Rain, Directing Beauty, Fun, Ben Franklin and Model Scams

As Chicago continues to suffer through the rainiest early summer I can remember (this first photo was taken at noon last Friday), we can all at least be happy in the fact that warmer temperatures have finally arrived. It feels like summer, although maybe summer in a rain forest.

And after what seems like an eternity, I’ve managed to carve time out to create some personal photography work. Work I’m extremely happy with. Although the cost of that has been that I am ridiculously behind in the work of my photography business. Ah balance, you elusive creature.

I am currently editing a beautiful commercial for my director’s reel with footage Jillian Ann and I shot while she was in Chicago. I could not be happier with how it’s turning out. I’ll resist the urge to put the rough cut out in public for now as we’re fairly close to being finished with the post production on it which will give it that little extra polish. I’ve been getting lots of requests to direct commercials the last six months based on my still photography work and this one will really add something special to my reel. Thanks Jillian!

It was incredibly fun to work with new people the past few weeks. Shooting Heavyweight Dub Champion at House of Blues was stretching in a different and rewarding direction for me, followed by a week of shoots with Jillian, Asphyxia and Amiria Divine. Those collaborations fed my soul in ways I haven’t felt in quite some time.

It was good to get back behind the camera and create something again that was just about the art and emotion of it all. Trying and succeeding and experimenting and failing at some is so exhilarating to me. But the results are unmistakable. I’ve been away too long. I’m back.

And I have a list of new collaborators that are anxiously waiting to shoot or shoot again for that matter. An oasis in my photography desert it seems.

One of the more funny failures, although it will probably be revisited again once we work out the kinks, was Amiria taking a 30′ by 15′ piece of while silk seamless that I’ve been saving and creating a very intricate jungle of intertwined drapings on my bed canopy that she and Asphyxia were going to hang in as I photographed them.

What we failed to realize was that all these connected silk pieces required us to follow the fairly specific rules of gravity like a multidimensional teeter-totter and after a few minutes of balancing and falling, I manage to make only a few photos before we collectively decided it was a good idea, but was going to need more work to figure out and we temporarily abandoned the idea.

But failure is good. I always feel like I’m closest to creating something amazing during the failure process. We’ll try it again another time. There is something there. We knew it, but we just couldn’t find it that time.

I’ve also been continuing my research into an odd pet photography project of mine involving Benjamin Franklin. What do Benjamin Franklin and inspiring women have in common? Quite a lot it turns out. Things that were sadly neglected in my school history classes or I would have paid much more attention when I was 11 years old.

Several years ago, during the United States government’s yet again embarrassing foreign policy foibles of French bashing and Freedom Fries, it occurred to me that we have a very selective memory when it comes to our relationship with France. Some of it remains to this day when the cries of the horrors of socialized health care threaten to quash any progress of remaking our own very backwards health care system.

The very defensive recoil of the Obama Administration’s, “No we’re not talking about turning out a health care program like socialized medicine in France,” makes me cringe. The very diametrically opposed health care philosophies of profit vs. prevention in the US and France seem to be the basis of the argument. And a very silly one at that.

Why does there need to be profit in health care? There is no profit in local streets and sanitation, yet we all seem to be comfortable with that. There is no profit in public education and even many private institutions. The idea of profit without consideration for future generations has all but killed our automotive industry. Is that good?

I think we could stand a little more French in our thinking.

Which brings me back to Ben. What most Americans don’t realize is that during the birth pangs of our country, for about seven years, Ben was thousands of  miles away in Paris. In the years before the French Revolution, it was the French who supplied our inexperienced, outmanned and outgunned army with critically needed ships, money and weapons to fight off the British.

If it weren’t for the French, we’d all be speaking English now. Wait… bad example. But you get my point. We’d certainly have a King George of a different sort anyway.

Americans always remember rescuing France from the Germans in World War Two, but they always seem to forget that Ben Franklin spent years behind the scenes in Paris making our precious freedom possible. And he did it by being the best American diplomat we ever had or will probably ever see by becoming very French.

Much as I returned from my travels in Paris learning a new take on the balance of work and enjoying life, he quickly mastered the art of conducting business without seeming to be working. As I continue to read many books on the subject, my awe of him only grows.

And then there were the ladies. He was very taken with young women with artistic bents and strong intellects and opinions. I can certainly relate to that. As he approached his 80s he was the toast of Paris. His circle of friends included French Royalty, philosophers, scientists, inventors and anyone else who enjoyed critical thinking. Regal or not.

