David Swanson
Age: 70ish     (Does not suffer whiners gladly)
Is very blunt so there are no misunderstandings.
Smokes very expensive cigars. Serious drug habits are cheaper
*If you want to make brownie points, bring me a good cigar.

 

If you are looking at this on your phone, PLEASE STOP and go to a computer.   Phones can do a lot, but nothing well.  This site was built to view on a computer screen, and I refuse to compromise it so that you can be lazy and use your phone.

I do not have an Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or any other social media accounts.  I have way better things to do with my life.

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If you are considering working with me it is worth your time to read all of my profile, as lengthy as it is.

Time Saver: If you have augmented breasts; large tattoos; feel the need to stare at the camera; or can't function without an escort, don't bother reading further. Nothing will come of it, and it will only serve to piss you off.

I do not respond to text type messages. u,c,r and i are not words. If you can't take the time to use proper grammar don't bother attempting to communicate with me because I will not respond.

Still with me?
Go make a cup of tea or pour yourself a glass of wine and put your feet up before delving further. This will take a while.
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Old homicide detective out of the Chicago area.  Worked with Kodak Law Enforcement Photography School and the Department of Justice training programs.  Been photographing for more than 60 years.

I am an artist that works mainly outdoors during the summer months shooting nudes in landscapes that will be displayed as prints in galleries. My art is shown, on average, at seven galleries around the world each year.
All prints (with the exception of erotic work) are an edition of 1/1 and fetch prices ranging from $1,900 to $34,000. No other sizes or alterations are made available. 

My art is not about being nude outdoors. Each image is a story unto itself. Sometimes the nude is secondary to the landscape, or the story being told.

Currently I have over a dozen prints in permanent museum collections and many in private collections.

Although I am a skillful studio photographer and have one of the largest private studios in Minnesota, I hate being cooped up indoors, so I will no longer be doing any studio work.  Besides, I lack the imagination to create anything but pretty figure study work in a studio. Any idiot can set up studio lighting and take nice pictures but working outdoors creates challenges having to deal with what mother nature offers up that particular day.  And every day is different.  Also, I need background to get my mind going, for it is not about taking a photograph of a nude woman. It is about fitting a nude woman into an existing story in my head.  (Winter erotic work will still be done indoors, just not in a studio setting.)

Outdoor shoots involve hiking and camping and require subjects to be physically fit.
Most shoots are a two-to-seven-day adventure... and they are not called on account of rain or cold. Scheduled shoots take place in whatever is offered up by mother nature.  Yes, warm and dry is a nice thing.
On rare occasions I will do one day shoots, but they need to be sunup to sundown, or I have little to no interest. And on sunny days, 10am to 2pm are pretty much useless except for napping. It takes hiking to get to locations I want to work in, and a couple of hours just exercises our legs but returns nothing in the way of images.

All of my outdoor shoots are TF/images where you get all of the images edited on a flash drive.
I will on a special occasion, when the model has worked her ass off for a project, donate a print from the series to her in full gallery size. This image will be the only print of that image ever produced.
If I pay you to model for me, which is rare, you do not get images from the shoot. You can't have it both ways.

 

* Explanation of TF/images: 
T= Time; F=For.  You pose for me, and I give you the images from the shoot.

I scout locations in which to work. This may take several days of living out of a sleeping bag and a lot of hiking.  The day before you arrive, I have already been there a day and have camp set up with a cook tent and enough food bought and stored to last the duration of the adventure. I have paid park fees and camp site fees. Hauled in firewood which I have bought. Hauled in water for washing and cooking. At this stage one can see why I might get a bit cranky if the model doesn't show up.
When you arrive, we hike around, working the previously scouted locations until we are ragamuffins, head back to camp where I attempt to gather enough energy to cook a good meal, finished off with your choice of beverage around a campfire as we chat about each location we visited.
We do it again the next day, and the next day, and so on until the adventure is over.  If a shoot lasts more than four days, and we are not near water, I will treat you to a motel room for a night where you can relax in a real bed and shower.  I may treat you to a motel room even if we are near water, because I'm a nice guy. 

(If we are road tripping for our shoot you get lots of motel rooms, because I don't want to set up and tear down camp every day.  A definite benefit to road tripping, but at the cost of gasoline these days I probably will not be doing many of those in the near future.  But try me...) 
You take off for home and I begin taking down the camp and attempting to get it all back into my car so I can head home.
Once home I will spend the next two days editing the images and getting them onto a flash drive for mailing to you.
Then I will spend approximately seventy hours for every hour we shot attempting to sell my soul to gallery directors and gallery boards in order to get my work into their art galleries, which most often require several face-to-face meetings and cross-country travel.
If I get accepted into a gallery, I will shell out six to eleven thousand dollars to get my work printed, framed, matted, insured and shipped for a show that is three years away because most good galleries are booked for three years ahead. 
  

