Thursday, January 01, 2015

Jim Baab: A Somerville photographer who sees the “naked” possibilities.

Vegetarian Nudes

Jim Baab: A Somerville photographer who sees the “naked” possibilities.

By Doug Holder

Photographer Jim Baab is a man who sees the naked possibilities in both the human and vegetable form.  This Prospect Hill Somerville resident met me at the Bloc11 Café in Union Square to discuss his unique brand of photography.

Baab told me that he and his wife moved to Somerville in 1999, and lived in the reconverted church (Built in 1887) next to the café. Later they bought a home and put down roots in the ‘Ville. Baab told me he feels right at home with the artistic community in Somerville.

Baab, who has previously worked in the Film and Video Department at Boston University, works with pictures he has posted on Instagram, that he took with his digital camera. Baab said “They can be pictures of my garden, common everyday objects around the home, etc…” One of his projects is titled “Vegetarian Nudes.”  This was inspired by the photographer Edward Weston. Baab started this project back in college after taking a Photo1 class.  Now, you may stalk the aisles of Market Basket to find vegetables to cook, but Baab is a bird of a different order. Baab use vegetables to photograph the human form. He uses things like a Brussel Sprout that makes for the elegant back of a woman’s head. And while you adorn your salad with a Bell Pepper, Baab turns it into a sensuous, curving back—and-- me thinks, with a hint of the crack in the lower back.

But Baab works with the real thing as well. He has a project titled “Palm Spring Nudes,” in which he photographed fine art models at Palm Springs in California, a few years back. Baab told me: “I like to photograph with natural light. Actually, for me, overcast days are the best for shooting.” Baab is also attracted to strong lines, shadows, structures and distinct shapes—all of which the human form evokes or encompasses.

Baab said that he studies with Karen Rosenthal. Rosenthal, according to Baab, explores what she has coined the “Human Landscape,” and that’s what Baab is intimately involved with—here—in the landscape—of the Paris of New England.

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