Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Here's to candor

Photo and Styling: Erin Wilson. Also, she's an excellent cook and one of those generally lovely-dreamy people.
I realized some time ago that I was allowing modeling to turn me into a jaded, misanthropic, suspicious, even envious sort of person.

Gross, right?

So I stopped modeling, ran away to Lake Tahoe where I worked as a ski instructor [though I'd never skied before], and did some heavy mulling-over.

The problem for me is modeling full-time.


Because it means I have to be on the Internet all the time, at the expense of my personal relationships, and it means I don't get to settle in my roots anywhere--no anchors. It means I get a thousand acquaintances, a few thousand fans, and no close friends. It means putting off other dreams--my own artistic, intellectual, physical, or existential exploration--in the name of...making a name. And a buck.

It means, as one more experienced model once told me: three years later, you stop traveling and take stock and you've got no home, no real friends...and no upward mobility.

So I stopped modeling, and started looking at all the other things I love, and am good at. There are a lot of things. I am so much more than pretty photos that show my tits--as are so many of the incredible women I've met through doing this [I wouldn't have expected it from people who make a living getting their picture taken, but the models I've met have been some of the most strong, intelligent, resourceful, multi-faceted, adventurous, open-hearted people I've met...all this coming from a girl who grew up a bit schizophrenically-misogynistic because of the girls she'd grown up with being prissy and generally useless].

But that's only one side of the coin. On the other are the really rewarding experiences. The images I'm truly proud of, and the memories that go into them. The great people I probably never would have connected with otherwise...the things they introduce to me, the places they take me. The trips I might not have taken.

Those experiences make me feel so damn privileged. I meet great people from all walks of life, have a wonderful time with them--often doing something I've never done before--and create with them. I sometimes get to be a part of incredible projects from the minds of brilliant artists, and I sometimes get to be a source of inspiration and encouragement to those who are just starting, but are trying so hard to improve. Honestly, the best feeling in the world is when I work with someone very inexperienced, without having any particular expectations about the end results...and the resulting images wind up being better than anything I've done with big-name photographers. Those are the experiences that I have to remember after the bad days when I feel like being done with all of it.

[And as a bonus, I get paid. What's not to be thankful for?]

So...this blog isn't a marketing tool. Not exactly. It is and it isn't.

It is, in the sense that I'll be putting a lot of my work up on it--but work that I like [either for the final product, or because of the experience that went into creating it] more so than work that "markets" me well.

It isn't, in the sense that I'm not going to write trite little ditties about how generically lovely each shoot I've had is, tralala.

I'm going to say real things, or nothing at all. That is my new rule.

Modeling has been at times one of the greatest experiences of my life, and has been at times one of the worst. In any case, I've learned a fuckton.

So if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it right--every time. And if no one in the modeling community likes me raw [though I'm already lucky enough to know some people who do, so that's kind of a silly thing to say], then there are other venues in life in which I can readily fiddle instead.

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