A long time ago, too many years ago, I had a muse – a model I worked with many times over the span of two years. She was (is) a beautiful woman, creative, limitless, boundless, fun to work with, patient – in short, the best model I’ve ever worked with.
In the days before Facebook, there were message boards. I saw posts from Missy on a Southern models message board and contacted her for a shoot. She pulled a no-show. Not an uncommon event, unfortunately. I posted on the message board that Missy had pulled a no-show, and thus began a series of back and forth messages where she said she never agreed to a shoot, I said she did, she said nuh uh, etc. Eventually we said, “Let’s fix this.” And we did.
She came over for a shoot, and we clicked. That was the first of many shoots before she married and moved away. Over the years she modeled for swimsuit catalogs, magazines, myriad photographers, and even became a Playboy model.
Missy is now a divorced mom of an adorable little boy and works as a flight attendant. You’d be damned lucky to have her on your flight. And I miss her.
As I re-evaluate my time photographing models, I realize that although I am ready to leave most of it behind I would love to have another Missy. I would love to have a model who challenges my creativity – a model I can call and say, “Hey, I have this wacky idea for a shoot that involves three jars of bright paint” and hear in return, “That sounds like fun! How about next Saturday?” I’d love to have a model who calls me and says, “I just bought some new clothes for shoots, and I’d like to some testing to see how they’ll do. Does next Sunday work for you?” I miss hearing, “I don’t know, Ed. That’s a bit out of my comfort zone. Why don’t we try this instead, and see how it goes?”
I will never tire of taking pretty pictures of pretty girls, but I’d prefer to do this dance with one or two or three models who understand that we do this for fun, for creativity, that our paydays come from other work, and sometimes we just need to play.