Saturday, March 21, 2015

Turning heads. Or not.

My body had fallen apart. My limbs were not flying around the room, disconnected and free like a dissected Barbie, Power Ranger or erector set.  I did not need to pick up small pieces of myself from the floor. Instead, my parts had been glued together with extra strength glue, screwed together tight; too tight to move. 

Photographed by Michael Martin

We often take for granted our health and mobility until we experience a spell where we can no longer do the simple motions we have grown accustomed to doing. I have struggled with body pain for years now, and occasionally push through my schedule by medicating with Ibuprofen and stubbornness. When in peak form, I revel in my ability to climb, bend, hold strong poses and present myself as not only a model but as an athlete. I am nimble, daring and going to create the best art I can. Some days an extra dose of caffeine and willpower is what helps me through difficulties.

I stretch regularly to stay healthy and flexible. Hot showers are one of my favorite things and conveniently serve as a way to relax stressed muscles, meaning a long shower is not just being luxuriant but a necessary treatment. Last summer my body was in fits after a couple of busy months - I was all knotted up and almost in tears when not actively modeling.  Sometimes the stillness of standing or sitting hurts far more than when focused on physical movements, so I never stop.  One intensely hot day, I went on a walk and stumbled upon We Heart Massage Co-op  and scheduled a much needed massage. Now I swear by Massage by Gregory, who is magical and “fixing me,” and is part of my body maintenance program when back in Houston.


I was unable to turn my head much and dreaded the prospect of putting my travels on hold for a month of chiropractor appointments, as I was advised. Fortunately, my second opinion was someone referred to me by Gregory the masseuse, and after a visit with Dr. Greg Green of Green Chiropractic, I had regained much of my former self. Right now, I can look to my left and see a guy working on his computer with a cup of coffee, and turn right to see a cute girl in an overly see-through blouse sipping on juice and studying, all without moving my body. This may not seem like much, but just last week, I would have needed to twist my entire torso.


I do not know if my recent issues are because growing older truly means our bodies become more difficult, or if I am putting extra stress on my body with my modeling.  I believe my neck problems were due to a combination of emotional and physical stress from the environment I was in, driving in the snow, and a few unlucky torques to my body. Bending over and putting extra weight on my head as I pose is not exactly a natural position for our spines. Either way, I am glad to know I have a few resources available to help keep me in alignment as I continue to push myself to create the best art I can do, always.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Choose Your Life

While I am an art model who writes, my friend Katja Gee is a writer who models. Or, we are both people who art model and write, and do a myriad of other things.

Katja has a blog which discusses specific concepts, ties them to her life experiences and offers perspective, encouragement and insight.  Her invitation to be a guest blogger forced me outside of my usual whimsical and disorganized stye of writing, and reminded me about deadlines, the editing process and fitting within the format of others' expectations.

After much agony and inspired by a few recent conversations, I wrote about my choice to be a model, and peoples' power to add the life experiences that they desire.

Hop over to Katja Gee's blog to read this week's blog written by none other than me: Click here to read this entry "Choose Your Life," and her other writing.


Photographed by TLGEE
NYC, NY

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Me, intimidating?


These two girls are the same girls as in the photos below.

On a few occasions, photographers have told me they are intimidated by me.

Since I began modeling six years ago, I have learned a few things about creating strong images. My personality is not one that allows me to slop through life; in anything worth doing, striving towards skill and success is necessary. Usually enough hours of properly directed work will result in improvement, and I now feel fairly confident as a model as one should after dedicating five full years towards learning this art. I like to believe my portfolio reflects this, and perhaps some people see this. Yet, as an artist who strives towards continual growth, I will always expect myself to be better.

When working with experienced photographers, I aim to rise to their expectations and create amazing art. With newer photographers, my experience and knowledge combined with their passion should still make good images, or at the least, be a way to step forward in the path of learning and improving.

When I look at these snapshots of myself, I quietly smile. Me, intimidating?  I may be an experienced and dedicated artist, but I am still just me.  These photos are of me lodged between two beds in a hotel, before and after pushing my friend in, too. I mean, who does this and would you really have any reason to be intimidated by her?





The KG Duo
Models Keira Grant and Katja Gee




(And you may note, I am still here with Blogger. Google relented on their policy about nudity after outraging many people.)

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