For far too long…

13 Jun

I have been away from this blog for quite a while! No real excuse, just the same thing we all say… busy, busy, busy.

I had a shoot recently with a photographer from Brooklyn, NY called Dave Rudin. We had met before, but we hadn’t worked together until now. Our shoot location was fantastic, but I swore a blood oath (okay, not quite that dramatic) that I wouldn’t spill the location deets, because photographers are always trying to steal good each others’ cool locations. I will say this, Las Vegas is set right in the middle of some amazing desert. I’m not talking endless sand dunes from the tedious 1980’s film Ishtar (sorry my darling Warren…), I’m talking about beautiful red earth and gorgeous stone canyons. Come for the casinos and cheap buffets, but stay for the natural beauty and relatively few bugs.

The photo I’ve chosen to include may end up being my favorite. This is just a snapshot – Dave shoots only film, and he’s not finished developing. When he asked me if I could pose like this, I was sure I’d end up falling out other side of this hole. It was several feet off the ground and I had to lean way back to get the shot. My head is all that’s keeping me in there, but what a great idea!

Vegas animals will thank you!

1 Mar

Please purchase your very own copy of my OYE magazine poster. I will donate my part of the proceeds to the Las Vegas Humane Society. They’re going fast, so get yours today!!!

http://www.oyemag.com/index.php/melissa-carole/

*** I’ll be glad to sign your poster for you. Just send it to me and I’ll sign it and mail it back to you 🙂 Send me a private tweet for the mailing address http://twitter.com/#!/VegasArtModel

Time Keeps on Ticking

12 Feb

My mom is obsessed with clocks. Actually, to be more precise, she is obsessed with buying clocks for me. As I sit in my living room with the TV turned off (a very rare thing in my home), I am nearly deafened with the tick, tick, ticking of the seven clocks within my visual range. Four of my seven living-room clocks have pendulums, which give them an added insistence. They swing back and forth ticking away, pendulums waving “look at me, look at me”!

All told, I count a grand total of 16 clocks in my modest home. This does not include the myriad watches I have stashed in drawers and jewelry boxes, nor does it include my computer / phone / iPod / Blu-Ray player / DVR clocks. Just the old-fashioned, so-20th-century timepieces that I have hanging on walls or propped on tables. All ticking. Ticking…. ticking.

Someone much smarter than me said that the only things you can count on are death and taxes. I’d like to propose an addition to that short list: the infernal, maddening passage of time. Nobody knows how many more tick tocks they will get, but whether any of us are here to see that pendulum swing, it will still be swinging.

Now, what does that mean for me personally? Of course, my mind goes right to those tedious platitudes like, “right now is a gift, that’s why they call it the present”, which is supposed to make me stop fretting and start living. I’ve tried that. All I find myself doing is fretting about fretting and how to stop fretting. It’s a horrible, cyclical nightmare that’s crapping all over my gift of the present. Living in the now is hard work. If I don’t look at the past, I can never feel that lovely cringe I get when I recall my more drunken adventures. Avoiding addressing the future means that I won’t have crossed anything off a to-do list that never was written, because I was too busy reveling in the here and now. I’d exist completely for my own hedonistic pleasure, living off of red velvet buttercream cupcakes and forgetting to water the plants.

Waiting, hoping, dreaming… those are all contingent upon the future. That needlepoint pillow is right about one thing – the future hasn’t happened yet – but if we just camp out in the now, we miss much of the beauty of living. The past is who we are. It’s something we can’t get away from, because it’s completely woven into who we are today. As Frank said, “regrets, I’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention”. Imagine Frank Sinatra without a past! Just try to hear that voice sing without all the years of living behind each note.

As I write this, my mother’s clocks are tick tocking away. There’s no getting away from time. Past, present, and the hope for the future are all any of us has. I guess it’s when we completely mire ourselves in the past or plan so much for tomorrow that we really do lose out on today. “Right now is a gift…”. Well, then let’s unwrap it.

 

Shameless Plug

31 Jan

Hi all… I am in the running for OYE Magazine’s cover model search, and I need your votes! Please click this link, and you can vote DAILY! http://www.oyemag.com/index.php/melissa-carole/

Interpretation

14 Jan

After several posts about my work as an artist’s model, I realized that I’d never posted photos of the finished product! Here are some of my favorite paintings and drawings that came out of art classes and professional studio sessions in the last year or so. It’s fun to watch the process and see how different artists interpret the same model.

