I wouldn't call myself "a model" but I did some modeling in my early 20s. I realized that you didn't need a perfect body and face or an agent to work as a model. You just needed a sense of adventure and fearlessness, Craigslist ads, and a free online portfolio. So for a year after college I lived out my life-long modeling fantasies while tapping into my inner stylist and art director.
I worked for free sometimes. I got paid sometimes. I was a muse. Seriously. I collaborated with photographers in NYC and DC and dabbled in some art direction. I styled most of my own shoots or I went with whatever (often) crazy ensembles the photographers picked out: I wore chain mail; I wore a curly, black wig (?!?!?!).
I posed in the ocean at Long Beach--and I never go in the ocean. I posed nude for an anti-chemicals series for a comedy writer turned activist photographer. I worked for a conceptual artist that took polaroid "reflections" of my image in a white wall, where I was literally paid to stand there and NOT BE IN THE PICTURES.
I did a shoot in an abandoned ballet studio filled with antique furniture. I was photographed sitting on a couch, watching a movie. Security guards once stopped us from shooting in the PS1 Contemporary Art Center. I was asked by a photographer if he could videotape our shoot to show his "Japanese benefactors" who might want to book me for video work --- UHHH NOOOoooo thanks. I did boring "just sit there" work for a photographer who wanted a test model for his studio set-up.
I loved connecting with the camera. I loved challenging my vulnerability -- either by showing an uncomfortable amount of skin, or conjuring up an emotion, or meeting a photographer for the first time and hoping all intentions were professional while planning an exit strategy. I loved feeling way prettier than I actually was. I loved the moment where I got to see all the photos for the first time.
At the time, I thought I was doing it for the pictures. To capture my last moments of youth and preserve it somehow. But really, most of those pictures live on my old hard drive somewhere or tucked away in boxes in the back of my closet. I don't look at them, but I do think of the experiences often because they were all so bizarre.
Last year, I stumbled across a LivingSocial deal for a boudoir photography photo shoot for a really good price. I impulse purchased it. I thought it would be fun to do a lingerie shoot for my husband. Well, let's be honest, I thought it would be fun to do for me -- to mark turning 30, to have sexy photos of myself after having a baby.
It was fun. And it was nice to hear the photographer ask, "Wow, have you done this before?" "Well, actually, yeah. A million years ago." I kinda have the bug again - the desire to be creative, to collaborate with artists, to have that "putting on a show" feeling, to strut in a way I do not do in my everyday life. [Will pose for free :) Tell your photog friends.]
I figure I'll share a few of the photos. It was a pretty prudish shoot for a lingerie shoot - went classy instead of racy - but I'm feeling a smidge embarrassed so I'll just post a few of the portraits. These are unedited photos by Jerry Zalez:
A bit like an hour long vacation into my former life, eh?