If you wonder where I've been, now you can see: taking a hiatus from performance as a hermit among hoards. Opulent troglodyte captured by @littlebrownmushroom.
I've been working as a figure model for artists a few times a week for nine years. As an artist myself who adorns and depicts the figure, I appreciate being paid to be part of this process. When @lgcargo
approached me about modeling for this particular project, wearing clothes, in my home, compensated by photographic print, it seemed simpler than holding a pose for hours, nude. To be honest, I hadn't heard of Alec Soth (although in hindsight I realize my mom had shown me Niagara a decade ago and @laurenjadekelly
probably exposed me to other work without me knowing so). I approached the session as I would any other intentional objectification: with deep suspicion and firm boundaries. Not to say I haven't had excellent experiences before: on the contrary, I keep doing this work because of the beautiful, creative, intellectual and emotional relationships I've forged with Carol, Kamal, Claude, Lois, Peter, Sue and more--artists who show up to support my work, and, well, me. But frankly, they are the outliers, and more often than not I use up more energy creating a forcefield than standing on one leg. At dinner parties with respected writers and artists, men tend to comment on my physicality before asking my opinion, so standing naked in front of a canvas doesn't help. But my two hours with Alec Soth (and the lovely @camigac
!!!) were different. We delved into interesting conversation, he deferred to my aesthetic intuition, respected, clarified and checked-in about boundaries, and interacted with my world with a grateful curiosity. He connected me to Camille by virtue of our artistic pursuits, and referred me to relevant points of interest. He listened to me finish my rambling thought while the afternoon light dimmed, choosing to hear me over getting his shot. None of this should be seen as beyond what is deemed acceptable, but unfortunately it felt novel. And maybe this is a byproduct of photography, as opposed to drawing or painting. (continued in comments)