The very first time I worked with Abby, she arrived with her dad Pete at my studio ready to work. This was particularly impressive as she was only 15 years old, but very dedicated to making a success of herself in modeling – and it showed. In fact she was currently a student at a fashion/modeling school so much more serious about it than one would expect a 15 year old to be.
She has an amazing and exotic look and was quite versatile – going from looking her age to well beyond her years with the simple change of a pose or facial expression. I wondered for a while if she even spoke English as she barely made a peep! ha ha But of course she was just very shy and wide eyed. Like a pro, without instruction, she brought several outfits along and had plenty of moves without needing too much direction, which was good as my skills as a director were not particularly stellar at the time, though have seen massive improvements since.
They had driven down from a very small town 1/2 hour north of Bakersfield called Delano, which is by reputation, primarily a farming community. Delano is a town so small in fact, it makes Bakersfield look like a booming metropolis – which it most certainly is not! While this is probably the last place on earth someone would expect a model to appear out of – there she was – a pleasant and unexpected surprise. The place where she found out about me was also a bit surprising – on Craigslist! I had a casting call posted there looking for something new instead of the usual repeat model hopefuls a small town like Bakersfield produces regularly…when I got her reply, I had a feeling there was something special in the offing.
I was experimenting mixing studio strobes and hot shoe type flashes together – something I discovered was not always the best idea in the world without a very specific lighting design – but part of the way I work is to change things up on every shoot, to make sure I do something that pushes the limits beyond what I already know how to do, into places I’ve never gone before. It keeps me fresh and different in every shoot instead of being a photographic chimpanzee – mimicking my own shots/setups and going through the motions to produce the exact same thing over and over again with different faces. How unimaginative and boring would that be? Might as well get a job shooting pics a JC Penny. blah
In the end we had a great session and managed to pull off some excellent images together.
There was some real magic in some of the images, especially for a first time session with a new model. Without question, we wanted to work together again.
And we did. See Part II for MORE!