Tuesday, 15 September 2015

New Project: Everyone is Beautiful

(Until I get my website on a new server I'll start using this blog for some castings)
This is a preliminary casting for a project I may be shooting next year or starting later this year.
This will be an artistic nudes photo-book and I need a range of women as models, all proceeds will go to charity.
'Everyone is Beautiful'
Open to:
Women (over 18)
Finished Product:
A book.
Artistic Nude & Figure Nude
One of my favourite aspects of my work is shooting commissions, where someone hires me to photograph them in the styles you see in my galleries/websites, for their private use. The thing that almost every client says to me is "I'm no model", they are worried about being 'good enough', the reality is (almost) no-one is perfect, even models have their imperfections and these are dealt with in one of two ways; they can be hidden/'photoshopped', or they can be included.
I'm going to make a book where the latter applies, real people with real 'imperfections', photographed beautifully.
I'll be shooting an artistic nude or figure nude style and I'm inviting ordinary women to apply, as with all of my projects the aim is to gather variety so I want to cover overweight people, skinny people, people with bad skin, people with scarring, physical disabilities, unusual proportions, stretch-marks and weight-loss-excess-skin, bad boob jobs and mastectomy, young girls and old women, heavily tattooed or extensively pierced. If you have something about your body that you don't like or doesn't fit the 'normal' or 'popular' definition of beautiful then I want to hear from you, tell your friends, be part of something beautiful and show the world you are too.
Specifically looking for:
Any women who don't fit the normal western popular definition of 'beautiful'.
I want a variety of women from both 'ordinary' every-day women as well as those who for some reason are 'different', such as (as mentioned above); overweight, underweight, skin problems, more body hair, no body hair, stretch-marks, scars, bad boob-jobs, disproportionate boob-jobs, mastectomy, physically disabled, very tall or very short, very fit and muscular, and anything else I've not thought of yet. I want a wide variety of women so I can show that all of you are beautiful.
What is involved:
  1. If you think this project is a good idea, tell people! especially any women who you feel could benefit from realising that they are actually attractive when for some reason they think they are not.
  2. To apply send me an email via Projects@MarkVarleyPhoto.co.uk (should you have any problems with that address use markvarleyprojects@gmail.com instead), put 'Everyone is Beautiful' as the subject in your email. I need to see a photo showing your body, a simple mirror-selfie is fine, and also photos showing anything you may specifically dislike about your body. Feel free to ask me any questions you may have if you on't feel ready to send photos yet. All photos and any information sent to me is strictly confidential.
  3. I will select people based on variety, if chosen you will be invited to come and shoot later in 2015 or the first half of 2016.
  4. Shoots take place in Cambridgeshire, UK. You can apply from anywhere in the world but you will need to get yourself to me. The nearest train station is Huntingdon, the nearest Airport is Stansted then Luton.
  5. A shoot will take at least an hour, probably not more than two, plus time to relax and build some confidence before we shoot.
  6. You have the option of being anonymous, either by not using your real name and/or not showing your face.
  7. I will direct your posing as you pose in a number of different positions. All shoots will be nude as that is the theme of the project but remember this is an artistic project, everything will be tasteful.
  8. Once the photos have been edited, a few weeks later, you will be able to view them privately online, if there are any you really don't want anyone to see or if you have changed your mind this is the time to tell me.
  9. You will also be able to use your photos for any personal use, I can arrange prints if you would like some or you can use them online on personal profiles etc.
  10. When all of the shoots are done the final photos will be chosen and the book will be compiled, I'll let you know if you are in the book (most likely everyone will have at least one photo included).
  11. As soon as the book is available you will be given a link where you can order yourself a copy of the book at cost-price (I don't get any for free).
  12. All profits from the book sales will go to charity (I am currently talking to relevant charities).

