Well it's been over a year since I started my venture into expanding my ability and skills in finding new models or people whom may want to be photographed as models...and my thoughts?
Simple... it did work a lot better than I expected... but still underwhelming, unsurprisingly. Sadly for the goals I have in my photography and portfolio I will need to move to a more heavy populated area closer to major cities, such as for me the closest that isn't too big or too small is Philadelphia, PA.
Not just models I'll more access to, but I'll have access to all and vast amounts of different talent I can collaborate with and expand not just my portfolio but my skills as a photographer, art director and now exploring more into video work directing/producing content. Honestly, I wished I have realized this sooner. I was told I could have either discovered talent and create models from ground up, and I can.... but for what I need in my portfolio requires certain looks to appeal to the fashion industry (like high fashion models). And experience helps, but not required from a model. I don't intend to explore too many concepts that require a ton of complex modeling skills since my techniques I am heavily inspired by Annie Leibovitz. Trying to keep it natural is my goal... yea sometimes I do like to play with more complex concepts, but I do most of the time aim for my style to come off as natural looking as much as I can.
As for my NEPA Modeling Search... I can make it work, but to truly make it work requires either CASH or sponsors. Can't make the NEPA region want to participate if no prizes are involved or "glitz" and fame is anywhere in sight in the group. People want something more than just images these days sadly, especially in the NEPA region. I will continue to work on it even as I move a little further south, but less focused and time dedicated to it. It would have to be entirely dependent on sponsors since images for people is not enough to simply show up and get some photos, especially when they do not see themselves as models or ever intend to become a "model" professionally. Time is extremely limited and doing a photoshoot seems fun, but with most young people whom are fighting to survive by keeping up with bills and working 2-3 jobs...doing a photoshoot that isn't paying off isn't worth doing...even if its for a trade (or free in their minds).
I've thought about the logistics as a business mind would. I would need to spend 7 years to equal my 1-2 years in or near a major city to collaborations. Which means the amount of work I get and do here in NEPA, could be done much faster time by being around more people aka talent aka creatives. I love what NEPA has given me in the past 6 years to have me grow from nothing to where I am now... which is something but not the level I want and need to be in my mind. I have struggled a ton finding people, not just models cause I know models do not exist in my area other than non-fashion models, which are fine and have worked with. But I have a vision for my portfolio and style to look more like what the fashion industry expects... which doesn't sound good, but they like what they like.... Just like how photography rules, learn them, master them, then break them intentionally. Once I'm there I'll learn to break the rules to get and become my own in the fashion photography. There are no clothing designers or wardrobe stylists in my entire region, so my only option was to be a wardrobe stylist. Did that for a year, didn't mind to learn that skill at all. But it can be exhausting and totally take off the focus as being the Art Director and Photographer for the photoshoot.
I know it sounds like complaining, just telling it how it is. I am exhausted, but its part of the struggle. I am learning and moving up my skills as time moves on. And to continue to learn and move up requires me moving, I will.
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