Spotlight: Louis LaSalle Fine Art Photography - Louis LaSalle Interview Continues
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Spotlight: Louis LaSalle Fine Art Photography
Louis LaSalle Interview Continues
Louis LaSalle Interview Continues
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Where has your work been published? Where can our readers find more of your work?

My work has been published in 9 collections of the male nude. I've also done 2 calendars, 5 novel covers and had several magazine features. You can find a full list of my publications here on my website.

And of course, my website is the best place to see my work:

What drew you to photographing artistic nude images of men?

I've always been creative. And men are inherently visually oriented. And we are biologically programmed to find the human body very beautiful and attractive. So it's no surprise that as a gay male, I was drawn to photographing the male nude.

The perfect male nude to me is one I react to twice, once with "Wow that's beautiful," and then again with "Fuck that's hot!" And if my third reaction is "I wish I shot that," then it is a true winner in my book.

As Kenneth Clark said in his seminal work The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form, " is necessary to labor the obvious and say that no nude, however abstract, should fail to arouse in the spectator some vestige of erotic feeling - even though it be only the faintest shadow, and if it does not do so, it is bad art and false morals."

What are your thoughts on color vs. b&w physique photography?

Well, the bulk of my work is in B&W, so I obviously prefer it. I guess I find B&W to be more dramatic and usually more artistic than color. My approach to lighting is very sculptural in nature, and most sculpture is of course monochrome. But I guess part of my preference is that we are constantly bombarded with color imagery ranging from news to marketing. We probably see at least 1000 color photographs on a daily basis. B&W has become extraordinary by it's rarity. Capturing a nude in B&W immediately takes it out of the ordinary and because of that it we pay more attention.

Then too, art is in the abstraction and idealization. B&W immediately gives you a layer of abstraction in which to play. And you can play with tonal ranges in B&W in ways that in color would create grotesque results.

How do you use lighting in your work?

My basic approach to lighting owes a lot to a renaissance painting approach called "chiaroscuro". The term in Italian literally means "light dark". There are conflicting definitions of exactly what this means as it applies to art, but as I was taught it is "revealing out of darkness". In other words, you start with a blank slate of darkness and reveal into light. The work is marked by strong contrasts, shallow mid-tones and a full range of values from black to white.

I achieve this first though lighting, which most often involves two lights, one high to one side and one low to the other. The angle of the light is very sharp, raking across the model. And the lighting ratio is fairly high, starting at about 2:1 and going up from there.

Do you use any image enhancement or retouching software?

I use Photoshop to edit my photos. But I do very limited enhancement. I correct color balance in color work; I clear skin imperfections when they detract from the piece; and I adjust contrast. It's through adjusting contrast that I get the shallow mid-tones I previously mentioned.

Which photographers or artists have most inspired you? Whose work has most impressed you recently? Which new photographers are you watching?

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