Monday, June 13, 2016

Back to Bed

Keira Grant

This is my bed. This is where I sleep. In the summer heat, I retire to here at night, the only cloth on my body, the cotton sheets strewn about.

Keira Grant

And this? Here I roll around nude, often photographed. Come over with your camera, and give me reason to crawl back into this luxurious bed.

Photographed by Gary Schottle

Friday, June 3, 2016

Quiet. Self-portraiture

Writers' block; a unsettling ailment for a living, thinking artist.


Subdued in suburbia, no longer tackling obstacles to find a roof for every night, having to go no further than my kitchen to cook up an appealing meal, I am faced with a new condition: quiet.

I used to live in a sort of survivalist mode, continually moving forward with no time to look backwards or sideways. I had places to get to, art to create, and changing details to relentlessly arrange.

Now my travels have been cut in half. I spend a glorious half of the year at home being a homebody and a fabulous other half of the year being my artful nomad self. Time at home is beautiful, but the flip flop of emotions and experiences that go with home and travel are a whole new sensation to accustom myself to. Me, nervous about details before embarking on a two week trip? Before there never were these feelings - there were no start or finish to trips, only life.

I am still building my notion of home; little by little the roof that houses me feels more like mine. I watch the light dance on walls, and push myself to embrace a more solitary art experience. The collaborative nature of how I model has always been a high, energy and ideas bounce between the two of us model and photographer, as we move forward, creating images. I tire of spending efforts online seeking out models to share their time and self with me, encouraging a model to embrace the idea of working with a newer, female photographer, which leaves me with one model to call on time and again, myself.

So in the quiet, I stand face to face with myself, she who never leaves me and is my one-and-only internal muse.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Spring 2016 Travel

TRAVEL PLANS! EAST Coast and beyond!

SF/Oakland availability: March 29 - 30 (ask about studio day on the 30th!)

Houston: April 11 - 13

San Antonio/Austin: May 14 - 15

Washington DC, Baltimore, MD,VA (and around): May 19 - 25
NYC: May 26 - 30
Boston/MA: June 9 - 12 (tentative)
North Carolina: July 9 - 17 (possible Richmond, VA)

Contact me at to reserve a date/time.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Where did the nomad go? Deep in the heart of Texas.

For the first time in 6 years, I have a place I call home. The house I rent and live in is mine for the year. The pantry has what I need to make random concoctions to fill my body with nutrients and energy, the bed has sheets which smell like me, and my belongings have almost been successfully consolidated from their scattered placement across the continent.

My nomad days have not come to an end – I will continue to travel as a model for the foreseeable future for creating art with my body and soul as my instrument is something I intensely love and currently how I sustain myself.  Yet, having a place to return to time and again has added a feeling of peace I have long searched for.

Photographed by Noel Marreno
Models Keira Grant and Lisa Jupiter

About 14 months ago I was convinced I would be moving to North Carolina, as I knew it was in the cards for a change.  Some people are of the conviction that about every 7 years, we change as individuals. Be this true or not, life is a journey and I always seek to continue forward, sometimes taking small, soft steps and other times by jumping forward and into the lesser known terrain, parachute on my back.

Only in looking back at my lifestyle do I realize what I went through, living on the road. Perpetual travel means the work to line up everyday logistics such as a roof, basic food and artistic shoots is a whole different issue than when living in one place. With shooting and creating art as my number one goal and obsession, I found the majority of my energy committed to my goal and other things slid out of view.

All decisions come with trade offs. Now I have time. Time to develop my own photography, learn all those neglected recipes, put those hour into sculpting myself into the form I wish to be and a chance to think from a different perspective. And I absolutely have time to model and shoot, which I do with zeal when given the opportunity. 

Expect to see me traveling to cities near you throughout the year. As always, I welcome your emails about shooting together. And if you ever come through Houston, Texas, I have a glorious location available to shoot in and know an eager model with great ideas, damn good abs and a whole lot of experience who is always ready to shoot (yup, that would be me).

Friday, September 4, 2015

Yes ma'am we've got nature: Houston Nature Parks

My sister imagined Texas to be a barren land of cactus, dirt and cowboys. She and my fellow Californians thought I was crazy, moving halfway across the country to a huge oil rich but nature deficient state, my car packed with a few of my favorite things and my reptile family who had no say in the decision.  Pulled by the strength of the graduate school reputation and their scholarship dollars, trees or not, I was moving to Texas. 

Besides the purported year round perfect temperatures, in many parts of California, a person only has to drive a couple of hours in any direction to experience a different environment, be it desert, mountains, hills, or even sea.  This is a little bit of magic. From most cities in Texas, one would be crazy to think they could make a day trip to both the sea and mountains. And many people living inside of Houston quickly forget there is even nature outside of the city. I will raise my hand and admit, I, too, was one of these people.

Photographed by Glimmermere
Louisville, KY

Few average Texans appear to care about tromping through the woods, and to those who look in on this state, Austin is where all of the natural and beautiful parts are. Austin may be surrounded by more options, and more nature-inclined people seem to gravitate there, but with a little bit of searching, interesting nature can be found all over what is truly a lush and green Eastern Texas. From the cities, you may have to drive a bit to be surrounded in a great park to enjoy the chirping of birds and rustle of trees, or smell the sweet decay of the woods, but these places do exist.

As I returned to Houston after a long road trip, my route took me from the lush nature state of Arkansas and through many areas of green as I approached home for the first time in months. Within a couple of hours of my apartment, I passed through the vast Davy Crockett National Forest, before driving through the Huntsville State Park. These parks are still a ways from Houston, but they can be reached easily as a day trip, and both are quite huge. The Davy Crockett National Forest is a bit farther, but contains a full 160,000 acres of recreation areas, wildlife habitats, woods and streams. That's worth a day trip or a camping trip in my book.

