A Romp on the Roof

I haven't had much work modeling lately, and a week or so ago I decided that that, with multiple photographers in the building, I didn't have to get jobs or get paid to continue to model. I could join the collaboration of talent and creativity of my community in my own way. My friend Sam Miller, who is a wonderful photographer and enjoys taking photos of everyone in the building, agreed to find a cool place for us to take some pictures. That was the extent of our communication of each other's expectations. This is how I learned that you should define the point of the shoot before it happens. It quickly became clear that each of us expected the other to have had a plan for what we were doing. I had a wonderful time and the results were beautiful, but the situation was more of me being awkward and messing around rather than modeling.

I kept climbing on things,
Sam kept worrying I was going to die,
It was a pretty standard afternoon.

However, the results of shoot raised the question of the difference between messing around in front of a camera and modeling. There was less pressure, but I still had to get into the flow of the shoot to begin to feel comfortable. In art modeling there's a set amount of time to each pose. With the camera I can change positions any time, but it's a matter of recognizing how much time is appropriate for a photographer to choose an angle, take a light reading, focus etc. When a pose was especially interesting Sam was vocal about telling me to hold it, but he had better things to do than talk me through each movement.

I just really wanted this man there
the whole time.

After the shoot Sam uploaded the pictures and went through them with my roommate, who is a multitalented photo retoucher/actor/philosopher with experience retouching for companies like Victoria's Secret and American Apparel (not without some moral qualms). They went through the pictures and fooled around with the color and filters of some of them. I loved seeing what happened before and after a picture was taken to create the desired image. In a real shoot I would have had someone capable do my makeup, someone dressing me even, which all would have lessened the work that Johnny ended up doing, but he was still able to create something beautiful with very little preparation on my side of the camera or computer.

A retouched version of a photo - one of my favorites

Sam and I agreed to go out again, hopefully to some really beautiful stairs in Hollywood. Now that we know what each other are expecting it's a less awkward experience, though the self-consciousness of being in front of a camera is still shocking to me. Art modeling has time limits and breaks and structure, whereas this way of take photos is fluid and uncertain. I am always being observed when there is a camera around, constantly evaluating my movements, my poses, my facial expressions. It's thrilling in some ways, and very stressful in others.