photography model

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The Conversation: In the Mind of an Artist’s Model

Published June 10, 2013 by Maryanne

The ConversationThe Conversation (photo by Darlene Foster)

Saturday I blogged about going to see my friend Darlene’s artwork at the Montclair Art Museum: (https://maryannemistretta.wordpress.com/2013/06/08/happy-national-best-friend-day/)

As some of you know, I did a series with Darlene, modeling for several of her pictures in October, 2010, which was not only extremely fun, but extremely creative as we spent over eight hours together doing all different types of photos.

From that day moving forward, I always wondered what the photos would look like, what Darlene would do with them, and if anyone would buy pictures of me, as art.

Prior to meeting Darlene, I’ve modeled for other artists. One did sculptures, using me as the muse. I became a bronzed fairy, as well as a demon. After working hard for an entire summer, the grand opening happened and one of the sculptures sold immediately. But I never knew who it was sold to. And that bummed me out.

Since then I always wondered how other art models felt, not knowing who is buying them.

In one of the antique shops my husband and I frequent, there’s a painting of a sexy young guy with long blonde hair, shirtless and in jeans. It’s not mind-blowing sexy, but kind of fun and goofy. It reminds me of a young Iggy Pop, but healthier. I favor that painting and always see if it’s still there. Then I wonder … how recent is the painting? Is the guy old now? How old? Old enough to be my dad? Was he a friend of the artist? What is the story behind the painting? Does he live around here? Did he model a lot for the artist, or was this the only one? How much did he get paid? Did he enjoy it? There is always so much behind what you see.

So, fast forward to Saturday, it was so cool that the timing was perfect; as soon as Gina and I got to Darlene’s booth, a lady bought a postcard with my photo on it — “The Conversation.”

Just as I arrived, Darlene said, “And here’s the model.”

I smiled and said hello to the lady, who was around in her 60s, slim and stylish with the most adorable leopard print flats.

I wanted to get a photo of the lady who purchased a postcard with my photo. I wanted to have a part of her, as she had a part of me (and of Darlene). As I can never totally feel comfortable being center of attention. I like a party. I want everyone around me to be a star as well. (But I chickened out, because I am just so awkward around people sometimes).

Sometimes I’ll check out a Twitter page of a musician, writer or model I’m interested in. I see all these people tweeting them, giving them praise and compliments. And rarely will a celebrity write back. I understand that it’s not good to engage with a fan because someone could be a stalker. But if I had that many fans, I doubt I could hold back and not engage.

How can you not ask a fan — someone who is very interested in YOU — questions about his/herself as well? How can one be so nonchalant about an opportunity right in front of them? Am I satanic because I want to be like God — all knowing? Because I have so many questions about people … and life in general? Am I like the nosy aunt everyone avoids? I’d like to just think I’m pretty darn amazing because I care so much and am genuinely interested in people. Or am I a control freak because I can’t sit back, relax and just be a subject — I have to take the reins and be the creator, the interviewer, the editor, etc.

As a writer, once in a blue moon I’ll get an email from someone praising my work (not talking about blogging, talking about my published work). I always answer. Always.

My favorite email was when a Cyrinda Foxe fan contacted me about by article on Cyrinda Foxe that was published in Punk (http://www.punkmagazine.com/stuff/morestuff/cyrinda_foxe.html). When something like this happens, it keeps the article alive … keeps it going … brings back the wonderful memories of when the article was actually created. When I sat in Cyrinda’s hotel room for four hours, interviewing her at first, then turning off the tape recorder and just enjoying each other as friends. And then later having dinner together.

So that two minute transaction of a lady purchasing a postcard, by Darlene Foster, that I modeled for three years ago, brought back a ton of amazing memories … the fun I had with Darlene that day, the laughter, the creativity, the awesome lunch we had, and the fact that my life was so great I had gotten into a car accident earlier that day yet kept going because I was so happy nothing was going to stand in my way!

And I’d love to know what was going on in the purchasers life too — on that exact day. But, of course, I may never know.