I am a one or two shot photographer per setup. I do not bang away with the hope I will get that one good image out of two hundred taken. I may spend 20 minutes adjusting and readjusting. We may have to sit there and wait until the light is just right. We may not be able to work at a location at all because the light is not what I had in mind for the shot. I won't take a photo just to have something to do. It has to be near perfect or we are not going to do it.
A full ten-hour day of working with me will generally result in forty to fifty photos. Half of those will be great. About five will be superior, and ones I will use in gallery shows. The model will get them all, unless I really screwed up something, then it will be gone for good.  And I do screw things up from time to time.  I once screwed up an entire road trip to Arizona.  Not a useable image from the entire adventure.  So, I am not without making goofs, but I can now blame them on old age and get away with it.

 

*Note: I do not allow escorts.
The world is full of models that act professional and do not drag someone around with them.
An escort is a rude excuse for not doing your homework and checking references, done by lazy people who want the fun without doing the work.
I have no desire to work with lazy people and I will not endure problems associated with a third party along for the sole purpose of holding a model's hand.
If, after reviewing a photographer's work and history, communicating with models that have worked with that photographer, and obtaining personal contact information from said photographer you feel uncomfortable enough to need an escort along, you probably should not be working with that individual.

On our initial contact I will provide personal information: Home address; home phone number; full name and birth date; private email; etc.
 

I do not own a cell phone. I have gotten along perfectly fine for almost seventy years without one and have no need to feel connected, and I have yet to find a good use for one.  My only phone has a cord connected to the wall.  I carry a compass that works fine, even when dunked under water, so I don't need GPS to figure out where I am.
And make a note that there are few things that piss me off more than hearing a cell phone go off while we are out in some pristine wilderness working. Keep it turned off or leave it in the car.
Answering a telephone when working is unprofessional, and rude. Phone calls can be made at the end of the day when you are sitting around a campfire.  That includes texting.  If you are working with me, your time is mine, and texting on my time will only irritate me.  I promise you; your heart will not stop beating if you go six hours without looking at your phone.  If that is not acceptable to you, go find some kid to work with that spends as much time on his phone as he does work and you two will get along wonderfully.

 

*Note: I do not photograph anyone with augmentations, even if they are paying me. My time is much too valuable to be wasted on fake body parts that do not flow like body parts should.
I don't care how much they cost.
I don't care how many fat, middle aged men in grungy tee shirts, holding a can of Budweiser ogle them.
When you remove your clothing, they look like......well, crap.
 

Oh, and I'm not crazy about tattoos. Small ones are fine. Large body covering ones muck up my landscapes.  I work with one lady who has large tattoos only because she is a good friend.  But, as much as I like working with her, and enjoy being with her, the images of her will never get into my gallery shows.
Same with hardware. Less is better. None is best. If you have metal embedded in your upper torso don't bother contacting me. I won't use you. I'm looking for nude figures, not Christmas trees.

 

I prefer at least some hair so that you look like an adult and not an adolescent. An instance where more is better, but I may concede in this area pending other factors.
I never understood this fade for shaving the pubic area and can't wait for it to be over.  Whatever happened to looking your age and not trying to look like you did when you were eight.
**rant over**

 

A note on hair color: I prefer the collar matches the cuffs. It looks silly to have blonde hair and brunette eyebrows or mismatched in any other location. I don't care if your hair is blonde; brunette; black; red; gray; or hot pink as long as it is the same everywhere. I will make exceptions in this area if things aren't too out of hand.
I will tell you up front that I think bleached hair looks trashy, and unless your name is Phyllis Diller, I won't use you.   (Got to be older to understand that one.)
No wigs. I would rather have your hair falling out in clumps than you showing up in a wig.

 

I really dislike the word, collaborate. It is much overused and just tells me everyone involved has not a clue what they are doing, but if they get together maybe they can dope something out.
Let's try and leave that word out of our conversations.  I know what I am doing. 

If you are still reading and still interested in working with me you are one of the 2% out there, and one of the 2% I am interested in working with.
If you have read this far and find yourself pissed, it is your own fault. I warned you up at the top.

 

Recap:
What I do is what you see. Nude figures in landscapes, and a little erotic work.
No fairy wings; no Playboy style nudes; no Photoshop fill-ins of stuff that wasn't there when the photo was taken (If it looks like the model and I were working on top of a Swiss Alp.... we were working on top of a Swiss Alp); and no ugly, cotton candy looking water.
***sticks finger down throat***
Water needs to look like water, not stuffing from my Dacron pillow.

There are no age limit restrictions for working with me on either end as long as the laws are followed.

There are no size restrictions for working with me as long as you are well kept and physically fit.
I expect a model to have some sense of respectability to the art and to themselves.

