Can Scrunchies Make the World a Better Place?

7 09 2009
Viva Spandex!

Viva Spandex!

Some people complain about the fact that the 80s made a comeback and some are even outright livid that we are transitioning directly into the 90s.

But…fashion has ALWAYS done that.  And fashion’s not the only one…

I understand the idea that we all want to be surprised and why we love to see something original – but I don’t think that should preclude all of our desires – nay our rights! – to go back and play dress-up in our parent’s closets.  The very idea of playing in and experimenting with the different elements, i.e. the past, is what enables us to internalize ideas and feelings – to really “get it.”  And the more we “get it,” the better we incorporate it…Kind of a learn-the-rules-so-you-can-break-them approach.

Look at kids – they’ll go through a stage where all they want to do is put lids on pans, and that’s their sole life’s purpose for 3 weeks.  Then, on the 4th week, they move onto hoses…and so on.  They are studying and understanding the physical world around them by playing with all of the pieces and discovering all of the interconnections – the more obsessed they are with the inner workings of lids and hoses now, the better able they will be later to intuitively use them in some creative cure for cancer or perpetual motion machine that somehow enables world peace.

Fashion is one of the many parallel versions for adults – like a set of new toys that encourages us to keep experimenting and learning.  Fashion – well, most art, and even math and science, actually – is a combination of both the physical world and the cultures and histories that inhabit that world.  So, by going back in time and studying fashions and the environments that surrounded those fashions, we are, quite literally, trying to put ourselves in the shoes of others.  We are, whether we are exploring in movies, photos, costumes, or makeup, trying to get a better understanding of the past – or even a different culture from the present.  We are, essentially, trying to know what they knew.

So don’t get hung up on only doing something ground-breakingly original – stick your hands in all of the finger-paint jars and make something pretty.  Not everything has to be a masterpiece, and you have to have a little fun in order to make the world a better place…So get started!!

I’m sure there are people out there who have something worthwhile to contribute here – we’d love to hear your thoughts!  Talk amongst yah-selves dahlings….

In the meantime, be sure to hook it up so that you don’t miss out on any tantalizing tidbits… and you know they’re tantalizing…!


Incredible Photographers and Images

1 09 2009
Third Floor Photo Society

Third Floor Photo Society

Hey guys – came across some great recommendations from Third Floor Photo Society and just wanted to share some of my favorites.

Howard Schatz studies the human body in dance and movement – I know somma ya’ll fly girls from back in the day will be all up on this like white on rice.

Stockl and Martel create some of my favorite commercial images, check it.

And, FStop, one of the cool kids in terms of online photography resources.  Enjoy.

Project 365, Day 14: Green Cat

23 08 2009
50mm, natural lighting, no PS

50mm, natural lighting, no PS

We can smell the fear…

25 06 2009
Violater3's Photo "An Unpleasant Sense of Fear"

Violater3's Photo "An Unpleasant Sense of Fear"

What sets good eyes out from empty ones is fear.  If you are afraid, you hold back, put up that wall, and that comes across as weak confidence, empty eyes, and a boring photo.  People want to connect, they want to see soul and link up to it – and if there’s a brick wall of panic in front of the model’s eyes – ain’t nobody seein’ or connecting to anything. So that begs the question, “How to get past the fear?”

I’ll keep thinking on this, but in the meantime – any answers?  Go ahead.  Talk amongst yah’selves….

You, Light up my Face

18 06 2009
Models - Look into the Light!

Models - Look into the Light!

Models – look into the light!

One of the things that I love about makeup and photography is the opportunity they both provide to manipulate and experiment with light.  Highlighting and contouring are obvious basics, and then you add shimmers to the mix, and you’ve got a whole other field of fairy dust to play with.

BUT – As much as I love to bend the light to my will, I – a mere mortal – cannot overpower it.  It’s still up to you, the model, to find that light, feel it on your face, and make the photo shine.

Photographers – you’re not exempt from this lesson.  You shouldn’t be constantly reminding the model to “Find the light, Find the light,” but an occasional redirection when they lose track in their creative stories will help fulfill your quota for photographic direction and ensure that you – we all – get a good image.

There are other areas besides the face that can play with the light, but none with features as powerful as the eyes.  It is imperative that we all work together to let those eyes shine and show off your bone structure – otherwise, the picture is a waste, with no emotional connection or background story.  Those eyes are like your cell phone connection to humanity from the desert island in the picture – don’t lose them, or you lose all communication with your audience!

Added benefits?  If you work it, that squint can make your eyes fierce.  And we all know how the modeling and fashion industry feels about fierce.

The Key to Creativity is Continual Learning

11 06 2009

Okay boys and girls....

