WHO AM I?
Hi. My name is Robert Russell McCall, but you can call me Rusty. I've had that nickname since I was born. I am the founder and your host at this growing collection of my photography. I hope you will visit often.
I have been a photographer since I was in the seventh grade thanks to the guidance and encouragement of my science teacher and camera club sponsor Judith Mayo. She had the trust and clear creative vision to keep a working darkroom in the library wing of Oak Park Junior High in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to sell us home-rolled Tri-X film for a buck a pop, and to otherwise cut me loose in the darkroom.
Having been raised surrounded by art and literature, I took to photography feverishly and as an art form. Even so, I studied music in college and am self taught, aside from one half semester of photography at McNeese State University. In 1996, I met Phillip Linke when we were both managers of CPI Photo retail stores in Michigan and I was encouraged to realize that with my talent and attraction to nude photography, pursuing nudes as a subject hinged only on attracting models. Soon I had my first model recruited for the sole purpose of nude work. The results of that session shook my world and I knew that this was to be my life's work.
WHAT AM I DOING HERE?
Since that time, my photography has been my driving motivation, and this site, www.entrenousnudes.com has become the vast clearinghouse and catalog of the bulk of my work. My other site, www.entrenousphoto.com has served since 1999 as a calling card gallery of my work for potential models and clients. Entrenousphoto.com has always been a hand picked selection of outstanding work, complete with titles and artist statements, essentially an online fine art gallery featuring my work. Frankly at over 500 images, this free gallery has been outpaced by my work and is often considered to be too generous by Internet standards. Many have suggested that it would be informative and entertaining to see larger galleries of complete sessions in order to gather a sense of my working methods and to see the many facets of my models. With this suggestion, www.entrenousnudes.com was launched.
Every working artist depends upon patronage, and I am no different. By subscribing to www.entrenousnudes.com you are supporting an independent artist and his work. You may also notice that any image seen at here is available for purchase. I hope that you will consider acquiring a selection of my photography for your own private collection of art. I care deeply about the perception and presentation of my work and it is all priced reasonably and appropriately as collectable original art.
ISN'T THIS PORNOGRAPHY?
If you say so...
Seriously, the debate of art vs. pornography has been raging for as long as the human figure has taken a prominent place in art and imagery. It will continue for centuries to come. In my personal searching and contemplation, I have come to a couple of important conclusions:
I tend to see both art and pornography as being subjective to the different classifications of intent and use. The art critic Robert Hughes has said that art is "anything created with aesthetic intent." I stand squarely behind this definition and I think that such a distinction is important for one major reason: it allows for bad art. There is too much pontificating when it comes to art, and everyone has opinions based upon their own personal tastes. These tastes are too frequently framed in the judgment of whether an individual piece is "art" or is "not art". On the other hand, big tent of art has been drastically re-staked by twentieth century artists such as Warhol, Koons, Mapplethorpe, and Hirst. With the potential for literally anything to be classified as art, it is crucially important to accept that an object may be classified as art, it just may not be "good" art by your standards.
On the other hand, the historic benchmarks of obscene materials such as "community standards", "prurient interests", "educational value", or "intention to titillate" are all painfully subjective. I prefer a much simpler standard. To me, pornography (from the Greek "whore-pictures") is defined by its use. I have known individuals to be sexually gratified by lingerie advertisements, swimsuit magazines, and even children's cartoons. Some of these are designed to be titillating, some are not but if you ask the creators and editors of each, all will flatly deny creating pornography. The viewer or reader however christens any individual media artifact as pornographic by using it as such.
I make art. If a viewer uses it as pornography, that is the viewers choice. Does it cease to be art when that occurs? I can't see how it would. Intent and use are two very different things. Is it good art? I am told that it is by critics that I respect that much of it is. There are many pieces that will be seen on
AM I A CHRISTIAN?
My work is frequently sprinkled with Christian references and my artist statements often contain scriptural references. I spent a big part of my life as a zealous evangelical, and although many of the experiences as such hurt me deeply, I continue to be influenced greatly by the Christian doctrine. As with many, most of my conflicts with the faith are not with the Lord, but with the Church. If pressed, I consider myself a "Post-Christian-Idealist". My art complicates things further. I have no problem reconciling my faith with my art, but I am skeptical that I will find a body of consistently orthodox believers who will be so reconciled, and willing to recognize me as a brother, nude photography and all.
DO I PHOTOGRAPH ONLY NUDES?
I have found my niche in nude photography, but in reality, I consider all of my work portraiture. When photographing people, I hope to convey something of my impression of that person. I also shoot portraits, performances, and events, as well as anything that strikes my fancy at the moment. I grew up around artists, actors, and musicians, so I really enjoy photographing such expressive individuals. Professionally, a client who hires me can request practically any setting and I will comply happily. At this stage in my career as an artist, I only hire models for nude work.
DO I ONLY PHOTOGRAPH WOMEN?
I have occasionally photographed nude men, but it is not a specialty in that I don't think that I do it well. I feel that women are much more suitable to represent abstract concepts, or to serve as subjects of beauty. Pressed into pretentious settings, a nude male form tends to appear out of place or even ridiculous. I prefer to photograph a man in his element, relating the individual to his craft or avocation. As a man, I understand how much we build our identity on the work of our hands. Women have historically been called upon to perform every task and tackle every role under the sun, and such are much better suited to be taken seriously within a symbolic or idealized image.
ISN'T SOME OF MY WORK
TOO EXPLICIT TO BE ART?
I have always seen beauty in harsh, bold, and unorthodox settings. A friend of mine was once driving through a slum in the Caribbean. When asked by companions why he was taking pictures, he has told me that he thought of me when he replied, "I'm shooting squalor."
I believe that among the facets of a whole person, the sexual cannot be pushed aside to the obscure places. Sexual behavior is fascinating, and once the initial shock and prejudice subside, the more intimate sexual areas can make extremely powerful images triggering dozens of possible reactions and deeply rooted references. I have come to understand over the years that modesty lies in behavior and attitude, not a state of clothed-ness versus exposure. I have seen many a swimsuit or otherwise clothed "glamour" photo that is far more indiscreet in attitude and action than my "explicit" studies. I believe that this is a fault in the perceptions of a culture that condemns public nudity, but considers sexually provocative clothing on a 12-year-old to be "cute".
In short, aside from the merits that I see in such imagery, my "explicit" studies can finally be seen as backlash against a culture that boldly states "It can't be art if it shows this body part or that sexual organ." I consider that type of proclamation to be a personal challenge.
WHY DO I WORK IN COLOR?
This is another personal challenge. I have always been bothered by the presumption that photography is not a valid art form or that only black and white photography should be considered artistic in nature. I have worked in retail photo-finishing for 15 years and have seen a definite attitude that assumes that color is the stuff of commercial photography or of snapshots. I realized that this is an extremely narrow-minded outlook and have long made a point to produce highly artistic work in the full range of chromatics available. Limiting the palate only limits the artist.
WHY ENTRE NOUS?
I have long been attracted to this name. Coming from South Louisiana, I wanted to refer to the French part of my personal and cultural heritage. Being conscious of this, I think that "entre nous", or "between us" serves my outlook and approach succinctly, I approach every model and every session with a sense of trust and intimacy that this common French phrase reflects. Unfortunately, after many years of Louisiana Public School French classes, I have only a vague understanding of the language. Some day I hope to visit France and immerse myself sufficiently to actually become fluent.
ENJOY YOUR VISIT!
All Photography is copyright Robert Russell McCall
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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