Ceci n’est pas une pomme.

For day three of the Five Day Art Challenge, I’m posting an accidental masterpiece. (Well, I do think a lot of myself, I’ll grant you that.)

Back when I was first learning to figure out my very first set of studio lights, I didn’t have the plethora of available models I do these days, so I shot the hell out of the one I did have; me.


Flash Photography
Flash Photography


I did have one friend who spent eight hours in front of my camera once to help me with learning lights, though, and I should thank her again here: Stephanie, you were amazingly patient that day.


Stephanie and Negative Space
Stephanie and Negative Space


My friend Kristine had recently introduced me to the Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte. On a lark, just for a little bit of Facebook fun for her, I grabbed a green apple and stuck it on my head. It really wasn’t supposed to be a serious hommage or anything, just a giggle.

I liked it. I liked it a lot.

The following Spring, I heard that UNCW, where I was earning my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, was having its annual All Student Art Show. I spent eight hours painstakingly putting together a still life just for the show, grabbed what was then my favorite shot ever (a nude of a friend in a horse trough), and just for fun threw this piece in to round out my three submissions to the show.

I was crushed and bewildered when Lust (the still life) wasn’t even accepted to the show. I was hoping the nude in the horse trough might make it in, and it did. And so did Ceci. I laughed and giggled about that for the entire time leading up to opening night.




At the opening, the juror was present to open the show and make all the announcements and all that jazz. Anne Brennan, who is the Executive Director of the Cameron Art Museum was doing the honors that year. She started with the Honorable Mentions, and worked her way up the list of accolades. I was honestly on the edge of tears when the horse trough piece (Alcyone Bathes) didn’t even get an honorable mention. I wasn’t really expecting anything out of Ceci, so that didn’t really cross my mind. I sort of drifted off into my own little world, discouraged beyond all reason, standing there next to the model for Alcyone Bathes, the one in the horse trough, as Anne continued up the list. My head was down, I was staring at my shoes, and thinking about giving up photography, given that my best work couldn’t even manage an honorable mention at a student art competition.

It took several seconds for it to sink in that Anne Brennan, Executive Director of the Cameron Art Museum, somebody who knows a little something about art, had just announced my name as the winner of the Best of Show award. And it took another few for me to process that it wasn’t Alcyone Bathes. I’m really proud of this piece. Did I mention that was my very first juried art show? BAM.

I have a second print hanging on my I Love Me Wall at Galerie Chez Louis. The original print, as part of the Best of Show award, was purchased by the university and added to the gallery’s permanent collection. It now hangs on the second floor of the University Union, just down the hall from the Ann Flack Boseman Gallery entrance.

I go visit it once in awhile. It makes me smile.



My very good friend and recurring model Bria has challenged me on Facebook to the Five Day Art Challenge. I’m to post a bit of my art once a day for five days. Posting my art is not really hard for me, as I’ve been posting every day anyway for my 365-Day Self-Discovery photo project. The difficult part for me will be picking out which pieces of art I’d like to post, and finding the time to post them. I’ve been incredibly busy lately, and I’m already falling behind on my editing. But I’ll do my best. I’ll even limit myself to pieces that are not specifically boudoir and not nudes.


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Louis Shackleton is a boudoir, portrait, art, event, and wildlife photographer formerly based in Wilmington, NC and now traveling the continent in his 2001 VW Passat named Gypsy.

Head on over to the About page to read more about him and his work.

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