When I first saw Morgan, I knew that she was one of those models that photographers dream about; she has a face full of character and body graced with natural curves and strong lines. However, when I looked at her online portfolio I saw nothing but the same thing over and over. The same makeup, the same hair and even the same poses kept resurfacing so much that I started getting worried. I’m not saying that her body of modeling work was bad, or that her prior photographers failed her, it’s just her portfolio presented her as a 2 trick pony. I knew she was more; she had to be. Like Solyria before her, I knew she has more raw talent than her portfolio would imply. So I decided to ask other photographers about her and see what kind of references they’d give. Everyone praised her and then promptly stated that she ‘NEVER’ shoot nude. After requesting a more in-depth explanation I got an earful of the list of things Morgan apparently wouldn’t shoot. They literally pushed the idea that she wouldn’t shoot any type of nudes, including implied. After hearing that, I sadly decided to leave her be and not ask her. Little did I know, she had secretly wanted to work with me as well.
Fast forward to her image above, you can see that we worked together and yes that means she bared it all for me. Now, ask me how I did it? Communication. We had one, very long and in-depth conversation. We talked about the world, about art, and most importantly her choice to remain clothed in all of her previous shoots. In the end, I was able to understand her perspective and found a way to address her concerns. The image above and the others coming down the pipe almost never happened though because of one very huge mistake, after hearing her references I backed down from talking to her. Even though people said she was stellar, I heard the amount of rejections and got scared honestly. The only reason our session happened was because she came to me. She knew the work that I produced and was willing to go on the journey. I am honored that she did as I am the first photographer that has photographed her nude. I almost missed out on an amazing opportunity because I forgot that references are a tool. They are nothing more than a guide to other’s experiences with a model but they are by no means the rule. I have learned my lesson and will never pass up my gut because of references again.
As for this image I keep referencing; it is titled ‘The Bakers’ Wife’. She is indeed covered in flour and barely there makeup, with hair reminiscent of everything that may have gone on just moments before. This portrait has personality. It looks like nothing she has ever shot before. It’s devious, fun, and absolutely speaks to the woman who I saw that first time. At the end of the session she was rushing back to her life with a huge smile on her face. She kept repeating how much fun she had and how excited she was for a chance to do it all again. Now what photographer can say no to that? I certainly can’t.
Until next time,