Please share a link to this post with anyone who you think may be interested in taking part, I really think this could firstly help people with their self-image by taking part and secondly help others by seeing that there really is a wide range of people who are 'normal' and beautiful, and if there is anything noticeably 'different' about them then it really doesn't mean they are not beautiful.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Fetish Photography or Photography Fetish?

Some of you may have noticed that fetish is one of my favoured photographic genres, specifically rope bondage (as it's an art unto itself that is another passion of mine), so I kinda know my way around fetish photography a little, however a recent observation has set my mind thinking...

A photographer is someone who, through the medium of photography, seeks to create images, as a goal unto itself (those working in a professional or semi-professional capacity are using these end-products to make some money, but the photos are the first goal as they are the means to the ultimate goal, making a living!).

I have noticed among discussions recently that for some photographers working in the fetish world, the motivation and aim may be different, a classification has come to my mind (as a means of understanding only) of 'Photography Fetish', this is someone who enjoys, as a directly or indirectly sexual activity, taking photographs. There are many possible aspects to this from photographing something that is sexually desirable (from boobs to shoes) to the process of control that is necessary when photographing people (do this, do that, pose like this etc.) to a vehicle for voyeurism (watching others do something, semi-remotely).

This can seem alien to those of us with different motivations, especially when a conversation is had and the expected masses of commonality is shown to be very sparse, but lets split it down for a minute, essentially a 'photography fetishist' is someone who is loving some or all of the process of photography, and surely that applies no matter the subject? I myself doggedly persue genres of photography that pay very little, as a professional photography why do I do this? because I love creating beautiful images, not that different is it?

This can apply equally to those who love photographing wildlife, as do I, that process of being close to nature and capturing it in all it's glory is as great in itself as the finished images.
I know there are many professional photographers who are cold and hard about 'the job' but why did they get into that line of work in the first place? I bet they loved it at some point way back and that love has been lost, they simply need to augment their photography with subjects, genres, styles, subjects that appeal to them personally as well as them financially, their lives and photography will improve greatly if they do so!

And then they'll find themselves edging closer to the Photography Fetishists who are doing it solely for the love of it. It's just the same as that old 'amateur vs professional photographer' argument, it's the photographs that count when it comes to the qualities of the photographer and amateurs are often better than professionals on that count.

So is a 'photography fetishist' a better or worse person than a 'Fetish Photographer'? based on motivations alone, no, they're not better or worse, just different, vive la différence!

(I hope this makes some kind of coherent sense! I kinda rattled it out in 10 minutes without thinking it through)

Tuesday, 8 December 2009



A title with two meanings, incidentally it’s the make of camera I first bought
in 1996 when I started taking photography a little more seriously, but it’s main
meaning is a peak, and in my photography I recently reached a major peak.

My photography started out with landscapes and nature, and that was the bulk of
my work for years, however I had long been an admire of the art nudes, as many
reading this will be, after some encouragement I decided to give it a try, my
first nudes photoshoot was in 2004, I sold one of the first photos of the day
within a couple of days, I loved it, and it seemed I might even be good at it!

So I had a look around the internet to try and find the best models in this
business, the art nude models, the very best, I was on a mission! I worked with
quite a number of very talented models over the next few years, but the one at
the top of my list constantly eluded me, her name is Joceline and she needs no
introduction J try as we might we were just never in the same place at the same
time with time to spare.

Roll on to September 2009 and I was (and still am) in the midst of having a
documentary made about me and my photography, I planned a shoot in a dance
studio and was hoping to get around 6 models into our time there, all shooting
solo, I contacted many, and most couldn’t make it, when it came down to it there
were just two models who could make it, and one of them was Joceline, I was a
very happy man, I could spend all day pointing a camera at this lady.

On shoot-day we all arrived at the dance studio and she was already there,
looking every bit as amazing as we could have possibly hoped, while we were
still setting up she slipped on her pointe shoes and glided down the studio, the
world stopped, there was a gasp or three and at least one damp eye, this shoot
was going to be something else, and it was indeed.

I’ll let some of the images speak for themselves now….

