this publication was the arbiter of good taste.

At least for me.

As an aside, here's the Wiki reference to Petronius Arbiter.

In case you wonder where the word "arbiter" comes from.


English major.

Oh well.

Just thinking out loud.

And I expect I'll be subscribing to "Interview."

If only to find a safe source for great, fashionable images.


May 17 13 08:05 pm Link


Farenell Photography

Posts: 18832

Albany, New York, US

I'm attracted to ideas (though I'd hardly call any of them original) & not what people have specifically done.

Like lovers:


Or using "Urban Exploration" as an environmental setting:


Sometimes editorial ideas that effect everyday people:


& girls (who see themselves as "ordinary") in frilly/fancy dresses:


May 17 13 08:15 pm Link


R Bruce Duncan

Posts: 1163

Santa Barbara, California, US

These are really, really good images, Farenell-

Am I allowed to ask who the "we" is on your profile page?

Is this the "Royal We"?


May 17 13 08:39 pm Link


Farenell Photography

Posts: 18832

Albany, New York, US

R Bruce Duncan wrote:
These are really, really good images, Farenell-

Am I allowed to ask who the "we" is on your profile page?

Its a trade secret. wink

May 18 13 06:04 am Link



Posts: 9317

New York, New York, US

i am attracted to people that can "just be".

i relate everything to music. if you have a so-so melody, then you tend to dress it up with lots of reverb, chorus, delay, distortion, whatever. just to try and make it seem better than it really is. but if you have a great melody, you don't (and shouldn't in my opinion) have to dress it up at all. just keep it pure and the power of the melody will win the listener over.

the song "god only knows" by the beach boys comes to mind. that song has a great melody.

Carl Wilson later described how lucky he felt being given the opportunity to sing "God Only Knows": "I was honored to be able to sing that one. It is so beautifully written, it sings itself. Brian said something like, 'Don't do anything with it. Just sing it real straight. No effort. Take in a breath. Let it go real easy.'

so i look for people that i consider great melodies.

here is a great melody:

akari, may 11, 2013

and another:

diana jean (photographed yesterday)

May 18 13 07:36 am Link


R Bruce Duncan

Posts: 1163

Santa Barbara, California, US


Another rhetorical question by Bruce.

I poach.

If you want to learn what's in style, few resources compare to Model Mayhem.

I'm not at all concerned with the work of other photographers--because, well, I'm old and I have my own ideals, as do all photographers--but the kids, the models, they know what's hip.

And I think this is the way it's always been.

Designers, photographers, editors...

They've always stolen from the kids.

They're the creative ones.

I'm not certain about the forum rules, and I don't want to get in trouble, because this isn't the critique forum,  but I've been watching a short-haired blonde who, in my mind, is a style setter.

Or she's working with style setters.

It's sort of anti-fashion.

I don't think she has any images with her hand on the top of her head?

My utmost admiration goes out the another girl who doesn't even look like a model.

She doesn't have model stats--and I worked with an agency--but she shoots agressively, with some of the best shooters on this site.

She has very short hair, a ring in her lip, and her most recent images are the kind of images I'd expect to see in "Interview."

I expect she did this.

It was her vision.


May 20 13 09:14 pm Link


Bottom Feeder Images

Posts: 668

Portland, Oregon, US

my inspiration comes from punk rock flyers, magazines and album covers that covered my walls when I was a youngen...gritty, street glam, dirty, bold, and obscene...and because of that I had a affinity for photographers who had similar outlook, even before there was such a thing as punk rock...George Brassai, Robert Frank, Robert Doisneau, Man Ray. Spontaneous and unromanticized.

and this guy...
is what I want in my photographs

May 20 13 09:27 pm Link


Carle Photography

Posts: 9271

Oakland, California, US

I've been thinking about this for a while.

let me put these thoughts in order RBD.


I'm going to avoid the "fashion" part of your thread because the only experience I have with "fashion" is winning an art grant for a dress I modified a year ago for an erotic art show. I don't shoot "fashion" right now. Although I have designed many pieces of clothing and won awards and costume contests. But that was for the outfits not the photography of said outfits..

So I'll redirect my wandering mumbles into erotic art...
Where I'm more experienced...

I can't recall the very beginning so I'll start in the middle somewhere...

I saw an Erte some time in Jr. High and loved it.
Skinny women with cats? Being portrayed as beautiful?
Yes I thought that was the best thing ever.
http://bryannachapeskie.files.wordpress … /erte4.jpg

I have always loved the taittinger girl.
Again, extra thin women, and black dresses, and the lighting of the glass was hard and rim lit. The beauty of hard lines. … tinger.jpg

Even modern wine posters, are hard lit, lots of lines, … th-wm1.jpg

At some point I meet this weirdo model chick.
We became friends and collaborators.

I start doing gallery shows, stuff sells, other stuff does not sell. I listen closely to WHY some pieces sell and others do not.

I moved to Oakland 3 years ago. Join an art group.

I start doing commissions, people give me their ideas...
A year ago I created this one. Lighting people as I have seen glass lit so many times. This image goes into one of my books.

A friend and I have a long rambling midnight conversation about HIS winery art, I suggest nude women with the wine. It is not quite right for his market.

Wara LOVES to pour things on her self, I love the harder rim lighting & splashing things, little pretty drops of liquid...I am asked to do work for a High Tea show, the show is canceled.

A local Oakland Winery contacts our local art group and say they want artists to exhibit for the next few months, I all the guy up, make an appointment. We go over ideas, the idea of women and wine comes up. They let me borrow a wine cask. … 5636_n.jpg

I call another client, we go over another unrelated job, the new winery exhibit is mentioned, my client is extra excited by the idea of the photos. I now have two people who seem to love the idea and are offering to buy/sell prints, the prints are still in my head. Not even created yet.

This happens. People love it, and want to see more, a friend asks to do a shoot.

This happens. … 4804_n.jpg

So there you go, a long rambling visual path of how an image was created with the inspiration behind it.

May 21 13 07:48 am Link