Thursday, June 25, 2015

The comforts. On sleeping.


Lush morning comfort

Perched, cross-legged on a chair in Starbucks, finishing my coffee, I watch the line of people enter. People dressed in suits, slacks, formal dresses and heels, and those in hiking boots, shorts and t-shirts. My sweats and comfy sweater seem out of place. I have been awake since 5:26 in the morning, when the shining sun filled my car, parked tucked into a corner besides a drive-through only Duncan donuts and some nondescript businesses which were closed for the day. I had sleeping options, but a long morning commute with traffic, or shooting in a grungy Motel 6 in exchange for lodging, or adding an extra hour detour to my morning did not seem worth the time when I could drive to my general shooting area, sleep in my car and have the morning to myself. I do not do this often, but occasionally it is my preference. I had a comfortable bed the other night, and will have a couch tonight and accommodations for the foreseeable future, so a night crumpled in my car is a reminder about my youth, vitality and how fortunate I am to be living with a bit more freedom than some people, even if it means cramped quarters. I can still afford my Starbucks coffee (the $2.25 drip, not the fancy coffee, mind you) and breakfast sandwich, but the overpriced Boston-area hotels hardly seem worthwhile when I will be climbing around rocks and trees soon after waking.

My timer is ringing. I must now dunk my head in the bathroom sink, run my fingers through my hair and drive to the park where I will spend the morning creating art with my form entangled in nature.


 These are a few self-portraits taken on my final morning in Houston, moments before hopping in my car to begin this season’s road trip. I’m long overdue for another self-portrait session.




Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hello. Gulf Coast, Mississippi

The scene before I took off my clothes

Woah?!
Where did I go?
I didn't get covered in snow,
or plowed over by a hoe,
I'm just going with the flow,
Which means free time, no.

Hello.

And welcome back to the Keira Grant
one-woman show.


Photographed by Billy Dugger

Just messing around my my iphone timer while the photographer walked back to the car for more camera memory card


Lunch afterwards. Po-boys. Not the "model dinner for a model", but Billy's model's dinner.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Healthy Food Choices on the Road

A moment of Déjà vu passed over me. I had seen this view before while sitting in a parking lot one evening. Straight ahead, a gas station within the lot; to my left, a huge building stretching almost a block, a Walmart superstore; and to my right, the large, yellow, curved “M” on a post signaling a McDonalds.  Today, these appear be the cornerstones of small towns in middle America.



Driving through rural areas, the arrival to a town is often signaled by a food and gas sign at the side of the freeway. These signs encourage you to exit and fill your car with gas at Texaco or Valero or any of the largest gas station chains, and feed your hunger with McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, or Subway. The products remain remotely the same everywhere.  To an average driver, the accessibility of a gas station is likely the biggest factor in if they will stop or continue driving. Gas price, although varying only slightly within region, and familiarity with the coffee, or other convenience store goods may also influence if someone decides to wait until the next station. Fast food comes in different varieties, but fast food chains all fit in one terrible category – fast food. In more metropolitan regions there are healthy versions of fast food, but what is found in small towns, right off the freeway fits the core definition. This food is convenient, processed, packed with calories and formulated to be tasty. Even health food fans sometimes admit they enjoy an occasional indulgence, but those who are road tripping, plagued with hunger, and watching their route stretch on will read sign after sign offering the same solution to their appetite.

So how are we supposed to make healthy food decisions while on the road? Sometimes a place to pull over to for a short break from driving and a chance to replenish our bodies is absolutely necessary.

My solution involves a grocery store visit where healthier snacks are more available. The caveat is finding a place to sit with this food. My car is essentially my magical home on wheels and I can sit there in a pinch, but my bottom usually needs to feel a different chair and my eyes want a change of scenery. Sometimes I head to a fast food chain, buy myself a coffee, and eat my yogurt or other food while in the corner, watching. I used to drive around with protein shakes until I stopped consuming artificial sugars. I would bring a warm shake into a fast food chain, buy a cup of coffee to pay for my right to sit in their establishment, and ask for a cup of ice. The ice cooled my car-warmed shake and essentially improved the flavor. I have grown fond of buying yogurts, pre-cooked hardboiled eggs, boxes of lettuce, hummus, apples, bananas and avocados to supplement bags of nuts, protein/nut bars and the occasional bit of dried turkey. Lettuce is my substitute for crackers; essentially calorie free, important nutritionally, and naturally lightly flavored. I find I am able to eat lettuce throughout my day so when I do decide to buy a meal, I do not have to worry about still needing to get some vegetables that day. Your favorite, simple, healthy foods may be different from mine, but the idea is to buy whole foods with real nutrition, rather than processed food.


My resolve to eat healthy, to keep my body in the condition I prefer to see in my photos, sometimes fails. Even I cave on occasion and purchase fast food. But the way I feel afterwards reminds me why I stay away. My hunger is replaced by an unending thirst, and I am not even certain I am satisfied. I could teach my body to accept fast food, but the idea of forcing my body to adjust to unhealthy food would be crazy. Unhealthy food does not give me the energy I need to function at my best.

By being conscious about what I eat while literally on the road, I am able to be a little less selective when in a restaurant situation. Sometimes a pastry with a coffee is essential to my happiness, or having a real meal at a sit down restaurant when faced with the opportunity and time. Overall healthy eating allows us to make indulgences, and periodically we need this.

(One night out with a friend - ramen with a zillion calories of goodness, brussel sprouts and sake)

There are times when we feel completely helpless in the battle against our American food options, as we are bombarded with visions of temptation and occasionally they seem like the only option. I may not be able to avoid what our nation now offers readily, but I can push myself to making healthier decisions.  For me, a couple of days of practical eating are worthwhile for the energy, physical fitness and the reward of a great meal without any worry about the calories or fat later on.


Just a bit of food for thought.

Photographed by NRS Photo


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.