‘Figure Study: skillful and creative artistic representations of the unclothed human figure; in whole or in part.’
When I was a kid (yeah, yeah… in the real long ago), I started sketching. Before my first art class, I found the practice of recreating the elements of my surroundings with lead and ink both fascinating and relaxing, almost meditative. The house I grew up in, my uncle’s motorcycle, pets, the Manitoba maple in the front yard, the new buds on the butternut tree out back – they all found a place in my sketch pad. It didn’t take long, though, before I discovered the challenge of drawing the human form.
It started with full body drawings – people in action or full environmental scenes (which is what led me to illustrating comic book pages and scenes years later). Next came faces, which I found the most fascinating, and then hands. I had one art project in particular in which I had to draw a pair of resting hands, so I drew my own. That was a somewhat tedious process, especially considering I have this thing for detail. Every crease and line had to be included and drawn ‘just so’. Still, it was a satisfying piece to complete, even if my hands did end up looking like those of an 80-year old man…
Those early drawings (yes, I still have many of them) were fairly crude by comparison. I was, literally, just copying what I saw onto paper. Over time, I started rendering my own figure illustrations by studying the mechanics of the body. Creating those little wire drawings, connected circles at first but later learning to develop wire figure forms, meant freedom from simply having to copy whatever was in front of me. I could now create any person or part of a person I could imagine by working from the inside out – skeleton, muscle, skin. That’s when I really started to see the lines, shape and form of the human body. I started to see it as something artistic.
Of course, this is nothing new. Artists have been inspired by the human form since we first started arting. Carved ‘Venus figures’ date back as far as 25 000 years ago and the hands painted on the walls of Cueva de las Manos in Perito Moreno, Argentina dates between 13,000–9,000 BCE. After thousands of years, we’re still fascinated by the human body and my work is just one tiny link in a very long chain of body-inspired art.
Fast forward to today… or, rather, the day I started using a camera. The physical process of creating the images is different but I still approach the work the way I did with pencil and paper – it all starts with a vision of the final image. Using the lens to capture the ‘bones’ of a piece and Photoshop to ‘flesh it out’ gives me a more extensive creative tool kit to play with. Line, shape and form are still my major focus but now I’m seeing them differently – the form is defined more by the play of light and contrasting colour and texture, rather than the weight of just the outline.
Happily now creating a variety of photographic figure studies, I wanted to see how they’d fare when evaluated by my more experienced peers. I was pleased to hear that they all passed the ‘test’ during the latest accreditation judging in Winnipeg, MB, earning me my newest accreditation in Figure Study.
Seriously, I couldn’t draw a better smile…
Here are the details:
The Professional Photographers of Canada is pleased to announce that:
Jay Terry MPA , has just earned an accreditation in Figure Study, at our Accreditation judging in Winnipeg, MB. Accreditation is the first elevation above the general membership level, and is achieved by submitting samples of the applicant’s photography to a PPOC Board of Review for Accreditation. Accreditation demonstrates that the photographer is capable of delivering above average quality photography in a chosen category.
In assessing Accreditation Submissions, the judges will consider the following criteria: Impact, Creativity, Style, Composition, Presentation, Colour Balance, Centre of Interest, Lighting, Subject Matter, Image file quality, Technique and Story Telling. Along with other service and print merits, a minimum of one Accreditation is required to qualify for a Craftsman of Photographic Arts and two accreditations are needed for a Master of Photographic Arts.
For more information, please contact:
Tracy Grabowski, MPA,SPA
780 413 4550
PPOC Executive Director
T: (888) 643-PPOC (7762)
F: (519) 537-5573