The first fashion magazine Les Mondes was published in Paris in January 1901, in those beginnings the name of the model did not appear in the credits of the pictures because it was not important as it is stated in the book Fashion Body Cult: “The work of professional mannequins and photo models was not considered a respectable career and this females had rather seedy reputations right up until between the two world wars.”
For my first fashion shoot, a friend lend me his small apartment by Place de la Republique, the day was gray and cold, I woke up early in the morning to have all my equipment ready, grabbed the metro and arrived one hour before the shoot to set everything. I remember how nervous I was because I didn´t have any idea of how to do a fashion shoot and I had to work with the make up artist and the model pretending to have done this type of work many times before.
The make up artist arrived, a friendly french-asian girl, with amazing light brown eyes, we talked about the script and got ready for the model. At this moment, I had in my mind more questions to solve than answers to give to my team for this shoot. The model arrived on time, she lived in a village outside of Paris, a beautiful, tender and soft girl; we started to do the make up, talked about the script and one hour after we started shooting. Everything went well and smooth, we finish the shoot, both (model and makeup artist) said Bye to me and I was again alone in my friend´s apartment happy with the result of the shoot, but most important, with one thing clear in my mind: what I wanted to do was fashion photography from there onwards.
I had this same ritual during the next fashion shoots: the team arrived, the model arrived, the make up & hair were done, we talked about the script, we shoot, we finish, everybody leaves and I was alone again. That´s how it is normally goes in every fashion shoot, of course there is chat, exchange of experiences, work and different vibes like any other job…. but I had always the feeling that something was missing, something was not making sense for me at the end of each of those shoots, even though when the result as a team was great because we got the pictures we were looking for, there was always a feeling of emptiness in some part of my soul.
The work of a model is really tough, it´s not just being beautiful and posing in front a camera to get the pictures or the video, it involves a strong knowledge of the body from the top of the head to the little toe, they have to build their bodies with long hours of exercise, take care of what they eat, be ready to work no matter how they´re feeling that day, spend long hours going to castings, waiting and running from one place to the other and spend long ours working in the shooting. At the end everybody is interested on using the model as a canvas to paint the story that the they want.
Today I feel that models are becoming like when the first fashion magazine Les Mondes appeared, objects: a beautiful, well prepared, expensive object; you can see it even more in the catwalks where they don´t show any emotion and even some brands don´t even want people to know who they are by covering their faces with beautiful masks or any other object to make their audiences concentrate in the clothes. As I said before, the goal of that object called model is to be the best canvas, with the exact texture, measurements, colors and quality that the client wants to paint, but who cares about the person that lives inside that physically beautiful canvas? I´m very sure at the end nobody cares about it, the business just use them to reach their goals…….until that moment when they becomes famous and the canvas gets a name and a history that makes everybody to be interested about its life story. Now I know this is exactly what I felt was missing after every fashion shoot: Besides shooting the model, also shooting the person, that was that thing which disturbs me deep inside. So I thought, how am I going to shoot the person and not just the model? my answer was: to shoot them playing a story about something they really love to do: their passion.
I started to contact model agencies and arranging castings, where I could have time to really meet the person that lies inside of the model. What I found was the confirmation of what I was thinking: Nobody cares about the person that lies inside the model. How did I find it out? well, during the castings I started to talk with them about their life, passions, stories, goals, dreams, etc and since the first model to the last one I interviewed last week, all of them told me it was the first time instead of posing or walking or showing a portfolio, somebody was interested about their lives as persons.
I´m filmily convinced that for Pashioncase I don´t want to shoot models, I want to shoot Persons with real stories from their lives, playing their own life story based in the passion they have. I want to meet the person (or at least a small part of it), I want to give them the space to show to the world an intimate piece of their soul and I want to interpret that intimate part they share with me through my eyes.
To finish: I know a professional model should be able to get the result that the client wants without thinking if her style, life or passions go with the brand or designer concept and I´m not pretending to criticize or change the way it works, I know and I understand it is the way it is, but I think brands and designers should care a lot more about the person inside the model and not just to see them as one more piece of the marketing strategy.
I know I can be naive, but I imagine that getting to know the person who lives inside the models, knowing their passions, their fashion style or their way of seeing life and matching the right person (model) with the values of the brand, for sure will give a 100 times better results or at least more human than the work done with a model who does not identifies with the brand, at the end the models are persons who (as everybody else) give life to fashion, as Marc Jacobs said: “Clothes mean nothing, until someone lives on them.”