It took my 5 years to get some time in a studio with this
lady, on reflection there are several things that come to mind, 1) if I went
blind today I’d not feel unfulfilled about my time as a photographer. 2) any
model I shoot with in the future has got an astounding level to aspire to! 3)
she was worth waiting half a decade for.

My infinite thanks and admiration go to Joceline

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Yea, I'm still here!

I'm still here, still shooting, still editing, currently catching up on a backlog of editing, from which here is a sample photo from a recent shoot with the very excellent Joceline. Enjoy!

Friday, 18 September 2009

This Filming Malarky!

Had some more filming for the documentary on Tuesday, I'd been out rigging for Chris on the monday, with Red Kali, which as usual was very hard on my body, though it included wading in a river this time, which was fun, and always nice to be out and about without having to get good photos of everything!

On Tuesday morning the weather forecast for rain (monday was sunny, wednesday was sunny, just tuesday, bugger) came together nicely. I met up with Red Kali and Lex, my models for the day, at St Pancras station and we got to our destination, still raining, but the documentary-maker-dude was pretty enthusiastic and we decided to get the best we could, so off we went to the woods!

The rain held-out just long enough to get the rigging points in the trees (which took an hour and resulted in a minor loss of skin and blood on my part) and I got the girls up in a double suspension, about 5 feet apart, standard face-down horizontal suspension and had their hands attached to the others so they could pull each other around, which was pretty cool, then I span them both around a bit, which by all accounts looked fabulous on the video camera.

By the time we got back to the station it was raining again, so thanks to whichever higher power held-off the rain just long enough :-)

Coming up tomorrow (saturday) we're in a dance studio, I'll have joceline (.co.uk) doing a variety of things, mostly not wearing much and mostly looking eternally and supremely graceful (while I fumble around like a muppet sliding around in my socks, no doubt), along with anyone else I can get at short notice having had some cancellations :o( boooo

While I'm here, I'll share my favourate photo at the moment, this is solitaire...

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Mid-September Update

Sooooo whats been going on?
Mostly I've been pointing my camera at pretty things (nothing new there then), also I was filmed the other week, I'm not a big fan of being infront of a camera so when I had a video camera pointed at me while we were filming a trailer for the documentary thats being made about me it was a first, and actually not that bad.
The main model involved was Lady Blossom Who I'd not yet worked with, though my partner Jan has been doing some awesome work with her over the last year or so, For the trailer we needed a shot of Lady Blossom in Bondage, so very late the night before the filming we did this:-Which was just perfect, very well captured what was needed as an ingredient for the trailer.
I'd lined up a second model for the bit with Lady Blossom in but due to a fuggy (good word that) head I'd booked her for the following week!, thankfully Vish had popped along as I've not seen him in ages and ended up with a main role with Lady Blossom! good work that man!
Big thanks also to AlexB who was fabulous alongside me :o)

More later in the week!

Sunday, 26 July 2009


Beauty, that’s what 99.9% of my photographs are about, but they are also all about freedom, some people just don’t get it, infact even some people who love my work don’t see it as being about freedom at all, especially when they see a photo of a beautiful woman tied up and tied down, how can that be about freedom? If you like my photo and you don’t see ‘freedom’ in it then that’s just fine, my photos are ingredients that mesh with the feelings of each individual viewer and maybe they see something in it, it communicates to them and they like it, that’s what matters, a photo is a mirror showing you a part of yourself.

But tied up women? Where is the freedom in that?
Look first at my wildlife photos, wild animals are free, the very image of freedom, same for my landscapes and wide open spaces, the viewer feels free surrounded by such things.
Now look at my nudes, the outdoor location ones first, a beautiful woman in a beautiful environment, roaming free within it and indeed becoming part of it, there is obvious freedom in the imagery there. Nudes in the studio environment are also exhibiting a freedom, of their bodies and of self expression, they are freely expressing themselves, usually in a very classically beautiful and pure way.

