Directing Models


Pictures of models often leave me completely baffled at what look, emotion, or even situation they’re attempting to represent. The photo above is a perfect example, taken across the street from my office, at Emporium Armani.

The girl looks a bit odd, but it was the guy’s pose that first captured my attention. I imagine the scene going something like this:

Director: ok Alfonso, I need you to give me your most hurt, pathetic look possible.
Alfonso: what kind of hurt, sir?
Director: you know, the kind of hurt that comes with great loss; the loss of your pants, for example. Or the hurt from being mocked about your left knee being substantially smaller than your right.
Alfonso: yeah, ok, I think can relate to that… *casts eyes downward and rests his head against Bella’s leg*
Director: great, hold that pose. And while you’re at it, could you hold Bella’s leg up? I think she’s falling over from the drugs. Make it subtle though, I’d rather be discrete about it. Bella! are you with us?
Bella: of course mister Armani, I’m always with you, we’re all just energy don’t you know? just pebbles together in the riverbed of universal energy, just –
Director: yes, that’s right, all pebbles – are you alright on the steps or should we move to the landing?
Bella: oh, we probably shouldn’t move, not with these heels on. Alfonso, do you mind if i steady my hand on your shoulder? Ah, that’s better. Could you just let me know when to open my eyes?
Director: yes… Now Alfonso, don’t you perk up; those pants are gone, and they’re never coming back. Bella, I need your eyes open on 3, and give me vacant; absolutely, lobotomized kind of vacant. 1…2…yes Alfie!…3 *click click click* let that jaw hang open a bit, Bella *click click* yeess, now clutch that skirt a little tighter Alfie, like you’re about to wipe your tears with it *click click*. There it is. Stunning, you two are incredible, first take is a keeper, no doubt. Alfonso, help poor Bella with the stairs before you go find your pants, alright? And you take it easy girl, I need you around for my next shoot.

And that is just a fraction of the kind of dialogue that goes through my brain when I try to make sense of an image like this. What about you? Do fashion shots speak to you in a way that makes sense, or are you as perplexed as I am by their unusual poses, expressions, and wardrobes? I hope, at least, that having had a glimpse into the background of this particular shot gives you a greater respect for the kind of challenges these models face on a daily basis.

Feel free to post an image in your response if you would like an analysis.


4 thoughts on “Directing Models

  1. Hello. This is Alphonso. Please note the “ph” in my name next time you choose to write about me.

    In response to your post, you clearly lack any expertise in fashion or class. Please note that my pants are NOT missing; I am wearing “shirpants”, a shirt directly attached to a pair of pants, the latest in European fashion. If you are referring to the uncultured version of “pants” which are full length, please be aware that we refer to those as trousers. “Pants” are worn traditionally under trousers, known to you perhaps as “underpants”, but are more recently worn on their own as a part of shirpants.

    The woman’s vacant stare can be explained by the fact that she is, in fact, a marionette. We were having a difficult time keeping her up, and thus I had to balance her body with my hands and arms as she was suspended by a few invisible threads.

    As for my expression, I had just received a phone call that my great great grand-mother was still dead. Have you ever wished that someone was alive, only to find out that they have *still* not yet been resurrected?

    Finally, this photo was entirely candid; it was not “posed”, as you suppose, and you would do well to do your research before posting about people that you do not even know.

    I thank you for your sensitivity in the future.


    • Dear Alphonso,

      Sincere apologies for the late reply – I’ve been away from home and tend to get behind on my internet life while away.

      When choosing to critique the work of complete strangers online, I seldom consider the fact that they are real people who may happen to find my work; however, as you have demonstrated, this can sometimes be the case.

      As for misspelling your name, I honestly can relate to your pain – people often accidentally call me “time”. Perhaps this is the true reason for the sadness I see expressed in the shot I’ve so callously described above (in addition to the ongoing deadness of your loved ones of course, which I can appreciate wholeheartedly, as I also have many still-dead relatives).

      The fact that Bella was a marionette explains so much actually. Thank you for putting that confused contemplation to rest.

      I considered retracting the post, but on second thought I hope you don’t mind if I leave it online. It may serve as a reminder for others like myself to think carefully before they mock others online with no regard to their feelings and individual struggles.

      Take care,

  2. “Alphonse” an alias for “Jean-Marc”….this response sounds suspiciously like him ?? Tim, what an imagination you still have!! Glad to see that the time you invested in creating your “Kids Can Write” Club was not wasted….I never know what I am going to be entertained by, or challenged by, or sometimes both 🙂 xoxo Mom

    • Mother, please don’t make this situation any harder for Alphonso… I’ve just addressed his concerns and hope that the healing process can begin.


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