Interview with Craig Morey, professional photographer of nudes.
DOMAI: Mr. Morey, welcome to DOMAI. You are a professional photographer of nude art. How long have you been that?
Craig Morey: I've been photographing nudes since college, and professionally since about 1989.
DOMAI: Did you decide to become so very purposefully, or was it an accident?
Craig Morey: I decided to pursue "my bliss", to be a photographer, at an early stage. It was only later that I saw that it might be possible to make a living by specializing in a particular type of work.
DOMAI: What are the reactions of your friends and family to your art?
Craig Morey: My family is, for the most part, very supportive - or at least understanding. Recently my aunt, who has always been interested in the arts, told me that she appreciated my work but thought that I sometimes go "too far". I told her that if it doesn't go "too far" it isn't really art.
My friends are also supportive, especially my male friends.
I find that as I get more recognition and success, the objections that some have had about my work seem to diminish.
DOMAI: Do you consider your art sexual? Always? And do you think nudes are always sexual by nature?
Craig Morey: I've said in the past that all nudes are sexual and I believe that's true in most cases, but only because humans are such sexual beings. Think about a portrait of a beautiful woman, someone you love or someone whose face just excites you - this can be a sexual image (for you) even though it's not a nude.
Likewise, a nude can be seen in a non-sexual way, but I find it difficult to do that. On the contrary, I think if you tell me you see a nude and don't have a sexual reaction to it, you're either consciously or unconsciously suppressing a natural urge. I say this even about male nudes, and I'm very heterosexual.
That doesn't mean that all nudes are created to be sexual images. The ideas of the creator and those of the viewer are never the same, really.
I know you like to envision the DOMAI site as one that simply appreciates the beauty of women, while avoiding any explicit sexual references - but I say there's nothing wrong or degrading or dirty about admitting that these images represent very healthy sexual desires for most of us.
DOMAI: How do you find models?
Craig Morey: In the beginning, the models were girlfriends usually. Later on, when I was working for Penthouse, I was given "cart blanche" to go into certain clubs (strip clubs) and choose my models. If the girls I chose would agree, we would shoot them in the studio for publication.
Now, because my work has been published quite a bit here and in Europe, I get quite a few solicitations from models or from women who would like to be photographed. The internet has made this much easier.
I also get a lot of referrals - friends of women I have photographed will call and ask to come in for a session. In this regard, I'm quite fortunate.
DOMAI: How do your models react to your art?
Craig Morey: This has been a great and positive surprise for me - I get very complimentary responses from models and from many women "fans" who write to me. They seem to recognize, even more than men, my great love for women. They see my pictures as I mean for them to be seen.
DOMAI: What are the pros and cons of B/W and color work, respectively?
Craig Morey: B&W is much better for my kind of pictures. This is because I'm not trying to "capture" reality. I'm not even trying to "capture" a personality. I'm trying to create an image, an Icon of beauty which will transcend the reality of my studio and the model.
With b&w, the viewer sees not the real colors but a translation of reality which automatically places the image in a more artistic context. That's not to imply that color work cannot be artistic - but for me the b&w process, including the printing of the pictures (which I do myself) is easier to work with.
DOMAI: How is/will be the new desktop printing technologies impact photographic art? (I am thinking here both of cheap color printers on the desk of your customer, and high quality printers available for you.)
Craig Morey: This is an exciting new technology which I hope will make it easier for me to make prints for people to hang on their walls. My darkroom work is quite tedious and involved and I have to charge a lot for my original prints, but soon I hope to be able to create digital works which have the same effect and presence. That should free up some of my time and also make my prints for affordable for more people
Already, the internet has enabled me to show my work to many thousands of people who would never have seen it otherwise. This digital revolution in the arts has been a great boon to photographers, whose work is easy to digitize and transmit.
Just imagine - every day I get several thousand unique visitors to my site who see at least three or four pages of my work in the Public Galleries. This is an audience, on a daily basis, which exceeds the number of people who might visit a gallery in a major US or European city in a month. It's an incredible change for the art of photography.
DOMAI: One of DOMAI's important goals is to make nudity more accepted in the world. Do you think our culture is making progress here?
Craig Morey: I hope when you say "our culture" you don't mean the US culture, which is really an embarassment to me. The American culture is something I am fighting against all the time (Yahoo.com just closed the "adult" category where I auctioned my work)
Europeans have always been more accepting of my work, and of nudity in general. I have hoped that the US would move in that direction, but it isn't happening. Our new President will do his best to push back any progress that's been made on that front.
On the other hand, I think there is a growing movement among artistic or libertarian thinkers, perhaps again fueled by the internet, to be proud of our diversity of opinion and our preferences. I think it's becoming easier for people to enjoy work like mine, since they can access it now in the privacy of their homes. No government agent or publisher has to give his stamp of approval for the work to be seen by a large audience. Sites such as yours and mine are growing in number, and I believe that reflects a great blossoming of the culture to explore all of our possibilities.
DOMAI: Thank you for talking to us, Mr. Morey.
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