Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When everything came to a screeching halt...

I have had so many great experiences through modeling... I have met some really great people, have found an unexpected creative outlet, and have had a hand in making some beautiful pieces of art. But as with anything, there are the occasional bumps in the road. NOTE: This is NOT the worst thing in the world, but it did effect my life. I've dreaded writing this blog because I don't want to sound whiney or superficial... I had to decide whether or not I wanted to share the "bad" parts of my journey... I think I have to. I want to be honest, and I think there are lessons from every experience in life. I had to learn a few lessons the hard way. This was one of those cases...

Every two years or so since probably highschool, I chop my hair and donate it. Well it was getting to be that time again... Several people tried to talk me out of it-they liked the long hair and enjoyed shooting me with it. ;) But donating it means something to me. Plus, it was time for a new look anyway! Here are some before shots...

I had a style picked out for quite a while... I wanted it to be edgier, but allow me to be able to do a lot with it. It had to still be pony-tail length. I warned everyone who was booking shoots with me, but reassured them of the length. I had talked with the stylist for at least a month, in person and through facebook messages, including sample photos, we both seemed to be very excited about this new look. 

Without getting into too much detail, things went horribly horribly wrong... Everything I asked for, the opposite was done. My hair was supposed to be ponytail length... instead, it ended up being approximatey 1.5" long, I asked for NO bangs, I got bangs that I couldn't even bobbypin back. It was choppy, uneven, and about 8" too short! I filled out the papers to donate my hair, and got out of there before bursting into tears. 

Had this been any other year, it still would have sucked but at least I would have an easier time with the mentality that "it'll grow back" or "it is just hair"... THIS year though, I was pursuing modeling... a field where it matters how you look... Your hair is a tool. This affected shoots I had booked and I wouldn't be able to donate my hair again for a looong looong time. There were several other situations in my personal life that made this event even more heartbreaking, along with what happened during the actual appointment and the rumors of why. It was embarrassing. It was a BAD haircut, for more reasons than just being too short, and I was stuck with it. It crushed my plans/goals/options. Every time I'd touch it, or see it, I was reminded of this, and could only wonder why. But what can you do? It is gone. It doesn't matter why or how. It. Is. GONE. I can not change it...I had to figure out how to move on from it... I cried and panicked for 3 days, googled just about anything having to do with hair that I could find, would NOT take my beanie off (in June)... I went to 3 different hair stylists to see if ANYTHING could be done (Extensions? Too short. Any cool styling options? Too short for any styling tools. Anything left to cut? Nope plus I'm not sure I would have let them!)  I looked into anything and everything I could find to help hair grow faster or at least how to keep it super healthy (which encourages as much growth as possible). Some of these things were not pleasant AT ALL...One treatment I swear smelled like horse pee! Vitamins I took made me want to hurl. I was that desperate to get back on track... to at least get it to a length where something could be fixed or styled. I was able to get about an inch a month for a while.

While I was trying to "fix" what I could, I took a bit of a break from modeling. I turned down shoots (I had been shooting probably 5 times a week -at least- prior to the cut) but eventually decided I would find a way to pursue modeling despite this horrid new look and how it made me feel. I decided Iiiiiii shouldn't have to be the one embarrassed, Iiiii shouldn't have to be the one that feels I need to HIDE. I didn't ask for this. And no one deserves to have that kind of control over me. I dreaded EVERY shoot for a while... This hair wasn't ME, it felt so negative and hurtful... I had no clue how to style it... it constantly made me wonder "why" someone would do this... but I tried to "ignore" it as much as you can ignore your own head, and forced myself to do these shoots...

From the Tribal group shoot
Photographer: Mark Anderson

The first shoot I had after "the butchering" (as I like to call it), was the group shoot Tribal. I had been chosen as one of the Tribal 12, prior to the haircut... so I couldn't just back out. I went in for the hair stylist to check out my head, she was going to have to construct a whole new look for me. I remember riding with a friend to that shoot, only a few weeks after the hair change, and my stomach was in knots, I didn't want to be there! I didn't want people to see me, and I sure as heck didn't want people touching my hair or taking my picture... The hair stylist ended up doing a great job, getting really creative with it. And my photographer/model friends were very supportive (and they were throughout this whole hair nightmare!).

