Sunday, December 17, 2006
I always engage in frivolous small talk with models before I shoot them. Most of you probably do the same. Sometimes I'll tinker with the lights or putter with my camera just to buy some time; keeping the seemingly innocuous banter going. I don't do this because the lighting needs tinkering or the camera needs puttering, or to fill dead air with noise or to merely be friendly... which I am... friendly, that is. But that's beside the point. I also do this in hopes finding something out about the model that might help or impact what I'm about to do, i.e., get the most out of her.
Sure, I have to be a little careful. I don't want to come off flirty or as if I'm trying to hit-on her. And I don't want to sound too inquisitive and risk over-stepping the polite rules of coversation with someone I might barely be acquainted with... even if they might be naked, or soon will be naked, in front of me. What I'm doing, besides working to develop rapport with the model and helping her feel comfortable with me, is I'm hoping I'll stumble onto something about the model that will help me to make some interesting pictures of her. I'll admit, it doesn't always reveal all that much but, sometimes, it does.
Take Katarina, for instance. If I didn't engage in some purposely-extended small talk with her--somewhat difficult as she speaks English as a second language--I wouldn't have discovered that, before coming to the U.S., she was a performer in a circus!
Whoa! You don't meet circus performers everyday on the set! Making her even more interesting was the fact that she was a trapeze artist. A freakin' trapeze artist! Who would'a thought?
Apparently, this Russian beauty spent years with the circus. He career was cut short when she took a terrible fall. Showing me the scars that run up the insides of both arms, from her wrists nearly to her elbows, she told me about the steel rods that now help support her arms. Her dexterity and strength are still tip-top, but not good enough to make her living swinging from a trapeze.
So now I'm thinking, if she was a trapeze artist, she must be super comfortable "performing" in front of strangers and she also must be very strong and flexible. This could result in some interesting poses that you're simply not going to get out of many models. So that's what I did-- I asked her to really exagerate some of the poses and, IMO, some of them came out pretty cool. Sure, I still shot all the requisite glamour stuff, but these exagerated poses were incredibly fun to shoot. I wish I had more time with her. Hopefully, I'll have an opportunity to shoot her again. Next time, I'll make some plans to take better advantage of the physical prowess I now know she possesses.
But I wouldn't have stumbled on any of this if I didn't work hard at making small talk.
As noted, model is Katarina. Images captures with my Canon 5D w/85mm f/1.8 prime, ISO 100, f/5.6 @ 125th. MUA was Lilian.