If you decide to work with me be aware that by the end of the day I will have seen every part of your body more times than I care to, and you will be so tired you won't give a rat's ass.

Review my work carefully before contacting me for a shoot.  I am not going to let you wear high heels, nail polish or jewelry. No fancy hairdo (I am perfectly happy with how your hair is when you wake up). No makeup. I'm not looking for sexy. I'm looking for raw bodies that sculpt into natural settings. I'm looking for models who truly want to create art rather than just have pretty pictures of themselves naked.
And I am not going to allow you to look at the camera and ruin an otherwise good image. Nothing says crappy amateur more than having the model staring at the viewer. That type of work should be reserved for head shots; family photos; some fashion; retro pin ups; and very lousy porn, none of which I do. 

 

So, that's it in a nutshell.

I have been called a curmudgeon more than once and I may very well be, but I am passionate about creating good art rather than living room fodder.

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If you're down here and still reading you must be lacking serious entertainment or interested in my work. I would like to think it is the later and I will hear from you soon.  Please review my CONTACT page and MODEL NEEDED page for types of modeling that I am currently seeking.
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I do not print my own coffee table books as though they were some major publishing feats. My published work has been done by publishing companies.
I do not sell images via E-bay and claim, "Hundreds of images bought by private collectors."
Images taken by me are only available through one of the galleries that represent me, or through me, and are limited to editions of one, and only available in that gallery size print.

I do not shoot with a green screen and fill in later fancy back grounds or replace clear skies with those that have clouds.  What I see through the viewfinder is what you get.  My photo editing is basic for bruises and blemishes.  No fancy Photoshop crap that I believe puts a black eye on my profession when passed off as photography.  If you are a digital artist, say digital artist, not photographer.

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If you are not going to work with me, I don't care if you like me or not. I'm not offended.
If you do work with me, you will like me. 
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Testimonials:

"The word "giddy" should not come from a 58-year-old."

"Pretty sure that raised toe was meant to fend off the centipedes."

"I am not sleeping on top next time. You make a lousy pillow."

"I climbed, hiked, stretched, laid in freezing cold water, squished my finger and hauled gear into and out of camp. ALL worth it Mr. Swanson!"

"That was the best time of my life...except for losing all my clothes down the river and having to drive three hours home in nothing but your sweatshirt."

"I found myself wanting to be a part of your gallery, inside of your masterpieces but feel as though I already am just by seeing them on the screen. I wish I could see the world through your eyes, it must be beautiful."

"Ten miles of hiking for one damn photo! Do that again and I will never speak to you as long as you live. I can do bold typing too! "

"I look forward to working with you and not falling off cliffs again soon."

"Next to you my passion feels incredibly weak, but I will take your words to heart as I continue my creating. "

"You are such an animal!  The tension was incredible between us.  I can't wait to go again, only next time..."

"Thank you, my friend, for another incredible shoot. Oh, and the visiting bear at the campsite was a nice touch!"

"So... You want me on rocks, huh?  Well, coincidentally, I've seen your rocks and I'd be more than happy to be on any one of them!"

"I checked! There is no rule that you have to be naked while in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area. You made that up!"

"Your work has always amazed me. So impressed and so inspired. I use your page as examples for potential new nude models all the time."

"I'm a bit younger than you, but not by much. If there were a more affordable means of obtaining your gorgeous nudes in entire sets, I'd jump at that chance."

"You have the bestest wife in the whole world. What she sees in you is beyond me."

"Every time we work together, I want to go home and kick my boyfriend."

"I drove really slow on my way home, and I cried most of the way. Cried because I wasn't wanting it to end."

"If you ask me if I'm doing okay one more time, I'm going to stab you to death with your own tripod."

"I don't think that was a cougar outside our tent, but it was comforting to have your arm around me the rest of the night."

"I love how each of your photos tells a story. No matter how complex or simple to scenery is, you can't help but take your time enjoying each one."

"I was spying on you when you pooped."

"Good food; good friend; good wine; good scenery; good exercise; good night sleep; good weather. Great images! That about wraps up our last three days."

"What we did today was very erotic, and I really wanted to just jump your bones."

"After a week with you in the wilderness I came to the conclusion that you have only one flaw. You are human, and that I totally get. I can't wait to embark on our next adventure."

"I wish you were my dad."

"I finally got it!  Thank you so much.  I read and read and read about f stops and shutter speeds till I was blue in the face and just couldn't put it together.  Ten minutes with you last night and it all fell into place.  Why couldn't they write books that explain it that way." 

"After working with you this week, I never want to wear clothes again."

"We had that entire place to ourselves, and it felt normal not to have clothes on.  I want to go again and spend another full day there with you, even if we don't take any pictures."

