Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Anyone can be photographed. To be a good model, more is needed.

Anyone can model. If you are willing to reveal yourself in front of a camera, be watched, documented visually, then you are modeling. To be a good model, you need to have a presence.

There is beauty in the honest unpolished vision of someone who first embarks in the journey as model.  For creating art, the authenticity of a model who is willing to be present and genuine will shine through. Not every style of photography will do justice to the person who is new and uncertain.  Artists have the most success with revealing the true beauty of a woman; they most often can see a person for who they are. Photographers who create a comfortable environment and are able to embolden their subject will bring out the best for their photographs. Photographers who look at a woman and want to see them as an idealized version of a woman will be less likely to create good images with a new model.

The artist's model
Photographed by Charlie Freeman
Summer 2008
One of my first nude shoots with the wonderfully kind man Charlie Freeman who told stories with his art and saw my potential. Regrettably, he has since passed.

The emotion and mental state of an unguarded model will always be revealed in a photo.  Looking through my earlier photos, my body looks good but my face looks uncertain. I had not yet learned I was beautiful and my questioning look became part of portraits. Or I was unsure what to do, and my lack of confidence showed. Occasionally, this flaw is the feature that makes a photo interesting and good.

The glamour images I was pushed into during my exploratory months as a model are farcical.  The photos reveal a girl without any confidence, attempting to look sexy with fear in her face. Glamour photography requires a model have a semblance of understanding of their beauty, even if only for the time during which they shoot. Fortunately, to be an artist and a model, one does not need to be traditionally beautiful to create wonderful photos, so those who wish to model but lack vanity can more easily enter the world of modeling through art.

Photographed by Marc H

As an artist, the pursuance of art is what led me down the path of modeling. I had confidence in my body, but did not understand I was at all beautiful. I did not know how to move in front of a camera and what was expected as a model.

With time, I learned what to do. I had confidence and put myself out there without a question mark. I practiced, received feedback, and became a good model. I was determined, relaxed and embracing what I did.

As models learn how to model, what they can bring to a shoot increases. They can project the persona needed for the kind of shoot they are doing.  As multifaceted individuals, models embrace certain sides of themselves, be it elegance, sex appeal/sex-kitten, experimentalist, fetishist, warrior, or really, anything when need be.

Anyone can be photographed. Anyone can learn how to model. Like all activities worth pursuing, you have to learn how to be a consistently good model.

Photographed by TLGEE

Photographed by Daniel Burnstein

Photographed by Robert Weissner

Photographed by Steve Lease

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Perfect outdoors shooting weather

Photographed by Linda Hollinger
Photographed at the Ivy Lee Philadelphia Workshop

The weather is perfect for outdoors shoots right now. Most traveling models time their road trips through certain areas to have ideal weather when in town, but this causes an unintentional caravan of sorts. One after another, parading through a region. When in population dense areas, that works out well, but some areas cannot support an influx of too many models. We understand photographers have a limited amount of budget and time for photography, so we relish in the shoots we get to do and often move fast through a region. Working with those who most want to work with us, and knowing our probability of returning is tied to how our trip goes. What makes a trip successful is not always counted in number of shoots, but experiences, but a balance of income and expenses is always necessary. Most experienced models will find work, but may have to drive farther and spend more hours networking to make their trip happen.

Five years ago I drove west from the east coast, and traveled through Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana, before heading south back to Texas. The drive was long, but I was seeing parts of the country I had never seen before. This year I am taking a weeklong break in Texas to fully rest and reinvigorate my zest for travel. I’ve timed this break perfectly to lay around in sweltering heat, but I departed Texas in May and have been on the road since then and needed to see a week without travel in my schedule to continue.

I decided I wanted to see the Midwest again. This trip will take me to places I had not traveled to before. The time of year is perfect for travel in the Midwest and I look forward to many outdoors shoots. The region will be crowded, but little by little my schedule is filling. Feel free to pop an email my way if you want me to detour to you while on this exploratory jaunt.


MIDWEST (dates and locations are somewhat flexible at this point) 
Cleveland, Oh: July 31 
Michigan: August 1 - 5 
Chicago/Peoria: Aug 5 - 9
Indianapolis/Bloomington, IN: Aug 10
Cincinnati/Columbus: Aug 11 - 12 
Kentucky: Aug 13
St. Louis, Mo: Aug 14 - 16
Memphis, TN: Aug 17
Little Rock, AR: Aug 18

Photographed by Linda Hollinger

Insects: Ticks in the grass and Ladybugs.....oh my

Ticks. They live in the grass. And can bite my ass.

The evil tick from today

But they prefer to attach themselves to the warmer, hidden bits of the body, where they feed on our blood.  Earlier this year, I found a tiny one at the edge of my pubic hair after a photoshoot in a natural location full of plants.  One year I had one in my knee pit. A couple of weeks ago, after a shoot in Maine, I watched another nearby hiker flap around, stripping off clothing and yelling about the numerous ticks all over his body. My own search yielded none, but I had primarily been on mossy rocks near the stream, and he had traversed through tall grasses.

Today I finished lounging at the backyard of a friend’s home, and when I pulled my hair into a bun I found a hideous lump on my scalp. Further investigation led to me pulling out a puffy tick. This sucker had been feasting on my blood. I should have squashed him, or bagged him, but I took a photo and found myself a health clinic. Pennsylvania is going through a tick season with a high rate of Lyme disease and that is not something to be messed around with. My dose of antibiotics should do the trick, assuming this guy had not been on me too long. I'll remain confident in this until shown a reason to feel otherwise.


Photographed by Anthony Alberts

While on the topic of insects, here are some zany photos of me with ladybugs. Creativity and art manifests itself in so many ways. 

When I was little, I was on a family vacation, hiking with my family in the woods of Northern California, when we found a nest of a zillion ladybugs. Being a young, animal obsessed child, I picked up these adorable insects by the handful. I laden my body with them. Ladybugs crawled everywhere. 

A little while later I was screaming. One was in my ear and he was taking a tour of his surroundings. This was not comfortable.

My dad humored me by sticking a straw in my ear and sucking really hard. Nothing came out, therefore, there was no insect in there. My nurse mother, assumed I had an ear infection, and pulled out a medicated ear dropper recently used by my brother. A little medicine would calm the pain.

The drops did help, but I still hurt. There was something inhabiting my ear canal. I was invaded. 

We found a medical clinic after returning to our cabin, left my brothers in care of my sister and went there that night. A man came tearing in with a plastic bag with a couple of fingers wrapped inside. He had worked at a Chinese restaurant and been overzealous with his knife. He was seen immediately as we would all hope. While waiting, my mother was offered a microscope and lo and behold, a little ladybug lay collapsed in my ear.

Hours later, the staff flushed out the ladybug with a syringe of water. We were informed that all that was needed was a little flashlight, and we could have guided the lost ladybug back into the world, with a little more faith in a child's proclamations.