Ft. Lauderdale, FL
I’m in Florida for work; our company has sponsored an episode of Military Makeover with Montel Williams. I’m on hand to capture behind the scenes photographs of the taping of the show and our involvement in it. Here, I give you behind-the- behind-the scenes of those days in Florida:
We had the good fortune of being put up for the week in a gorgeous Air BnB, complete with a beautifully kept yard, enshrouded by lush vegetation surrounding a beautiful heated pool.
A failure to photograph a beautiful girl in this picturesque place would have created a disturbance in The Force.
We can’t have that… so I got to work, scouring all of my contacts for someone that might have a lead on a good model. I joined a couple of local modeling / photography groups on Facebook and posted a call for models. I was certain that my social media posts would turn up a few good candidates, but they did not. The modeling scene in FL is quite different from Utah.
One of my favorite models, Kendra, happens to be from the Ft Lauderdale area. Though she didn’t live there anymore, she referred me to one of her other model friends, Kelly Moulton.
After a few days of protracted correspondence, we nailed down a time where my work schedule openings and magic hour light eclipsed.
Based on Kendra’s talk about Kelly, I assumed that she was an experienced model. I’m always excited to work with experienced models; I don’t have to spend any time teaching them the nuances of being in front of a camera and helping them become comfortable with my lens in their face. Kelly arrived right on time on Friday afternoon.
“Thanks for coming out, Kelly.”
“How much modeling do you do?”, I queried.
“This is only the second shoot I’ve ever done”, said.
She proceeded to explain how horrific her first modeling experience was. It will suffice to say that the photographer acted in unconscionable ways.
I thanked her for being willing to come over and give modeling a second shot.
“I’m only here because Kendra spoke so highly of you”, she reasoned.
I shifted back into newbie model mode. I’d need to give extra time for her to warm up to the camera, be more deliberate in directing poses, and be particularly mindful in communicating about boundaries for how hot – or not – these photographs would be – and one hour of good light left. The thing about “magic hour” light is that it comes and goes very quickly. We had to work fast.
To come over to a total stranger’s Air BnB and do a decidedly sexy shoot, purely on the recommendation of a friend, after having such a horrible first experience – spoke volumes of her friendship and trust with Kendra. I was honored to be on the receiving end of that trust.
Richard Avedon once said, “A photographic portrait is a picture of someone who knows he is being photographed“
This knowledge typically invokes all manner of facade. People tend to tell the camera what they think they should, rather than what is. Facade bores me immediately, and to my core. For this reason, my interest in portraiture has hit an all time low. Nevertheless, the quality of light during magic hour beckoned.
What are the odds two strangers becoming completely vulnerable in short order? It’s a tricky equation with some mysterious variables, one of which is the skill of the photographer to evoke candor; another variable, the willingness of the subject to let her guard down.
The variables played out favorably, for whatever reason. After a few warm up shots, we slipped into the pool to play with color and the evocative nature of water. Life is short, and so was our time together; I beckoned her to plunge into deeper conversation. Stripped of facade, she followed with grace.
As we concluded the shoot, Kelly presented me with a gift – a bar of her own handmade soap. It’s aromas, color, and texture emanated the warmth of not only the time and place she lives in, but her own gracious disposition.