Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Revolving Door of Models

Around and around we go. Saint Tropez. September 4, 2011.

I subscribe to the revolving door philosophy for models. Specifically that models come and models go. As a photographer you should never get hung up about a model because there will always be others that can replace her (or him).

This of course doesn't apply to your muse(s).

I'm talking about seeing a model's profile and going gaga over her beauty and then jumping through hoops to shoot her. Tell me, when in the history of mankind has that technique ever worked out well for the one jumping through the hoops? Odds are it (she) isn't worth it. Beyond that, you're selling yourself short and if the model finds out how desperate you are to shoot her she'll lose all respect for you anyway.

Maybe I'm jaded? Because when I first started out as a photographer, I couldn't get a good model to save my life. As I slowly built my budding portfolio, I came across several models that I thought were "goddesses" for whom I would have done anything to shoot. I'd solicit them to shoot and inevitably get shot down or ignored. I even remember a conversation with one "professional" photographer that mentioned a model that he (and I) had always wanted to shoot, and we both concurred that she was "one of a kind".

Oh how wrong I was.

Sorry to say this but models are a dime a dozen.

Perhaps I've been lucky in that I have the opportunity to work with many girls from various backgrounds, experience levels, agencies, etc. From that experience I can honestly say that there isn't a model out there that's worth going through all that trouble for... I suppose I'm so used to being solicited that I can't imagine going back to asking models to shoot... much less travel long distances, getting a hotel room, just for the opportunity to shoot any one model.

It begs the question, "Are you trying to work with her or have sex with her?" If you've fallen head over heels in love with her at first sight then all bets are off. You, my friend, can do whatever you want because the rules of engagement no longer apply to you :)

But if this is your profession, then it makes no sense. It's a bad business decision from all respects to go to unusual lengths to shoot with any one model. Your resources are better used elsewhere and certainly no one model is irreplaceable. Unless they have the capacity to launch your career or something unusual of that nature like a Giselle or Adriana.

There are lots of caveats to this argument. I live in a big market for models. I work with the major agencies in this market. I do this professionally and not as a weekend warrior. So I have better access and opportunities to work with good models. Yes, I understand this doesn't apply to muses. Yes, I understand sometimes that "love at first sight" reaction propels art and creativity. Yes, I get all of that.

But given those "caveats" you have to concede that it's absolutely silly to jump through hoops to shoot any one model. Models come and models go. Wait a little while and another a fresh batch eagerly awaits. Thus it makes absolutely no logical sense to go gaga over a model. Of course historically speaking, humans have been known to behave rather illogically. And historically it has never made logical sense to attempt to rationalize human behavior especially as it pertains to the emotions and the arts. Fine, if that's the case then do whatever you want... I'm just saying that you don't have to. Did I just lose an argument to myself? WTF.


  1. Damn! You're right again:)

    If you ever come to London I have to thank you somehow for your articles what you wrote about this business: my eyes were closed or I lived in a dreamworld but this post and the 'Looking for Reasons to Say No' helped a lot.

    Thank you.

  2. I would never travel just to work with a particular model. Having said that, there comes from time to time a concept that I want to try... and usually it hinges in the look of a particular model. I have tried to use a substitute model for these ideas and they never work out to satisfy my original vision.

  3. Interesting !!
    kind regards from Jan Somers, Belgium