After the stroke in 2005, I found out quite quickly that I could not longer shoot the commercial grip & grins anymore. I just didn’t have the stamina to stand for two (2) hours plus. While reloading at a political shoot, I had to squat down, and if there hadn’t been a piano so I could pull myself up, I was in trouble. When it came to my art, I was very worried that I didn’t have the eye anymore, and I worried that the stamina was going to be an issues.
Late in the 2004 I met a model who was very interesting, she was marching to the beat of a different drummer only she could hear, so we became fast friend’s. She offer to pose for me, and in 2007 I took her up on her offer, to see what I could or couldn’t do. Though there were limitations to my shooting, things I should have remembered, but didn’t…, the session went really well and among others I got this lovely image.
You were another late bloomer to the modeling world, tell us a little about your beginning and the different type of photography that you were drawn to.
C: “I started in 2006 after being placed on disability from my regular daytime job. A local designer, Carlous Palmer saw me standing in front of my son’s school, and asked me if I would like to participate in a fashion show he was holding at a local club. As it turned out, we had met 10 years prior when I modeled in a hair show that he was the stylist for. After his fashion show, he asked me to participate in a TFP photo shoot that featured his designs. When I went to pick up my photos, the photographer told me about several networking sites such as Model Mayhem, One Model Place, and a few others. He recommended that I post the photos from the shoot to promote myself. And the rest is history.”
Knowing you are religious, how does that dove-tail with the nude photography. Were there any barriers you personally had to face and how did the nude work begin.
C: “I wouldn’t say that I was a religious person. I believe that there is a creator, or higher power that lives in us all, but I wouldn’t call that religious. With that being said, the only thing that really inhibited me in the beginning was my own fear due to the lack of knowledge about what art nude modeling was, me being married at the time, and the hang ups I had about my body. The first time I did any type of nude work was an implied nude, or topless shoot covered in jewelry. The first time I did an art nude shoot was with the late photographer Jerry Harke for his book called “Nu Art en Noir et Blanc”, a 408 page book of art nudes in black and white. That made 2 firsts for me , as it was the first time my work was published.”
How did/do you handle requests for more explicit poses. Have those requests ease off after all the years you have been in the business?
C: “I simply say, No. I’ve been blessed not to have had many of those encounters or requests. Most photographers view my work and through emails or phone calls, they get an idea where my head is when it comes to that sort of thing.”
Personally I think you have a lovely face and figure yet you are underutilized, what do you figure the reason is?
C: “My lack of financial resources to travel, my age, and the fact that not too many photographers are interested in shooting African American art nude models. While at a weekend workshop/retreat of models and photographers, I had a conversation with a photographer who actually told me that “There’s no money in African American art nude work. With that being the mindset, not many photographers know how to, nor are they willing to learn how to light darker skinned models.” You can imagine the look on my face; however, that statement did shed some light on why I was not hired hardly at all during that event.”
Now this may be too personal and feel free not to answer, you have health issues that have plagued you for some time, how has that affected the modeling?
C: “It has caused me to pace myself more. I no longer pose for art classes because holding poses for a considerable amount of time was becoming painful. On a good day, I would only be able to hold an interesting pose for maybe 10 minutes, which was not fair to the students.”
I have a close family member who has lupus and she suffers from a light sensitivity and breaks out in a rash if she is in the sun, how does your lupus manifest itself?
C: It varies. It can range anywhere from persistent headaches to joint pain and swelling to Fibromyalgia attacks. The cold weather makes things worse.”
As I said in the beginning, I think that you are a stunning model and if you were closer I’d love to have you as one of my muses. Do you have that kind of relationship with any photographers?
C: ” I used to in the beginning, but that has since changed as most of them have stopped shooting or have moved on to other genres that I won’t do like explicit material.”
In the grander scheme you are a young woman, where do you see yourself in the next five years.
C: ” In the next 5 years, I will be 50. With my condition, I have learned to take things one day at a time. Hopefully, by then, things would have picked up a bit. I would just be satisfied with be alive and physically capable of taking care of myself.”
I needed a model for a piece I was doing for a small auction at Piatti Restaurant, they want a plate in the image. While I had her nude anyway we did some other shots as I was doing a cross-processing. Ms. Lena was real sweet and we worked for about two hours and among others I got this one. Thanks Lena
I met this young lady when she was eighteen (18) and she was a little toughie. When she came to pose for me, as she came out of the bathroom in the cutest short bathrobe she was smoking up a storm. She sat on the stool, foot jiggling to beat the band and she read me the ground-rules for the shoot starting with ” you do not ask me any personal questions”. And as she blew smoke and went on for what seems like five minutes, but finally stopped and asked ” any questions? ”
Yeah I said ” do you get nekked? “. She smiled and tossed her bathrobe in the corner and looked at me like ” feast your eyes on this”. I looked at her sweet little body and said ” naw lets get you into a dress”. At moment we understood each other and became fast friends.