Hours of Idleness-A Photographer's Journey in St. Louis


Posted in art, Jason Gray, model, photography, St. Louis by Jason Gray on December 29, 2019

One of the core themes in my art, both photographic and in drawing/painting, is figurative work, and I often return to it when I’ve hit a creative standstill in some way. Figure work can allow me to explore through concepts, but mostly it enables me to think in terms of a formal tradition that I am generally working against otherwise. In this way, there is simplicity of expression and the excitement of approaching the subject in a completely organic way (I prefer to react to what’s there rather than obsessively preplan these shoots). It is a reset, in a sense.

I have known Michelle for several years, and I have thought for almost as long that she would be a terrific model. She is a natural, in being both incredibly beautiful and in having an emotional depth and intelligence that registers in the images as relatable, maybe even a little vulnerable. Her eyes forge a connection and communicate with sincerity. The camera is only able to frame, it does not bring these qualities, and I feel lucky to have worked with her on this set (and hope to work with her again soon).



Posted in art, Jason Gray, model, photography, prime lenses, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on June 5, 2017

I’ve expressed my fondness for working with the human form in previous posts (here, here, and here).  All of that said, I think it is important to note that these sessions are important to me/my work for a variety of reasons.



Posted in art, Interlude, Jason Gray, model, perception, photography by Jason Gray on April 25, 2017

There is something timeless and very simple about working with the human figure that I much enjoy.  For the commercial work that I do, I am always concerned with what the client’s expectations are, and with my more conceptual work, I operate within very strict parameters governed by what I am trying to say.  Likewise, for the photographs that I produce for Photo Flood Saint Louis, I am constantly thinking about the story my images are sending. However, in figurative work, I am free to pursue both form and content in a way that is completely untethered from any mental constraints.

The human body is a classical motif in art, one which conveys both the grace and tragedy of life.  As such, it is a conduit for both our notions of beauty and scorn, and a subject that I have tremendous respect for.

In this most recent shoot, I was fortunate to work with a great model that seemed to know exactly what I wanted (perhaps because we are already friends or because she is also a photographer).  I am very happy with this body of images, and look forward to working with Monica again in the future.


Interlude: Senior Photos with Sam

Posted in art, Interlude, Jason Gray, model, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on October 31, 2016

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Sam is a senior in high school preparing to embark upon a college career in baseball, while pursuing a degree in engineering.  I recently had the lucky opportunity to photograph Sam for his senior pictures, which was no sweat for this confident, bright athlete (that his location preferences were easy to work with and the fact that he’s got a little James Dean-ness to his look perhaps supported as well).

If you enjoy the images and want to book your own portrait session, message me at grayphotostl@yahoo.com



Posted in 35mm, art, black and white, model, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on June 8, 2014


Continuing in my decision to concentrate on figurative work this summer, I am reposting this series that I shot with Lindsey some time ago. I’ve added a few images that have not been seen before as well.


Posted in art, black and white, model, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on June 1, 2014


I’ve decided to take a bit of a break from the more rigid structure of my art-making, and focus for a while on a classic motif, the human figure. Among subjects for artists, there is almost nothing more answerable to the timeless question of form or content than the body. For in the nude human form, we see both an object with wonderfully innate aesthetic qualities and a condition that we all closely identify with. Certainly, this is a Modernist direction that moves away from what I typically do, but it is surprisingly comfortable territory, and something that I have always been fascinated by.

In this group of images, Alexandra was an excellent collaborator that I hope to work with again soon. Alex has an amazing profile, bright eyes, and totally put up with my requests to have the human body positioned in ways that are physically impossible. Thanks again, Alex!

Call for Men/Women, 18+

Posted in art, model, photography by Jason Gray on June 7, 2013

I am currently looking for people to pose for my new series, Self/Unself. Each resulting image is a composite consisting of nine photos that attempt to alter a person’s identity by changing what they wear. One of the images will be nude.

Note: You do not have to feel completely comfortable posing for this (in fact, it’s probably better if you have some reservations), but you must be willing to be photographed without your clothing. Please follow the link above to see what will be expected. Each shoot takes about 20 minutes to complete.

Contact me at grayphotostl@yahoo.com if you are interested in participating.

Nikki S. Lee

Posted in 35mm, art, film, model, perception, photography, technique by Jason Gray on October 29, 2012

Nikki S. Lee’s work, The Hispanic Project (25), depicts a woman of somewhat ambiguous decent, definitely East Asian, possibly also Hispanic, sitting on a step outside, in an urban setting. She appears to gaze off beyond the camera; is she unaware of the photographer? The date stamp on the image suggests that the person responsible for it is likely using a consumer-grade film camera, a “point-and-shoot”. Maybe the photographer, probably an amateur, snapped this while on vacation, or else the photographer could be this woman’s friend/boyfriend. In 1998, before digital cameras became popular, film cameras were ubiquitous among almost all classes of people in the United States. This picture may even have resulted from a disposable camera, sold almost everywhere, at the time. The woman in the image wears a necklace with the word “Genie” taking the place of a traditional pendant. It is probable that this is her name, although it might also represent a lover, a friend, or even her mother. It could even commemorate any of these. The woman appears to have a rose tattooed upon her left breast. It’s impossible to know the personal iconography of the rose to this woman, but given her tough exterior, it would be reasonable to suspect that she might appreciate something beautiful and dangerous, a flower with thorns. This might even be the context she assumes for herself; a context derived from upbringing or/and necessity. (more…)

Round 3

Posted in art, black and white, model, perception, photography, Uncategorized by Jason Gray on January 8, 2012

Lindsey Davidson and I have had the opportunity to work with each other on several occasions (1, 2), and I would say that her transition into modeling is now fairly well complete. It is always great when you find someone who you work easily with, and because of that ideas and such flow easily as well. For this group of images, I took inspiration from the halcyon days of fashion and portrait photography and created a look that I hope feels warm and dreamlike.


Lindsey Davidson, Part 2

Posted in 35mm, art, black and white, film, model, photography by Jason Gray on November 25, 2011

As promised, here is the second set of images from my recent shoot with Lindsey Davidson, photographer (and model 😉 ). These were all shot on 35mm film (Kodak T-Max 400) with a Nikon N80 and Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D or Nikkor 28-80mm f/3.3-5.6G lens. (more…)