Thursday, December 20, 2012

OnePixArt + Jorge Kreimer

I just spent August 18th to December 9th in Chengdu, Sichuan, China. As I do primarily photo work, there wasn't much work for me there. I did one fashion show, where I wore my own clothes... and I hated it. I find that kind of thing pointless. All it says is, "Hey, look at our foreigners parading around like walking alone is a talent." I jumped right back into shooting, though, since I landed in L.A. I shot with UMBRO, as usual (and got some really awesome shots, as usual) OnePixArt, and Jorge Kreimer. Here are a couple shots.

More of Jorge Kreimer's work can be found here, and more of me from this shoot can be found here(until it's pushed off that page). I don't normally shoot such things, but I was quite interested in experimenting, using my face to its full potential. I am quite an expressive person, it just tends to be abandoned far too often. I really enjoyed working with him.  

Above: OnePixArt. Old, but good. I love them. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I leave for Chengdu, China tomorrow. If things go well, I'll keep everyone updated. It'd be nice to continue shooting while I'm there, but it's unlikely to happen... unless I'm shooting myself. -_-'

More work with Ransom -- photos and video.

We shot my costume from Cupcake Cabaret (or, my rendition of "Downtown"). Here's what it looks like onstage. Otherwise, click and enjoy.

Teehee. Why not.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Behind the scenes of Cupcake Cabaret.

Lovely people. 

Good criticism inspires.

When I took my portfolio to my first review at Maryland Institute, College of Art six years ago, I got ripped a new one. I didn't talk to my father when he picked me up afterward. When we got home, I went to sleep, miserable.

 But when I woke up (from what may have actually been more of a stupor), I started working on all of my pieces again. I finished them, to the best of my abilities, and submitted it several months later. I got in.* 

Nothing I make is ever finished anymore. But I'm constantly seeking to improve my work. If this time didn't go well, there's always next time.

And that's what keeps me alive.

 * - Now I owe several tens of thousands of dollars. :)

Hahaha. Reviews on Cupcake Cabaret: A Brief History of Bad Women.

I would love to see more.
The show is witty, well paced and seducibly charming. Each lovely dame in the cast delivers her characters with sublime movements and compelling delivery, making the story each one tells alluring and gripping.
We do not go in for burlesque much in Washington, but to our northern neighbors in Charm City, it is a big deal. Burlesque is so much in the fiber of Baltimore that its chief sage and poet, the great H.L. Mencken, invented a term to describe the art: ecdysiast, meaning “an artist who, while dancing, takes off her clothes, for cash money.” So it should not be a surprise that for a show featuring ecdysiasts, the performers should be from Baltimore, here to take D.C. money. Thus in Cupcake Cabaret, the ecdysiasts – two attractive young women, Lola Rose and Patty Cake (not their real names), and a third attractive person, Cwen L’Queer, who, by the program appears to be keeping the gender options open, ply their trade.
The dance moves are hardly complex, the plot is flimsy and redundant (I wish I had a quarter for every time Belinda shrieks, “dump his ass!”) and the cat-calls and hooting from the mostly-male audience as the girls strip down to their pasties is a bit unsettling. Burlesque, when done with exceptional talent and a solid framework for a plot, can be enthralling, but this insubstantial design just seemed like a seedy excuse for debauchery.
...shows me you can't take a lot of reviews very seriously. One review is glowing, the other are cloudy. My gender options are indeed open, but what an awkward way of presenting it. I'm certainly no actor, but I am a far more engaging writer than #3. If you "had a quarter" for every "Dump his ass!" you probably couldn't even ride Metro. The audience seemed more mixed than male, since I was looking at them, and if that little bit of hooting unsettled you, well. I question why someone so conservative would go to such a show in the first place.

 No arguments otherwise. I look forward to the next show. <3

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Body painting: MichelleHeffnerBodyArt.

First (real) time, too. I definitely feel I made the right choice. More of her work can be found here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Flash Cubed, March 2012.

I really enjoyed working with him. :) It's also really neat to see my image floating in a sea of such consistent work.

"Congratulations on not having any tattoos."

It's been a while since I last posted anything, but I find this to be a really unfortunate statement. One day I do plan to have tattoos, but I'll wait as long as I need to -- and no one else's opinion will affect when I choose to make the commitment.