"I have never eaten such a wonderful meal. Your ability to cook over a campfire ought to get you on some TV show."

"I've been a true admirer of your work for as long as you've decided curmudgeonly to have an online presence with both your art nude and erotic websites."

"I learned one thing working with you. You are all bark and no bite."

"When you are with me out there, I feel like we belong together.  It is not sexual, just a bonding of sorts.  Something I lack in my everyday life.  There is always excitement in a shoot with you.  Why is that?" 
"I am in absolute awe right now. Each image that I came upon became my new favorite, and each one I came to next took my breath away even more!"

"I had such a wonderful time. The scenery was fantastic, but my favorite part was sitting around the campfire in the evenings with a couple of fingers of good scotch, all worn out and a day's worth of memories running through my head while we poked at the fire and relaxed. Then the warmth of the sleeping bag as the nights grew cool. No car noises, no lights. Just that damn owl hooting. I miss it already."

"I always thought old guys were kind of icky until I worked with you."

"You made me cry, in a good way."

"They were truly gorgeous! No one does photography like you, sir, that is for certain."

"Your explanation of what we actually see has changed my whole life.  I never thought about it before, that we don't really see objects at all, only reflected light from those objects, or not reflected light from the shadow areas.  It is almost spooky.  You always leave me with a new outlook on things.  I love working with you."

"...and my big toe was someplace where the sun doesn't shine. Today I can't even move my legs."

"David, you are the undisputed king of Minnesota photographers. How you get all that you get done amazes me to no end. Thanks for all your positive reviews and encouragement to us mere mortals."

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Personal issues:  I'm somewhat O.C.D. in that, things like odd number of eggs in an egg carton drive me nuts.   Also, I like pepper on my food, but it must be evenly distributed on the food.  If there is more in one area, I will add to the less covered area to even it out.  That can go on for quite some time in my attempts to get it just right, resulting in way more pepper than I wanted.

I don't drink because my brain does not comprehend moderation.  Have never used drugs because I know my brain would react likewise.  Everything I do in life is done to excess.  But I have no issues with models drinking in the evenings or doing whatever as long as they can function well come morning.  I do not reflect my issues on others in any way, or judge others for their vices.  I have mine... good cigars and fun to be around women.  Oh, and ropes.  I have a thing for good ropes.  Can't own enough good ropes, much to the dismay of my wife.  It's the excess thing I was talking about.

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Philosophy:  There are few things in life that cannot be improved upon by adding a little caraway seed. 

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***I do shoot work for erotic gallery shows but try and keep most of that work from this site.  You will run across a few mild images herein, however.   I also am a regular contributor to the Kinsey Institute permanent erotic art collection with nine pieces currently in their museum.  

If you are interested in modeling for my erotica, please message me for further information and a link to where some work can be viewed.  If you just want to view my erotica, you are out of luck.  It is for erotic gallery shows only, and not made available to the internet public.  Most web sites that post erotic work are there for the sole purpose of self-gratification on the part of the photographer.  I have no need for such self-admiration.  I am here so people can contact me should they decide they would like to work with me.  

This is me.  Both parts.
Recent Shows
 

School of Fine Art, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

The Nude In Minnesota, Northrup King Bldg., Minneapolis, MN

Center For Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO

Morpho Gallery, Chicago, IL

The Red Door Gallery, Pittsburgh, PA

The Dark Room Gallery, Essex Junction, VT

Amore Gallery, London, UK

Edge Center For The Arts,  Bigfork, MN

Herron Gallery, Indianapolis, IN

Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Gallery 13,  Minneapolis, MN

Indiana University School Of Fine Art

Kinsey Institute permanent art collection,  University of Indiana

One Fine Art Gallery,  Chicago, IL

Smithtown Township Art Council, Mill Pond Gallery, St. James, NY

Kinsey Institute Juried Erotic Art Show,  Bloomington, IN

The MacRostie Art Center,  Grand Rapids, MN



 

Represented By

Gallery 13, Minneapolis, MN 
Smithtown Township Arts Council, St. James, NY
  One Fine Art Gallery, Chicago, IL
   Kinsey Institute, Bloomington, IN
   Herron Gallery, Indianaoplis, IN
Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Colins, CO
Morpho Gallery, Chicago, Il
What was once, Lake Powell
Good for hiking, bad for boating
Sarah 219
When a critter swims up your crotch
Natanya
A few days modeling for Dave has taken its toll
Erin
Sometimes you lose your footing
Abs
Seems like it's always raining in Ohio
Kelsey
Small gallery show - Chicago, with models
Ayn & Kelsey, taken by Dave Levingston
 
Mid-Day Nap
Denise
A very calm Lake Superior
Taken by Rebecca Anderson
Quit hovering around camp
Sarah Jean
6' X 8'  on canvas, hanging in The Art Institute of Chicago
Brooke