I want to take a moment to recognize David Moore. He was the gentleman who I started to shoot nudes with some 17 years ago. He passed away this August after a long battle with a degenerative back injury that slowly chair bound him over the last three years. He had other issues as well but he kept pushing through. We hadn't done much lately but we arranged to do a shoot in August. The day of the shoot he was suddenly unavailable to me or the model which was odd and frustrating.. I called and left messages, as did the model who made it to right outside his door! I figured it was on him to get back to me. He never did. It turned out that he died just a day or so later. He was Seventy and last year when he turned that he looked at me and said he never thought he'd make it.
I met David at a bar called Velvet that used to be in Hartford across from the train station. There was a fetish night and I was asked to bring in some erotic art. I set up near the door. The music was industrial techno rock, the crowd was good, lots of odd and cool things to see, lots of hotties to 'study'. I wandered into the back of the club and there was this white haired and bearded guy selling 3.5 x 5 and 5 x 7 prints of nude ladies and semi nudes. He had many shots of gothy stuff.. outfits, fake blood.. I purchased four prints for ten dollars each and later matted them together. We talked for a few.. he wandered up front to see my art and by the nights end we were kind of friends and had agreed to shoot a model together.
In the years after, we shot over fifty ladies, many were free models that Dave convinced to pose from meetings on the street.. as the years passed we shot more and more 'pro' models he met on various websites. He was tireless in his search for models. A few seemed to feel that Dave had misrepresented himself.. but it was nothing more than him 'selling' the idea, with his never ending zest, that the pictures would lead to places that they in fact seldom did. I , as a wood carver had no illusions of the worth of what we were doing, it was for fun and for study. Most ladies we shot , and thanked, and off they went one way, off we went another.. but as one might expect some relationships were formed, several of the ladies I met through Dave became good friends who I photographed over and over and still stay in contact with to this day.
Dave was a little odd in some ways but when he took you as his friend he would give you the shirt off his back. He would constantly call and write telling me about some new site I had to join.. some new show I had to submit to.. some new software that made every other thing obsolete. He talked me into joining devart which I did and still enjoy. He convinced me to try to join model mayhem but when I did I was rejected! I always think of myself as a dreamer... but Dave Moore... now there was a man who's dreams were bigger than the man and who I imagine, right up to his last day, dulled with pain killers still dreamed of being discovered and of taking that one picture that would launch him. It was with that kind of attitude that his pictures slowly changed from nude studies to manipulated abstractions. I was literally stunned speechless the day Tia, a mutual friend, called me and told me of his death. I felt realy shitty about myself for not following up after the botched shoot day. Dave would tell me about his back and aplogize for his emails being unreadable at times because of the heavy medications but he was stoic in one sense for I never knew how close the end was for him.
Some of the times and things I'll never forget, shared with Dave..
The trips to NYC.
Dave had all kinds of beliefs about ghosts, afterlife, death.. these were what we spoke of when we drove. The three or four hour rides were long debates that left me tired and left Dave frustrated as he felt his views were unquestionable. He would always say"you'll see!'. On one particular trip to NYC, we were off to an opening at the 'Subculture gallery' where we both were members. Dave had come in on my recomendation but didn't quite fit the crowd.. but on one trip in 98 or 99, we took down a lady who had modeled for Dave many times and who he felt quite close too. The night was fun, dinner at Umberto's house of clams, the gallery reception.. Hanging with the other starving artists there.. when it was time to go the model was no where to be found and Dave and I milled around outside after wondering what to do. We were about to leave figuring she was on her own when she shows up. so we went for the car, in those days I was driving a suzuki samurai.. it was a hot summer night so we took the top off, cruised up to Houston and then onto the FDR going north. The lady was warm.. heck we all were, and she asked me in a matter of fact voice if she could take her shirt off. Sure, I said and without a word she pulled her shirt off, She was in the seat next to me laying back enjoying it, Dave was in back talking about some new software.. You know how you peek to the side.. trying to look like you are looking straight ahead? I had a head ache and a crick in the neck from it by the time I made it home. I was worried the whole ride home I'd get pulled over! We made it home fine... The only picture of it is the one in my mind!
Dave used to love to shoot at this old factory and to be fair it was a cool place for a death trap grown over with poison ivy. We tried to shoot every model we could get there till the day came when the owner caught us and threatened to call the police, pointing to the no tresspassing signs all over mixed with grafitti. We never went there again. What I'll always remember was how so many of the models would show up in a mini skirt with beautiful shaved legs and then see the poison ivy they had to walk through! It was always the same.. Dave would say "I don't get poison ivy, and since he didn't we all had to just walk through. Most did. I do get poison ivy and got it many times and more than once I literally picked up the lady and carried her through in the most chivalrous manner. There was rusty sharp stuff everywhere... the cielings and roof were on the floor, all the fasteners were there many pointing up.. a giant boiler the size of a room that looked to be full of asbestos was falling to pieces. Giant wheels, one fifteen teet tall, rusted gears and levers that will never move were now armatures for the poison ivy to grow on. In one part of the factory there were multi floors that had collapsed and the jumble of machinery and debris mixed with the buildings structure was impressive to see and was almost worthy as a subject on it's own though I never took the opportunity to shoot it.
Dave was always scouring tag sales, junk dealers, anywhere for things to use in shoots. Now some were really cool things I wish I had but mostly it was junk that would be collected and handed to a nude model. Toy space guns, a football helmet. Cheap little oriental decorations. Ripped umbrellas, halloween masks, abandoned rope and nets from the fishing industries. The lense from a broken projector. He had a collection of fake butterflies and rats. He had a box of skulls including a lovely crystal one! If he found an old tossed away wedding gown it became a prop. A roll of discarded metal colored film became a backdrop. I'd get a call out of nowhere asking me to make wooden props.. a cube, fake instruments. A bunch of these ended up stored at my place! Sorry Dave but they gotta go! Wish I had that moon though!
Rest in peace Dave, I'll miss you and you won't be forgotten.
Otherwise, life is good, the dream home i'm building is on the side of a cliff, seven hundred feet deeper into the woods than my shop. It has a stone foundation made in the bonded veneer style, and will be a very modern looking thing with a steel frame and concrete floors. A rooftop deck will allow me to stand forty feet above the ground looking into woods. I should say 'we' are building, my wife and son are helping on every phase.. Several of my son's friends are helping as laborers and little Sarah who I met through Dave has a bunch of hours in. I hired an experienced stone Mason, Albi Washburn, of Pomfret CT to lead the Stone part of the project. Over 35 tons of stone has been collected, cut, washed and placed along with hundreds and hundreds of bags of both mortar and concrete. Now the last few beam pockets are being cut into the ledge rock and the final concrete elements are being cast. It has taken all summer to get the foundation done so I'm behind on time and over on budget but the wheel is turning and won't be stoppin any time soon. I am not doing any conventional art just now but I'll be back to it in a year which is nothing more than a few blinks of the eye. I've taken two years off of art and am only doing the least amount of paid work I can do to keep my lines open. Two models, Katie Marie and Melissa Trout have stopped by during construction and i'll post a couple of the pictures we took. I have six or more sets of pictures I have taken and never worked on, but this year and next are going to go down as my two busiest years ever so they will have to sit a while longer. I have two years to work on this house project.. one is almost over. We are to move in by next christmas and then I'll have to go back to work! Check scraps to see a few shots of the foundation.
I am doing the artists open studios tour of Northeast CT again this year.. if anyone is in the area on the two weekends after thanksgiving my shop will be open to the public 10 to 5. All are welcome.