#writerswednesday: Inspiration, Muses and Impulses

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#writerswednesday: inspiration, muses and impulses

Hey my dears,

one of the frequently asked questions I get asked is:
“What inspires you?”
or
“Where do you find inspiration in a phase when you’re absolutely not creative?”

Cliché would say: I find inspiration in everything, the world is full of wonders, you just have to open your eyes.

And although there is truth to it, I’m not cliché enough to let it stand like that without any additional information.
Besides that I think it’s time to give credit to those that spark inspiration and help me write.

So, yes, this life, this world offers so much that you can draw inspiration from, starting with a fresh wind in the morning transporting smells to you that set your memory in motion and make you think about an event, a person or a moment of your childhood for instance that you then reflect upon. Your cat jumping elegantly onto the sofa and moving in a dainty way and you observing her to learn. It can be the weather, a flower, the news, something you see, hear, touch, perceive with one or many of your senses.
Yes, the list would get really really long and the human mind is complex enough that probably you yourself won’t be able to trace back each and every spark of inspiration that just lit the lamp in your head, you know.
But sometimes you can determine exactly where the inspiration came from.
And I’d say there are several elements that quite frequently touch upon the creative corners of the mind:
* people
* overheard conversations
* emotions
* surroundings
* social observations

We’ll take it step by step: People

There are people that with their worldview, their attitude, their physical appearance and presence just make you stop whatever you’re doing and draw you into a sphere full of ideas and creativity. You just want to listen, to observe, yes, you want to inhale them, take a bite, devour this energy.
There is this notion that creatives are like vampires that suck out the creative energy from people and their surroundings.
Or these sweaters that state “Careful. You may end up in my novel.” (I always wanted to have one of these tbh, haha)
And it’s not too far off to say that oftentimes we draw inspiration from the encounters we have with other people.
What I don’t like is the idea of vampire in the sense that we take away from another person. We do, kind of, but I personally try to avoid leaving the table empty, so I make sure I bring something myself, that way, an exchange and a fruitful mutually inspiring place is created for both parties.
I’d like to take this moment to express my gratitude towards the people I was allowed to encounter that moved my mind and made me think, feel and explode into creative ecstasy.
I’m grateful and I want you to know that you are special.

Little excursion:
Oftentimes there would be two kinds of people: Those that think that what they bring to the table would never inspire anyone. And those that think they are so inspiring that you should have written a whole book for them already.
Let me tell you something: To those that think they don’t bring enough, when an artist sends you a poem, a text, a picture, they created because of the fire you or the interaction with you ignited, don’t take it as a compliment. Take it as the truth that you are special, inspiring and that you harbour more power within yourself than you probably know.
To those that think they’re giving so many great impulses: When you watch the works of an artist that you encountered, stop trying to read yourself into it and claim it yours, it will only end up in frustration once they tell you that it wasn’t you but someone else who lit that idea. And if you ever inspire an artist, know that this is something special.
I’m sorry to say that, but sometimes this cockiness drives me mad and raises another question: Would you also claim the inspiration for an artwork if it was ugly, rough, hurtful, nasty?
Everybody wants the flowers and the blooming blossoms of beauty, but you know what? Even if you encounter a critical, nasty poem full of pain, that was based on you, it’s an honour, cause you moved their emotions enough to make them write about it.
(I know it sounds weird, but let that just sink in for a moment.)

Back to gratitude: Are there specific people that you can always go to and be sure that you’re gonna go home with new ideas?
Yes and no.
There are people who have the tendency to inspire you again and again. These are the ones I’d call a muse. And I’m more than grateful to have been allowed to meet people like these.
Not many, one specifically, but it’s a precious treasure that I value a lot.
But it wouldn’t make me try to exploit that person for the sheer sake of inspiration.
Either it comes naturally or it doesn’t.
At least that’s my attitude towards it. And it is also connected to valuing and honouring your muse by not squeezing them like a lemon and leaving them empty.