Feels like the first time

10 Jan

I’d been a fashion model for years – on and off my entire life, actually, and I thought I’d conquered the universally recurring nightmare of being naked in public. After all, I’d changed in front of countless other people – other models, designers, and (usually) gay men, and it never really fazed me. During a fashion show, models are little more than store mannequins to be changed like living Barbie dolls as fast as humanly possible and scooted back out on stage for another round of looking tragically cool and hiply detached. We’re practically schooled on looking as if we don’t give a damn in order to keep the fashionable fantasy alive.

So when my college professor asked me if I would consider modeling for the art department, I thought it’s be no big deal. I’d been naked in front of people before, right? I gathered together the necessary items: a robe, flip-flops, and a cushion to sit on during longer poses, courage…., and I went into the class only to discover that nothing was the same. With fashion modeling, focus is entirely on the clothes. Your body is merely a hanger to show them off. In art modeling, the body is the focus, and I had nearly 20 students staring at mine. The only fashionable fantasy I had was dreaming I was back in my robe again!

Thankfully, the first class ended and I was able to calm down and realize that they are truly there to learn and create. To this day, I have never had any incidences or feelings of being objectified. Everyone has been completely professional. Art students are the best, and I love the creative process. I feel like I’m learning along with them as I listen to the instructor’s guidance. The thing that terrified me beyond measure has become one of my favorite parts of my work.

Safety First

16 Aug

I am regularly approached by photographers who want to work with me in some capacity, and in today’s world, I had to learn to figure out who was a safe bet and who was a creepy potential stalker or worse. Having come through my learning curve relatively unscathed, let me share a few quick pointers to any new or aspiring models out there.

1. Know how to spot a G.W.C.: In the world of art photography, you have three general categories of photographer – the full-time professional who makes his or her (although 98% of the ones I’ve come across are guys, and for the purposes of this post, let’s assume they all are) living as a photographer. Secondly, you have the semi-pro guy who earnestly wants to make compelling art. He may have a day job somewhere else, but his passion lies behind the lens. Lastly, we have the Guy With Camera or G.W.C. These folks run around with a digital camera and precious little additional equipment and have figured out that there are naiive gals out there who will take their clothes off if someone points a camera at them. Since digital photography has become more and more popular and simple, these guys seem to be behind every tree (usually in a trench coat). They put up profiles on legitimate modeling sites, and start emailing models. Usually, it’s the younger, less experienced girls who fall for this, but we’ve all been there. This brings me to the next point….

2. Location, location, location: If you are approached by someone like this, most likely they will flatter you and ask for a nude session at their home / hotel, etc. Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing in that many artists have home studios, but it can be a red flag in the uncovering of the G.W.C. A professional, freestanding studio is golden, but home studios are also potentially okay.

3. A visual: Be sure to ask him to show you samples of his work. I always, always do this before committing to anyone, no matter who they are. If I don’t like the art they produce, I figure we’ll not be a good match, and I politely decline. In order to save egos, my response is usually something like, “your work is interesting, but I don’t see me as a good fit for you. Thank you anyway and best of luck”. Don’t be pulled in by a big fee or flattery by a well-known photographer if his style isn’t for you.

4. Interview references: On sites such as ModelMayhem and One Model Place (among others), you are able to see who the photographer’s friends are and who he has worked with in the past. This is invaluable in finding out if he is professional in his work and attitude. Models will be happy to give you the scoop if you email them about a particular photographer. I had a bad experience early on in my career, and I was thrilled when I received an email from a girl he had asked to model for him. I told her the truth, and she was saved the same crap I had to contend with. Sadly, this guy’s work is beautiful, and I’d have worked with him over and over if he hadn’t been such a pig.

5. Notice dates: See how long he has been in the field. Someone who is semi-pro and has been working for the last several years is a sign that he’s legit. A guy with a profile and work history of only a few months will need further research.

6. Get the hell out: If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable for any reason at all during a shoot, you are completely within your rights to leave. You may have to forfeit your fee, but your dignity and safety are worth far more. You’re not only doing yourself a favor, but the creep may just realize that if he wants to be a true artist, he needs to treat the models with respect. Don’t remain where you feel unsafe!

I hope this is helpful to anyone who is starting out in the incredibly rewarding field of art photography. There are amazing photographers out there who are making fabulous works of art, and with a little savvy, you can have a wonderful career.