Monday, August 2, 2010

Panda, Friend, Model, Student, Cleveland, Ohio, States, July, 2010



Her name is Panda, or at least this is how we meet through ModelMayhem.

Our initial contact is a response to my casting call. She informs me that she will be out of town during that time and hopes my work will be extended to allow her a chance to be included.

The words that she uses are precise, direct and honest.

Panda writes: 'I love when people call me Sir, then change to Miss, then blush and stutter. I laugh a lot, but reassure them it's okay because they genuinely seem embarrassed.'

She reads the entire description and provides a response that is relevant to my work and brings a fresh approach as well. So many glance over the meaning of my photography while Panda takes the time to understand how she will bring something new to the work while maintaining a flow to it as well.

When asked about a similarity between her and the subjects in my portfolio, she writes:

'I think a similarity is obviously human. I find it funny how race is so emphasized, when in all reality we are one species, and race is a social construct. It's one genome. We've all seen our fair share, you can see it in the eyes and fine lines and markings.'

My work is clear to her even before meeting.

She arrives to the studio on time regardless of difficulty. We proceed to the rooftop and, in the span of a few minutes, she is ready to be photographed. We begin with close portraits and she moves from one pose to another, from one composition to another and from one expression to another effortlessly.

There is something about her; she moves with great delicacy and intent. She knows when it is time to show another face, another facet of her personality. Even though the sun is striking her with sufficient strength, she calmly gives me half an hour before we make portraits in another style.

The three images above are from this initial series.

Even before this session, Panda kindly accepts the thought of being photographed over a span of a few times. She feels that perhaps we can produce a more complete body of work given the benefit of a few sessions. Her patience with me and my work is extraordinary.

Last night she received the images from six weeks ago with grace, regardless of the time taken to produce the work. When asked to use her words for this entry, she responds with the same humility and grace.