Page created June 23, 2004

Model Marathon, Part Two

In May, 2004, I received two model travel notices from One Model Place. I contacted both models, fully expecting that I'd be able to connect with at best only one of them.  Both responded to me at about the same time, suggesting the same date for a sitting. 

I decided to indulge myself & arranged for one model show up at 11:00, the second model show up at 1:00, the first model would leave at 2:00, and the second model would leave at 4:00 -- in other words, each model would be here for 3 hours, and their visit would overlap by an hour.  They agreed.

  • Part One:  Brooke Sullivan (OMP model #67895) was first, and the pictures we did together were here.  We exposed 10 rolls of film in that sitting.
  • Part Two:  Victoria A. (OMP model #15020) showed up at 1:00, and the pictures all three of us made together are presented on this page.  We exposed only 3 rolls of film in the hour before Brooke left.
  • Part Three:  After Brooke left, Victoria posed for me for the next two hours.  Together, we exposed 10 rolls of film.  These pictures are available here.

That next morning, I overslept two hours.



If you read the info about my Model Marathon, you are up to date.  After two hours, Brooke & I were finishing up our one-on-one sitting together in the natural light of the back stairs.  Right on time, Victoria rings the front doorbell.  I stop working with Brooke long enough to bring Victoria in & show her around.  She says hello to Brooke (both models are from the Seattle area & they were acquainted with each other).  I show Victoria a room which she can use to get ready, return to Brooke to finish up the final roll of images on the back stairs, and by that time, Victoria is ready to go.  So, we get started.

I was a little bit nervous about this part of the day:  while I had an opportunity to get to know Brooke gradually (as you can see in her "Getting Started" page), I was asking Victoria to dive into the deep end immediately.  But Victoria was terrific -- she's an experienced pro (see her web site here or see her One Model Place profile) -- she was ready, warm, and took to the concept immediately.  (By the way, Brooke has a One Model Place profile, too).


Okay, here was my thinking -- most of the two-model images I've seen were either highly sexually charged or were of two models that were visually unrelated to each other.  I was clear that I wanted something different.  My instructions to Victoria & Brooke were...

  • ... sensual but not sexual,

  • ... with supportive physical contact,

  • ... "sisterly".

I took a test exposure with the digital camera (this image on the left), and I think they did an excellent job in achieving a feeling of intimacy without sexual overtones.  What do you think?

(I'll admit that the exposure (the digital camera was set on "manual") wasn't perfect -- it was somewhat overexposed.  I cleaned that up with my image editing software, applying the sepia tone at the same time).  The film images which follow were exposed correctly, but I'm learning that improperly exposed digital images are difficult to "save".)





So, I'm human -- some men are "breast" men; others like legs, but I like abdomens, and I especially like Brooke's muscle tone shown in this picture.  I also like the "jog" to her spine.

An interesting thing happened after this exposure:  Victoria suggested that both she & Brooke could look at a spot on the wall behind me & to my left.  I stopped that -- maybe it's just me, but I don't like images were the model is looking off into the distance.  When I see pictures like that, I wonder what's holding the models' attention.  So, I ask both models to take their choice:

  • Give the camera eye contact,
  • Look at something within the image boundaries, or
  • Close their eyes. 

I had never articulated that before, even to myself, but as soon as I said it, I knew I had something.  Such is photography -- you've got to examine what works, verbalize it, and use it as a guideline.  If you can't talk about it, you'll never learn from it.




I don't know about you, but I like the eye contact much better.

So, I ask the models to exchange positions, and we make a few more exposures. 






And here is a favorite image from this portion of the Modeling Marathon.  I like the serene smile on Victoria's face, the light on both models' faces, the jutting of Victoria's hip, and the position of Brooke's leg.  And I like the physical contact.  I have to admit that I didn't have much idea of what to expect other than trying for "sensual but not sexual", but these models exceeded all expectations!  

Usually, I've got to know a model (i.e. have worked with her at least once) before I try something like this, but in this case, their experience made this possible.  They were immediately comfortable with me and with each other, and that greatly helped me.  Thanks, ladies! 


Taking to heart my request that they keep their focus within the image or on the camera lens, Victoria took it upon herself to turn around & give me some looks at a totally different shape.  That's another thing an experienced model will do for you -- she'll take instructions easily, will embrace the overall thought, and will keep moving to provide you with variations of the concept.  That's important enough to reiterate:  when working with an experienced model, the model will keep moving & will keep showing you variations; your role as a photographer is to convey the overall concept, select the variations being shown to you, provide the model feedback, etc.  When working with a less experienced model, the model tends to stay still & expects you to guide them into the pose you want -- that makes for slower sittings & often produces poses that look unnatural.

I especially like the light on Brooke's face & her hand on Victoria's waist.



Below is a digital image I made of this variation.  Like I mentioned earlier, I had slightly mis-set the exposure manually, yielding an overexposed image.  Some notes:
  • At this point, I lack the digital editing skills to "fix" images that are slightly off.
  • I couldn't tell you why the "colorizing" of the color images from the digital camera comes out more coppery than "colorizing" the scanned film & paper images, despite using the same settings.
  • If I am to continue to use the digital camera to check the lighting, I should also be more careful & make sure I set the exposure correctly.

Again, I get feedback from viewers -- many of you find this site instructive.  Thus, I'm committed to showing not only the "keepers" from a sitting but also sharing some of the mistakes or failed experiments -- after all, these are as instructive as the successes.




Back to the traditional materials of film & paper. 



Somehow, these images don't quite work for me.  I can't quite say why -- the light is very nice, the models are gorgeous, and yet it just doesn't work.  What do you think?  Oh, well -- they can't all be winners.

Okay, two final images, using a different setup:







Time flew.  There was an hour between Victoria's arrival & Brooke's departure, but Victoria needed a little time to get ready (during which I made the final solo exposures of Brooke), and Brooke needed a little time to get ready to leave (including time when I made sure that her ride was here to pick her up), so in reality, we didn't have a full hour of posing time together.  But that's fine -- we had plenty of time to expose three rolls of film.  Some assessment notes:

  • Other than the basic "feel" I wanted in these images, I really didn't have much of concept for these images.  This was, in part, because I didn't really know either of these models.  But the experience of both models & their comfort with each other compensated for my lack of preparation.

  • For some reason, I expect images with two or more models to do more story-telling than images of a single model, and these images don't really tell a story.  The models (and some images) are very lovely, but the story is absent.  Something to think about for future sittings.

  • There wasn't enough time to try more than one lighting setup, which was essentially the same setup Brooke & I used for her last solo studio poses.

  • Victoria deserves kudos:  she arrived ready to go & willing to dive right in.  That was terrific.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't feel that I really know what a model looks like until I've photographed her.  I don't know why, maybe it's because that I have a certain style, and I rarely get to see models posing for pictures with a similar style.  So, first sittings with new models is mostly a "Get Acquainted" session.  I look forward to working with either of these models again.  


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