I hope this does not offend, but I will admit that I did not see modeling as much of an art. Photography is an art. Painting is an art. Dancing is an art. But modeling? For some reason, it was never the first to cross my mind. However, over the last couple of months, I had the opportunity to work with several wonderful photographers, and it was this that experience changed my perspective. Opened me up to a whole new world. A whole new skill. A whole new passion.
I think part of my ignorance was due to my focus on photographers. I follow a few photographers on Instagram and find that I have immense fondness for composition, use of lighting, and the editing of pictures, which, for the most part, I attribute to the photographers. The models are, of course, stunning, but I never paid much attention to what they contributed to a picture. I almost felt that a job of a model was effortless. Their beauty made their job easy and it was the responsibility of the photographer to use their creative direction to catch them in their best light. However, I was incredibly mistaken.
Because let me tell you: modeling is not that easy.
I always thought that I had good awareness of my body. I’m a bit of a dancer, so I had to develop some knowledge of my body. The way it moves in space. The way it flows. The way it creates shapes. However, modeling made me realize that movement came more naturally to me than stillness. I find that modeling requires a significantly greater amount of body awareness than dancing does, which may confuse some. But in dancing, you can hide yourself in your movement. Your unflattering face expressions, weird hand gestures, and awkward neck turns get lost in the long sequences of movement. The human eye isn’t able to catch the split seconds in which your body is less than pretty.
However in modeling, you can’t hide. You are left vulnerable in front of a camera, still, contemplating everything, from the position of your hands to the expression of your eyebrows. And the camera captures everything, including your anxiety. I can recollect more than enough times in which I was disappointed with my performance. Disappointed with the droopiness of my eyes, the flyaways of my hair, the bend in my fingers, and the tilt of my head. Things I never really thought about before.
But despite this, I have found a love in modeling. A passion for it. A desire to get better. I see art in it. Technique. Skill.
Modeling has become comparable to dancing for me. Both require careful awareness on the body. A rhythm. A gentle switch in movement steady with the beat of the sounds of camera shutter. And you meticulously dance your body through this tempo. But it’s also like acting. It requires character. Expression. Acting. Emotion. You play a character in front of the camera. You portray an emotion. There is art in the way you can express so much with such placed movement. And, yet, there is also a naturalness to it. You feel relaxed with each motion. Comfortable. And its this slow-building comfort that makes me love it so much. It motivates me to continue. Because eventually my anxiety in front of the camera will dissipate. Because eventually I will be more pleased with my performances. Because eventually I will love even more photos in each set. And that is the art I see in modeling.
Photos by the amazing Jonathen Shalley! (IG: jonvthen)