He had little time for those who would profit at the expense of the middle class. Thomas Jefferson also spent time in Paris and because of this, the new post revolutionary French Government as well as our own were born of similar ideas that were discussed at length in the Parisien Salons of the day.

So enough of my little history lesson. This is one photography project that will probably take me a few more years to realize. But I look forward to it.

One last thing, and more directed at my lovely model friends. I was speaking to one of them the other day about a modeling job offer she had received from a “photographer” (using the name John Stewart) who was casting models for a clothing catalog. She was a bit apprehensive because it sounded too good to be true ($600 up front before the shoot and another $1400 after the completion of the shoot – without even meeting her, I might add) and the number of grammatical mistakes in his correspondence with her was at best, unprofessional.

She sent me the correspondence and sure enough, after a google search for this photographer and his clothing designer that turned up nothing we found a thread about a model scam that’s been going around with nearly identical wording to what my model friend received. Basically identity theft. The thieves ask you for all this personal information that looks like they are just getting ready to send your personal measurements and other information to the designer so the clothes will fit, but the information they ask for goes way beyond what is needed.

An except from the correspondence….

It’s really nice reading back from you and here are more informations about the assignment is a $2000 pay Fashion job (Assignment) for you, My client wants to update her Catalog with her new year release Fashion outfits and to host one of the 2009 model event with her new fashion from Italy this assignment is to encourage the upcoming models in the industry she is affiliated with the Academy Art,you don’t have to be worried about your experience or present look because we have specialist stylist and make Up artist who will bring the real beauty out of you,I’m a professional photographer/Manager with 8 years experience :). Find all details for the job below..

Job Location
The shooting will be hold at a rented photographers studio in your location,so you don’t have to worry about traveling,the name and address of the studio will be forwarded to you a week before the date of the shooting,all make up will be taken care of in the studio.You can come along with any body of your choice on the day of the shooting,your mum,dad,friend,body-guard anybody you wish to come with just for you to feel more comfortable.

Job details
You have 12 different Fashion outfits to cover,which would be provided by our client on the day of the shooting.

Types of cloths
Jeans and Jackets

Name of client
Marie Thomas

Company Name
Beth Designer

Job percentage
The total pay for the jobs is $2000 but you will get $600 as upfront part payment before the shoot and the remaining balance of $1400 will be paid to you in cash at the shooting venue immediately after the shoot.

Shooting Date.
the date for the shooting is not fix,i will have to make arrangement for that ahead from now,I will email you the exact date for the shooting a week before the shoot as soon as the arrangement is completed with our client.

Very Attractive,Classy,In Great Shape,Extremely Outgoing & Personable,out spoken,Must be Reliable.

Payment Policy.
As part of my working policy and ethics,i receive part payment from any client before I proceed with any job and balance immediately after the shooting,this is to identify a serious client and ascertain the job,I hope you comprehend this fact.
I will keep you updated as to when our client wants to make upfront payments

you need to have good and attractive poses .(start practicing) Basically this is all required of you,for your make up my client will be taken care of it,you don’t have to be bother for any make up,please get in touch with me if you will take the job and we can go from there,just let me know if you will take the job to commence with next arrangement.

Please I’d like you to check your email on a regular bases, I might have updates for you.

And then the part that will get your identity stolen if you respond…

If you agree to take this job and will obey all rules and regulation guiding this assignment get back to me with the following informations below:

1. Name in full :
2. Date of Birth:
3. Address and apartment #:
4. City:
5. State:
6. Zip code:
7. Country:
8. Phone number :
9.  Height:
10. Weight:
11. Waist size:
12. Clothing Size:
13. Three photograph of your self:
14. Email address:

This is all very sad, as so many girls will fall for this thinking it is their big break. As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No authentic designer or photographer will hire inexperienced models for such a sum of money and tell them to “practice” in the meantime. Fashion models usually have to be a certain height. While my friend is lovely to photograph, she is not 5’8″, which is the minimum size for most clothing models.

And because you have all been so kind to read what may be my longest blog in history, I have peppered it with some beautiful images from the last week with the lovely Asphyxia.

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2 thoughts

  1. this guy tried scamming me, and sent the same thing to me AGAIN with this new name. Right off the bat I searched, and found this thread.

    what a dumbass this ‘ john stewart, brian jones ‘ fellow.


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