Marking one's body is like any art. You can't just ask someone with no artistic training to compose a masterpiece, or suddenly excel at graphic design. A lot of artists do get tattoos and it works. But more often that not, it's normal people depending on someone else's artistic and technical skill. That can't always be translated. As for my opinion... I wish tattoos weren't applied like stickers -- dark floating chunks with no consideration of what's around them. I want mine specifically to contour the natural rhythm of my body. They'll be done in white, so when the ink fades it will all be raised like scars.  

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cwen as Brain...? a photography sample.

I really like expressions of intimacy. Don't know how well I pulled it off, but I shall trudge on in my efforts.

I have to stop half-assing.

 I rely on my body too much for too many things.

The best models are ones who can express an emotion in their body language, facial expressions or not, that makes the viewer feel connected -- pull at their heart strings, if you will -- even if it's a totally arbitrary image.

I don't do that. The attraction viewers feel is likely the same they would feel if they first saw me walking down the street somewhere. Oh, what nice lines, boobs, legs. Though it's different, in that they are even more likely to be driven away by any emotions I may be showing -- if, for example, someone had just said something really rude to me and I was storming down the street rather than just walking.

But... that's what modeling is to me. Walking. Pushing my body into pretty shapes. Blanking out and relaxing my face. I literally go somewhere else sometimes. On very rare occasions when I meet photographers, I click immediately... but normally, it's only when I've worked with photographers for the __th time that my emotions/connection become visible. Sometimes, it's also after I've been pushed beyond my limit. Examples.

Inversely, good photographers are able to draw that out of their subjects regardless of how well they know them. Here are some examples of images I feel have embodied that concept.

They are by Josh Marks, Ted Mebane, and UMBRO respectively.

My best shooting experiences and my best images really don't have much to do with each other. They have nothing to do with my comfort, because I've shot under very uncomfortable circumstances (I hate being in wet clothing, for example). When it comes down to what the photographer is doing to capture an emotionally involved, powerful image, I think what it comes down to most of all is... Fear.

Fear of being wrong. Fear of taking an ugly picture. Fear of not composing the image correctly. There are so many facets affecting what the photographer will even aim their camera at before pressing anything. People have a tendency to rest the notion of fearlessness entirely on the model... that if they're doing their job, you will get good images. (Pet peeve? ...photographers that take awesome photos but can't recognize them, using the one with amputee angles instead. Good photography/representation is also about selection.) But people don't stop to think: A photo shoot is still a social situation. Most models aren't actors, or dancers. Some genres rely on the model's ability to exert themselves than others.... like, maybe if wardrobe, hair, and makeup were taken care of, models would focus more on their emotive abilities. But sometimes that's just not as possible with internet modeling.

Clearly it takes talent, but the shoots that resulted in the above images didn't have much in common. The first two -- the photographer sat down, spoke to me, got to know me. He walked me through exactly what he was looking for, asked exactly what I was looking for, and we met in the middle. He set the stage, requested a mood/vibe, I acted it out. The second two -- that photographer really pressed trust. He assured me that we would get some workable images, but I had to be willing to push myself. I did. The image with the dogs was my first time shooting - the day I had decided to go to a meet and greet at Dupont Circle. The final images -- I just enjoy UMBRO's company, and I had a sense he was able to read me pretty well from the beginning. And he doesn't just shoot the pretty shapes you aim at him.  

Alternatively, maybe it's not just who's posing, or who's shooting, a combination of model, photographer, and viewer. Maybe some of the feelings being expressed in certain images just appear as completely dry to some viewers. Maybe the subtle nuances speak louder to others.

What remains is, I don't necessarily want to be pushed - I'm already pushing myself to be more expressive in the absence of motivation. I want to be challenged... It's just not my place to challenge photographers, beyond blogging about it. There are a lot of photographers that need to self-motivate and recognize that this is still a social interaction -- not just a transaction. And sometimes, asking what a model is looking for out of the situation just isn't an applicable solution... because as much as I appreciate the consideration, in many situations "compensation" is really the only true answer. Collaboration vs. compensation vs. the reality of social interaction. Messy. I don't even know what to do with that.

Maybe I need to visualize an audience next time I'm blanking out at a camera... Convince myself I am indeed in a conversation like I'm supposed to be.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

RhoPhotos (and my breakfast outfit).

The full set should be on Zivity soon. Lots more messy goodness. 