Now, does that mean if some of my close friends don’t inspire me, that I love them less?
Obviously, yes! What are they good for if they don’t lit a lyrical lamp?!
Just kidding, of course the amount of poems I write for, to or about you does say something about our connection, but it doesn’t necessarily say anything about the intensity of love I feel for you or about the love I feel for others.
There are a million reasons and a billion ways to love someone, and yes, it is a special connection you have with your muse, but none of it takes away the love my heart harbours for someone I’ve never written a piece for.
Just like the saying “The beauty of another woman doesn’t take away your own.” or however it goes, it’s the same with inspiration.
So there is no need to compete or to compare yourself and the amount of works someone produced for or about you to the works someone else inspired.
It’s a process set in motion that sometimes the artist themselves can’t describe in every detail. It just is.
Nevertheless, don’t take it for granted, but also, don’t feel bad if there’s is none or just one piece of art you inspired.
This doesn’t mean you have no meaning, and it surely doesn’t mean you’re not loved.

There is this saying that you can learn from anyone, even if it’s only what you don’t want or how you don’t want to be or want to behave.
So, inspiration can be drawn from “positive” encounters, as well as from “negative” encounters.
But often we’d prefer the feel good vibe of the word inspiration than reflecting upon the possibility that even moments and people that don’t makes us feel like cakes and cherry pie can lead to a spark of inspiration. We like this idea of being a positive impulse for our surroundings, and true, it’s nice. But let me tell you something: De Profundis by Oscar Wilde would have never been written, had he not been betrayed and sold by someone he loved and thought of as a partner.
Does this now mean we need to search for struggle and suffering in order to be great artists like Oscar?
Well, we could discuss that and I have many thoughts on this topic, too, but this would rather be dealt with in a separate post or in an additional format.
Would you like to talk about it? Well, my answer is yes.

Now, before this post gets too long, I recommend you join me on my balcony to continue this chat.
I’ll announce when the random rambling and prolific ponder is on.

How about you?
What inspires you? What inspires you in people?
Can you pinpoint it down and put a finger on specific traits, expressions, movements that ignite inspiration in you?

Please let me know in the comment section below.

So long, my dears.

xx

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#modelmonday: Communicating with Models – #1 Finding the right model: How and where?

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#modelmonday: Communicating with Models

Every now and then, especially when I’m booked on workshops, I get frequently asked where to find models and how to approach them.
So, I thought it might be a good thing to write a blog post about this topic.

As this topic is quite broad and long blog posts don’t get read as much, I’m going to split the topic into several sections.
* finding models – how and where?
* approaching them / written communication
* behaving on set
* communicating after the shoot

Today, I’m trying to keep it short and simple concerning the first two points.

Well, times have changed and the formerly well frequented online platforms like model-kartei and modelmayhem are less and less frequented and experienced a fair drop in quality of the work portrayed there.
Which is also why several of the great ones that used to present their work on these platforms now deleted their accounts. Nevertheless, it’s worth keeping some pictures up there and checking now and then for some good job offers or for interesting workshops, model sharings, and of course models from your region for example.
Before the decrease, these platforms where a good option to pursue your hobby or passion or even job.
Now, today Facebook and Instagram are more and more present and I consider it fair to say that basically if you’re not present on these platforms, you rarely exist on the internet.
Nowadays only few people go and search for websites if they search for a photographer, respectively a model. (Unless your SEO content is of such a major quality that your website is one of the first three ones popping up when I google “photographer in [insert area]” for example.
I know that especially certain generations have a critical opinion towards social media and that even having a Facebook account is a nuisance to them. And by the way, I completely understand that!
But, I think it’s just fair to say that you should consider the option.

