Sergey is the latest in a long line of models in our portfolio that hail from eastern Europe. This 24-year-old Ukrainian's photo session is also an accurate snapshot of the studio's current operations. It offers us a chance to pull the curtain back a bit and discuss the changing nature of the studio and how that is reflected on the website and this blog.
Since the start of 2017, New Manhattan Studios has morphed from a commercial business to a retirement operation focused more on art for art's sake. We continue to take commercial assignments that fit with our interests and are always exploring new horizons in an attempt to "do it all" in our remaining productive years including, for example, a number of sessions with the makeup and body painting artist, Charles Zambrano. These days, many of our models arrive from social media platforms, most notably Instagram, as was the case with Sergey. We continue going on location and making regular trips outside the Metropolitan area to work with models around the country.
Instagram has had a significant impact on the studio's operations. Now many sessions are being structured to provide promotional material for Instagram. Reflected on the website, you'll be seeing more galleries such as Sergey's; studio sessions that contain as much variety as can be squeezed into a short time frame and 100 square feet of studio floor.
Most notably, Instagram has altered our workflow. Editing is now driven by a need to feed Instagram and the first place our newest work appears is on our Instagram feed. Our photo sessions are now being edited over a period of months as we bounce back and forth from one open folder to another. As a result, on our website we have started soft-opening new galleries that contain small but slowly-enlarging bodies of work. When there is sufficient content to warrant, we announce the gallery on our blog, much as we always have. The biggest difference is that most galleries should now be considered "works-in-progress." We continue to add images to folders as we seek new content for Instagram and our publications.
We are now typically "soft-opening" galleries with new models within two or three weeks of their session. If you see a model on our Instagram feed, look for his work in the Models Gallery and expect to find a folder into which we will continue adding images over the coming weeks and months.
The body painting sessions are something of an odd fit with the rest of our portfolio but we have found a corner for them in our art galleries. Every model that has participated has enjoyed the experience and a body painting session is now something to which newer models aspire. We know that this art is not a natural fit with the the rest of the studio's physique art photography but many of the body painting galleries on the site have side-car galleries with behind-the-scenes shots of the laborious body-painting process. Below right is such a photo of Timothy, assuming the persona of Neptune, Ruler of Oceans. My interest in telling the story harks back to my roots as a photo journalist. Be sure to check it all out if you find the whole process as interesting as I do.
Sergey's session gave us the opportunity to play with a new light in the studio that we currently lease in lower Manhattan. It's a Fresnel light to which we've added a diffusion gel that provides a beautiful, natural looking light. We're overcoming an aversion to mottled light as we learn how to use it, but this is the type of lens and lamp that has long been associated with Hollywood sets and it has a retro feel to it that is fun to play with.
Experimenting with new lights lights and tools of the trade is part of our mission at the moment. We are adding all sorts of things (like lights) to the wish list for the new studio that is being built to our specifications. "Hollywood lighting? We'll take that to go, please."
Bringing us to the last bit of behind-the-scenes news, a new home base is in the works. After years of itinerancy, we are designing a permanent new studio with a long-term lease. I withhold further comment for now except to say that we hope to start shooting in our new midtown space by mid-summer.