Friday, August 19, 2011


Rivers of Re:Quest Model Management

Can you believe I am writing yet ANOTHER blog? I know, I know. But I do have one thing to say. Do NOT get used to it. It is a paranormal activity that should be passing very soon, but enjoy the ride now while you can. Now on to the blog.

A lot of us want to be famous. A lot of us want to be rich. A lot of us want to be recognized for our talents, looks and gifts and a lot of us want it NOW. I remember when I first picked up my camera and realized this is what I wanted to do, I was ready to grace the covers of Vogue and wanted to see my images on billboards that littered the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, France. I would look at my images and imagine to myself, “yes, these images are JUST as good as Ritts, Weber and Meisel!” (God was I a lofty one!)  But as I matured in my craft and artistry, I looked back on those images, and they compared to Bruce Weber like a child’s coloring book rendition compared to a Picasso.

But I digress. Right now with more than 5 years in the professional game, I am JUST starting to make some noise. I am JUST starting to see the fruits of my labor and I am JUST starting to make a name for myself. It took five years. FIVE LONG YEARS and even though I have influential art buyers looking at my work and making major decisions based on the images I place before them, I am STILL a ways off from shooting Kate Moss for the cover of Vogue or Jon Kortajarena for a billboard for Tom Ford and you know why? It has nothing to do with talent, skill set or know how. It just isn’t my time yet, hence the title of this blog.

Show business is a tricky industry (yes, fashion photography falls under show business). The race is paced differently for each and every individual. Just because you’re a vocalist that sounds like Mariah Carey with the looks of Eva Mendez and the talent of Missy Elliott doesn’t mean that you should pop on the scene the moment you laid a vocal track. It doesn’t work that way.

The same holds true for models. Just because you’ve done one test shoot, got signed to an agency, you think you’re ready for the big times. It doesn’t happen like that. If it did, everyone would be a supermodel and there would be nothing “special” about you and since you didn’t put any sweat equity into your career, you won’t appreciate the rewards.

The reason for this blog was recently I had a couple of conversations with a couple of models. Model A at the moment appears to be on a meteoric rise. His face is getting known, he is getting snatched up by agencies from coast to coast. He is making a little bit of noise, HOWEVER, he isn’t a superstar yet. He hasn’t done any major work, and he hasn’t walked his first fashion show. Could he be an international star? Maybe. Only time will tell. He hasn’t paid his “karmic” dues yet, and the only thing he suffers from now is the agony when he gets dropped from a job. Sometimes I am glad he gets dropped. It humbles him a little bit and it tells him something. It is not his time yet.

But Model B has a completely different story. Beautiful man, uprooted his life and made his way to a metropolitan city from a small town in the South. He thought he was going to step off the plane, walk into a modeling agency and then step onto the billboard with the ranks of Tyson Beckford. Never mind that he was new face in a new city. Never mind that he didn’t have a secure place to live or a steady income. Never mind that his book needed to be worked on and built so he can compete with the likes of Model A or better. He just thought that he was going to come take the world by storm and why hasn’t it happened? I can tell you why. It is not his time yet.

I wrote a blog called “It Takes A Success Team to Build A Successful Model” ( The reason for the blog was, by the time you’ve seen these models (or actors, or singers, or writers, or photographers or, etc. etc. etc.) reach the level of fame that they have achieved, there is a lot of behind the scenes negotiations that are taking place. You don’t just take a photograph and appear on a billboard. There are castings, meetings, focus groups, lawyers negotiations, agents negotiations, manager negotiations, photographer selections, the list is endless. There are late night phone calls, clandestine meetings, sometime even arguments and strong discussions of persuasions, because every model is not for every body. Just because I took a beautiful photograph of you doesn’t mean that the powers that be are going to think you are beautiful, too (please read “Who the Fuck are You?”

Patience, faith and loyalty are a far more paramount equity in this business than a beautiful face, abs and a great smile. It takes time to rise up the industry ladder. It takes times to develop those relationships in order to make the good things happen. And while you are sitting there wondering why it appears that Model A is getting all the play, and you’re not, I can answer it in one simple sentence. It is not your time… yet.

Think about it.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Tiana Young for Emerald Essence Makeup

There is a lot of malice in the world today. Most of it is intentional. People hating on you for whatever reason. Spreading lies, gossip and ill-will. Unfortunately you cannot control all the bad publicity that may come your way, when a person hates on you it let’s you know one thing. You MUST be doing something right. So guess what? Continue doing it.

But there is that second type of malice that comes under the radar that if you don’t pay attention you just might miss it and sometimes that malice may even come innocently enough from yourself, and that is the reason for this blog.

Today’s world is built on a phrase known as “branding”. And for the neophytes, a lot of people misconstrue branding as just the “image” of themselves. As long as a good photo is floating around out there about them, then you would seem to guess that that is the only thing you need to worry about, right?


In my previous blog “Stop It!” ( I discussed the importance of not being a Photo Whore and producing the best possible images with the best possible photographers. If you go through my blogs you will see a history of me discussing doing the best possible image of you that can possibly be done. But in this blog I am going to discuss the “whys”.

True Stories

Story One: A friend of mine came to my studio for a fun shoot. We were just killing time and she got in front of my lens and we took harmless photographs. She was playing in a tee-shirt, big smiles, great images. She posted them somewhere on the internet (this was 4 years ago). Fast forward, she applied for a job in Finance. They ran an internet search on her and these images came up. Needless to say she didn’t get the job. Why? They felt that “she was not a good person to suit the representation of their company.”