Be a lifelong learner.

Even if you do something that’s already been done, by studying something and finding connections, you can bring YOUR passion, a depth that others can connect and relate to – AND be inspired by.

Important clarification: studying does not mean memorizing dates and facts – Get LOST in it!

You’ll find yourself naturally drawn to certain topics and then you’ll probably become obsessed and immerse yourself in that topic for awhile.  From that obsession, excitement will follow, a need to act out and put into practice what you have learned – we all learn best by doing, right?  From there, you can explore, experiment, and refine these skills into your trade, be it photography, make-up, modeling poses/energy, writing – what have you.  Once you’ve gotten the knowledge and the experience under your skin, you’ll begin to see it surface in surprisingly creative and subtle ways.

Sure, reading a few books on history and doing a few photoshoots isn’t going to totally revolutionize your style and shoot you to the top of every industry, but, overtime, your knowledge base will improve, and your palette will be all the richer for it.

Besides, life is BORING when we stop learning!!

Another exciting fact?  The digger you deep, the more you find that the ant tunnels of our little worlds are all interconnected.

Pretty cool if you ask me.

Modeling Tips

11 06 2009


We’ve all seen ANTM.  We’ve all heard the critiques and seen the tears.  So what I have to say here today is nothing that hasn’t been said before, but only a reminder for all of the artists out there, striving to create a memorable image.

Models, you are chosen, not because you’re pretty, but because you’re interesting, striking even – there is something about you that works well with the lighting, collaborates with the camera.  Assuming you’ve been blessed with the genetic makeup that provides you the tools to work the camera, it is now your responsibility as a model to hone those tools. Handle them.  Learn them and communicate with them like you would a wild stallion.  There are many parts of your body to manage, and there are many different moods to portray, but today I want to focus on the most important element:

The Eyes.

Photo: Steve McCurry

Photo: Steve McCurry

Ladies and Gentlemen – Your eyes, and all of the emotion and soul and potential that they hold – THIS is your key to a strong photo.  The human brain has evolved to possess a deep love of stories, perhaps as a means of helping us learn which berries not to eat and what kinds of heroic acts will further our species – but I digress.  We are all – clients, photographers, advertisers, audiences – all of us are essentially brains maneuvering bodies around in pursuit of things that grab our interest – presumably because we have something to learn or gain from them – and it is your job to imagine the stories, create them in your head, and then shoot them through your eyes like legendary laser beams.  You are an enticer of brains.

The Navigator.

The Navigator.

So, this bears the question, “What do brains like?”  Since we’ve established the brain’s undying love of stories, let’s dig a little deeper.  I can tell you right now, and I think we’d all agree, that brains have some sort of 6th Sense, a way of detecting bullshit and passing over it – why would they waste their time on artifice and lies?  If we’re to stick with the evolutionary mindset, the brain, upon encountering a mask of insincerity or superficial role playing, is thinking, “This offers me no means of improvement.  Moving on.”

No Drama.

No Drama.

So what does this mean for you as a model?  Believe it.  Internalize it.  MAKE it real.  If you have to dig back into your childhood and remember the magic of hidden doorways and secret passageways – by jove, this is your chance to do it!  If you need to look wary or playfully curious – think of the story behind why you’re feeling that way, and then cast the camera as your counterpart and act away!  You have to tell an entire story without ever using your words – talk about primal!  This kind of communication ties into our oldest, deepest, and most ancient connection – our ability and our practice, however out of shape it may be, of communicating on that electric level.  Our ability to say, “I’m so glad to see you,” or “Maybe I should go” without ever uttering a word.  And this form of communication, you will notice, is infinitely more powerful than any combination of words ever spoken.

Tips here would include not mistaking drama for emotion – you don’t have to dredge up an episode of Gossip Girl, for crying out loud – just put yourself on the level and imagine you are wherever you need to be.  Get lost in it, lose yourself in the story, lose yourself in thought – whatever you do, you do NOT want to be on set in front of the camera – that will be painfully obvious to everyone viewing the results.  Guide your thoughts and then follow them – all of your body movements, language, and energy will fall into place.

Lost in thought.  Present in form.

Lost in thought. Present in form.

There are plenty other physical details that you can work on in order to become a strong, intriguing model, but those will come in time.  A good photographer will remind you to lengthen your neck or adjust your angles, but no photographer, designer, or director can get inside your soul and brew up a story that will grab the attention of every brain in the room.

So, if you work on only one thing, focus on your eyes and the story that they are telling to the camera.  Once you’ve mastered this childlike creativity, you’ll have every brain and every body with all eyes on you, ready for more.