There are three things
which make a good model: enthusiasm, patience, and comfort.
People often think age, appearance, or other factors are
important. While they may play a role, they are easily overshadowed
by the first three.
Enthusiasm is by far
the most important element a model can bring to a sitting
session. An eager model will work harder and longer, and
put more of herself into a session, immediately raising
the quality of the resulting images. It is personal excitement
for the work that makes a model strive to help develop the
images that are possible, and which overflows into the successes
produced. Because this work is interactive, I usually ask
the model if she has any images she is looking for, or any
ideas which they would like to explore. I do not have a
monopoly on imagination.
Patience on the part
of the model is crucial to my work. I can often take several
minutes to find an image, during which the model has to
maintain the basic pose. I suspect the patience of most
models is rooted in their enthusiasm - the willingness to
do what it takes to make the image. Wherever it comes from,
modeling can be very demanding, in a very stay-still-don't-move
kind of way.
Comfort is important
and much of the responsibility for establishing that sense
of ease lies with me as the photographer. My job isn't really
about details like the camera, light, framing, pose, or
background; these elements of the sitting must simply be
right. After all, when you're a painter, you expect to have
a canvas, oils, brushes and sufficient mastery to use them.
When I'm working with a model, my most important job is
to make her feel the way I want her to look. A woman who
feels beautiful is beautiful. If I can do that, the pictures
almost create themselves.
From sitting, the
model ideally takes away a more esteemed sense of self,
improved body image, and a satisfaction from taking part
in a creative process.