I’m capable at being the jaywalking amateur hawker trading curiosity & willingness to experiment with photographic subject and drama as a model for payment in the form of time & constructive criticisms & digital copies of the pictures taken. I sincerely believe no artist should work or create for free as time is money and I respect the photographer’s work of whom I approach. But is a photographer trading in TFDC (trade for digital copy) really working for free?

 

One of the photographers here in Luanda certainly thinks she’d be working for free if she takes pictures of me for portfolio purposes and that I should pay her at least USD300 as she’d be doing me a favour, wear nice clothes and make up and find a location. Fair enough.

I do like her photography and affects. But if I had any disposable income culminating to USD300 I’d continue on my vision of ink on my skin rather than model or be photographed.

 

Art or arrogance?

 

It’s difficult negotiating collaboration with possible photographers living in a city that’s one of the world’s top 5 most expensive cities to live in. All I really want to do is market myself as an alternative model that works for ‘free’ (not exactly as I just want a digital copy of the work).

But I somehow get the telepathic note that if I don’t have a gazillion Facebook ‘likes’ on my page or if I don’t know people who know people who know people or if I don’t have some fame then I’m just not worth their time to work for ‘free’. From a creative point of view, I just don’t get it. The basis of two creative’s collaborating is: I trade my time for your time and we both build a portfolio right?

Wrong.

Things operate differently in the city of Luanda. Firstly, there is a CONCRETE idea of beauty AND what photographs of a female should look like. Alluring, cute, sexually stimulating in a carbon copy way, skinny, small feet, small chest, long hair (real or bought but never African short- shit gets too real then) and she need not have personality or be particularly attractive.

I have found a willing and artistically visioned photographer with Massalo of Massalo photography and he is open to experiment in using my form in one of his projects. He is virtually a rare find to me.

 

I have yet to explore more of the Luanda ‘arts and culture’ scene so I might be eating my words with extra chili & salt, but I do feel that the nature of the industry here is made up of it being an inner circle type of popularity contest.

Or maybe I just need to work on my personality and character more.

As far as popularity contests go, and the amount of ‘likes’ on Facebook, its water off a duck’s back to me. I’m mainly in it for the art, experience and all out curiosity and a pinch of hoping some brand out there stumbles across the likes of me and offers to finance my tattoo aspirations in exchange for modelling their brand… Girl can dream.

 

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Seven days ago I was urged by a dear industry acquaintance to do something with the pictures I had posted on Facebook taken by Hannes. So I took his words and persistently annoying encouragement & advice to heart and Googled mass information on what Alternative modeling entails and how to go about creating a portfolio. I have substantial talent in researching and stalking.

I clumped through a multiplicity of bull turd and conformist styled alternative sites & imagery; I made a to-do list and crossed out all the tasks I am too stubborn to perform. Alternative Modelling is a grossly undefined but hugely common form of entertainment and art.

First on my list was to gather random opinions from five people consisting of friends and frenemies. I was taken aback by one morsel of advice for me to ‘drop about 20kg to make it as a model’ and another to wear a weave or to start chemically relaxing or curling my hair as I would be “representing us Africans” … I agree that my fitness has been decided on my mood per day or dependant on if I manage to remember where I stored my Amy Dixon Fitness DVD I stole from a devout fan of hers a year ago or if I feel the irrepressible urge to accept the notorious Luanda traffic after gym. The topic of hair deservers an entire separate rant styled blog…

But my weight does not define what I think is beautiful. I like my natural hair although it does need a deep condition and vitamin treatment of some sort or a hair clipper machine…

But what is Alternative Modelling? The basic definition of an Alternative Model when we break it down via Google’s “define…..” search formula is:

al·ter·na·tive[awl-tur-nuh-tiv, al-]

noun

1.a choice limited to one of two or more possibilities, as of things, propositions, or courses of action, the selection of which precludes any other possibility: You have the alternative of riding or walking.

2.one of the things, propositions, or courses of action that can be chosen: The alternative to riding is walking.

3.a possible or remaining course or choice: There was no alternative but to walk.

adjective

4.affording a choice of two or more things, propositions, or courses of action.

5.(of two things, propositions, or courses) mutually exclusive so that if one is chosen the other must be rejected: The alternative possibilities are neutrality and war.

6.employing or following nontraditional or unconventional ideas, methods, etc.; existing outside the establishment: an alternative newspaper; alternative lifestyles.

7.Logic . (of a proposition) asserting two or more choices, at least one of which is true.

mod·el [mod-l], adjective, verb, mod·eled, mod·el·ing or ( especially British ) mod·elled, mod·el·ling.

noun

1.a standard or example for imitation or comparison.

2.a representation, generally in miniature, to show the construction or appearance of something.

3.an image in clay, wax, or the like, to be reproduced in more durable material.

4.a person or thing that serves as a subject for an artist, sculptor, writer, etc.

5.a person whose profession is posing for artists or photographers.

Verb

1.

6. to give shape or form to; fashion.

Hmn…  Ah-HA!

