Thursday, March 11, 2010

From me to you..

I've been shooting full-time, one or two shoots (sometimes more) a day for almost two year now.

There is very little in the way of "art nude" I haven't shot on multiple occasions. I have extensive work in many other genres as well.

From me to you, here's a few things:
Statement from a model: There were two photographers who started saying negative things to me right off the bat. With one it started via text messages where I apparently didn't express enough excitement? and then every few minutes it was either a story about his crazy sexcapades or "why aren't you having fun." I wasn't having fun, I didn't want to know about his sexcapades or the models he shot with who let him photograph them having sex, and I didn't want to shoot the level or eroticism he did. But, him saying something negative only made me more quiet.

At some point, you need to make a decision. [i]Is this shoot/money worth more then my personal comfort and/or safety?[/i]

If someone is behaving or discussing things you are not okay with, say so. Politely. "I appreciate that you've had a lot of interesting experiences in your personal life and/or with other models, but I'm not very comfortable with you sharing these with me."

The moment you don't feel that you are in a safe or "okay" enviroment, you need to leave. Period. If you're being pressured to shoot work that you didn't agree to, and "No." isn't sufficient, gather your things, get dressed, and go.

Being a model doesn't mean you have to put up with things you aren't okay with, and being paid doesn't mean you're property. You, as a human being, have the right to exercise your free will. If you don't learn to set your limits and stand by them, you won't last long. Be gentle, firm, polite, and if all else fails.. be on your way out the door.

Statement from a model: With another guy it was like I get there and my make up is wrong, my hair is wrong, the clothes I picked out (from his collection) aren't right. And then it's like, why aren't you happy? I don't know, maybe you shouldn't just tell me I did a bad job without having a solution.

Option A: Sometimes, people just aren't suited to work with one another. If you feel that you aren't able to suite the needs of the shoot, concept, etc. .. then bow out gracefully. "I feel that I am not the right model for what it is you're trying to accomplish here, and I would like to suggest we discontinue this shoot, and possibly try again in the future with something that may suite our dynamic better." If they paid you, refund it. If they didn't, part ways.

Option B: Sometimes a photographer gets this.. idea.. in their head of the perfect hair, MU, clothing, etc. and you will simply not be able to match the lovely ideal they've created. Accept it, and do your best to be the best model you can. Next time, just don't work with them again.

A lot of times, one must "grin and bear it". Working with people you don't normally work with, and learning to handle personality types of an abrasive or non-cohesive nature are part of learning to deal with the world. Do your best to be polite, patient, and understanding. If it's beyond your ability to manage the situation, then exit the situation.

Statement from a model: Unless I really like a photographer I'm not necessarily happy at a shoot. I'm probably too busy concentrating on my pose and my facial expressions and I really can't chat if I want the right expression in a picture. A lot of photographers are kind of like dentists in that respect, how they don't realize you can't talk freely while they take a picture.

Darlings, if you can't find a way to enjoy what you're doing, then don't do it. I may not be overly joyful during a shoot, but I do very much enjoy my work. I deeply adore the movement, emotions, energy, and art of it.

You don't have to bounce like a baby bunny, but you DO have to be engaging, pleasant, and polite. You CAN actually have an engaging conversation while shooting.. it's actually better to do so. It keeps you relaxed and connected with the person you're working with. Spending every ounce of concentration on your poses, face, etc, will only serve to make you appear stiff, tense, and disconnected with your work.

And honestly, you're new. You've barely begun to work with people, and the world doesn't revolve around modeling. If you're not enjoying the people you're working with THAT much, find new people.

Statement from a model: Being entertaining doesn't mean you're having fun. I'm entertaining a lot of the time when I'm bitter and in a shitty mood. And sometimes I'm really happy and quiet as a mouse. Feeling an emotion and expressing an emotion are very, very different.

when I said "sometimes it's just a job" I mean, sometimes I'm just okay about the photographer/the concept/whatever rather than thinking it's super cool and wanting to capture the perfect shot. I always give it my all, unless I feel unwell for some reason, or a photographer like the one I mentioned keeps putting me down.

No, you don't have to have fun to be entertaining. You do, however, need to be engaged in what you're doing and who you're talking to. Entertaining someone generally requires being able to connect with the person(s) you're addressing.

Learn to express what you don't feel, and to feel what you can't express. Like it or not, being a model isn't just "stand and look pretty", especially as a freelance model. You are also having to network, market, engage, create, and dissimulate. You need to be your own worst critic and your own biggest fan.

Whether or not ANYONE ELSE in the room thinks you're beautiful, talented, vivacious, creative, or amazing... YOU need to think you are. By modeling, you are placing yourself at the mercy of someone else's heart, mind, and imagination. You're taking the risk of being put on a pedestal you may not be able to balance on, and you need to be able to take the good with the bad, filter it for the useful information, and continue on learning, growing, and developing as a person and model.

Creating beautiful images isn't a one person pushing the button job. It's an everyone in the room job, and it is VERY much your job. If you can't love, hate, live, and learn from the good and bad parts of your job, then find a new job.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Seven Point Five Weeks, Eleven Hours

Those numbers are how long I've been on the road, and how long I slept last night. Respectively, of course. It was a highly enjoyable journey, all in all. The highlights, encapsulated as data points:

Six beds, five couches, three mats on the floor, one hotel room, and one very snug thermarest in the hatch of my car.

Fifteen shoots, one drawing session, and one painting class. Six cancellations, two of which were last-minute.

Three national parks, two national monuments, and many more national forests.

Thirty six stupid camera phone pictures of Jitterbug, my four-legged travel companion.

One oil change, zero flats.

For the next month, my travels will be limited to the stretch of I-5 between Olympia and Seattle, Washington. I'm staying with a dear friend in a trailer in the woods in Oly. I must say, I'm looking forward to spending a non-nomadic month here, re-energizing myself, and planning out details of my next stint on the road.