Monday, November 30, 2009

One model's experience

One of my recent models wrote me an email about what it was like to model for me.  She kindly gave me permission to share it on my blog.  I think it will lend even more insight into the process of modeling and how it can be - or at least was for one person!

The picture is a rather prosaic one of the wall in my studio where I do the photography.  On the left is the bathroom.  On the right is my office/storage space with m ladder and red chair in front of it.  (I use the ladder to reach the loft where I store my paintings and blank canvases until I need them.)  The tables are for my students when I hold classes in here.


On my way to model for you, I put on one of my favorite CDs by a friend of mine. I listened to his songs, and let the peace of his voice and words and the friendship and love we share, fill me. I’d also called one of my dearest friends before getting into my car. With the two of them 'beside' me, I felt courageous and calm.

Your studio felt peaceful to me. I love the way it's tucked into the forest like that, and how you initially left the blinds open for me to 'feel' the trees around us before we started. We were in our own little island there together. I curled up in your red chair, and you let me talk. I blathered at first, letting words spill out. Those of course were my nerves, but also I tend to use words to share about myself and feel closer to people that way. Thank you for allowing me that time to get a bit more comfortable.

When it was time to start, I very much noticed the lack of a mirror in your studio. You said that this was on purpose, but it seemed almost incomprehensible to me. Hmm, that could indicate all kinds of things about me.. and about you. How could I model for you without knowing whether my hair was messed up, or my face was too shiny? Am I that vain (or self-conscious)? The good news was that I easily ditched those feelings and moved on.

I had no idea what to do once I stood in front of the lights. I didn't feel horrifically embarrassed, as I'd anticipated I might; I felt more hesitant. Thank goodness for the perfect suggestion of having music! My body flows, moves, dances to music - almost without conscious thought. The selection you made was exquisite... a flowing melodic piece with a good beat. I have no memory of what the music was, exactly; it simply was 'me' for awhile. And I began to melt into it, as all other thoughts disappeared.

I felt so free as I moved to the music. I let go of any remaining shyness, and I danced. I swayed, I moved, I arched. I let the music take me someplace lovely and peaceful. I felt beautiful and loved and loving. Soft, graceful, energized and lithe. You photographed the essence of me, not just my skin and hair. I moved and swirled and was totally myself. I remember at one point you said something like "I should be telling you how beautiful you look, but I'm having too much fun photographing you." I loved that comment, thank you.

I have no idea how long we played like that. At one point I felt like a nymph, a goddess, something wispy and light. I played with the tulle fabric for awhile, but realized that I didn't need it (I'd originally imagined that I would feel more comfortable with it covering me some). It simply became my dance partner for a bit, left to gently pool at my feet when I swirled some more. I finally stopped when I actually started to feel tired!

When we sat down, I was amazed that you had so many photos. I wasn't sure what my reaction would be to seeing photos of myself in the nude, and I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself looking at the photos as 'art', and was thrilled to see the way the light and shadows played on my skin. Some looked like classic paintings to me already! Of course there were plenty of less flattering shots too, but I was delighted to see that some of them were stunning. I had no idea that my less-than-perfect body could look so good.

I felt happy and pleased, and pretty darn proud of myself when I left your studio. I had been so intrigued with the idea of modeling for you, and now I'd finally done it. No need to wonder about it anymore! I am quietly thrilled at the idea of seeing myself become art with the exquisite skill of your hands & eyes. And your heart. Thank you so much!

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