Art Model, Susan ©2013 Terrell Neasley

“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Well, that’s what they say. Is it true? Hell, naw. When you love something you’d better work your ass of at it or you won’t be loving it for long. So the work continues. You get better or you stagnate and if you stagnate you die. So what is it that I love. I love the art nude and I love travel. Its pretty much all I ever want to shoot. Making a living at just that can be challenging. How do you make a living with nudes outside of porn? And there is no shortage of travel photogs out there. In fact, I’d say there is a stark surplus of shooters traveling all over the world and returning with highly interesting imagery.

When I first turned professional after losing my job at the Nevada State Treasurer’s Office, I did so after a long deliberation. For the first month I was unemployed, I did absolutely nothing related to job hunting or planning for my future. I enjoyed myself and relaxed. On day 32, I decided I’d turn pro in photo. I had all the gear I needed already and I was definitely good enough. One thing I knew for sure was that I did not want to be like every other photog swinging a lens. So I spent Month 2, five days a week, bending my brain on all the possibilities of what niche I’d carve for myself. By the end of that month, I only needed to begin my work and  execute my plan.

Anonymous Art Model, ©2014 Terrell Neasley 

And so this is where I find myself once again. Travel and Art Nude photography is the WHAT. And that’s why I sit here in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala in my “penthouse” apartment that I’ve been renting for the last 3 months figuring out the HOW. My plan is to use this as a staging point til September and at that time,  I’ll be ready to continue my adventure as I fly to Colombia. I should have the rest of the gear I need by then with a plan on execution. One of my considerations deals with platforms and that’s where Instagram comes in.

I am so pissed with IG. I can’t stand the censorship. Actually, there are a lot of things with which I take issue with them, but for now, lets stick to the censoring of my work. I don’t know how some pages get away with it, but my profile is constantly getting censored images taken down and I have no clue as to what Community Guidelines were violated. No clue even which pics were deleted at times. No recourse to understand anything. They don’t let you contact them so you can’t ask questions. No clue if an algorithm is incorrectly targeting my already censored edits. OR, if an anonymous person is reporting my images and they get deleted without due scrutiny. And apparently, after a quick check, I discovered that some of my images have been SHADOW BANNED! They still appear on my profile page where I can see them, but YOU can not see them. You can check to see your’s on INSTAGRAM SHADOW BAN TESTER. So I’m not sure if this is the right platform for me anymore.

Art Model, Samantha ©2010 Terrell Neasley

I can’t stand being beholden to someone else’s sensibilities on what is obscene or offensive to other viewers. I do my work and my art and believe you, me…I plan to misbehave. Some of my artwork leans towards the explicit and I don’t know what to tell you… you can simply not look at it if you don;t like it. I won’t be offended. Ergo, I need a new platform to display and exhibit my work. VERO, is a possibility but I still have time to search this out. Maybe I’ll keep IG solely for the Travel work. I won’t make this call until later this fall.

Instagram is only part of my challenge. I’ve still got to find favorable venues and platforms that won’t limit or censor my work. And that means I have to tap into a demographic that appreciates and purchases my art which leaves me with with the task of finding my real audience. Plenty of people are interested in travel photography, visiting places around the world, and living vicariously through those that do in the form of instant access social media. That demographic is easy. A smaller portion of that demographic is interested in seeing a nipple exposed anywhere near a waterfall. And even less want a full frontal nude body “desecrating”, what would have otherwise been appropriate imagery to hang on a family wall. I can be a bit obstinate, I know. Because the easy solution is to just stick to the travel landscape and make everybody happy. And that would be great, but it would come at the cost of my own happiness. I can not do that.

Multiple Art Models, ©2013 Terrell Neasley

So for the time being, I keep shooting. Get my gear. (I’ll be ordering my laptop soon!) And keep researching, learning, and planning. I’ll make my call this fall.