Artist's Bio David's artistic side was jarred awake in the late 1980's. David was lucky enough to be introduced to Fine Art Photography one of the all time photography greats, Henry Gilpin. He soon learned what a wonderful resource just living on the Monterey Peninsula can be. Not only the drama of the landscape, but the huge talent ,raw and refined of all the other f-64 caliber photographers that inhabit the area. A stint as an apprentice to Morley Baer brought him in contact with the teachings of the Westons, Bullocks, and John Sexton. Working feverishly to develop his skills David soon discovered Martha Casanave at her workshop The Figure.
While working with Martha Casanave, who he considers one of the best figure photographers ever, he learned some of the do's , don'ts and how tos of working with the human figure. Martha has simple tenets of not treating women as subhuman objects or showing them in cliche, gender based roles and poses, Her teachings helped push David away from the stereotying that has always plagued this field. This led him to find what every artist needs, his own unique vision. Though He doesn't seem to adhere to these rules any more than any others in his life, they have had a very positive effect on his work.
He now splits his time between the excitement of stormy California landscapes and the nude in nature. He also works a great deal with pregnant models using the same boldness and sensitivity that appears in his digital manipulations.
David attributes part of his success to simply leading what He consideres a healthy California lifestyle. A lifestyle where nudity can be both casual, and socially comfortable. This comfort level is absorbed by the models and clears the way for the creative process to flow. Like the soft sexy streams of his photos, David hopes to be "going with the flow" for as many years as he is able.
by Michael Fulks
California resident David Glover considers himself a "chronic" student of photography. Having studied with Henry Gilpin and Martha Casanave, Glover now divides his time between fine art nudes and landscape photography. It was Casanave, in particular, who aroused Gloverís interest in the nude. "There's the beauty of how well the nude lends itself to black and white--the forms, the shadows--and there are the infinite combinations of which the human body is capable," he explains. In addition, he is fascinated by the intimacy a nude can communicate. While many photographers accept intimacy as an intricate part of the process of working with a nude model, Glover feels that a good image must function to express intimacy to the viewer.
The pregnant nude has become an important part of his work because of its ability to interpret a variety of themes. It's also a subject that evokes a wide range of responses reflecting the issues people have surrounding nudity and pregnancy. He notes that men and women will have vastly different responses. On the whole, women tend to react more positively than men, who often donít understand the images or relate to the experience. However, being male and not distracted by the issues surrounding our societyís treatment of pregnancy, the cultural perception of what constitutes a good or attractive body, or other concerns of women in particular, gives him the freedom to explore areas beyond those on which a female photographer or even the pregnant models themselves might focus. The results are often surprising to Glover, himself, as well as to female viewers.
"Everyone has some baggage attached to nudity and seeing the nude image," comments Glover. "It almost always causes a response ." His exhibits in local coffee shops and restaurants have provided ample evidence about the power of the nude. Even some of his best landscapes can't elicit the range of responses his nudes do. People are stopped in their tracks. Their responses range from love to hate.
On the Edge
It is his search for meaning in the nude that sets Glover apart from many nude photographers. In communicating more than the nude, the photographer must take risks. It's much easier to make pretty pictures of beautiful models. "Most nudes you see are very good work, professionally done. Photographers have taken the nude as a subject of photography and addressed it in a professional way. They take an attractive woman; they light her well; they take a shot of her torso; and theyíre done. They stop there. There is no integration involved. Iíve been there, done that. For me, itís about trying to use my imagination and taking advantage of my situation. Because Iím not a professional photographer and donít own a lot of fancy equipment, I try to use my circumstances to give me something different."Glover is also careful how he presents women in his images. "I like to show women in positions of power, women are often shown laying down in these weak, powerless positions. It says they're helpless and that you can do what ever you want to them. With all the violence against women these days it's a very negative message. I'd like to help change that."
Gloverís search for meaning in the nude has taken him where many male photographers have feared to tread--the nude self-portrait. "Someone told me I needed to do more male nudes, that I hadnít done enough work with male models. I found this old Boy Scout camp that had been burned, vandalized, water damaged, and finally, spray painted white by the Army. I figured I had to shoot a male model, and this would be a good place to try it. However, as I began picturing the process of calling models, setting up appointments and all, I realized it would be six weeks before I ever took a picture. On the other hand, in twenty minutes I could fetch my camera from home and be on-site, shooting myself. And so I did, and it ended up being rather a long project.
"It was a bizarre situation. You know, itís very difficult shooting what you canít see. I had a lot of wrong exposures and out-of-focus shots. I had to keep redoing shots. And, I had no idea what I was getting. The depressing environment led me into really depressing poses. I wouldnít have an idea of what I was going to do when I pushed the shutter and had twelve seconds to get in front of the camera. So, a lot of it was surprising, because there was no pre-thought as to what was going to happen.
"What came out was a lot of my personal issues. I hate buildings. So a theme that comes out in these (images) is that Man is trapped in all of this stuff heís built, and heís separated himself from nature. And all of this stuff heís built is falling into decay."
Deliberation in the Set-up
Glover is eager to grow in his photography of the nude. Through his classes with Martha Casanave at the University of California Santa Cruz extension, he has learned the importance of photographing a variety of models, not just pretty young women. The image "Joy" comes from a workshop with her. He also wants to become more literal, creating more of a statement. From Casanave, he's learning to be more deliberate in the actual set-up of his images--to lead the viewer in a certain direction.
"Iíve noticed that for women, photography of the female nude is great fodder for working through many womenís issues in our society. As a result, you see a lot of photography by women that expresses these issues. For me, because Iím male, I donít share these issues, so I donít come up with the variety of messages. Probably the best thing I could do is more male nudes. But there is a resistance there, because it's much easier to call up a woman and head down to Big Sur for some easy, breezy shots. But I wouldnít do that as naturally with a male model. For me, working with a male model requires me to put a lot more thought into it and a lot more design, which exactly what Iím talking about trying to do more of, anyway."
In Ralph Hatterslyís book Discovering Yourself Through Photography, Hattersly explains that the power of the nude lies in its ability to force us to understand ourselves. To those who will listen, the nude teaches us about our attitudes--plus the attitudes of others--about sex and nudity, about our relationships with the opposite sex, and about our opinions about ourselves and our bodies. In going beyond the simple "easy, breezy" nude, David Glover has gone beyond being a simple student of photography. Through his images of the nude, he has become a teacher about the nature of our selves.