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Monday, April 25, 2005

An Hour in Someone Else's Shoes (or, Photos.Wedding Dress.)

In an email to Stoker*:

The pictures went okay. I'm sooooo glad I'm not a model. What annoying work that would be. You know how we (as in anyone who’s not a model) look at models in advertisements for clothing and in catalogs and whatnot and think, "What shallow looking people." Or we think that sometimes, anyway. Well, if you’ve ever been the subject of a photo-shoot, that idea feels rather accurate and reinforced by the whole process of modeling and posing. I’d stand there in a position I thought the photographer wanted, feeling retarded, and then she'd leave her camera to come over and move my arms around and turn me and tilt my head and change the way I was holding the flowers and fluff my dress up. It was so bothersome and boring. The whole process wasn't great fun by any means, not to mention completely devoid of anything that could stimulate my brain (aside from the gorgeous landscape. But how long can I think about the landscape?). Then I'd start thinking things like, "Boy, I feel like a retard." Which led to, "Crap, don't think that, it'll show in my face or eyes."

So, what I mean is that standing there modeling, you're really like a puppet. They tell you how to hold your hands and arms and move you around like a claymation doll. So then you even feel like a puppet. Like you have no will of your own. And it was hard for me to let her control how I was doing things like holding the flowers. She'd start moving my arms and I'd feel them resisting and then I'd realize, "Oh, relax." But it was difficult. I didn't want to relax and let her move me around like I was an inanimate object.

And, not in the email to Stoker: The very fact that I just stood there while she moved me and directed me in how to stand…..well, it just serves my purpose. My purpose being to back up the argument that models are rather shallow people. How could any thinking (and I mean thinking, not thinking. The difference in my voice, if you could hear it, being the emphasis on the first thinking to imply that a person is given to deep thoughts of an analytical, critical and sometimes philosophical nature) person endure hours of that kind of work? While perhaps being rather light on the intellectual side, I will endorse the idea that models are probably very, very patient people. Able to take orders. And I don’t know, maybe the experienced ones really know what they’re doing and so they don’t have a photographer telling them how to stand, where to put their hands, whether or not they need to tilt their chin up, or down. I couldn’t do it. That’s all I know.

*Edited and altered to some degree. Much of the sappy stuff and sexual references removed. Joke. There were no sexual references. What do you take me for, anyway? Some bawdy, bar-room comedian?

7 comments:

Erica said...

As a photographer major, I can tell you that that is only one way of taking photographs. I personally hate posing people and feel that it doesn't capture at all the essence of the person being photographed. I was lucky enough at my wedding to have my good friend April and her husband be our photographers. Not only did they NEVER pose us, but sometimes it was like they weren't even there... I really feel like all of our photographs from our wedding, my bridals, etc really captures who we are as a couple because they are shots of us being us. Dare I say this photographer needs lessons in stepping back and just letting you shine... I'm sure your chin doesn't have to be tilted just so for you to look beautiful...

Just my 2 cents...

Erica said...

*Edited to say Photography (not photographer) Major... see why I am not an English Major!

Stoker said...

Mike Savage makes reference in his book The Enemy Within to the fact that actors and actresses are merely puppets in the same way you described. He mocks and belittles their attempts to give social and political commentary as though they were very educated and informed. He also points out that the worst part of it all is that the masses listen and look up to these people. In reality, all they do is act out and say somebody elses words and ideas. That's basically it. True, some do it better than others, and some have more creative input than others. But isn't it interesting that models and actors and actresses become role-models and cultural icons? That they can get on CNN or NBC or freakin' Howard Stern and voice a rather uneducated opinion, and we give it credence!?

The description of your experience made me think about that. It's puzzling.

Aries327 said...

I agree with Mike Savage's observation.

Also, to clarify, my photographer is excellent. She's done lots of work for my family. However, we were on a tight schedule because she had to go to the funeral of a very close friend at 11. Nothing seemed to be working out for her this morning, the lighting kept changing suddenly when clouds would cover the sun. Then the clouds would move, right after the new shot was set up. And anyway, I'm not really model material, if you know what I mean.

But I appreciate the comments and sympathy. I'm sure things will be different with her on the day of our wedding.

liz said...

Wait! You're getting married? Congrats! I wrote extensively about my, um, adventures in wedding planning - meettheparents.blogspot.com [shameless plug]. Looking back, the photographer is a necessity, but we got all of our digital. They make a nice slide show on my computer and I have yet to print a single one out.

The Smoker said...

"models are probably very, very patient people. Able to take orders."

Zoolander would agree with you. ;-)

Aries327 said...

liz -- i've been reading your other blog. not meettheparents.

smoker -- saw zoolander. funny. but not as funny as meet the parents. just kidding. anyway, the important thing, is, do you agree with me?