“Jeremy, there is a famous photographer that shares your last name. He is Terrell Neasley. He is famous for his artistic use of the nude.” – A text message to my son, which he forwarded to me. Funny, huh?

This is me, interviewing me:

Me: So how are things going?

Answering Me: Not bad, not bad. Few challenges here and there. Same as anybody else.

Me: Yeah, challenge you can handle, I presume.

Answering Me: I’d like to think so. I mean, you never know. Times are tough for everybody. Its just a matter of holding on… you know…weathering the storm so to speak, til the clouds break and the sun shines on you again.

Me: Sounds like philosophy.

Answering Me: I guess, in a way. I ain’t no Socrates or nothing. I’ve just got a survivor mentality. I know what I believe. I got tough skin. I’m used to adversity. The poor weren’t jumpin’ out of skyscrapers during the depression.

Me: Point well taken. So let’s get on with this. Tell me about this new direction you are taking in your art work. You list some objectives in your Model Mayhem profile that say you are shooting nudes for the next 18 months. Not sure when the clock started on that, but oh well. Now in your last blog post you say you’re taking a “hiatus” *air quotes* from doing nudes at all. Isn’t this sort of a contradiction to your original objectives?

Answering Me: Not at all really. I know I wrote those goals, but sometimes you gotta drop back and punt.

Me: What exactly does that mean?

Answering Me: Its a football analogy. You’ve got 4 times to touch the ball to make a touchdown or at least gain 10 yards for a first down. Sometimes you don’t reach that 10 yards so you punt the ball. In a since, that’s what I am doing. I put my defense on the field for a little bit while I try to figure out another way to consistantly move the ball and score. There’s nothing wrong with that strategy. Besides, sometimes the defense can make an interception and score too. You just never know. The point is, I WILL get the ball back. I will figure out a way to score.

Me: Okay, I guess that makes sense. Good to have that sort of drive. So what exactly will you do while your defense is on the field?

Answering Me: Lots of things. I’m trying to make it so that when I do start doing nudes again, I am better at it and with more resources in which to do it. I’d like to be able to do it without out of pocket expenses. I want to gain more experience shooting other things and then bring some of those new-found skills back to my nude art again.

Me: Can you give me an example of these resouces and new skills?

Answering Me: Certainly. Right now, I am behind on many of my non-nude edits. I’ve got other things I like to. I have a series of work on old scrap metal like rusty cans and I like to shoot odd signs. I’ve taken so many other photos that no one has ever seen just because they are still sitting untouched on my computer.

I also want to take another look at the business side of my operations. I don’t have a logo just yet. I need to better manage my workflow. I need to improve my backups and storage management. All that takes better resources in terms of equipment and tools. In terms of skills, I think I can benefit from some better lighting techniques and more photoshop editing. Shooting other things that have different demands from my nudes can help me excersize different photographic muscles to help tone up my photo skills overall. I think its a good way to expand my knowledge of image capture and light manipulation. When I am back to shooting nudes, I am just that much better at it.

Me: Understandable. Makes a lot of sense too. Where did you get this idea from?

Answering Me: Well as you said, “It makes sense”. I’ve had to do the same thing in other areas of my life before so why not use the same measure of wisdom here?

Me: So you’re giving up nudes, cold turkey? That doesn’t sound like such an easy task considering how much I’ve read in your blogs about loving your work.

Answering Me: Ummm, I can’t say cold turkey. I still have a few gigs I’ve already made committments to. I’ll still fulfill those. I also won’t pass up opportunity shoots with interesting people. Then there are also those models whom, I’ve said can have whatever they want from me, like Trixie and Faerie. They’ve been dedicated Muses for me and when they want to shoot, we’re going to shoot. Case in point, Trixie just emailed me last week about wanting to follow up on a project I asked her to consider. So this won’t be a cold turkey thing, but I won’t actively pursue models, I don’t think, at least not for free work. Commissioned stuff, well that’s in line with my whole objective of making the camera work.

Me: You know, it wasn’t that long ago that you blogged that you liked where you were in photography. How does this new direction jive with that? Doesn’t sound to consistant.

Answering Me: Why not? Just because I want to change my mind a bit? That blog piece was just what I meant it to be. Rather than pity myself on the challenges I face, I’d much rather reflect on what I’ve been able to accomplish and when I did that, it brought into perspective a more positive experience. You ever heard of “Looking on the brighter side?”

Me: Dude, I’m just asking questions. It’s my job. No need to be defensive.

Answering Me: Bite me.

Me: Whatever… You can’t say everything is simply a mind change. You also said you were going to start camping out at least once a month. And I quote, “I want to set a goal of camping at least once a month for a year. Can I do it?…Is it practical?…Don’t know. The point of the matter is that I’m interested in experiencing life.
How is that going?

Answering Me: Man, why you gotta be an ass?

Me: I’m just asking questions. This is an interview? So how is that going?

Answering Me: Not like I planned, thank you very much? It kind of fell apart when I got banned from that unmentionable park and I just never followed through on it yet. Thank you for bring it up to my attention again. *Sarcastically*

Me: Don’t mention it. So how long do you expect all this to take?

Answering Me: Til it takes! …When I’ve got what I wanted out of this deal. I’m just going to take it day by day til it feels right.

Me: So what made you want to do this “interviewing yourself thing”? How is this helping, anyway?

Answering Me: Man, I honestly just sat down and knowing I wanted to post a blog today, it just came out like this. I’m waiting on Felix to bring me back one of my flashes for a shoot tomorrow afternoon and kind of fell asleep at the computer. I woke up and figured, I’d stamp out a few keystrokes til he gets here. This is the way it all came out.

Me: So you are shooting a nude tomorrow?

Answering Me: Well, yeah, but I didn’t contact her. She got hold of me and its a good opportunity shoot. Its going to be some commission slash art work for me.

Me: Now is that going to be what you say everytime you get a chance to get a girl out of her clothes… “Its an OPPORTUNITY SHOOT?

Answering Me: Dude, F*ck you, Man! What’s your problem?

Me: I’m just asking a question. It doesn’t sound like you are giving up nudes at all. Isn’t this going to just put you in the same predicament you’re still in?

Answering me: No. No, it isn’t. This is a beautiful black woman. I don’t get to shoot many black women. I’d be a fool to pass on her. Besides, like I said, commission! We are going to work together on this. She’s already talking about referring me to some of her friends for MORE commission work. Comprende?

Me: Fo-shizzle, My Nizzle. I understand…word of mouth. It makes sense. I’m just asking you a question! So what about you workshops? You gonna give them up? Let someone else run them? How’s that going to work?

Answering Me: I’ll still do my workshops. I don’t get to shoot at my own workshops anyway. Well, at least I don’t get that many great shots. I get some, but they are mainly over the shoulder shots of the model posed by whatever photog has lead and is directing the model at that time. I don’t see them so much as myMY shots, so I either don’t shoot or don’t shoot much.

Me: Well, we are about out of time, for now. We’ll pick this up again for another session later. ~Nice portraiture, by the way~. Any parting shots?

Answering Me: Yeah, you’re a butt-head.
(Models are Stacey Scott and Lisa Savilla from a previous lighting seminar.)