Wanting More … The Human Element


Two January’s ago I reviewed my year’s work and thought … ‘what now?’ … ‘more of the same?’. It was then I decided that I wanted to overcome something I had been avoiding in my work, and that was the human form. I would look for subjects and scenes that might contain a human element, but were void of people. Why I was avoiding the human form, I don’t know. (I have many albums to prove I was good at it when my son was young!) I began slowly, by studying the works of others who incorporate the human figure in their work, both contemporary and masters. I enrolled in a few meet-ups that utilized models, took a week long workshop and viewed many webinars. I hired models on a few occasions to work on my personal projects as well as stock images and images for the models themselves. I used what I had learned to lead a workshop called, ‘Photographing People On Location’. Where all of this exploration was leading me other than that, I was and am unsure. Ideas continue to ruminate and as always, I am open to whatever my creativity may bring. Here are a few images from my ‘creative side-trip’ that explore ideas about self, dreams and even ghosts!


‘Elizabeth’ © Denise Bush


‘Alone’ © Denise Bush

Alone In A Room

‘Alone In A Room’ © Denise Bush

Waiting For Someone

‘Waiting For Someone’ © Denise Bush

A Place To Hide

‘A Place To Hide’ © Denise Bush

Eye Of The Beholder

‘Eye Of The Beholder’ © Denise Bush

Conflict Within

‘Conflict Within’ © Denise Bush

Is It A Dream?

‘Is It A Dream?’ © Denise Bush

My Own Company

‘My Own Company’ © Denise Bush

Ghost Bride

‘Ghost Bride’ © Denise Bush

38 Responses to “Wanting More … The Human Element”

  1. Maybe I’m lazy and anti-social, but I prefer your unpopulated work. It’s easier for me to see the whole scene instead of the model.

    • Thanks for visiting and sharing your thoughts. They made me think! I guess when it is a scene the viewer can put themselves in the picture. If there is a figure there it is not inviting. Interesting.

  2. 3 Russ

    Very nicely done. I see Batsto was used in some.

  3. 5 west517

    so nice!

  4. I admire your ability to capture more than just the human form – I unfortunately have limited skills with photographing people – as my posts will attest – nice work!

    • Thanks Robert. One of my teachers uses an infrared red camera exclusively for her work with the human form.

      • I have yet to use mine for that – however I have seen some stunning results. I like my abandoned spots as I do not have to talk to anyone 😉 …just take in the glorious silence.

  5. Excellent work, Denise. I like that you wanted to expand your photography and took positive steps to learn new skills. I admire your creativity. The images with woman wearing the slip are my favs.

    • Thanks Ken … I guess it is a lot like someone getting over the fear of something. Force yourself to do it in order to overcome the obstacle. Are you ready to pose for me on our next group photo adventure?

  6. 12 Bill Unger

    Very creative, Denise. I especially love the flowers over the portrait and the girl in the window behind herself. Did you use layers?

    • Thanks Bill. The woman was actually standing behind the flowers in the first image. Yes to layers in the second one you mentioned.

  7. 14 Deb

    “Alone” is my favorite . There’s something special about that one.

  8. 16 Mona

    Each one tells a unique story and so very artfully done. Thank you for these.

    • Thank you Mona. I have always been a photographer who has gone out looking for a story but here, instead I have created the story.

  9. Wow! A different and salient post. Couldn’t find a single rusted car or derelict house. I was really taken with “Conflict Within” and “My Own Company.” You mentioned you were unsure as to where all this was leading you; the journey can be the destination. It would be interesting to have a round table discussion about those two and others in the post. Please put me on your “old man” model list but no nudes…too depressing.

  10. It’s funny that you and I would release similar posts on the same day about being influenced and allowing our art to expand. From the looks of this set of images, you not only studied well but aced the test.

    • Thank you Rich. I have always been reluctant to tie myself down to a particular subject and that mindset has always been a part of my artist statement. This exploration in a way did help me accept my niche however … landscapes and places from the past, because that was what I keep coming back to. As artists I think we need to be open and allow for exploration and the creative process … which you well know!

  11. I love the light and shadows on the photos of the male model. It’s interesting how what you shoot can change. I used to shoot street photos of people. Now, I mostly get annoyed when they stray into my shot. I wonder if what we find interesting is merely a reflection of some inner emotional state.

    • Thanks for the thought-provoking comment Bill. In my case I think that working with the human form was something I needed to try at the time. It was an obstacle I needed to overcome. I don’t think I am going to stop shooting what I have always loved to shoot. Through exploring I have simply expanded my knowledge, photographic comfort zone and creative choices.

  12. Very cool seeing you explore something different. Always inspiring. Is there anything you can’t do?? My favorite is “Eye of the Beholder.”

  13. So so deja-vu for me to see this post… I have shot the human form 3 times. The first 2 with strobes and very little natural light. I came away with a good understanding of flash and what it can not do for me. Then 3 wks ago I shot my 3rd Human form study and while others were transfixed by the strobes, I posed my models in front of these beautiful long windows and with fixed backlight… bingo!!! I was very pleased as these images spoke to me as an artist. I can relate to shooting different subject matter, I believe it makes me grow as a photographer. Its always an uplifting experience when viewing your work and vision as an artist on the subjects you choose.

    • Thank you for your comment Mike. I do see you including humans in your work but in more of a journalistic manner … your racetrack and mudder competition images come to mind. I like the idea of creating a story instead of trying to find a story, which has usually been my approach.

  14. “Waiting for someone” I think is my favorite (other than the obvious) Each of these images tells a story. A story the viewer creates with the emotions the image projects. Great stuff.

    • Thank you Beth. I like hearing everyone’s favorite (if they have one). A lot of times one or two receive the most comments but with this collection the votes are really divided.

  15. Really nice photos as usual! The ones I like best are Beth framed by all those little flowers and the girl with her face reflected in the window.

  16. Wow. I’m impressed with your talent. Well done. ❤

    • Thank you for the compliment. I love photography and try … that’s all!

      • You’re welcome !!
        I have just bought a Panasonic Lumix FZ200, which has just arrived, from Amazon (Spain) as I need a hobby and wanted a change from my simple point and shoot camera. The instructions are awful as they are in every language except English. hehe. It is an all singing and dancing camera, but luckily I found Graham Houghton’s many videos on YouTube on how to use the camera. So my next post will be a first time video from me. I am plucking up courage to do it tonight. *trembling knees*

        You are so much more than “try” ❤

  17. 36 Lisa

    Awesome images Denise. I’m a fan of B/W photos and yours are amazing. I’m inspired. My favs., Elizabeth, Alone, A Place to Hide & My Own Company-how did you do that?

    • Thanks so much for the compliment and visiting my blog Lisa! I will tell you how I did ‘My Own Company’ next time I see you. It’s too much to type here! I’m glad you liked the post.

  18. Love these images!

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