I’m the only one awake and the water is perfectly calm, reflecting the first morning light as it illuminates majestic sandstone cliffs. I’m at Lake Powell to teach the Dynamic Nudes workshop with Joel Belmont. This ancient and enchanting landscape is both humbling and awe-inspiring. As I anticipate returning to this magical place as a mentor and a guide, I think back to my first life-changing experiences photographing the human body in nature.
I had been making my living photographing the American wilderness landscape for 20 years, when in 1996 my art and my life changed forever. I began including the human figure in my landscapes and found that the inclusion of a model in a landscape profoundly deepens a viewer’s emotional connection to the image. Through the model’s presence in the images, viewers could vicariously feel the rocks, ice and water themselves.
And so I began a six-year project photographing a single model on the beautiful shores of Lake Superior. As my connection to the landscape and the model grew, my work became much more personal and meaningful. Through the lens of my camera I soon came to see beauty in an entirely new way. I fell in love with the land, I fell in love with this artform and I fell in love with the model – who became my wife, Honey.