On Thorough Reading, Paid Work, Hobbies, and Nipples.

I've been in a pretty sour mood all week. I should probably avoid the internet, really.

I am one of the few models that reads profiles. And castings. In full. I've shot hundreds of times, with God knows how many people by now. I know that most often, people don't read profiles or castings in full... photographers are constantly asking me to reiterate things I've clarified on my profile, with emboldened sections for the sake of ease. I know when people aren't accepting trade offers, and I don't flat-out ask. I will say, if there are any projects in the future that fit my look, please keep me in mind... and that's daring, for me. In my mind, lately, I'm being treated like stupid.

When there are two paths: A. Model is knowledgeable and informed B. Another fucking model didn't read/lacks experience, people seem to default on B. That's because in most instances, it probably is. It kind of blows my mind sometimes, under Casting Calls. Or maybe, the person doesn't realize there are more options given social conditioning (socially, male > female, photographer > model), or perhaps it just doesn't occur to them. I'll try to be more understanding, but it's still quite frustrating.

I would never call myself a professional model. I'll say that if I happen to fall into a line of professional behavior, that is wonderful. But unfortunately that fools people into how seriously I take myself. I try to be considerate of time wasted, and I'm not a stickler for the hour. While I don't have a 9-5, I'm still just a hobbyist. I've never paid a photographer, and I've never asked one to pay me. I'll just say I can't accept *any* paid work for the reasons above... but it's not that I don't want to. I really, really want to.

Modeling used to be an outlet for me. I enjoyed being part of a creative process. But I find myself with some major deja vu sometimes. I find myself drawn to casting calls for fetish modeling. Lately I only care about money, while I'm still unwilling to compromise my (, at this point, very) basic virtues.

Burlesque has become an outlet for me that modeling can never be. (I imagine I will replace it again in a matter of years.) It's a caricature of sexuality, of society. I can express myself in ways I never will in a photograph, simply because it's a caricature I'm acting out. And if that can't be visible/understood, I'm hesitant to act it out otherwise. If people can be willing to embrace my version of sexuality and what it means to be sexy, I'm totally down to share it. I don't understand what's so wrong about that.

Earlier tonight I let slip the term "nipple legislation," in regards to county and city laws requiring pasties in strip clubs. I find such laws extremely foolish and antiquated; who the hell are these laws representing? If the female nipple is such a symbol of evil, God help me, not even the men "exploiting" strippers agree. And if someone should want embellish their tits, why stop them?

Act for Cupcake Cabaret's Open Auditions - "Kill My Boyfriend"
I want to embellish mine. I want to decide when I can be sexy, and not just because males have decided on the norm. I want to be photographed doing so.

I can pretty much guarantee you probably won't get me to open my legs more than 45 degrees for a picture. Or lie on my back rubbing something ("something" onstage being a hamburger) sensually over my body. But hey, fine. Some of the nice photographers that have made it as far as my blog have responded positively in regard to exploring my gender expression. Maybe more will respond with interest to my burlesque characterizations. That's why I'm writing about it.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shot from Politics and Pasties: A Presidents Day Tribute

There are more to come, as well as a video. I'm currently preparing for an open audition on Sunday. Looks like I may need a separate blog for my burlesque soon.

I'm sure you can guess that's a hamburger.  

Click here for more.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Despite a vast difference in philosophy, Ransom is the only photographer friend I have that I can hit up randomly, shoot with the next day, and get consistently amazing results. And get photos edited within days. Awesommeeeee. :) These are all from one shoot.


Politics and Pasties: A Presidents Day Tribute

I'll be performing two pieces based upon body image -- one of which has to do with identity politics (race), the other to do with the debate on "real women." Hopefully I'll be able to post videos almost immediately after, but I've been working on a blog post in reference to my ethnicities that will be released simultaneously.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A light-hearted comment on a serious topic.

I'm not adverse to anyone throwing a burger this way.

Food is fucking delicious.

But I'd much rather go feed actually-emaciated people with the pile of meat and bread that would inevitably accumulate. So, if only all these super models giving way to industry pressure did so in solidarity with world hunger rather than decadence. :)

Lost brgrz...?! Where else iz find a say in femininity?

Wishing so hard I wasn't bald right now.

Never stopped to show some love to m'man Sean Scheidt. He's the freaking bomb.