WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT IN A MODEL, BEAUTY OR SKILL?

What is a model? A set of skills? A beautiful aesthetic? A combination of both? Is there a bias in either direction? Is that bias shifted by our personal preference of what we believe to be a “beautiful subject”?

We’re taking photo’s because of first and foremost the subject matter. Take a bowl of fruit for example. Sometimes the perfect fruit might be less interesting subject matter than that of mouldy / decaying fruit.

And by attracted to I’m referring to “interested” in. Something / someone who takes your creative interest.

You may be drawn to / attracted to shooting an old gentleman on the beach with his bottle of beer and a fishing rod, but it doesn’t mean that we’re attracted to them in a sexual way.

For me, in the start of my career / shooting has been based on “because they are available” and then it moved to “They would make a beautiful subject” and now it’s a combination of “They would make an interesting / beautiful subject” in combination with “they are great at what they do”.

For me, it’s a no brainer, a good model is more akin to an actor / actress, capable of delivering emotion on demand and understanding what poses work well for their body.

The deeper it goes I think a model should be able to pay attention to where the camera height is, where the light direction is coming from, the garments they’re wearing and how they impact their shape etc.

In all regards to the craft, they become easier to work with and achieve great results, with less direction required (thought there will always be direction required to some degree).

All of a sudden when you realise how deep of a job role being a model is, you’re left with an interesting question of beauty vs skill vs beauty and skill combined.

I mean for starters, if a model has no knowledge, has to be directed constantly and has no poses in her book, but she’s a beautiful subject to photograph, would you still work with them because of the end result?

Verses for example a slightly less aesthetically pleasing model (based on your preference) who absolutely kills it in every way and was easy as hell to work with.

Could we apply the same standard of thought to the opposite gender?

Is it possible to truly be professional and machine like in our choices? I mean after all, doesn’t our “gut” feeling and personal preference of aesthetic dictate who we choose to work with to begin with?

I know models who work with others and those people love working with them, yet they have never appealed to what I look for in a model and thus have never worked with them.

So I know I can’t sit here and say I don’t have a preference in aesthetic for my subjects, though I should be extremely clear here, I’m not choosing people to work with because of anything sexual or because I’m attracted to them sexually.

I’m simply saying that there are certain traits we like, or that just “click” with us and over time that’s who we find ourselves working with.

I really enjoy working with frail, lithe models with long hair and capable of appearing fragile / delicate. Vs for e.g working with models who give off a strong and confident vibe.

The reason being that the personal story I want to tell in my photography is based on my own issues in life.

Depression, lack of self value, insecurity etc and the subjects I work with often embody these traits through their skill set and it helps me convey the message I want to.

So I’m “attracted” or for a less loaded term “drawn to” subjects that can help me tell my story.

This is a potentially touchy subject to talk about, but I like talking about the subjects that make people uncomfortable. Perhaps people can start checking themselves from time to time and start making sure they aren’t selling themselves short due to habit or emotional response.

What do you think?

Why do you pick a model? Because she’s available? Because she’s attractive to you as a subject / character? Because she has thorough understanding and depth to her skillset? Because you want to practice?

Why do you work with who you work with?