Chinatown Brothels

It’s amazing how shamelessly open these places are, but you see them all over London – not only in Soho and Chinatown but in King’s Cross, the East End, Earl’s Court… Here’s a few more signs from Chinatown.

Modells

models

More Models

Sexy Swedish Blonde

Nice Slim Model, Nice Time

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I’ll be doing a Listen to a Londoner post – the last one before I leave London – next Saturday, so I invite you to throw questions at me to answer through this week. I’ll pick 10 of the best for Saturday. Leave them in the comments or email me at littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk

London Art Spot: Suelan Allison-Modrzejewski

While some of us might be reading this first Art Spot post of 2011 slightly hungover, Suelan Allison-Modrzejewski is probably fresh on her feet because she doesn’t like the taste of the stuff that makes us tipsy. And more power to her because she’s chanelling her energy into her art (and, of course, her newborn son) instead.

Armed with her camera and a strong belief that the East London Art Scene mixed with erotic photography can make a powerful statement, Suelan’s created a colourful portfolio for her latest project:  Erotica v. Street Art. It revolves around the work of some well-known artists like ROA and Stik. But let’s hope she’s not going to ask her nude models to stand outdoors for too long this time of year and welcomes them for one of her indoor shots instead. She may even break out her beloved 1967 Canon FP 35mm camera that takes some amazing photos even though the 50mm lens is covered in mildew.

For this week’s London Art Spot, Suelan talks about the woman who has been her most powerful muse this year, lets us in on the risks she is willing to take to shoot erotica in public places and, of course, shares some of her favourite, sometimes NSFW (Not Safe For Work), images of the ladies that inspire her to appreciate the beauty and sexuality of the human body.

LLO: Where are you from originally, how long have you been in London and what it is that’s kept you here?
SA-M: I always have trouble with this question because I’ve lived in so many places. I was born in Trinidad, grew up in Guyana, spent many summers in NYC when I was a kid and then lived there for six years when I was 17 and then moved to London at 23, met my ex-husband and stayed because of him and have been here since then. But no matter where I’ve lived, New York was always home for me.

LLO: Your latest work – Erotica v. Street Art – has gathered up quite a bit of attention. Tell us about this set of images and how you came about combining these two subjects.
SA-M: Well I’m going through a very difficult divorce right now especially that we have a 9 month old baby boy and my ex-husband is heavy on the East London art scene and I love erotic photography which he has no interest in and if I’m completely honest, it started off as me trying to fit the two together to prove to him they can both co-exist and be appreciated by everyone. Then it became so much more. The graffiti artists that replied to me that I had contacted to tell them I would be using their works as my background, absolutely loved what I was doing and some even sent me specific locations to shoot at.

Exposed

LLO: This set features artists like Stik, ROA and Eine. Have you ever thought about collaborating directly with a street artist on a photo project? If so, who, what and where?
SA-M: I have thought about it and would love to do something crazy and I have talked briefly with one artist but nothing concrete and honestly I still think there’s a long way to go before not just artists, but people in general are open to erotic works of art, especially out in the open. I feel almost like I have to ease my ideas and concepts in gently and I’m not able to get the same exposure street-artists enjoy.

I am woman - hear me roar

LLO: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face to get a great shot?
SA-M: I can honestly say that I haven’t really had any barriers to getting great shots. I do pick some risky locations to shoot but I have been very fortunate that the models who work on my shoots are serious risk takers and willing to do anything to get a great picture and I really appreciate that.

LLO: Do you have a muse?
SA-M: Last year when I started photography Vee WORLDMISTRESS (she’s a dominatrix) was my muse. This year my muse is Bex Paul. She is absolutely amazing and she can pull off so many looks from haute couture to erotica. She is a dream to photograph and knows exactly what to do as soon as I lift the camera, which is great because my shoots are done in an hour tops. I hate long shoots and even more so now that I take my baby with me, so for my own projects I try only to work with models who I connect with.

LLO: Which photo are you most proud of at the moment?
SA-M: It would have to be a picture I took on a shoot last year in London Fields. It’s a shot of Bex in front of a tree as we were preparing for a shoot. It’s totally over exposed and technically wrong but so right because I can see fire in her eyes and soul.

LLO: Is there a location in London outside of the formal studio environment you’d love to shoot for a day – somewhere you haven’t tried yet?
SA-M: Yes absolutely. The Millennium Bridge. I have dreams about who and what I would shoot there, how long it would take, the risk factor… It haunts and excites me.

LLO: How do you find your models? Is there a certain look you gravitate toward?
SA-M: For my projects if I’m doing a casting call for a few models, I’ll usually use Model Mayhem otherwise I just use Bex. I gravitate to models with curves mostly, just because I think that’s the essence of a woman. We have curves and breasts and hips and its beautiful. If I’m looking for a male model, I’ll generally pick a tall manly man, a protector of sorts. I guess I’m traditional in that sense.

LLO: Other London-based artists you admire?
SA-M:
I love anything that Rankin does, his photographic projects, his books, documentaries… I guess I’m a Rankaholic! He really does inspire me. Currently I’m loving Miss Led as well. She’s an illustrator/painter and does some amazing large scale murals of women which can be very provocative and flirtatious. A collaboration with her is definitely on my wish list.

