Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fallen and kicked out. On finding quiet to write, routine and a new home for my words.

Photographed by Aureole

I fell out of routine, and that was the end of my writing. Since the New Year, I had a daily date with my computer and myself, shutting the door on the worker bees buzzing commands to me. The lists of obligations and emails rattled at the door, but I would turn my head away and tunnel into another place, they were not allowed in. Working is important, exceedingly so, and has been a priority; writing is an art I do independent of any necessity.  But one day as an exhaustive artist, I hope to not only use my body and mind to be the voice of other artists, but incorporate my words and movements to express thoughts and feelings of my own.  This I do to some extent, but not without fighting the overpowering cries of my immediate affairs. Even as I write this, I feel the pull to open my web browser and return an email, or many.

For weeks, I wrote most days. The door I created to switch from my work obligations, to a place where time was my own, was a small timer on my phone. I placed myself in a setting where I could be without distraction, and determined how much time I would spend before returning to work. Once set, my timer signaled I would not be answering emails or responding to texts. I was not permitted to concern myself with my practically debilitating worry of arriving at a shoot on time. My timer was always set to allow for the appropriate period of time to put away my computer and be on my way with no possibility of tardiness at my next destination. By removing this barrier, I created the space within which I could work.

Considering my fear of being late and the small periods of time with genuine stillness around me, my sessions were frequently short. Occasionally finding enough quiet within myself took the entirety of my allotted writing time, and words would only just begin to flow as my alarm would ring - writing time was over. Sometimes I had time without end, and would stare at a white page. Nothing seemed interesting; thoughts ran in loops saying something and nothing simultaneously. I banged out words, or didn’t. Customarily, I wrote in my private journal. A blog entry was the result of my decision to share my thoughts.


Photographed by Staunton

As I wrote the first line, the irony was not unnoticed. I spoke of a routine, and losing mine, yet my life to an outsider appears completely void of routine. I wander around the United States, zipping from shoot to shoot and sit down in coffee shops sending emails, or huddle in peoples’ homes staring at my computer. The time and place seems without pattern. But within this, I have my reoccurring habits, small as they may be. I have to be flexible in the exact time, but with awareness, I can incorporate a sense of schedule in my daily or weekly existence. By recognizing this, I am able to cling to a sense of custom needed to keep me grounded.

These words I write in this moment, meaning my past tense blog is not fully true. My writing has not ended, but next time you read my words, they will likely not be on this blog. Google has banned “graphic nudity”from the blogs they host, and although I feel the work I use on this blog is different from porn, I will not bother to argue.


I hope I do not lose too many of my followers through the change and invite you to email me at keiragrant@gmail.com to follow me in my journey.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Stepping through doorways and returning with gusto


Photographed by RJWG Photography

Working is wonderful, but between preparation, travel to and from the location and the actual shoot time, sometimes stepping back a little and reminding ourselves not to book shoots is a necessity. Shooting and traveling tears up our bodies, but is a sacrifice we are willing to take on for the opportunity to be involved in art all over the continent and world. Also, to keep our schedules packed, constant momentum is needed, and this has us zipping through cities and destinations in a speed that either allows us to work, or to explore, seldom with enough time and energy to do both to the extend we fantasize about. We pour our souls into our shoots, and push our bodies to their limits, as the best artists and athletes would expect from themselves. But this requires time, and brings on exhaustion.  Visiting a place like a tourist, after such an exertion of creative energy may not feel so enticing, and in the hours before a shoot, time feels less free.

Photographed by RJWG Photography

We do not work 9 – 5 jobs, and appear to have ultimate freedom, but the truth is we can easily come to work 24-7 jobs with the noise of social media, changing plans to be attuned to, travel time, fighting to decompress in a place which is less than relaxing and of course, the artistic energetic time in front of a camera. Opening the door and walking away from all of this time to time is what allows us to step back through the door prepared for the next step, with enthusiasm, inspiration and a ready body. The time to shut the door behind us and see the rest of the world is best aligned with trips to foreign lands and warm invitations.


Photographed by M. Messina

I will be in Europe with my best friend and awesome model, writer, creative woman Katja Gee, and will be flipping around our priorities. We must shoot enough to sustain our trip, but granted about 10 days together in Paris, Belgium and Prague, there will be traipsing the city, nibbling on local food, shivering with cameras around beautiful statues and buildings, and warming ourselves in galleries and cafes. We love shooting together, and plan to shoot with a select number of photographers in Paris and Belgium, but know two-and-a-half days in an exciting city leaves little time for work and play.


Photographed by RJWG Photography

The KG Duo (Keira Grant and Katja Gee) still have time available in Paris March 7 – 8. Contact me at keiragrant@gmail.com to set up a shoot, and be our warm artistic experience before or after our hours of tourism. Paris, with his beautiful buildings, delectable food and wine, and famous art museums (Louvre and D'Orsay), will be the ideal place to create our own rousing art.

Monday, February 9, 2015

If I had a boat



If I had a boat, I would sail away. But I would have to learn how to sail first. With practice and time, my rowing arms would strengthen and I could row great lengths. With a powerful motor I would travel far.  Yet, without a body of water in which to put my boat, we stand still. My arms push uselessly; my motor plods idly. Driven forward by intentions, we remain where we began.


Photos by Peter Janecke
http://galleryfineartfigurative.blogspot.com/



Thursday, February 5, 2015

You are wearing a winter jacket, so why should the skinny girl be naked?

