If you read my few posts from 2018, you will know that last year I built a 50+ shoot, 7-week tour all on my own (and with a little help from a friend) in over 25 towns and cities across the U.S. In my dreaming, dreamy head I was going to write this epic blog-novel and post every week, which clearly didn’t happen. What did happen was I put a lot of pressure on myself to create a perfect post on the regular, neglecting the real work of a daily journal. Oh well, better luck this time.
I… am…. tired… of playing by the rules. Instagram gave me the boot after 3 years of building a 24k following and countless contacts, so I’m putting time into other pursuits. For example, I re-present to you The Modelogue (formerly The Traveling Modelogue).
Here on The Modelogue (mostly a monologue, although I’m sure that my truest fans and friends will read it), art doesn’t require censorship, and I can write to my heart’s content, providing myself a greater creative reward than social media can ever give, and which in fact it takes away.
Social media kills creativity. Definitely mine, and likely yours. Mindless scrolling and social media-based serotonin spikes are useless and harmful; it’s actually sad to think how much time is lost on Instagram (furthermore known here as instant graham-crackers* because fuck it) and social media in general. Sure, I do get some paid shoots through the platform, and patrons, and sell some prints, but the platform is sincerely unbeneficial to my creative soul and doesn’t really further anything that I truly desire in this impossible world of endless possibilities, except for some connections and friends I wouldn’t have been able to make otherwise. “Likes” and “followers” don’t actually matter in real life and the long run; it’s cute when people think so. Most of the hottest hot shot photographers have fewer than 1,000 followers, or no social media at all because they are THAT GOOD. A successful social media is not an indicator of true success. Not to mention, I have received A) a steadier rise in patrons since hello.jewels went caput and B) a higher percentage of likes:followers on hello.jewels2** with its shiny 648 followers than I did on the OG. Go figure. What a wonder.
Writing is smarter than hashtags and likes aren’t as lucrative as we all might want to believe. Here’s to being smart, and lucrative!
Right. Social Media mini-rant over.
New York City, Part 2.
I arrived in NYC 10 days ago, joining my boyfriend here and enjoying time in the city together before he flew off for his job (he’ll return in 5 days and take me to Rome). I had 5 shoots in those 10 days, and starting today and for the next 5 days, I’m working another 10 shoots, maybe a couple more if I feel like adding extra 3-shoot days.
My first shoot was a repeat client from last year. I rented a studio for the first time (albeit it was a dance studio and I’m pretty sure I was not actually supposed to shoot nude there. So many rules to break, so little time. Sorry, kids!), and although I wasn’t feeling 100% due to a late night and a little wine and jet leg, the client didn’t (seem to) notice and left inspired and happy with my work. Modeling is unfortunately often about looking and acting your sexiest bestiest even when you feel like absolute crud, (and I never cancel for crud unless I am literally dying).
My second shoot, in Midtown Manhattan, involved fashion and foot fetish photos, some creative portraits with weird jewelry that I intend to recreate behind camera one day soon, and dancing around all sexy and tease-like while wearing literally a string and shooting myself with a go-pro, which I also recorded on my iPhone and will post to Patreon. A few days later, this same photographer called to hire me for another 2-hour session while I was on my way to my 3rd shoot: portraits and art nudes which lasted a total of 40 minutes and paid me nearly twice my hourly rate and a fountain of compliments before the photographer ran off to a charity dinner (thanks, NYC!)
Shoot number 4: A studio in Manhattan that hosts group shoots hired me for their monthly “event” for a 45-minute private shoot followed by an 80-minute group shoot of 6-8 photographers all crowding around each other as I took turns making eye contact with each lens of vastly different quality, trying to time my looks with their various spree of shutter clicks. I took favorites. For example, I gave extra time with the quiet gentlemen in the back who kept getting shoved out of the way, vs. basically ignoring the guy who’s finger virtually never left the continuous shutter, even when I wasn’t posing.
This next part might be too much information, but we’ve all probably had indigestion at some point, so I’m going to make it ok to talk about it here. After taking a long walk in tight jeans (yes, I since learned this contributes to acid reflux), combined with some minor personal stress earlier in the day and a heavy cheese and milk-based lunch, I went into this male gaze- infested group shoot with the worst indigestion I’ve ever had at a shoot. Just imagine trying to feel sexy and skinny and feminine and confident with a belly full of bubbles, on top of a cluster of men drooling over you while requesting different poses and outfit changes! Longest damn 80-minute shoot of my life. I wish I could have just farted during the whole shoot– I would have felt so much better. Can you imagine their reactions?! I basically ran home afterwards in pain, silently crying and not-so-silently farting the entire way.
My 5th shoot was a beauty portrait shoot with someone who booked me last year, but the project fell through last minute. He did right by me and paid my full-rate as a cancellation fee without me having to ask. This, by the way, is the right thing to do when a model blocks out a time to shoot with you weeks in advance. It’s a huge loss to her otherwise because she most certainly could have booked other work during that time but now can’t because you f*ed up. I look forward to working with this client behind camera in the future as well on some acting projects (he’s an acting teacher).
One difference I’ve noticed between LA and NYC photographers is the willingness for amazing, successful, and well-paid photographers in their fields to pay a model her asking rate because through communication, they trust her to create something different that what they normally shoot. Thanks, for trusting me, NYC! There’s something about you, I can’t quite put my finger on.
This morning I woke up at 2:45am to meet my photographer at the Williamsburg bridge for a risqué outdoor nude shoot overlooking the city. V is one of my favorite clients to shoot with because it’s always an adventure shooting with him and I love his positive energy and the creative approach he takes to photography. Tomorrow will be our 5th shoot together, in both San Francisco and New York, and in May we will have our 6th in SF, a good excuse to go to the Bay.
As with every shoot, V bought me breakfast and coffee afterwards. It had just starting raining as we waited outside Starbucks, the first in line for the doors to open at 6am.
I took the train home and snuggled up to my boyfriend who I was happy to see hadn’t left for his flight yet, as I had initially thought. I feel asleep to him packing and after he kissed me adieu I napped for a couple more hours, still in my makeup, and woke again to the rain to re-touch my hair and makeup for my 11am shoot. (Polaroids in this post from that shoot). I really enjoyed making art with such a creative, enthusiastic, and energetic young photographer with some serious skills in film, digital, and lighting. I look forward to adding our work to my portfolio and working with him again in the future.
That’s NYC, the first half of my trip this year. 7 shoots down, 8 (or 10?!) to go! It is cold, and raining tonight, and I’m trying to stay warm and healthy. I just ate homemade soup, and tomorrow is a 3 shoot day, so time for bed.
The luscious polaroids in this post were taken today by the illustrious Zachary Stertz
*Credit for the phrase “instant graham-cracker” goes to my dear friend whose name I won’t mention here for privacy
** I am going to come up with a new instant graham-cracker handle in time. hit me up here if you have any extra super cool, amazing, inspiring, or brilliant suggestions