All images are copyright of the photographers and are not to be shared or re-posted without expressed written consent.

May 6, 2010

The AJR Experience

From my preview post, it may have appeared inevitable that I was going to spend an entire weekend in Orlando doing a photoshoot with AJRimaging.  This past weekend's events were far from what I expected, but I was also more disappointed in myself to be so close-minded that I focused solely on tangible images that I almost missed out on experiencing the AJR family.  Is this what modeling is about? Just taking good images so you can move on to the next photographer in hopes of just repeating the cycle over and over?  Where is the emotional connection to all of this?  Why am I modeling to begin with?  How can I learn and grow from each experience with a new photographer?  There must be more...

And AJ taught me these lessons and answered some of these questions.  Here I was, wrapped up in my own ego that I was unable to convey strong feelings or emotions in front of his camera.  AJ had seen a void within me, an emotional disconnect that separated him from the subject in front of him.  I was stagnant.  As a former model and now an esteemed photographer, he put his camera down, we both walked away, and he had a long chat that took place over the entire weekend.  They are called AJR Imaging and Consulting after all.

It was therapy time, or what I prefer, "tough love."  After our first evening of shooting, we took the entire next day off so I could re-align my focus, to disengage myself from the outside world.  It was a turning point when after hitting the gym, releasing my nervous and anxious energy, having a hearty lunch, and waking up from a long nap that AJ's feedback kicked into high gear.

That previous night, I was just posing in front of him.  Anyone can pose, but just like Meryl Streep who can embody any role without any emotional fear, it was time for me to portray my inner softness and subtlety.  I'm still learning how to do this, but AJ taught me that once you find those feelings that link to your inner soul you can convey just about anything you want.  Needless to say, he hit a sensitive chord with me when he asked me to think about my nephew Hunter.  It's not enough that AJ asked me to think of him but in the way he was able to withdraw those emotions that I was able to connect with the camera in the way he envisioned.  The headshots we created together put tears in my eyes, for I've never seen this soft side of me in images before.  They're effortlessly sexy.

Although you won't always nail it on the first click, the dozens of drafts we sifted through looked much brighter and more energetic than day one.  We concluded the night with a couple more shots, including our final image of the weekend:  "Torture."  AJ is currently developing a Warrior Series photobook and will be including this shot of me with the sword close to my face within his book.  He originally wanted me to have a bow-and-arrow, but the equipment didn't arrive until after I left, so we went with the sword.  All of the equipment was hand-made and was not easy to handle, but I was up for the challenge.  After "Torture," we didn't shoot another image the rest of the weekend.  It was time for me to just have fun!

I'm thankful for AJ and Scott for believing in me and opening their home to me.  On top of just enjoying myself with them and getting awesome pictures, I was fortunate enough to experience a number of exciting things.  They took me to see my first Cirque du Soleil show, La Nouba; I enjoyed Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues; I rode roller coasters and experienced Universal Studios for the first time; and I played video games with my photographer for hours!  It was after taking AJ's advice that I was able to enjoy these moments!  I'm also happy to say that I'm going back for another visit during the long Memorial Day weekend!  This was my AJR experience.

1 comment:

  1. What a pleasure to read this! Thank you for sharing what must have been an amazing weekend!