As you may know I am at the stage of illustrating my book, Making Life more Beautiful, with photographs I have taken myself. It is turning out to be a great adventure, but not one without its challenges.
When asked in my “major project” proposal to list the possible difficulties I might encounter in completing my project I wrote;
- Not yet competent in taking good quality printable photographs
- Not got friends and family to agree to model for me.
Put together these two problems, or challenges as we call them in modern management speak, could scupper the project. Can’t take pictures, and no one to take pictures of. In addition while I define beauty very widely I wanted women with natural hair, minimal make up and enough confidence in their appearance.
Initially when designing the book I imagined I could lean heavily on close family. After all I have a daughter, a step daughter, and a daughter in law. (Just for clarification this book is mainly aimed at women so I will be using female models). I want to show them off as I think they are all naturally beautiful
But when I asked them if they would be willing to model they were just not that enthusiastic. This is a mixture of not not being comfortable being photographed (I have found this is a very common issue and one I feel myself), not wanting to be featured in the book, not wanting to draw attention to themselves. not keen on spending time dressing up and standing around, being busy etc. I was a bit disappointed but decided not to push it. They help me in lots of other ways and I love them very much.
So I decided to advertise for a model!
I put out a call on our work intranet “Hive” saying I was doing a photography course and was looking for lunch hour modelling, lunch included. Two members of staff responded and we are going out locally to take their photos really soon.
I also made a little poster and went along to my local Art College (University of the Arts, Kings Cross). When I got there they offered to advertise on Creative Opportunities their website for students and graduates seeking employment or intern opportunities. I offered £10 for one hour of their time. This proved to be very successful! I had about 30 responses from a wide range of of people – men and women, young students and semi-professional models. Many did not have the natural look I had specified so choosing didn’t take too long.
With both groups I have already “cased the joint” for suitable backgrounds.
The third thing I did was opportunist photography. I have been taking my camera to work every day and if I meet people who are willing to be photographed I just do it there and then. To some extent this is riskier but so far I have found two lovely women to photograph in the course of my day to day work – Genie and Zohar. I have also photographed some men, including Jeremy, which has proved to be good practise for improving my skills (the first problem!).
I was very lucky to have found a perfect pink wall for Genie. Zohar, an architect, is standing by stone carving at the House of Commons. Jeremy is in the office.
I have still got so much to learn and about 40 book images to procure!