I reached a point where he made me feel useless!

May 14, 2013

And I didn’t want to do it anymore!

It’s taken a lot of soul searching to make confessions such as this. Meeting Alistar (Allistaire) was the best and worst day of my life. He is a paranoid graphic artist who creates fantasy images from the stock-photos he takes. It was chance and fate that brought us together in mutual admiration. It was agreed he would teach me about my body, movement, posing errors and what to do with my face and expressions that suit me.

I really really really know how to laugh at myself!This one always gets me in a laugh fit!

I really really really know how to laugh at myself!This one always gets me in a laugh fit!

 

It was agreed that I would be a big girl about what he had to say.

Mercy!!! Shooting with him was perfectly demoralising but it built a strong friendship. From him saying in his mild manner: “I don’t know if you still intend to lose that tire around your waist, but if not then you better know how to angle it girl” to then proceed taking pics, show me how they look, angle and re arrange my pose

et voilà, he’d show me suddenly flattering images.  He directed me into practicing “fluidity”, “Unclawing the claw hands”, avoiding

“hands on hip” stance, “back arches” “Faux Ballet” and how to avoid my “I don’t know wtf I’m doing” face!

I left his Durbanville home studio feeling very unwilling to proceed with my curiosities. I felt bored with it especially having rejected other TFCD (trade for CD) work as the only inspiration the talented photographers I’ve communicated with were interested in doing the “tried and tested ever popular Bette Page pinup style. Im no ‘50’s style girl, Im just not into the retro thing. It was apartheid back then anyways. I’m much more into Space Odyssey Nubian woman stuff. Or warrior bush woman. Concrete jungle action. Afro punk.  Tired. I even confessed to a close friend that I didn’t want to do this venture anymore.

Then Al sent me a veeeeery long email giving advice and a cache of pics attached to notes. First off,

 

 

I was amazed that he believes in me and my abilities and prospective growth.  I loved the fact that he loves my off key humour and advised me to entertain my quirks & silliness in future projects (where suitable). I’m even more grateful that he would like to work with me again and help me define myself.

Claw hands, fingers not straignt on extended arm, knee bend at lower angle and your back needs to be arched more

Claw hands, fingers not straight on extended arm, knee bend at lower angle and your back needs to be arched more and bum should stick out more.

 

So I continue my self-education in becoming an alternative model.

I learn a lot of things from the internet. Not limited to how to apply make-up, how to safely remove make-up, repurposing and decorating old furniture, decoupage, DIY facials, fitness  tips and how to be a schmodel. The latter is tough though as it is a social interaction game. I’m rutted in being socially awkward. But I grow and learn.

One thing I’ve noticed while I scan through the very informative, cruel, judgemental  and biased internets is that even Alternative models don’t know what Alternative modelling is.  I’ve noticed that its very easily slipped in the favour of Goth, gore and Pinup.  I’ve even stumbled across high end models claiming the title as theirs. This Alternative modelling community is schizophrenic! And I’ve noted a tone of love-hate for alternative models becoming “mainstream”.

Saying there’s an Alternative Model community is equal to saying there’s a tattoo community. There is no such thing. There are no high fives, air fist pumps and back slapping when you get good ink done or achieved a high level of creativity. There is no memo circulating on how to act or behave. I have to stress that both genres are not communities. They are sub-cultures.

Both you either live, experience or observe. But to define it is gruelling.

 

 

As a curious experimental being I stumbled upon an Alternative Models’ advice for newbies apparently inspired by beginner level models such as myself and the criminal habits we have that undermine her talent and her profession:

10 Tips For Girls Looking To Make It As An Alt Model

by Countess Havok – Alternative Model (Notes) on Thursday, 7 February 2013 at 12:59

So the reason I am writing this note is because I have seen so many girls out there claiming to be alternative models, creating pages, etc without any real modelling experience, which almost undermines the girls who have worked hard to create an image for themselves over a period of years. There is a LOT more to alternative modelling than most people think.

I am not saying that I am perfect, but I believe that if you are serious about breaking into the world of alt modelling you should be taking a few important things into account and accept the fact that you are still learning and don’t know enough to call yourself an alternative model just yet.

Through my own experiences I have noted many common mistakes that all amateur alt models make. Here is a list of a few things not to do/do if you are serious about alternative modelling:

1. Don’t start a Facebook page if you have only done 3 or so shoots.

Upload them to your personal profile if you wish but there is no need to start calling yourself a “public figure” and “alternative model” when you probably haven’t even learnt how to pose in a way that makes you look flattering or professional yet. In most cases people who have done so few shoots don’t quite know what they’re doing yet and don’t have the experience of having done a shoot with a whole crew (Makeup artist, hair stylist, stylist, etc) or having shot with a photographer that isn’t as good with directing you and telling you how to pose for a good shot.

