Chinese calligraphy is an ancient art, one of the oldest types of art practiced by human race. Its origins go back thousands of years back to Yangshao culture in China, or perhaps even earlier than this. Traditionally, calligraphy is practiced on paper, although poverty of some of the greatest Chinese calligraphers forced them to be creative with media. Some of them used palm leaves, others wrote with mud on temple walls. I often combine calligraphy with modern technology, and create custom backgrounds for my works inside photoshop. Occasionally you will see my calligraphy art on female skin.
This type of photography art is very rewarding, but also really exhausting and time consuming. Skin is a very difficult media to write on. it is uneven, does not absorb ink well (if at all) and skin alignment changes depending on person's movement or position. Writing full body length in reasonably small characters takes anywhere between 2 to 4h. Writing position is extremely uncomfortable and unnatural. I ask my models to lay down so they can relax. It would be too tiring for them to stand for 4h and then still have enough of zeal and spark to do a few hours shoot. Photo shoots are long and can even take 10h or so in total.
Nude photography imposes other challenges. It is extremely difficult to capture well balanced and naturally beautiful body language because there are no clothes to hide any imperfections. I am not talking here about body imperfections but issues caused by highlights and shadows. Working with flash guns that do not have modeling lights in very confined spaces that we have here in Japan (the smaller the space the harder is to control light bouncing in the room), it is extremely tricky to capture the image I envisioned. I often work with deep shadows, low key and drama, and even a centimeter of movement, either of the light or a model, can change the entire mood of the photo and ruin the shot.
My advice to anyone starting with nude photography would be to find a model that feels comfortable around you and vice versa. Make sure that you know what you are doing with lights. Beautiful girl in bad lighting will look bad. Make sure that your model is in a good mood, other wise do not even bother. If you are publishing her photos, make sure she agrees to it. Be confident but naturally confident. Women will sense immediately if you are fake. Be professional but at the same time make a mental connection with your model. Learn about female body and how to present it from angles that will make your model look sensual and not common. Each person has different body shape, so do not apply standards during your shoots. You can use them as starting point but two different girls will look differently in the same pose and light. Listen to your model suggestions and take them on board, you may learn something. I am shooting for female audience, I could not care less about men. In most cases it is women who understand and appreciate art, men just pay for it. Create for those who understand and enjoy it, not for those who buy it. There is a very fine line between delicate, erotic, and cheap. Learn how to walk that fine line but without crossing it.
Ponte Ryuurui (品天龍涙)