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An eye for 'Tallent'

'Techie' alumnus uses digital tools to capture nudes

UP Managing Editor

Published: Thursday, September 30, 2010

Updated: Thursday, September 30, 2010 22:09

Tallent with iPad

UP Josh Reeter

Richard Tallent shows his work on his ever-present iPad. The photographer will display his nudes at The Art Studio in October.

Tallent nude piece

Courtesy Richard Tallent

Untitled by Richard Tallent

Tallent with camera

UP Josh Reeter

Richard Tallent, a self-professed techie, uses the latest digital equipment in his art.

Tallent taking a break

UP Josh Reeter

Richard Tallent takes a break from preparing his photos for his one-man show at The Art Studio, Inc.

Lamar alumnus Richard Tallent marries the natural and digital in his photography. The self-confessed "techie" uses high definition cameras to capture the nude human form in outdoor settings.

Richard will display his work in his first solo exhibit, "Funkcja Wnetrza Osoby," at The Art Studio Inc., 720 Franklin in downtown Beaumont. The show will open with a reception 7-10 p.m., Saturday, and runs through Oct. 30.

"People have a reaction to nude photography," Richard said. "Like it involves those of loose moral character."

The name of the show reflects a quote from Pope John Paul II, where he said that shamelessness, like modesty, is a function of the interior of a person. Richard said the pope was talking about nudity and Christianity.

"He meant that there are appropriate situations where nudity is acceptable and doesn't devalue a person," Richard said. "I thought it was a good quote, an explanation of modesty."

John Paul II was talking more along the lines of going to the doctor, "But the concept worked for me," Richard said.

Since the pope wrote it in Polish, Richard decided to keep the original language for the show's title.

Richard graduated in 1998 with a degree in computer information sciences, and now works for an environmental company. It was his love of computers and technology that indirectly led him to becoming the artist he is now. He started dabbling in photography when digital technology became cheap.

"I bought a little point and shoot," he said. "I started getting interested and moved on from there."

He was familiar with Photoshop and other visual programs through his work, so the digital camera, at first, was simply another technological toy to play with. As the technology became more developed and affordable, Richard used it to explore more artistic possibilities.

Richard is able to showcase large amounts of his work in high definition with his ever-handy iPad. He has also customized his home office with Apple products.

"I am all ‘.com' and ‘SQL server' all week," he said. "And when I come home, we are a Macintosh family."

Richard started his artistic ventures by doing "straight photography," he said. And from there he got into a little bit of portraiture.

He also shot weddings with his wife Delanea working as his assistant. 

"We got a good paycheck from it," she said.

Richard said he enjoyed the work, but had to give it up because he didn't have the time to make all the dates between having a full-time job and making his art. Eventually, Richard was hired to do a fashion shoot in Houston. It was not a good experience, but it led him to his current work.

"The only thing rewarding in the shoot was that I enjoyed directing people, directing poses and working with models," he said. "I thought, ‘That's a lot more fun than shooting random people on the street' — which I still enjoy doing from time to time."

He began to gravitate toward fashion photography. 

"People think fashion is about clothes," Richard said. "Fashion is not about clothes. Fashion is about selling a lifestyle."

He said that when it comes to commercial photography like a  Diva Ad, usually the model isn't wearing any clothes.

"And its not because they are trying to sell sex,'" he said. "They are promoting their product and that's all they are showing, they are just not adding anything else to it.

"When it comes to editorial work, which is outside commercial, editorial fashion is about selling a concept. And those concepts aren't necessarily about clothing. And they are not necessarily narratives either. They are just visual concepts.

After a while, Richard realized that opportunities for fashion photography were limited in this area.

"No one was hiring to do editorial or commercial work," he said. "Even models interested in getting into fashion photography have no future. It was going nowhere."

Although he still enjoys doing fashion and editorial shoots, his work has streamlined into fine art photography, exclusively the nude figure.

"It has nothing to do with pornography," Delanea said. 

There is nothing sexual about his photography — he just happens to use the nude form as his subject for his art, he said. 

"I got into the fine art nude through the fashion nude, then the editorial which is more artistic in the first place — it was natural progression," he said.

His models are a combination of volunteers and professionals who travel around the country. 

"I'm a photographer of the human figure not a photographer of beautiful young women," he said. "But because it is self selected, it's hard to find much of anything else."

He said he would like to photograph a variety of ages, shapes and sizes, and to integrate men into his pieces. But few subjects are available to him except female professionals.

Anyone interested in modeling can contact him by email at richard@tallent.us.

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