05
Sep 2016

By Lily Lawson

Posted in

Are Models Artists?

All arts are similar in the way that the intention is to create feeling in the audience. A painter moves their brush across a canvas, a dancer moves their body across the floor, a model moves emotion across a lens. Often times, modeling is considered a mindless practice, one that doesn't involve any talent, perhaps even simply a gift given to a lucky few at birth. And perhaps, in part, those thoughts are true; genes do have something to do with it. But in every art form, equipment is essential to create – for an artist could not draw without a “pencil and paper”.

Modeling is a lot like acting, in that when you walk onto a set you envelope your character. The photos have to tell a story, just as a movie follows a plot. Although many people think it’s just about standing in front on a camera and looking pretty, it’s not that way at all. Your mind is concentrated on a thousand things at once. Telling a story with you eyes, finding the light on your face, making sure the clothes are hanging right on the body, correcting your posture, creating interesting positions, looking natural and relaxed, elongating your hands and feet... The list goes on. And all the while you constantly have to be moving, resetting, and interrupted a hundred times to fix your hair, your make up, the wrinkles on the clothes, and your hair again. Just like any other creative process, it is the love of the craft that keeps you going.

I find that I am able to translate a lot of what I learned in my years of ballet and contemporary dance into modeling. I used to choreograph pieces that concentrated on fluidity and interesting movement; using the body to create shapes on stage. It is this knowledge that I use when modeling. The outcome is a still photo, but the production is movement. Its like a dance you play with the photographer, they click, you tilt your head, they click, and your hand raises to your face, they click, you shift you shoulders slightly away from the lens. All of which happens in a matter of seconds.

Consider the type of shoot as a genre of music or a song. As such, a web catalogue shoot would be a repetitive pop song, where an editorial telling the story of a girl smoking at a café in small town Texas, would be a song by Johnny Cash growling about his hardships. The link between the mood and the creation should be tangible when speaking of any art form. We models use our bodies to create a moment that doesn't really exist, which transforms into a photograph that fools the audience of the moments authenticity.

Written by- Jess