Shadowscape Studio - Iron Cross
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Join:20 Jan 2011
Last:27 Oct 2016

About Me

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.

I have zero interest in working with a person just because they are willing to take their clothes off.

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 awhile.

Worked with Kodak Law Enforcement Photography School and the Department of Justice training programs.

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 in seven galleries around the world each year.
All prints 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 prints are large, gallery size. I do not make anything less than 17 X 22.

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 during the summer months when there is so much to be done outdoors. Besides, I lack the imagination to create anything but pretty figure study work in a studio. 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.

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, snow or cold. Scheduled shoots take place in whatever is offered up by mother nature.
On location shoots for me are very time consuming and expensive to set up.
I supply all food and any camping gear needed. You are welcome to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow if you have one but no tent. The sites I reserve only allow one tent and I reserve sites a year in advance. The tent I work out of sleeps six so there is plenty of room without feeling uncomfortable.
On rare occasions I will do one day shoots, but they need to be sun up to sun down or I have little to no interest. 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/CD where you get all of the images edited.
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.
If you want hard prints, you had better be paying me.
* Explanation of TF/CD: 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.
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 CD 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.
Of course, you can always pay me to take your photo too. I don't do this on the weekends for fun. This is my living. I'm not above getting paid to be the photographer, but I don't get pissy and scream, "I'm doing this for free" if you don't.

I am a one or two shot photographer per setup. I do not bang away with the hope I will get 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.

I do not pay for gas. TF/CD shoots need to be an equal partnership endeavor and it cost me at least as much for gas to get to the locations we shoot in as it does you.
A typical two day shoot will cost me about three hundred dollars and five days worth of my time. That is at least my share. Your share should cover your own gas expenses. If you live near me, or on my way I am more than willing to pick you up and take you home when we are finished working.
*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 sixty years without one and have no need to feel connected.
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.
I have heard models say, "You won't mind if I take this call. It is very important."
Yes, I do mind. The shoot they are on is very important, at least to me.
If there is something that is so important you need to take a phone call when we are working, you should stay home and wait for it rather than piss me off, I guarantee.

*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.
And to be fair, I don't photograph men that have had a section of a broom handle implanted in their penis either. Looks just as bad.
Oh, and I'm not crazy about tattoos. Small ones are fine. Large body covering ones muck up my landscapes.
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. It is worse than boys wearing baggy pants with their underwear showing. 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.
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 over used 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.

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.

What I do is what you see. Nude figures in landscapes and a little figure work in the studio when the weather turns really bad.
No themed shoots; 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, although I prefer models 30 years of age or older so I know they will show up and not go missing from the grid two days before a scheduled shoot.
I will work with younger models if they are willing to make an attempt to prove to me that they are responsible enough to follow through with a commitment.

There are no size restrictions for working with me as long as you are well kept.
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. Make sure it is in keeping with what you would like to see in your portfolio because 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; some fashion; retro pin ups; and very lousy porn, none of which I do.

So, that's it in a nut shell.

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.

(I use to be a cranky person, but I have mellowed in my old age)

I think I have covered most questions you might have about working with me, but if I have not, don't hesitate to open your mouth and ask. I won't bite. I may wave my arms wildly, but I won't bite.

Sometimes in need of a female photo assistant when working outdoors.
The reason for the assistant being female is because I am not overly fond of men and find them boring. I dislike football, basketball, baseball, bowling, golf and hockey and I do not get excited about how hot the waitress in the cafe looks. I have no interest in talking about the latest camera sensors, or how great a guy thinks his new Canon L series lens is when I am hiking about in nature.
If you are an aspiring (female) photographer and would like to work with me on shoots, please let me know your availability during the summer months.
Must like to hike and climb and will be required to haul gear, sleep in a tent and eat my campfire cooking (you might get glazed planked salmon with asparagus, or you might get baked beans). All expenses (with the exception of gas money) will be covered for the duration of the shoots. Once again, if you are on my way I will gladly give you a ride both ways.
You will come away with plenty of quality images of your own along with learning from one of the Midwest's premier nude in landscape photographers.
My only requirements are that you already understand your camera, what it does, and the basic rules of composition (A few things I see lacking by most people who call themselves, photographers).

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.

I also model for those who might have an interest in using an older fellow for some figure work; or in need of a modeling partner; or those who just have to know what the photographer looks like. But don't wait too long as I am not getting any better looking with age.


My wife and I maintain a home in the middle of the Chippewa National Forest, about four and a half hours north of the twin cities. It is very secluded and on a lake.
For models traveling through the area, or those looking for a short get-away vacation, we are open to having you stay at our home with room and board in exchange for a couple of hours of modeling per day.
Many models have taken advantage of this offer and you may contact any and all of them for references.
Note: This seems to be a C.O. compound.

I do shoot erotic work but attempt to keep that work separate from this portfolio.
If you have an interest in erotic work please let me know and I will direct you to another location.

I do not print my own coffee table books as though they were some major publishing feat. 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 and are limited to editions of one, and only available in that gallery size print.

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.

Represented by nine galleries around the world.


"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 five 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."

"You have enough hair on your body to be classified as a fur bearing mammal."

"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 incledible between us. I can't wait to go again, only next time you have to let my hands go where ever they want..."

"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!
Can we go again next month????"

"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."

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

"What the fuck is it with you. Everytime 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."

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

"When you get naked with me out there I feel like we should be 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."

"...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


Represented by One Fine Art Gallery, Chicago, IL
Gallery 13, Minneapolis, MN
Morpho Gallery, Chicago, IL
Smith Town, St. James, NY
Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, CO
Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, Bloominton,IN
Herron Gallery,Indianapolis, IN


09 Dec 14 15:57
Amazing port!
22 Jul 14 00:12
Stunning port!
20 Jan 11 11:28
Hi Marcell, I should say again that I really love you magnificent body of works. ;0) Pietro
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