LLO: What are you working on now?
SA-M: Well I’ve spent Christmas with my mom in Trinidad and I’ve been bouncing some ideas around with a few people, and waiting for the right moment but that’s all I’m going to say about that…for now at least!

Thanks Suelan!

Check out more of Suelan’s work here: www.suelanphotography.com

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

Erotica v. Street Art

London-based photographer Suelan Allison-Modrzejewski combines her passion for erotica with a fascination of the growing appreciation this city has for creative works of art found around the streets. Her images were featured a few months ago at the Truman Brewery exhibition Erotica v Street Art, so if you missed it then, stay tuned to catch up in a few weeks here. She combines her models with the work of Stik, Eine, ROA and more including this one by Alfa in Hackney:

Rolling With The Punches

Location: Hackney, North London
Graffiti artist: Alfa
Model: Bex Paul
Body art/Temporary tattoos: John Bishop

London Art Spot: Roberto McCormick

His native country’s slogan is “Colombia es Pasion” and that’s what comes out in Roberto McCormick’s photography. Light plays a strong role in each shoot giving an air of erotica and mystique to some of his models and a sassy, sexy attitude to others. Angles are wide in his latest work, looking from the ground up, giving the allusion of long legs that go on for eternity and a focus on the shoes.

Born in Colombia’s capital city, Bogota, Roberto studied industrial design before making the decision to take up his camera full time in 2008 instead. His work has been published in fashion advertisement campaigns and papers around Colombia. He recently moved to London for love.

For this week’s London Art Spot, Roberto gives us an eyeful of his erotic photography, talks about how his background in industrial design still influences his work and tells us exactly he means when he mentions his new theme of “wide proportions”.

LLO: How long have you lived in London? Is it your art that has kept you here?
RMc: Its going to be a year in November. I came here because of my wife, so that’s my main reason, but I have to say, I have developed my art 100 times more than in any other part. So I think I have two really good reasons to live in this amazing city.

LLO: Which aspects of London life inspire you creatively?
RMc: Freedom, people from all over the world, mix of everything, you feel like you can create anything. It’s like a necessity to create or the river will take you to some other part. You have to move; you have to think big.

LLO: Your formal training is in Industrial Design in your home country, Colombia. Do you find that this background (both the study and the country where you grew up) has a strong influence on your photography now?
RMc: Every single thought and experience that you have in your life will drive your path some other way, like growing with time. So I have to say yes. Maybe I can say it gave me great a advantage, the advantage of composition, color, framing, structure to design images.

LLO: Do you remember the moment that made you decide you wanted to pursue photography as a career rather than industrial design?
RMc: Yes, I think it’s very clear in my mind – first practical exercise in photography class about properties of light. I was already feeling proud, feeling like a god, I didn’t care what kind of criticism I will get about it, for me my work was a masterpiece.  The picture, it’s just a glass burning on fire, long exposure, and a mirror, very different from what I do, but every time I got my images, I have the same feeling; I cannot wait to show them to the world.

LLO: One trait that makes some of your photography quite unique is your use of angle and light. Can you tell us a bit about your approach?
RMc: Everything about photography is about light. You have to draw with light. When I was in class we were taught about the classic and contemporary schemes of lighting, so I know how to do it, and have experiment a lot with it. I just found it BORING, so why not burn the model? Why not let the light with an over exposure eat the model, or maybe the shadow will eat it?

About the angles, I cannot say it was from nothing that it appears. I think and I hope it was kind of an evolution of my work. What I can say is that it started with a shooting where my wife was the model; that shooting triggered it. Was my first  “Wide Proportions” a very unique technique? Its not just wide angle lenses, or weird lighting, or a touch of surrealistic feel. For me its “Wide Proportions” meaning huge legs, amazing shoes, sexy, hot, irreverent, erotic, mystic – a sexy fashionable dream.

LLO: Is there a location in London outside of the formal studio environment you’d love to shoot for a day?
RMc: Don’t you think a sexy ballet dancer / model in front of Saint Paul’s Cathedral would be a great pic?

LLO: How do you find your models? Is there a particular model you’d love to work with?
RMc: Models and photographer, and social networks… it’s kind of funny to post a casting call saying  “lingerie shoot FHM style”. You will get 100 girls in a day. Put some clothes in the call and it can be 10 times less.

Humm, I like to target models in ballet and fashion/nude. Since I have arrived in London, I have always admired a Czech model – fit, angled face, attitude – just love it.  I will shoot her at the end of the month, so let’s hope it will be a great shoot.

LLO: Do you have a muse?
RMc: Woman and dreams. My wife, but shh don’t tell anybody 😉

LLO: Which photo are you most proud of at the moment and why? Share a jpeg?
RMc: I would like to say 2 – Wide Proportions Origin and a sexy, glamorous ballet shoot. Both have what I’m looking for, about angles, great lighting, sexy, huge legs, burn lighting and hard shadows.

LLO: Which other London-based artists do you most admire?
RMc: Fashion photographers Hugh O’Malley, Clair Pepper and Julia Kennedy. They have a great fashion approach.

Thanks Roberto!

For more of Roberto’s work, have a look at his site: http://www.robertomccormick.com

For more London Art Spot interviews, click here.

Fashion photographers Hugh O’Malley, Clair Pepper and Julia Kennedy, they have a great fashion approach.