23 August 2015

Working with the Mature Model

Art Models, Liz and Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley
"As you get older, naked stuff gets easier."
~ Helen Mirren

@Alyson Walsh recently did a blog post, [That's Not My Age: The Grownup Guide to Great Style] which I came across regarding Helen Mirren's recent birthday. I felt it was apropos for my own latest blog post, as I have previously discussed Helen Mirren as one of the most beautiful women on the planet. In this post, she's quoted several times on her views of sex, love, and getting living life as one gets older. I recently shot with two new mature models from out of town who share this excellent view on their body confidence, nudity, and life. It was highly inspiring shooting this mother and daughter together who are 75 and 51 years of age, respectively. I know, she does not look 75, but I did check her ID!

There is definitely an attraction for me in shooting the mature woman. I have quite the collection of work with models in their 40's, 50's, and even older. Granted... I've had some mad success at shooting young girls and some of my best have been muses of mine whom I began shooting under the age of 24. I look forward to shooting a woman in this age group next week with great anticipation because of what she brings to the table. However, this can be a hit or miss demographic for me where its 50/50 on whether or not a connection is established or if I'll ever shoot them again.

Not so where it comes to the mature model. Now this might be because at my own age, I identify with models 35 and over. I can not discount that notion by any means. However, I think it goes beyond that idea with much more depth. I'm an artist with a camera. I love the portraiture first. When it comes to looking into the eyes of a mature woman, there is usually a story that lies just beneath. These are women that have lived, traveled, been heartbroken, know the joys and challenges of raising a family, know and have dealt with death, yet despite all, have weathered the storm. These are women that know both pain and joy. They have endured trials of love, and have seen humanity over time. And because of this, they usually develop more than one opinion about a matter. Back in the day, they may have felt one way about an issue. But after 15 or 20 years, wisdom factors in and they see the effects to know first hand whether or not their opinions were accurate, inaccurate, or whether or not it even mattered to contemplate the issue in the first place.

Art Models, Liz and Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley
"The weird thing is, you get more comfortable in yourself, even as time is giving you less reason for it. When you’re young and beautiful, you’re paranoid and miserable. I think one of the great advantages of getting older is that you let go of certain things."
~ Helen Mirren

Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley
With respect to the above quote, that's exactly what these two women did. They let go of "certain things". It was such a pleasure to shoot Anne and her mother, Liz. I worked with Anne earlier in July and she returned about 3 weeks later to Las Vegas with her mother who also worked with me on her visit. I had no real idea of what to think, how we would begin working, or what we would do. So I picked a location and just went with it. I try to maintain a "take what is given" approach. I knew that I would work within each of their boundaries. Liz, (the mom) had a few more restrictions to start with than her daughter of course, but she gradually began to trust me, I think. She began to see where I was going and what I was after and quickly shed whatever reservations that remained. Anne had less up front objections. She already had an idea that she would let go and see what her artist came up with and was initially much more open. I met both women on their terms and developed it from there. During one evening we shot well into the night outdoors. Fabulous day!

I shot them separately as well as together. Both aspects had their benefits. Getting separate shots individualized the experience and made it into a personal participation. Each woman got to experience something on her own. Shooting them together brought back the inseparable bond between them that exists just the same as if Anne was 3 years old again cuddling in Liz's arms at night after waking up from a bad dream. You've seen me post pics of Panda nursing her kid and I tell you seeing Anne and Liz nude together looked the same. It proves that bond transcends time.

Art Model, Liz ©2015 Terrell Neasley
So yes, I enjoy shooting the mature model. I don't think this post will inspire every woman who reads it to undress and let me shoot them. However I think you should ask yourself, "why not?" Most everyone I've worked with over 40 will inevitably ask rhetorically out loud, "Why didn't I do this when I was in my 20's?" Most admit to the idea had previously crossed their minds or that they had passed on a previous opportunity, but were still "paranoid and miserable", as Mrs. Mirren is quoted as saying. They express the notion, not so much as a regret in life, but more or less as if they wish they could turn back the clock or revisit their former selves and tell them to just do it!

I actually love watching the aging process. More than nudes, its LIFE that I like to capture. One of my goals is to shoot a woman over time from her mid-20's to well into mid-life. I sincerely hope to shoot with Kristi C. at least once a year forever, but I'll take 10 years for starters. We've been shooting for 3. I have GOT to do this. A MUST DO! I think she will be my Helen Mirren, as one who ages gracefully with one of the best attitudes I think a woman can have and captured for 50 plus years on camera.

Art Model, Liz ©2015 Terrell Neasley


Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley

"Your 40s are good. Your 50s are great. Your 60s are fab. And 70 is fucking awesome."
~ Helen Mirren

I guess if I have one reason for writing this post...well two, actually...it would be first to showcase these beautiful women and thank them for the opportunity to work with them. And second, its because I would love for you to use their inspiration to get out and just do it. I'm not even saying you have to do it with me, but I certainly encourage and welcome you to fly out to Las Vegas and book a session with me. Stay for a week, but give me, minimum 3 days of shooting to make a good project out of this. We'll work in several locations, plus studio work and everything for expenses and a flat fee. No hourly rates. We can shoot all day if you're up for it.

And if its not me, then find somebody local to where you are with a good reputation and proven results. Anne got to see some of my work and I think she liked my attitude and it was a wrap. Done deal. Not a whole lot of thinking to it. Just..."I'll do it!" And then came back to Las Vegas 3 weeks later and brought her mother, too. By no means am I saying you have to make up your mind that quickly, but ya gotta give some props to a woman that knows what she wants. We did what you see here and lots more. I've never shown this many photos on a blog post and yet there's still so much you haven't seen yet. I got to work some of my macro magic with Anne that really turned out great. Get over the inhibitions. Find your reason you don't just do it (especially if you have thought about doing it before) and then consider whether that excuse is really and truly valid.   I think you might be surprised at how much you'll find this a fulfilling event in your life. Come see me.

Art Model, Liz ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Liz ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Liz ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley
Art Model, Anne ©2015 Terrell Neasley

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