As a Texas resident, living in the northern suburbs of the city, knowing my options for a respite from the city is incredibly important. The Californian in me screams to know I can find a place to breathe in nature, and not hear cars driving by.

Yesterday I scouted the Lake Houston Wilderness Park which is northeast of Houston and well within an hour’s drive for many Houston residents. The place was a beautifully quiet place, and during my exploration shoot with Peter Janecke, we appeared to have the place to ourselves and a few maintenance people from 9 am until noon. We drove around, pulled the car to the side of the road, hopped out for photography, then got back in and continued onto the next place. While walking around, there were little cabins to sneak into, bridges to pose on and under, and of course, so many beautiful trees.

I aim to develop my list of places to shoot at, but consider this a solid start. Point proven – there is nature in Houston. They can keep me.

 Inexpensive A-frame cabin. And free if sneaking for a quick shoot

 If you take a photo while walking, it might turn out crooked like this

Look at that line of perspective! Awesome bridge

Friday, August 21, 2015

Lyra: modeling acrobatics

To astrologers, the word Lyraevokes a constellation in the sky; one often represented on star maps as a vulture or eagle carrying a lyre (which you may recall is a harp-like U-shaped instrument often used in ancient Greece).  To those with small children, they may know of a cartoon pony named Lyra Heartstrings aptly named because of a lyre on her flank. But those in the acrobatics and modeling world know a Lyra to be a metal hoop which is suspended to a ceiling by one or two attachment points.  The Aerial Hoopthat is visually reminiscent of a metal hula-hoop is also known as a “circeaux” or more commonly “lyra,” and is occasionally used as a prop in model shoots.

I had seen photos before, but my first opportunity to use the lyra was with wonderful Baltimore based photographer, Chip Bulgin a few years ago.  The session was less than an hour long of exhausting and acrobatic moves.  Unfamiliar with the motions of the lyra, as I moved into positions, the lyra circled endlessly, carrying me along in its orbit. The process involved finding a pose and holding as the lyra turned and revealed different angles for the camera.  I focused on dynamic poses, inspired by the acrobatic nature of the history of this prop. The timing of the shutter was everything, as at one moment I would be in an ideal position and at the next moment the angles would change for better or worse.  By the end of the session, I was in need of ginger ale to calm my queasy stomach and my muscles had tired from pulling myself up and down and around on the ring, and that was the sensation of success. 

Photographed by Chip Bulgin

Since that shoot, the occasion to use a lyra again has arisen only a few times.  My session this past year was part of a longer shoot with Jeff Bevis of Long Island with only about fifteen minutes to play before stopping for dinner (from past experience I deemed necessity a lyra then food order of operations).  This time, I was able to get up and down on the lyra with minimal spinning, and no nausea was experienced.  This could be due to the manner in which the lyra was connected, or my increased familiarity with the hoop. My background was much more restrictive to elongated poses, so I focused on poses which kept my limbs fairly compact and mood calm.

Photographed by Jeff Bevis
Edited by model with permission

I have spent the past few months working out at the gym, and my arms and upper back muscles are more developed. Anyone have a lyra and a studio they can safely mount a lyra in? I believe the time to get back on a lyra has come.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Anyone can be photographed. To be a good model, more is needed.

Anyone can model. If you are willing to reveal yourself in front of a camera, be watched, documented visually, then you are modeling. To be a good model, you need to have a presence.

There is beauty in the honest unpolished vision of someone who first embarks in the journey as model.  For creating art, the authenticity of a model who is willing to be present and genuine will shine through. Not every style of photography will do justice to the person who is new and uncertain.  Artists have the most success with revealing the true beauty of a woman; they most often can see a person for who they are. Photographers who create a comfortable environment and are able to embolden their subject will bring out the best for their photographs. Photographers who look at a woman and want to see them as an idealized version of a woman will be less likely to create good images with a new model.

The artist's model
Photographed by Charlie Freeman
Summer 2008
One of my first nude shoots with the wonderfully kind man Charlie Freeman who told stories with his art and saw my potential. Regrettably, he has since passed.

The emotion and mental state of an unguarded model will always be revealed in a photo.  Looking through my earlier photos, my body looks good but my face looks uncertain. I had not yet learned I was beautiful and my questioning look became part of portraits. Or I was unsure what to do, and my lack of confidence showed. Occasionally, this flaw is the feature that makes a photo interesting and good.

The glamour images I was pushed into during my exploratory months as a model are farcical.  The photos reveal a girl without any confidence, attempting to look sexy with fear in her face. Glamour photography requires a model have a semblance of understanding of their beauty, even if only for the time during which they shoot. Fortunately, to be an artist and a model, one does not need to be traditionally beautiful to create wonderful photos, so those who wish to model but lack vanity can more easily enter the world of modeling through art.

Photographed by Marc H

As an artist, the pursuance of art is what led me down the path of modeling. I had confidence in my body, but did not understand I was at all beautiful. I did not know how to move in front of a camera and what was expected as a model.

With time, I learned what to do. I had confidence and put myself out there without a question mark. I practiced, received feedback, and became a good model. I was determined, relaxed and embracing what I did.

As models learn how to model, what they can bring to a shoot increases. They can project the persona needed for the kind of shoot they are doing.  As multifaceted individuals, models embrace certain sides of themselves, be it elegance, sex appeal/sex-kitten, experimentalist, fetishist, warrior, or really, anything when need be.

Anyone can be photographed. Anyone can learn how to model. Like all activities worth pursuing, you have to learn how to be a consistently good model.

Photographed by TLGEE

Photographed by Daniel Burnstein

Photographed by Robert Weissner

Photographed by Steve Lease