Stretching the friendship

If you have a close friend who is a photographer, chances are you’ve been asked at some stage to pose for them.

This is not always a flattering portrait sitting – in fact – almost never a flattering portrait sitting. Mostly the photographer needs a person who is unlikely to say no to a ridiculous suggestion or, worst case scenario, just to help out by being a human light stand.

The weather picture is a classic example. Apart from reporting on itself, weather is what the media loves more than anything. It’s a sure bet – weather affects everyone – so the story will always be well read.

When I worked at The NT News in Darwin it was the ‘unofficial’ assignment for each day. In the ‘build up’ and the wet season we would try and outdo each other with dramatic cloudscapes or what outrageous things we could make our friends do.

Extra points were awarded if you could get a total stranger to do something idiotic.

But it is possible to stretch the friendship, and that’s when you start to need models.

I’m reaching the stage where I want to create something lasting and worthwhile, rather than an editorial image that’s here today – forgotten about tomorrow.

One website where you can find people for such projects is Model Mayhem. It’s a good place to connect with aspiring and professional models, make-up artists or to drum up interest for a particular project.

These are not necessarily paid assignments – many models are just looking to build their portfolio – and the photographer might require a person to do something you just wouldn’t ask of a friend.

Like clamber through a dirty old rail bridge about 30 metres above a rancid creek wearing not much in the middle of a Melbourne winter.

Such was the scene for a recent shoot with model Vicky Blackthorn (a trained contortionist) and make-up artist Eevie La Volpe over Merri Creek.

It’s hardly a pure mountain stream, but there are heaps of good places to shoot along the creek, and we wanted a bit of a grunge thrown in to make it ‘Melbourne’.

Vicky played her part beautifully, even producing real tears, perhaps due to the real frostbite she was experiencing. This played havoc with Eevie’s makeup, but I think it actually worked quite well in the end.

Thanks guys for coming out on a pretty ordinary afternoon – it was cold – but heaps of fun.

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