We have all seen the cover of tabloid magazines plastered with famous celebrity faces on every newsstand. Especially here in North America it is difficult to escape it when you are going about your daily chores waiting in line to check out at the local grocery store or drugstore.
I don’t think anyone would disagree that paparazzi photographers are the most hated among other photographers. On average, the paparazzi photogs that do this on a full-time basis make anywhere from $80,000 – $250,000. The really great stalkers, I mean veteran paparazzi photogs make on average $250,000 – $300,000 apparently. I guess the one’s that make the higher incomes can justify their behavior by the amount of money they receive in return for their actions.
Most of my professional career has been spent working in the fashion industry. Fashion Design is what I went to school for and what I have always had an immense passion for. I remember buying fashion magazines such as: Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, etc. when I entered middle school. I would tear out all the images that caught my eye and would cover my whole bedroom wall until it resembled high-fashion wallpaper.
Many of the images I would stare at day in and day out were taken by some of the photographers who inspired me to pursue a career in fashion.
Here are some of my all time favorites in no particular order:
Herb Ritts, born in August 13, 1952, passed away in December 26, 2002 at the young age of 50. With no formal training in photography, Ritts and Richard Gere, an aspiring actor at the time, shot some images together. That image later gained some attention and helped jumped start both their professional careers.
By 1981, Ritts gained instant stardom when he shot Brooke Shields for the cover of Vogue and the same year photographed Olivia Newton John for her Physical album cover. He continued to have the opportunity to work with celebrities such as: Elton John, Michael Jackson, Tom Cruise, Elizabeth Taylor, Dalai Lama and many, many more.
There is power in youthfulness. The cosmetics industry is built on it. The world spends billions of dollars to stay, feel, and look young. The same goes for the modeling world. Kate Moss was discovered at 14 at JFK airport, Candice Swanepoel was spotted in a flea market when she was 15, and Lily Aldridge, my personal favorite, began modeling at 16. Unlike other careers where the older you are the more salary, prestige, and respect you can command, being young and beautiful is incredibly marketable in the beauty industries. It is a bizarro world.
It is difficult to capitalize on this advantage when you are also inexperienced. Teens are young adults still learning their way through social situations, family situations, and professional situations. At the same time, I sometimes dread booking young models because I’ve been burned many times when they don’t show up to a shoot. How do teen models deal with the pressures of school, early adulthood, family, and a modeling career?
At just 15 years old, Isabella is currently our youngest model at iLHP. She is extremely professional, mature beyond her years, and yet malleable and open to new ideas like most young people are. She is just starting out in the north east and we had a chance to speak with her after our Terry Shoots last month. With her Candice Swanepoel cheekbones and teenage-attitude stare, this Korean Italian bombshell will undoubtedly have a long and successful modeling career.
More often than not, we see a beautiful women in a photograph, only to have no idea who they are. The fashion and beauty industries have long materialized women to their sell their goods. For every Kate Moss or Candice Swanepoel, there are countless nameless faces. Mannequins for clothes, robots for runways, and plastic perfection for cosmetics. It is easy to be lost behind a photo and forget that there is a person in front of the camera. And unfortunately, photographers are the enablers.
It’s not the photographers’ fault really. Their jobs are to take the pretty pictures. Advertisers, agencies, and brands are there to sell the look. It doesn’t matter if a model is brilliantly intelligent or has a substance abuse problem. Looks are the only thing.
But I think we can do better here at iLHP. Since we are independently run and don’t have to cater to corporate whims, we can put some humanity back into the art. Beauty is looks, but beauty is also more. Beauty is an attitude. Beauty is personality. Beauty is intelligence. And of course, smart is sexy.
Starting this week at iLHPwe will have a new recurring feature in which we interview the models. Professional or amateur, we will put a mind to a beautiful face.