It has taken me over a year to get my hair to be about where it should have been... I had to learn to play a new character... much like I do in modeling anyway. I openly admit that I felt the need to overcompensate in my day to day life by loading up on dresses--I'm a girl, because I wear dresses! (I was never the kind of girl who wore dresses!) My hair was probably the healthiest it has been for a while, because I wouldn't style it (I still didn't want to touch it) or do ANYTHING to it, except for shoots, which weren't happening as much. I think I got stronger, it challenged my problem solving skills, it tested my passion for what I do... I didn't quit. And I also learned some valuable lessons about the balance of trust.

I am so glad that I had some really great photographers to help me continue modeling... you'll see/hear more about these later in several of the next blog posts or groups of photos added to my artist page. Thank you to those who helped me through this!

To see more pictures from the Tribal shoot: www.facebook.com/NFGartist

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wingin' emotions...

Photographer: Dan Frievalt
Before I chopped my hair, Dan Frievalt asked me to shoot-even though he literally has NO time! He wanted a chance to work one on one, while I had long hair, and he was craving a personal shoot. My theory is, if we can find an hour or two to just get the photos taken, the photographer can work on them whenever...at least he/she has them. So I told Dan to let me know if he was able to find a moment to breathe and fit in a few shots. Somehow he managed to find that little bit of time, and we went to work! He wanted something emotional. We decided to revisit the old abandoned school house-where Mark Anderson and I first shot, and Mark/Dan brought a few of us models a few months after...but we needed to be sure we used it in a completely different way. Well, that wasn't going to be a problem, because upon our arrival, the whole place was boarded up! Again, we only have a limited amount of time, not enough to try to find a new location...Our only option was to look around and use what we had. Good thing we did!

Photographer: Dan Frievalt
I had just brought some plain clothing because Dan is very good building random outfits/looks..whether it is with random cloth he has kept, things he's constructed out of odd material, or things he finds in nature. (this is one of the few things that amazes me about him!) So with a simple black dress, or simple white dress, he added a few more pieces to create 2 very unique looks. We played on the old merry-go-round a bit...Dan loaded me up with tutus. He also wrapped some vines around my arm. I weaved myself in and out of the merry-go-round. After that, I changed from an all black look, to a white dress...Dan got me tangled in gray cheese cloth and we headed across the street to a field of long grass...it was wet...but had this beautiful texture to it...we couldn't pass this up! Before you know it, I'm lying in a soggy, buggy ditch.  I can only imagine what people thought as they drove by. ;) After that, we actually went back to the merry-go-round and got totally different photos than we did earlier in the shoot...I laughed seeing the previews, because they looked like they were easy...but let me tell you, standing on your tip-toes on a merry-go-round is NOT easy! 

When photographers target me because they know I'm a fan of the emotional stuff, I take it as an opportunity to really push myself in that area. I don't want to give every photographer the same kind of emotions-I'd get bored with that! I've worked at pushing myself to develop a range. What I love about Dan's work is that he has a dark side. ;) Right up my alley! I knew we wouldn't have a problem connecting in that sense. Despite some of the issues with this shoot-lack of time and a boarded up location-I think we did a great job at adapting and came away with some really great work. 

Photographer: Dan Frievalt
Oh! And another thing I loved about working with Dan is that he shot and posted a faceless shot of me--which happens to be one of my very favorites ever. I loved doing faceless work in my self portraits, but often times when photographers are shooting models, they feel the need for the shot to be all about the model...her face needs to be clearly shown...For Dan and I, this shoot was about the emotion, not about ME. Me, the model, is simply a tool in creating a piece of art. 

I went into this shoot wanting to really work on posing, to get poses I've never gotten before, and to use posing as a way to express emotion. I think I accomplished that, and I think we accomplished Dan's goal of creating emotional images. The faceless shot was an unexpected bonus, and I actually now own a print of that-thank you Dan! I'd say that was a successful shoot all around. :)

To see more from this shoot (and that faceless shot I mentioned ;) ), check out my artist page: www.facebook.com/NFGartist 

Dan is a super talented photographer who shoots a lot of weddings, senior portraits, etc...check out more of his work here: https://www.facebook.com/frievaltphotography  He is a true artist. His work focuses a lot on emotion, and his colors and textures are beautiful. He's also a super nice and fun guy! :)