Now to the bondage, is someone who’s tied-up free? That depends on two factors, are they willingly tied up and are they feeling good having been tied up? The women I tie up say yes to those two things. Freedom of self expression, freedom to throw off the responsibility for, well, everything.
Consider this possibility, you have a busy and hectic life, full of responsibilities with people and things depending on you, how would it feel to switch that off for a while?
When someone submits to bondage they are no longer able to act on any responsibilities, no matter what they may be responsible for they cannot do anything about it, is it 6pm yet? Do they have a report they must work on? Is someone expecting them somewhere? Do they need more bread and milk?
None of this matters as they cannot act on it, they cannot even scratch their own nose, the binds free the mind, they even hand over responsibility for their own wellbeing (to a large degree).
Is the model posing in the woods while keeping a watchful eye on anyone else around who might catch them free in this way? Is even the bird keeping an eye-out for predators free in this way? Different people like being tied in different ways, at different times, for different reasons, but this example is very common.

Now to respect, it has been said that I show disrespect for women by portraying them bound, weak and vulnerable. Firstly it takes an enormous amount of inner strength to hand yourself over willingly to someone in this way, Secondly I have the utmost respect for those that do. The women who I tie up know themselves deeply and are strong enough to express themselves any way they wish, and they wish it this way, does this sound weak and vulnerable to you?

I don’t mind what different people see in my photographs, infact I love to hear the wide range of things people see in and feel about my photographs. I feel a photograph is 75% reflective, you see aspects of yourself in it, if you see a weak and vulnerable person, 75% of that is within you, if you see a model portrayed in a disrespectful way, 75% of that is within you, if you see beautiful, 75% of that is within you.

I take beautiful photographs of beautiful things, and the freedom for a person to express themselves any way they see fit is a very beautiful thing.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Pole dancer shoot

I had a great shoot recently with Joy, a pole dancer from North London, some of you may have been watching them going up in my Photoblog, they are now available to buy as prints from my Galleries, the Nudes are HERE and the non-nudes are HERE. - Prices start at just £25 GBP

I've also made these available for commercial licensing HERE (slideshow), & HERE (thumbnails) - Priced from $80 USD.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Japanese Bondage

Tomorrow I'm delivering 20 prints of my Japanese Bondage set to a gallery in East London, photos below:

This is a first in a few ways, it's the first time I've shot a set of images inspired by and primarily for a specific event, information page for the event here - www.japaneseartropebondage.blogspot.com - The bondage I do is not pure shibari, it's not pure anything, I am inspired by ropework from many places, rigging on ships, macramé, shibari, anywhere and this blends together into 'my style' (if such a thing is definable), this set is a salute to the commonly held origins of rope bondage as we know it in the west, Japan.

I planned this shoot with several elements,
1st I needed a japanese model, no problem as one lives not far from me and I worked with her a few months ago on my current book.
2nd I needed a setting, luckily my home has wooden floors and bamboo screens around the computers, and we'd just taken delivery of several tatami mats.
3rd thing I needed was alot of hemp rope, something thats not a problem around here as I use it all the time.

My model for the day also brought along some beautiful kimono, which added alot
to the feel of the set. We worked together for most of the day, trying a few
ties and a few changes of kimono and the editing of the images took a further
two days.
I had them printed with mounts on 10x12 paper complete with my
logo/stamp on them, as seen above (and a larger slideshow below in a previous
post), they are all framed in black wooden frames and labelled with their
details, most significantly their status as 'unique editions'.

The idea of unique editions is a new one to my photography, previously my work (that isn't specifically licensed for a use) has been open editions or limited editions of 10 or 20, a unique edition has only one print made of it for sale and there will be only one copy to own. I hope this
completes the bespoke nature of this set of 20 and reflects the time, thought and effort that went into the creation of each and every photograph.

They will be available from the event for 4 days at the end of this week in East London -
- and any remaining will be available via my websites and possibly future events.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009