Tuesday, February 21, 2012
before i left oakland, i was approved for disability. i also took a semester of school. one of my classes was "wimmin in art history," and the class focused on the media and body image coincided with my getting on disability. i thought that now, since i do not need to rely on my modeling income to live, i could raise the bar a little. i decided to take a stand against being edited to perfection. i decided that i could no longer overlook the fakeness of those amazing images i would get back in which my skin was flawless, my stomach flat, my scars blended in with the rest of my skin. sadly i loved them all. they were an image of myself like no one looks. on the days i was in tune with the reality of my actual beauty, i would see fake plasticized images of others and i would imagine this being what they actually looked like. i would start to be down on myself. i would also imagine others looking at images of me, an oddly figured alternative model, still with an ageless beauty trying to conform to societal faux-norms, and being down on themselves.
so i changed my profile on the modeling website to say that i was not interested in perpetuating this unattainable ideal and contributing to stabs at the self-esteem of girls and wimmin who use the internet. in this subculture it is severely frowned upon for a model to be assertive in this way, to be contentious, opinionated, "difficult." i am supposed to be trying to sell myself and no one wants to buy a product with so many terms and so many boundaries. a move like i made is seen as career suicide. and i like modeling, so it was a little of a bummer. but i figured i could just work with my friends. the amount of work i had been offered had decreased over the last few years, anyway, since i had been aging at an unfortunate steady pace of one birthday a year, been getting more bad tattoos, and not been as active when it came to networking [ie. spending ten hours a day on the internet making mindless conversation (though sometimes fun!) with photographers and other models.] so i figured this was really it. say goodbye to ever working for a stranger who wanted to pay me to model for them ever again.
but i had planned a part-visit, part-tour [the music kind] trip, and i decided to post up some travel notices as a model. what the hell, it couldn't do any harm. and this weird thing happened. i got a fair amount of messages to set up work, for pay, when i was in different areas. not more than ever, but a fair amount. this is clearly what happens when no one reads profiles, i thought. but most of the messages mentioned things like "i like your attitude," and words which connected to the things i'd written or sympathized with them.
my first shoot this trip was just outside of atlanta with vic. we talked about zines, hometowns, punk scenes, body image issues, and how he has two young daughters and hopes things change soon. he used several cameras, including a panoramic pinhole one! i'm worried that i got my hopes up about the kind of people i'm going to be working with from now on.