Memento Mori

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I find myself telling potential portfolio clients:  “Pictures are useless… what we DO with them means everything.”  

I mean, what good is a model portfolio that just sits there, collecting dust?  I’d rather talk about goals and needs, and how we can meet them.  Or how to target the images we shoot for a specific agency.  Or maybe find a good home for those images they paid me for, with a magazine submission.  It’s all part of a well-intentioned sale pitch, and  I want my clients to accomplish more than just *talk* about modeling.  I’d love to see them all go out and succeed with getting paid work and great publications.

But I’ve grown realistic over the years. Most new talent won’t last very long for various reasons: time constraints, unrealistic expectations, lackluster response, or simply lack of genuine interest that lures them away down other paths.

Many clients aren’t serious about modeling in the first place and often, they’re just using the word ‘modeling’ to give some legitimacy to other motives.  Maybe they need an ego boost with some nice pictures, or for Facebook to pick up guys, or to scratch an item off their bucket lists.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong with all that, but I sure wish they’d be more honest with themselves upfront.  It would totally change what we shoot, and how we shoot it, and removing the pressure of modeling ambitions would make it all more fun as well.   It’s rare, but I love when my clients say things like: “I really don’t care about being published, I just want pics to show my grandkinds that Gramma used to be hot!” (actual quote).

I was saddened to hear that one of my model portfolio clients had recently taken her own life.  She was only 16 when I worked with her last year, newly signed to an agency, and needed a portfolio.  When I worked with her, there were no signs of anything more than the usual teen age awkwardness at first.  And that went away by our first look.  Just a very nice girl, with none of the drama I deal with on a regular basis with so many others.  Her mother emailed me this week to share the bad news, and say: “The pictures you took are now invaluable to me and her father.  See the beautiful photos you took brings us so much peace and joy to remember the great, happy young woman she was before depression took over her life.”

So here’s to me, being totally wrong.  Pictures are not useless… sometimes, they’re all we have left.

If you suffer from depression, get help now:

Onward and upward,

Jim Jurica, BeautyLook Editor