I think most people underestimate the true value of the photographer/model relationship. I think it’s fair to say that the general assumption most make about modelling, is that it is entirely based on looks.
Whilst i’m not going to deny that appearance plays a significant factor in being a model, as a photographer i feel the need to express that the job requires so much more than simply being a human clothes hanger.
I have photographed my fair share of pretty girls, but if a girl can’t move, isn’t comfortable in her own skin, isn’t willing to be themselves or open up and share a little bit about themselves then the images will reflect that. For me, It’s the joy of being able to capture a girl’s individuality, her true self that makes the job so worthwhile. I tend to gravitate towards really raw, minimal images so it’s really important for me to establish a strong connection with the model when we shoot. Most of the models I’ve actually worked with are amongst the strongest women I’ve ever met. Working in this industry means dealing with rejection and a high level of scrutiny. To be successful, you require an extremely strong sense of self and extremely thick skin.
Eloise is one of those girls. We shot this series at a beautiful waterfall in the Royal National Park. We both feel most inspired by nature so being able to hang out in a beautiful location and create magic is our idea of a perfect shoot!
It is important to develop a sense of self that is autonomous to the modeling industry. A lot of girls start really young. I was just 14 when scouted, and at such an impressionable age thought modeling was just about looking good, and started to shape an identity accordingly. However, pretty soon you realize that it’s actually your life experiences and factors external to your looks (what sports you play, books you’ve read, how you treat your friends/ family, the way in which you reach out to others)…. that will enable you to properly connect with people- whether it be photographers, stylists, designers, or the hair and makeup team. It’s super beautiful when you have an awesome connection with a photographer, because it really shows in the quality of the shots. For instance, when Claire and I create cool images, we squeal and stuff. I like it. Now… there are a few final words of my attempted wisdom I wish to impart. A lot of people stereotype all models as silly and vapid. Whilst certain girls get ‘caught up,’ some of my best friends are models and extraordinarily eccentric, fun, kind and smart people. Our activities have ranged from rollerblading the Williamsburg Bridge at 1am in the morning (thank you insomnia), to discussing philosophy and politics. There is a myriad of colors that you cannot always see on us blank canvasses- so you have to go beyond just looking.
See the Editorial – Can’t Take Me Home