Story Two: A model is applying for a television show. She got in contact with all the photographers that she worked with because the network wanted to use her images. During the time of shooting her, I was featured on a retouching blog which showcased her image. This time she did an Internet Search which brought that blog to light. She begged me to have it removed. Fortunately there was enough time and we got the blog changed. She did make it to the television show, but things could’ve went a completely different way if I didn’t have that blog pulled. We will never know.

Story Three: A male model was trying make some extra money before he decided that he wanted to become an actual legit model. He was featured in some underground pornographic videos. It didn’t take long for them to surface. The major modeling agency he was signed to had to drop him immediately. A major company is not going to have you represent them and you are tied to activities that can sully the name.

All three instances above ALL have to do with branding. The public’s perception of who you are. It didn’t matter that the girl in the first story was doing something on her own time, in a time of her life that she wasn’t thinking of even joining a finance company, but her “brand” was viewed in a negative light. The second story the girl simply had poor skin at the time of the shoot, the third was a simple case of “you do what you have to do to eat.” I get it. I don’t hold judgment, however, the major populace does.  Even with me, there are times I have to step away from projects, because they may be viewed in a negative light (no pun intended). 

Branding covers everything that is publicly known about you and it only takes a single indiscretion about you that can put you in an unfavorable light. So when you are being cavalier with the attitude of "I don't care" realize that it may come back one day. You must be aware of yourself and your image and how you are portrayed at all times. In the world of instant information, anyone can do a simple search on the internet and find anything they want about you, without your control, or your knowledge.  So when information/photos/stories/interviews/blogs are released about you, you should know at all times what is going on if you have control over it. There is an old saying “you are only as good as your last __________________” [I will allow you to fill in the blanks].

So when I come along and tell you about shooting with bad photographers there is a reason why. If I tell you not to associate yourself with a project, there is a reason why. If I tell you not to release something about you, there is a reason why.

There is also a reason why Google exists. Use it and use it often.

Friday, August 5, 2011


Marisa of Fenton Moon

Hey Blog followers. It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I have to apologize for that (yeah, I know. You don’t want to hear it). For real, though. It’s hard for me to just right a random blog.  My blogs have to be inspired (or I should say triggered from something that I occurred in my life) and it affects me so much that I am compelled to write about it.

This blog may come across conceited and that is sooooooo not the case, but lately (well honestly it’s been a while). I’ve been noticing a really poor trend. Photo whores.

Photo whores? What’s that you asked? Well a photo whore is a model (or “model”) that likes to amass lots of photographs of themselves for no apparent reason. They are constantly shooting and “building their book” when there is no need to do so. They stalk photographers in hopes to get shot so they can get bragging rights, or if nothing else “hot” photographs (please see previous blog: “Don’t Shoot With Me” I never really understood the mind of the photo whore, but I guess it’s no different than the GWC (Guy With Camera) trying to get as many “models” in front of their camera for no apparent reason (except I guess to get them naked - that's ANOTHER blog for another time).

Well there are two types of Photo Whores. Those that amass quality photos from quality photographers. They want to build their book with the best possible images that they can. They are constantly testing upward and constantly looking for better photographs and constantly trying to keep their look “fresh” in the public’s eye and then there is the “model” that just doesn’t give a damn. And guess what “model”? This blog is just for you.

When you are running around and jumping in front of every Tom, Dick and Harry’s camera without the understanding of how it is going to benefit you, you produce poor photographs. Because of the poor photographs, you develop a reputation which tells professional photographers to steer clear of you, because you are not considered serious. It also lets quality photographers know that you have no idea what you are doing and you don’t know quality, so why should we waste our time with you.

I am constantly approached by “models” wanting to shoot with me, and I look at their track record of photography. When I see their photographic line up and it is full of poor photographs, bad retouching, awful, unattractive angles, inexperienced lighting, etc., I then ask “why do you want to shoot with me.” The usual retort is “because you will give me quality images (aka “hotness.”) I always wonder to myself: “then why did you shoot with all these bad photographers?” At this point I honestly do not wish to shoot with you, because you wouldn’t know “hotness” if it landed on you in a RangeRover SUV.

True Story:

There was a beautiful female model that I shot for a hair campaign. I always wanted to work with her. She was new to New York and I was one of the first photographers to work with her (this time I am bragging). We produced beautiful photographs and she proudly displayed me in her book.

Whenever she want to castings, my photo was usually the opening image shortly followed by a series of photos that could not compete. She never got called back. Why? “Her photos are inconsistent. She looked great in one set of photos, but the rest turned out to be garbage” This is the words from the Casting Director’s own lips. “We can see that she is beautiful, but we cannot tell if she can PHOTOGRAPH beautifully, because she was only photographed well one time. The rest of her book is garbage.” So in essence, my photos of her, though good, was killing her career, because the other images could not compete. This is not a bragging right situation. This is a wake up situation. CHOOSE YOUR PHOTOGRAPHERS WISELY.

Good photographers like to be in the company of good photographers. It tells us that you value our work, and the work of our peers and that you wish to produce the best possible photos for your portfolio. Like I said in the previous blog: If our photos are not doing their jobs, then we as the photographer are not doing OUR job.

Again, “models,” this is YOUR career. If you don’t want to take it seriously and want to shoot with inept photographers keep doing so. I guess working at Hollister is all you'll ever want to do.

Think about it.