CarlyErin (OMP Model #184887) will be going through a creative transformation in 2012. She relates that this will be her last year touring for as a full-time model, but hopes to continue modeling for the occasional project and her own self-portraiture.
The Southern California resident will be completing her transition to becoming a full-time professional photographer, something that has been taking the backseat because of the demands of maintaining her modeling career.
When asked how long she has been modeling, CarlyErin describes that as a trick question. “Modeling is such a variety of subtler arts joined together — I am not sure people realize this. My childhood years spent in the ballet and theatre, as well as being a trained musician, all affected my ability to model. Modeling, for me, is performance art. However, as for how long I have actually been modeling, it’s been about 10 years now… and counting.”
After booking some commercial assignments when she was 19 years old, CarlyErin began her successful career. “Once I introduced to the Internet-modeling sensation, I was immediately contacted by photographers wanting to shoot with me, and even pay me. I got lucky, certainly. There was a hole in the Texas freelance market for a tall, editorial redhead — and I fit the bill.”
Being a OneModelPlace.com veteran, she fully recommends that everyone on the site take advantage of the efficient and effective Travel Notices feature. “OMP has created a method of posting travel notices that has been essential to every traveling freelance model’s world. I go through phases where I’m on the road for essentially three to four months straight, with about five days home between geographic locations. This year I traveled January through September and hit 34 states without trying. I didn’t do any other countries this year, but hope to make up for it in 2012!”
Having grown up “on film,” she reveals that her style and focus have changed over the past years. “I started out in the editorial world — both in the freelance and commercial, so there’s a bit of that genre that has never left me. Plus I’ve always had the desire to tell a story, to be a vehicle of, almost near-theatrical acting. It is in this way that modeling is performance art. I feel as though a photograph should always have some honesty to it — whether it is an implied honesty to the audience, or a bare-bones-take-it-as-you-get-it portrait where there is nowhere to hide. There has to be some honesty there — and I always try to have that honesty be a combination of past, present, future. I’ve done it all in this industry, to a point, and now I do very little. It is this expression of experience that makes a memorable photograph. My main focus or interest as model has returned to the landscape nude as well as what I call the ‘cinematic nude’ — images that have a very editorial style to them, location-driven, no seamless backdrops! As I prepare to complete my transition from full-time model to full-time photographer, I find it more difficult to take on assignments as a model that do not necessarily inspire me as a photographer. I will model as long as some of my wonderful photographers will have me — because you do learn a bit about yourself and others inside of that artistic process. It is all rather interconnected… as is life.”
She reveals some of her favorite locations for shoots. “My first shoots were on the South Padre Island shore. Portugal is a magical place to model. I’ve almost fallen off a mountain in California (literally caught by my rock-climbing-photographer!). Shooting in NYC is always an adventure. I have also had exciting assignments recently in Seattle and Santa Fe. Lately I have enjoyed photo-trekking with photographers, shooting and modeling (going about with cameras, capturing the world) and the modeling I did inside of those treks always turns out well.”
Photography, to CarlyErin, is an adventurous sport, and she loves to be a part of the creative adventure. “I like to be that kind of muse. I like to inspire people from both sides of the lens, and illustrate the importance of the process itself.”
Her advance preparation is different for each and every shoot. “Basic things to remember include sleep, water, clean skin, and good diet — but you can’t just crash-course the day before the shoot. You have to take care of yourself. Doing freelance modeling fulltime is really hard on your body and mind. It’s tough, I won’t sugarcoat it. It can be the adventure of a lifetime, but you have to prepare yourself. Be detail-oriented in the planning and communication stages. This is most important.”
CarlyErin offers some insight into the rewards and challenges of the modeling profession. “As with any endeavor, it differs person to person, depending on your motivations and intentions. Set these early on. Ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish? What do you want to check off life’s to-do list? Don’t just blindly fling yourself at the world. If you have a purpose, a voice, it will show in your photos. Be looking for something. Modeling can be rewarding in that you can exercise the demons, so to speak, on film. It won’t always solve all your problems, or make you a lot of money. Sometimes it can, sometimes it won’t. It’s all up to you.”
She has some excellent advice for aspiring models just starting out. “If you’re just starting out, don’t quit your job tomorrow. It takes time to build up clientele, just like with any job — and right now isn’t the economic environment to do so anyhow. This is a business, so approach it as such. Take it seriously. Then have the adventure. Be smart. Be safe. Be an individual. Have fun, but stand your ground. Be a strong woman. Don’t let money be the reason you do anything. Keep a journal to remember the good times — you’ll need this for your own sanity at 2 a.m. when you’re running on a few days of three hours of sleep and find yourself in the backwoods on a photo location. Finally, be friendly to other models. This isn’t a competition. Don’t burn your bridges.”
CarlyErin also has several tips for photographers to remember when working with models. “Number one is to communicate clearly from the get-go. On-set, off-set, before and after the shoot. You’d be surprised at how many people find this essential business tool difficult. And please respect the models you’re working with. Over the years, I’ve seen this respect dwindle. Models work extremely hard – it’s a lot of work. We also know that you guys (and gals) work really hard in photoland — but we as models come to you, do the bulk of the scheduling, the traveling, etc. It’s a lot to keep track of — so just respect us for the able-bodied people that we are. It’s okay to develop friendships, but remember that respect is an essential part of that process.”
Check out more of Carly’s images on her OMP Portfolio
Image Credit: Vince Hemmingson