2. Just because you receive a lot of photos back from a shoot, it doesn’t mean that you should upload every single one.

Many girls make the mistake of thinking that they should upload every photo that they get back from a shoot. This is definitely not the case. I think that the best idea is to select 2 or 3 shots from a set that are your favourites to upload or 5 at the very most. I have even seen many girls upload the same photo twice with the only difference being that the one was in black and white. There is nothing interesting about uploading 20 photos that look the same save a tiny gesture that is slightly different.

3. ALWAYS credit the photographer (and anyone else involved in the final result of the shoot.)

It really bothers me when girls don’t bother to credit anyone who was involved in producing the images from a shoot. It is a simple sign of mutual respect when you credit the photographer/makeup artist/stylist/hair stylist/designer/editor in your photos. I’m sure that as a model you wouldn’t be too happy with not being credited if someone else posted the photos everywhere? Be professional and respectful, without other creatives the shoot would not have been possible to begin with.

4. Do NOT wear the same outfit in every shoot.

In the alt modelling world, models often have to make do with outfits that they own for a shoot unless they are lucky enough to be shooting for an alt clothing designer. I have come accross girls who model the same corset in about 80% of their shoots which is not how it should be done. It is okay to wear a certain item of clothing repeatedly in 2 or at the most 3 shoots if you have done a lot of them already (This does not work if you’ve only done 5 or so shoots before) but the idea is to put together outfits that are unique from shoot to shoot to avoid your photos becoming boring and identical.

5. Don’t be afraid to be versatile. No one wants to see an alt model do the same style of shoot every single time.

If you want to be an alternative model, versatility is key. No one wants to see an alt model do the same type of shoot every single time without a variety in style. There are many different sub-genres of alternative modelling including: Gothic, fantasy, fetish, artistic, metal, pinup, cosplay, gore, art nude and many others. Switch between genres and try as many as you can. Not only will you find out in which one your passion lies, but you will show others that you can pull off many different looks instead of limiting yourself.

6. If you’re not happy with any of the pictures from a shoot, don’t upload them simply to bulk up your portfolio.

I’ve personally been unfortunate enough to have wasted my time with 2 shoots where I hated every single picture and didn’t want people to know what I had anything to do to creating the photos. Although not every picture us alt models like is necessarily the best one, our assesments of photos that we consider bad probably do have some kind of merit to them. Your portfolio should contain your best work so don’t use bad photos simply to make it look like you’ve done more shoots and thus have more experience.

7. Arrange your photos properly when you have a page (i.e not an album for every different shoot.)

Amateur girls often arrange their photos in albums according to shoot to make it look like they’ve done more shoots. This simply looks unprofessional. Arrange your photos according to photographer, genre or (if you’ve been doing alt modelling for many years) by year. It’s simply more appealing.

8. Don’t call yourself an alternative model if you haven’t earned the title yet.

Many girls do this and it becomes an insult to the models who have been doing alt modelling for many years. If you do want to showcase your photos by creating a page rather call yourself an “aspiring alternative model.” You need to have been modelling for at least a few years, have a strong portfolio with a variety of good images or both. Having been published, whether it is in an online magazine, calendar or print is also a plus.

9. Don’t feel pressured to do nudes, especially if they aren’t classy.

A lot of girls seem to jump into doing nudes these days when they haven’t even done 5 shoots yet. When you don’t have experience, it often ends up looking incredibly trashy and unattractive. Not all alternative models do nudes, so don’t feel pressured to jump on the bandwagon. A creative photo done with effort and an interesting wardrobe is better than a hastily done nude any day.

10. Enjoy what you do, have fun, work on improving your skills and get noticed!

It is always important to enjoy yourself when modelling and to work on improving with each shoot. Practise poses at home in front of the mirror, come up with interesting concepts and just put in the effort. Don’t be ashamed to approach designers, photographers or publications when your work is strong enough, it is possible that people just haven’t come accross your work yet and will love what you do and give you a chance!

Thanks for reading, I hope that you learned something important enough to take with you on your journey to becoming an alternaive model! 

The view is always nicer from the top.

At the risk of sounding salty and like I gulped down Hater-ade, everything needs debate in order for it to be discussed and explored. Personally I use Facebook to chronologize my journey and show that all the mystery and glitz is just a minuscule part of the whole process. I use my page to show that “Ëven a nobody can do whatever it is they want and however they want to do it ”. And I use it as a minor platform. I wouldn’t really show my Facebook page to a client, photographer etc. I either print out the best shots or load it to my tumblr if I can’t meet people in person, which is the case as living in Angola there is close to nothing for an Alternative girl to do.

And yes! As a beginner amateur alternative model,  I started a page with images from my 1st ever shoot!

 

 

Hannes Erasmus MUA Faikah Ganie

Hannes Erasmus
MUA Faikah Ganie

 

All my hard head gets from the somewhat snippy kitchen table advice from an admired and experienced alternative model lady,

is: “Don’t annoy people by your faux pas that make me look good & shape you”

Anyways, I don’t disagree with her advice & I admire and respect her work, but there are more than 100 ways to skin a cat and so the learning continues.

Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Scott Adams

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