Yesterday I was shooting new looks for my press kit with my good friend and photographer Chris Rank. The whole idea behind the shoot was to basically show me for who I really am in my own environment, an environment of Motorcycles, skateboards and silliness. It was suppose to be nothing to formal, just me, my bike, long board and a camera to catch whatever magic happens.
I’ve known Chris for a couple of years now and over that time I’ve developed a close enough relationship that he and I can be honest with each other. While we were shooting Chris stopped to tell me that I was being too model-like and not natural enough. This kind of took me by surprise, not in offensive kind of way but it got me to thinking about something that I had never thought of before. I had been modeling for so long that I don’t know how to NOT pose. 23 years and hundreds of thousands of photos later, have I forgot how to relax? Or is my relaxed state one of me posing?
Throughout the years I have always had to be camera ready. I use to study images of models in magazines and then practice those very same poses in front of the mirror for hours until it became second nature. I never wanted to be on set and not be able to pose or worse, move but you can see in my face that I’m thinking about what my next movement would be. I wanted modeling to appear second nature. Now, I fear I’ve focused so much on making modeling instinctive that my real life comes across as unnatural.
In thinking about this further I wondered if I treat everyday life as if it’s the set of a movie? I picture myself perusing down grocery store isles, opening the icebox as a gust of cool wind blows my perfectly brushed hair (snap-commercial shot). Or walking my dog down the street smiling and laughing casually as the sun backlights my golden strands (snap-stock photo). Or when I take a sip of a coffee at some off the beaten path café, staring into the distance out the window (snap-advertisement).
What’s even more surprising is that I don’t even think about posing at the time, instead I only wish that those moment would be shot because they would either be a good ad or great for my book.
You see, as models we are always thinking of work, when we travel we’re location scouts, stylist when we shop, makeup artist when we get ready, Creative directors when we look in magazines, basically if your good at what you do then you are always thinking of your next photo shoot. If your busy at what you do then this life consumes you and it’s hard not to get lost in a world of allure.
It’s not like I walk around all day with a model pout or commercial smiling face, I can be ridiculous, make silly faces, not wear makeup or dress like I just got of the bed (probably because I just did). But what I recognize is that I have taken those real moments and made them into shoots. I think if I had not done anything in my life other then modeling I would have been upset at this recent self-realization but I’m fine with it. Why do we have to chose only one thing to be? I don’t and never have let modeling stop me from living and doing the things I love; I guess I’ve just melted the two sides of me together. Like crayons left out on a hot summers day, I am a vibrant blend of many colorful layers that could be considered art to some and madness to others but to me it’s just plan childlike fun and I enjoy every animated minute of it. And isn’t that what we’re suppose to do with our lives anyway?