Photographed by Jester's Magic
Stamford, CT
Boots put on to protect me from the cold
Photo done because I, the model, wanted to take a couple of outdoors snow photos


I cannot understand why so many photographers think proposing an outdoors nude shoot in a cold climate during one of the coldest, winter months is even acceptable. There are a select few models who pride themselves in their ability to model in the tundra, wearing nothing but their goosebump ridden skin, but these models are the exception. Most models are slim woman who likely have less body fat than the average photographer and absolutely wear less clothing than all of their photographers on a cold, outdoors shoot. While I can respect that the weather is not entirely predictable, assuming a model can work nude in the winter, outdoors, in Virginia, Washington DC, NYC or any other place with temperatures hovering around freezing, is a lack of respect. Models may like your work and want to work with you, but when our bodies have to fight just to stay moderately warm, our capability to do our job (evoke and pose well) is completely hindered.  Yet, this year I have had almost half a dozen photographers with shoot offers that have required cold, outdoors locations.

Some models project an image of a person who can do anything for their art, but all humans have limitations, and models are people, too. I am continually disappointed when I hear fellow colleagues discuss shoot offers which take them outside of their physical comfort zone, as even the strongest, most willing to work, must decline putting their bodies in danger. As models, our bodies are our work. There are no paid sick days to count on in the event we push ourselves too hard and find ourselves unable to work for any period of time.

Every photographer who hires me deserves to have me at my best, and a shivering, miserable version of me will not be good enough.  I am a badass woman, and there is little which scares me, but the cold is not something my tiny frame can tolerate.  I have no problem admitting when the temperature drops below freezing, I am not interested in modeling. At this point, my body, like the bodies of most humans, goes into survival mode. I am experienced enough as a model that I may be able to do a few quick frames in chilly weather, but if I was wearing a down jacket before a shoot, there is absolutely no reason to be nude in the same climate.


I cannot predict the weather for this next month, but I do challenge all you photographers reading this to reconsider your location suggestions for these next cold months. If a model specifically requests to shoot outdoors, that is one thing, but approaching a model about a very likely freezing shoot is in poor taste. The winter will come and go, and the warmth will return, and likely your favorite models will fly, bus or drive back into town. If you want to shoot outdoors, just wait a few months, and if shooting indoors is a bit trickier, use this season as an opportunity to practice new photography skills or edit your backlog of photos. Please do not dangle the work in front of a model, and tell them they must subject themselves to dangerous cold if they want to work with you and earn their day’s paycheck. The experienced models will have the confidence to decline, but newer models will not have learned how to stand up to their personal limitations.  Respect the models you wish to work with, and do not encourage someone to shoot in a temperature you would not want your loved ones to be walking around nude in.



Photographed by Robert Weissner
Phoenix, AZ

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Focus: How much do we need?


I cannot find focus. I know I am tired, yet refuse to take a nap as I did not do enough today to warrant a rest. So I flutter around, doing some of the never-ending chores on my to-do list, the chores which are softly drawn out after completion, still staring back at at me from behind the pencil line.  There are tasks that do not have clear ends, and often I feel my life overflows with these activities. One addictive component of modeling is there is a product to be shown for my time.  Once a shoot has ended, model releases are signed, payment exchanged, and we are finished for the time being. Something has been achieved; be it exploratory art, a great new photo or an artistic escape from our typical routine. But most activities are not so clear. 

Photographed by Doug Earle
San Antonio, TX

These photos are from a shoot with Doug Earle in San Antonio. The huge windows provided a beautiful play-space for our shoot. He experimented with a LensBaby, which created the wonderfully blurred effect featured in these photos, but his complaint was the lack of focus. I feel the composition, my gestural emotion, the streaming light, and the soft blur of the edges are strong enough to overpower the need for clear focus, but without observing a printed version of these photos, I cannot adequately argue my point. Usually a point of focus in a photo is necessary, but I have been drawn to some art which is completely soft focus or out of focus. In life, there is a level of focus which is needed to be successful, but does this focus need to be exact, or can focus flirt with several fields?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

When sick, your body needs ice cream and soup

I’m sick, so I’m eating ice cream for breakfast in bed.  With cereal sprinkled on a small teacup of sugary vanilla-cool goodness, I know my breakfast is not one of champions. My superhero self has been knocked on her butt, and while NYC braced itself for a huge storm, I laid around indifferently, hoping the snow would bury us in, and I could heal myself and crawl out intact after the thaw. The snow did not plummet down on the city, but some bug came and attacked me. Less than a week ago I sat on a plane full of excitement, headed to the east coast for a blaze of shoots and some time to hang out with my favorite people in the city.  Now I feel most of my time has washed away, with only 4 workdays remaining after my last 3 days have passed in a daze.


Before laid up in bed with a backache, headache, pathetic cough, zero energy, and dizziness, I had been on a gradual ride. My first few days included reciting haikus, figure nudes with dramatic light and a smoke machine, a “romantic” duo shoot with my pal Inna B_G, and a shoot where I got to remind one of my perviest photographer friends that there is some merit in art nudes. I also played MUA and stylist for an editorial shoot – something I do not get to do enough of.  And another great session of bodyscapes with an art photographer who understands that strange angles and anonymous images can make for awesome art. The final shoot before I went out of commission was my customary caffeine-fueled collaboration with a photographer who encourages my flair of weird art , with a bit of classically beautiful work thrown in the mix , and the same photographer friend who ended up caring for my pitiful ass last night as I deemed a shared bed or a cramped love-seat unsuitable for my sickly self, and sought out other shelter.

I have survived on ice cream and soup the past three days. I gravitate towards these things whenever sick – figuring my body needs the calories, and we all know the purported magical healing properties of soup. My father's side of the family would agree with the ice cream, and my mother with the soup (but she would advise matzoh ball soup above all), so a combination of both and one can't go wrong. 


Photographed by TLGee
Brooklyn, NYC
Hair and MUA by model
Styling by photographer