In 2010, I shot a lot of models.
It started with my obsession of SuicideGirls.com. I loved the site, I loved the message (in 2007, it was aiming to redefine the beauty standard, not just show you hot chicks with tattoos), I loved the girls and their posts – their writings, their poetry, their snarkiness, their maudlin moments.
So why not shoot models? I had a lot of time on my hands – I was working in a kids portrait studio with slow summer hours, I was building my wedding business but didn’t have a lot of clients. And I loved meeting new people. I liked interesting faces.
The first one was a girl from Cape Cod. She was friendly, she knew what she was doing, she took me to a sketchy development with dilapidated houses full of broken chicken wire and a beat up baby grand piano. She was completely unabashed to tell me what she wanted me to do, what she wanted to look like, to get completely naked in front of me and let me shoot her. She would climb onto roofs and over split 2x4s as if it was nothing.
Another girl was a phone sex worker. She didn’t tell me that before we met, but she told me right away when I showed up at her door. She was young, pretty (which I wouldn’t expect is necessary in her line of work), showed me the gifts her clients would send her off her Amazon wish list. She kept in touch with me for years, through a backpacking trip across the US, a dreadlock phase, and her new son.
There was a stripper. A bank teller. A burlesque dancer. I met them in coffee shops and train yards and places that may or may not have qualified as “trespassing territory”. I loved these people. I loved their tenacity. They made me braver. I shot them when I didn’t know anything about composition or lighting, and was just flying by the seat of my pants. They loved the photos and that made me more confident.