An Alternative Model has most to no parameters at all! Either you appreciate or identify with the way they put themselves together or how the photographer translated them or you just don’t. They just have to be whoever they are in their own comfort. Fat, male, female, hermaphrodite, eunuch,  tall, short, skinny, over tanned, pale, dark black, black, brown, Asian, tattooed, not tattooed, pierced, and not pierced. You can incorporate genres like fetish, gore, pin-up, modern pin-up, classic, Goth, surrealism. The options are just too darn many.

Commercial models have to be a certain, size, height, weight and have predefined dimensions and an amicable persona. Only in the last 25 years has there been a dawdling increase of Asian and African commercial models admitted and fed to the public, but not by the vast numbers of us on the respective continents. Most established designers, agencies and common popular brands do not promote individuality or body modification beyond the population norms. Cookie cutter molds, nothing wrong with that, easily digestible for General Joe and Jill consumer.

I haven’t come across forms of discrimination between alternative lifestyle type of people, yet, although I often read the “Why do you people do this to yourselves?!/ Tattooed-Pierced-niche people are ugly/ Don’t you people have jobs, why don’t you just try to be normal?” exclamations from General Joe and Jill Consumers raiding sites and commenting, as if their opinions mattered, and the ensuing comebacks from members and admins.

I determine that alternative modelling is a state of being whoever you want to be in an ever demanding and restricting market and having the freedom to do so.

(hannes@zatech.co.za)

Next I need to somehow formulate words about the journey to approaching photographers and the responses I’ve received from four based here in Angola over the last seven days…

My mind is rattling louder than a tin can vibrating with a single butter bean inside it. I lay wide awake in the witching hours listening to the more than necessary aircon: Am I about to perform a ‘moral’ error?

It is well established with personal friends that I don’t have the judgment or morals socialized community members have. But I’m good at pretending to.

My core and truth of me is that I only have two moral directions: To never cause dire physical and psychological harm to any humane human being, which includes not killing their spirit and/or dreams. The other is not to force any person to do anything unwillingly. I also make a habit of choosing people who unwittingly posses the same guidance included in their standards to be in my life.

But make room for straying compasses.

Is my compass about to stray by submitting a set to SuicideGirls.com? For the unfamiliar, SG.com is basically in the class and taste of Playboy, but with tattooed and alternative women. Although corny poses and girly bit nudity are optional. For a majority of SG models it is a huge stepping stone. They have a strong community ethic and protect their own on a most part. It is a sorority where SG sisters encourage and respect each other and the paying members and fans elevate models egos and balance it out with humility too. And the photographic sets are just gorgeous.

I’m no prude, but am I basically posing for nude pics (without crotch shots- I said Playboy NOT HUSTLER) that sell a fantasy theme in exchange for USD500 payment per approved photo set in “Photo Set Of The Day”???

I actually do not equate nudity with sex. I just live in a hyper sexed society.  I don’t feel awkward around naked people or obliged to act a certain way or say a certain thing around nude persons. I don’t even feel it necessary to be aroused. What does give me discomfort are persons who feel uncomfortable, judgmental, aroused, prudish or ashamed around nudity.

Ahh, but here’s the snatch catch: I’d be posing in suggested nudity in suggestive and/ or intimate poses. There is a difference between a naked person walking or possibly jogging across the road and a nude person sitting on a chair with a French manicure, hair wet, an arched back, posterior plumped, chest perked and a stare looking you intentionally in the eye…

I don’t really believe I’d be hurting, killing, disturbing or forcing anyone on anything. I’d just be selling a story of a moment in a fantasy. Something unreal. Because most practical minded people, myself included, suspect that erotica and other categories do not play out like as advertised. It’s not real. It’s a fairytale.

In real life, people are nature’s beings- not actors acting out images from a mature audience website.

But I’m still undecided until I actually see the photographs of me and select a set in peace of mind.Image

Photographer: Hannes Erasmus

hannes@zatech.com

There was no beginning…

September 20, 2012

It took a combination of events, people and actions that got me to this point. I like tattoos. I like writing. I like living in Africa. So I combined the three to push ahead the act of modelling (or trying to) with the ulterior motive of creating a version of myself that would create an extra income to sustain my habit of getting extensively tattooed.

I love entertaining myself with the thought that there are other Africans like me that have their own way about themselves or are part of a ‘tattoo culture’ or non-trend that could possibly identify with me. Its a comforting desire after trying through my pre- and post pubescent life trying to fit in and be accepted. But enduring dramatic personality crisis every time and wishing to not exist.

I am driven to share my encounters and experiences as I submit myself on a journey into the “Alternative” modelling scene, tattoo artists, photographers, internet stuff, self marketing & promotion, being non-white & tattooed (its strange but it’s a factor), funny encounters and my opinion. The latter is not necessary but I’ll do it anyway because it’s my blog.

Feel free to share your opinions with me as I appreciate a good heated debate. But only if you ‘like’ my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Anidea/23865978720?ref=hl

'Living Large"

Photographer: Hannes Erasmus
hannes@zatech.com

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