Gary Heller is the first place winner of the Passion for Pinups contest that was held last week on Fine Art America. His winning photo “Jade Vixen Bubblegum Erotic Pinup 1098” is featured below.
I have seen bits and pieces of Gary’s work before (his photo of Mosh with the stand up bass below is one of my favs) but I had never actually checked out his portfolio until this contest. I was totally speechless. Gary’s photography is super glossy and his post work is amazing. In addition to his awesome pinup & fetish work, what really blew me away was his collection of photos of old barns, industrial spaces and abandoned places. Be sure to check out his website for the full experience.
How long have you been doing pinup and how did you get started?
Pinup is something I sort of side stepped into. Since 2003, when I first picked up a camera I had been shooting urban and rural scenes, abandoned places and that sort of thing. Much later on, sometime in 2010 I felt I wanted to explore shooting portraits of interesting people, mostly studio type shots. I put together some equipment and a makeshift studio in my apartment and began practicing my techniques on myself, which ultimately turned into a sort of self portrait series.
Eventually when I became more comfortable with my studio workI decided to bring in a model and hooked up with Jade Vixen on one of the modeling sites. She was awesome. She came over with fantastic wardrobe (mostly latex but also some vintage lingerie), did her own styling and just had a lot of experience which helped me on my end. The shoot went great and I decided to pursue it further. Later I hooked up with a friend/model/stylist Masae Satouchi and we landed the cover of ArtTour International Magazine and feature. I would say that my work is more of a fetish nature with a pinup style of presentation.
How did you stumble upon your unique style?
I always loved fantasy art and was inspired by album covers and comic book illustrations/art of the 60’s and 70’s. Loved Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo and others. I also admired the pinup art of Alberto Vargas, Luis Royo, Enoch Bolles and so many more. I came about my style in trying to create a look that mimicked the artwork of some of those influences.
What is your typical process/workflow?
I am a huge fan of Adobe Light Room. All my days work gets imported, sorted, organized, tagged and labeled with Light Room. Once I started editing, the beginning steps are all done in Light Room, then brought into Photoshop, and then finished off in Light Room.
Who is your fav artists/photographers at the moment?
So many great talents out here, its hard to just run off names. I will say that August Bradley’s Hasselblad series blew me away when I saw it a few years ago.
How do you overcome those times when the creative spirit has left the building?
I get into “down times” once in a while and will feel like just giving it up, but soon enough the desire to want to produce something, or just take a drive getting lost in the back roads somewhere kicks in and I’m fired up again.
What do you do when you’re not shooting hot babes? What is a day in the life for you like?
I’m more of a recluse. I like to spend time alone, listening to music. I have a son and daughter I like to spend time with, three cats, and my girlfriend.
Tell me about your other photography. Your work is awesome. Would you say you favor pinup more, or your other work?
The pinup and fetish stuff is cool and I enjoy doing it alot but it takes time to set up a shoot and coordinate a team of talent to get it right. The time and scheduling involved is something that I find difficult to swing with my current commitments and so I will be putting that aside and hopefully come back to it another point in my life.
Most inspirational food, drink, other? What has to be on the desk at all times for you to get into the flow?
Coffee, black coffee.
What does the future hold for you? What are you working on next?
I really am just looking forward to getting out more in search of old buildings, barns, abandoned places… anything really that catches my eye and mind.
Most recent published work?
“Free Bird” (cover of ArtTour International Magazine Dec. 2011 ) and “Cornered” (both collaborations with model Masae Satouchi)
To purchase a print of Gary’s winning image, click here.