Andy: What was your first memory of picking up a camera?
Oracle: While I’m sure I took snapshots before this time I didn’t pick up a camera in an effort to take anything resembling quality photos until college. The camera was an old Canon AE-1 with a metal body. I still have that camera; it can double as a bludgeoning weapon.
A: Why are you so drawn to photography as an art form?
Oracle: Hmm, that’s a good question. I’ve been involved in the arts for as long as I can remember. Over the years I’ve dabbled in almost ever medium that doesn’t involve an open flame (I’m too clumsy for that).
Photography was actually one of the last mediums I picked up. Halloween was always a favorite holiday growing up and I’m proud to say I never wore a store bought costume. I was always into costumes and considered going into costume design. I’ve even worked in a theatre costume shop. So I’d imagine it has something to do with the ability to combine costuming with artistic imagery, especially with my photo manipulation experience.
A: What is your daily inspiration when taking photos?
Oracle: These days most of my photography is focused on people. In that regards it would be the model I am currently working with. At other times it can be whatever I happen to see in the moment. That’s what photography really is, freezing a moment in time and using it to convey a thought, feeling or idea.
A: When did you start taking photos of Cosplayers? What was it about the GeekGodess project that made you decide to join up?
Oracle: If you count original costumes and characters instead of true “cosplay” it would be over 10 years. For more standard Cosplay I started in 2009, so almost 5 years.
GeekGoddess was actually founded by Jessica Nova and myself in 2012. We had worked together doing Cosplay photography for years (she as model and myself as photographer) and decided that it was time we worked for ourselves. We wanted to pursue our goals and ideals. From those early brainstorming sessions GeekGoddess was born. We aim to celebrate geeks and nerds and prove that woman can be smart, powerful, beautiful and sexy. You don’t have to pick intelligence or sexuality, you can have it all.
A: Is there a character that you think lends itself to the camera? If not is there a type of model that photographs well?
Oracle: I’m pretty equal opportunity when it comes to characters and models. Models who have a good knowledge and awareness of their own body will always be a step ahead of those that don’t, but I don’t have a particular type/look that I prefer. If you are a good photographer you should be able to make the model look great. There are different techniques that one utilizes when shooting taller vs. shorter models or petite vs. full figure ladies, but I don’t have a preference for one over the other. I like variety.
A: There is still a lot hesitation from society when it comes to the naked female form, did this give you pause at all when you decided to get involved with Geek Goddess? What do you think it will take to change societies views? Is this something you are concerned about?
Oracle: As someone who identifies as a feminist it’s always something in the back of my mind. I thought long and hard about the question before deciding to start GeekGoddess.
Society currently gives women only two options. You can either choose to be the virgin or the whore. Either you are sexually empowered and society thinks it will lead to your downfall or you are a proper woman and you aren’t supposed to admit your sexual needs and desires except behind closed doors. This is a very one-sided view.
I don’t think woman can ever truly be equal, truly liberated, until we are accepted as complex beings with many facets. Our sexuality is one of those facets. GeekGoddess aims to push this idea forward.
As long as a woman is in control of herself, making her own choices and enjoying what she is doing there is nothing wrong with nudity. Society tells us that nudity is wrong but that’s just a social construct, one that does a great deal of damage. It creates anxiety, confusion, paranoia and depression in not just women but men. Only when we stop placing arbitrary morality codes on natural things (like the human body) will we be able to have real and honest conversations about the true nature of right and wrong.
A: What kind of angles and lighting considerations do you make when shooting someone nude? What makes a “good nude shot” for you?
Oracle: Every rule is ultimately made to be broken, so there is always an exception. When I’m shooting I move around a lot more than many photographers I’ve met, climbing up and down to get the right shot. A true photographer is going to find the right angle for whatever they are shooting and the mood they are trying to convey.
I generally prefer softer lighting for nudes but there are always exceptions. Regardless of the effect the shot should be set up to ensure proper exposure of the skin more than the surroundings. When shooting outdoors reflectors are often a must. They prevent unflattering glares or shadows. These problems can also be somewhat compensated for by shooting at the right time, however, a good photographer should never leave the studio without a reflector, even if it’s jerry-rigged (I’m talking to all the beginners out there).
Ultimately to me the best nude shot will showcase not just the outer beauty but the inner beauty of the model and will be an image she/he can feel proud of for years to come.
A: What is the nerdiest thing you bought recently?
Oracle: Other than things for GeekGoddess? Hmm, does a present from my hubby count? That was a t-shirt of Stitch wearing Jayne’s Hat.
I’ve run out of shelf space so I’ve had to curb some of my purchases lately. If you want to go more for the nerd as opposed to the geek side of things I am currently reading a book about the misconceptions regarding native American society before the arrival of Columbus.
A: What is something no one told you, that you wish you know about helping to run a site like Geek Goddess?
Oracle: If no one has told me it’s probably something I don’t even know that I don’t know. In which case, if its relevant I’d love to know it. But in all seriousness, I do have some background in business planning and development and spent a great deal of time researching before we launched. I will admit that researching trends for any business that bleeds into the “adult” sector can be a big pain. People are often reluctant to talk about their experiences publicly.
Now behold the awesome that is Oracle’s Photography: