• Prolific Quarterly

PQs Blue



photography Paul Fanara model Cortney Chyme


Inspiration from the incredible multi - award winning movie Moulin Rouge, Blue highlights Cortney as both a model, and entertainer.

This shoot was shot with a variety of white balances to achieve the blue hue often seen in the performance, and also in the romance scenes of the movie.

Cortney Chyme is a model, dancer, actor, and singer from the Buffalo, NY region. Living In The Buff Studio by Paul Fanara has been a piler and has been helping photographic visions come to life since 2007.


What do you think are the core elements of a “strong” image and how do you feel when encountering one?

When I find an image, or take an image that captures such elements, I feel engaged often emotionally charged on both conscious and subconscious levels. Whether it's bringing to the forefront the carnal, or animal remnants that exist within, or pushing me as an artist to consider my own trajectory, and how I make my art more engaging, or even become a better person, there is an emotional edge that most images don't force me to recognize.


To elaborate on the previous question, I’d love to discuss the importance of the “story” in the image, especially in your portraits. For me portraits are much more about the subject than the artist. My goal with portraits is to capture the essence of the subject. Headshots, event portraits, behind-the-scenes images when working on films, or even street photography, my goal is to always capture exactly what makes the subject engaging. Often I like to finish such images in black and white. I've always loved the style photographers achieved from Rolleiflex cameras. I feel it strips away the distractions, and pushes the view to see the subject in a different way; in a less visual, and more intuitive, or emotional kind of viewing. The story, at that point, is the story the subject wants to tell. You can feel it through the image, that is, if I've done my job well...


So do you think there is a difference in creating a “story” in a solo image, compared to a series, as part of a photographic assignment for a magazine, for example?

I don't. And I know plenty would disagree with me, but even as part of a series of images, each image, I believe, should be able to stand alone. Perhaps a bigger story can be told in multiple images if that's the goal, but for me, pictures are worth more than a thousand words. Stories are also interpretive. The story a photographer might seek to tell might not be the story the viewer actually reads in the images.

Of course, every portrait is a “new story” and a whole new challenge, but can you share some workflow you’ve mastered over the years in your people photography? For example, how do you choose between a close-up shot and an environmental portrait, when you encounter striking face?

That is a difficult question to comprise an answer to. So much of what we do as artists is instinctual, and based on the experiences we've built our skills, and talents on. If I'm at an event and someone catches my eye, whether they have an interesting face, or is just very raw, and in the moment, I'm most likely to seek to capture an image that set them, and their emotions apart from the environment. An angle to pinpoint the subject, makes them distinct, and pulls them from their surroundings. But perhaps at a protest, or rally, that face might be part of a bigger story. Their emotions being fed by the crowd that surrounds them, their purpose, their reasons. In that case I might want to capture their face, their emotions, but also place them within the context of their environment. If I'm working one-on-one with a subject, the environment may or may not be part of that story. In so many of those cases, the purpose drives the images we try to create. Studio photography, and creative concepts differ greatly from more organic forms of photography.


So tell us about the concept from this photo shoot BLUE!

Blue... I love this series. I think that love for it is very much because it was a concept that was brought to me by the subject, the model, Cortney Chyme. She is an entertainer - dancer, singer, actor, model - so much talent in this amazing woman, and I've had the pleasure of getting to know her, and working with her for quite some time. One of her favorite movies is Moulin Rouge. Many scenes within that movie use blue spot lighting, and blue tints to focus attention on a specific subject, or even a specific emotion. It's a movie about performing, so right in her wheelhouse. She wanted to build a concept that worked within the elements of this movie that caught her attention, and what had made it one of her favorites. I wanted to bring this to life with her, and for her, and I think as the incredible team we have become, we created what she had hoped to create!

So, do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I think I wanted to be a traveler. No specific career in mind, I just wanted to go everywhere, including two worlds beyond our own. I think I wanted to be a Navy pilot for quite some time since that seemed like a logical path, but life, and other things intervened, and I never quite got there.


If you had to choose a different field other than your own, what would it be?

Anything that gets me traveling, of course! I wouldn't mind being a traveling journalist, photographing, and writing as I explore the world. My writing is also featured in several publications, so I too can be pretty diverse with my talents.

What would you consider a successful day for you?

I think any day that I feel I did something worthwhile. I spend a lot of my time, energy, and even my talents on helping other people. I want my friends to be happy, and successful. I want to be happy, and successful, too, of course! But I think the days where I know I was able to do something worthwhile; especially to help someone else along the way is a good day for me.

What kind of equipment do you use today?

Currently my main camera is a Nikon D750. I love it. Usually shooting with a Sigma 15-30mm wide, or a Nikon 50mm prime, but frequently also with the Nikon 24-120mm the camera came with. It's a versatile and good quality lens.


I have a hard one here... can you attempt to summarize your career in once sentence and share one core piece of advice with me, now make it something that has helped you become the photographer you are today?

Do your reps. You don't grow, you don't learn, and you don't find success unless you're out there doing it. Don't be afraid of failing, and/or taking bad shots, and/or even having people also criticize your work. Everyone has to start somewhere, but you have to do it to get proficient at it.

Where can the readers follow your career?

Yes, I have a website, www.livinginthebuff.com, which I'm working on updating, but it has a lot of my photography in galleries, plus a blog of my creative writing, and stories. Of course, on social media. My studio name is Living In The Buff, so that is where you can find me on Facebook, and Instagram. And also on Kavyar, but via my name directly. - PQ


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