Now, wherever you search, here some general points:
Instead of searching directly for models, here’s another option: Find photographers whose style you like and click through their portfolio. Mostly the models are linked (as they should be, credit to those who deserve it, huh) and then you can check out their portfolio and see whether it matches your wishes and needs. If you’re unsure whether they are the right choice and whether they have the right work ethic, check for their rating or even ask one of the photographers that worked with them.
Read their sedcard text!!! Normally, if not totally devoured by nowaday’s crippled communication, the models show all important information, like range of work (fashion, portrait, nude, etc.), availability (full-time job or student), prices, special features (freckles, tattoos, etc.), impairments (allergies, short sightedness, etc.), measurements, skills (needs a MUA or can do make-up themselves) and so forth in their profile text.
Make really sure that your interest in working with this model is genuine, otherwise you do not only waste their, but mostly your own time as well.
Then write them a message in which you already include parts of the concept you’d like to produce with them.
If possible, have a mood board ready and/or save and like the pictures of the chosen model that you really appreciate and like.
Include pictures of the styling you’d like from their portfolio or in your mood board or if you offer the option of getting the desired clothes, tell them. (nothing more annoying than getting a request for a bridal shoot and three messages into the convo you mention that the model should bring their own wedding dress – which not every model possesses, just saying –)
Let them know, if they need make-up skills or if you provide a make-up artist.
Most importantly: State within the first three sentences if it’s a TFP or a paid shoot!
Make it easy for both you and communicate clearly. No, you don’t have to write a novel, bullet points are fine, but brief them correctly, it saves a lot of time on both sides.
And respect your potential model. If the box for “nude” is not ticked… guess what? It means they don’t do nude shoots!
(I know it sounds obvious, but believe me, you can’t imagine how many people don’t seem to pay attention to the basic info on the sedcard.)

If you visit workshops, ask the photographer who is giving the workshop whether they can recommend models.

If you are a beginner and you want to focus on technical stuff, let me give you an advice: Don’t shoot with a beginner model.
Be willing to pay! Pay for an advanced and experienced model who knows how to act in front of the cam, so you can focus on light, lens, aperture, ISO and all the other things you need to focus on.
You save yourself a lot of energy with that, because it can put pressure on you, if the model doesn’t know what to do and asks “like this?”, “should I do this?”, etc. because they feel just as insecure as you do. (same goes the other way round, but I already talked about that in another blogpost on building a portfolio)

So, once again, in a nutshell:
* search on model/photography platforms
* search on social media
* scroll through other photographers’ profiles and check out their models
* ask the leading photographer at a workshop for recommended models

* read the model’s sedcard text and check their portfolio and their range of work
* communicate your concepts and ideas clearly
* put all relevant information in your message
* state if it’s a TFP or paid shoot
* state what you provide and what they should bring
* as a beginner: be willing to pay for an experienced model

I hope my ideas provided some impulses and inspiration for you.
Let me know what you think or if you have ideas that I missed, shoot me a message.

For the sake of self-advertising:
Yes, you can book me as a model, if you wish to work with me 😉
Just scroll through my portfolio and hop over to the contact section and send me a message.

So long, my dears.

xx

#modelmonday: Kommunikation mit Models – #1 Models finden: Wie und wo?

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#modelmonday: Kommunikation mit Models

Immer wieder, besonders wenn ich auf Workshops gebucht bin, werde ich regelmäßig gefragt, wo man als Fotograf Models finden kann und wie man am besten auf sie zugeht.
Deshalb dachte ich, sei es eine gute Idee, einen Blogpost darüber zu verfassen.

Da dieses Thema recht weit und umfangreich ist und lange Einträge nicht so viel gelesen werden, teile ich dieses Thema in verschiedene Subthemen auf.
* Models finden – wie und wo?
* Auf das Model zugehen / schriftliche Kommunikation
* Benehmen am Set
* Kommunikation nach dem Shooting

Heute versuche ich kurz und knackig auf die ersten beiden Punkte einzugehen.

Die Zeiten haben sich geändert und die früher bekannten Plattformen wie model-kartei und modelmayhem werden nicht mehr so häufig frequentiert und haben zugegebenermaßen auch qualitativ einen Abstieg erfahren, wenn man sich die dort ausgestellten Werke mal anschaut.
Das ist unter anderem auch der Grund, warum viele von den “Großen”, die ihre Arbeiten dort zur Schau stellten, mittlerweile ihre Profile dort gelöscht haben.
Nichtsdestotrotz ist es ganz nützlich, wenn man ein paar Bilder dort lässt und auch ab und zu neue hochlädt und sich ab und zu mal die angebotenen Workshops und Jobs anschaut oder diese Plattformen nutzt, um zum Beispiel Models aus der Region zu finden.
Vor diesem Rückgang und Abstieg waren diese Plattformen eine gute Option, um dem Hobby, der Leidenschaft und ja auch der Arbeit in diesem Feld nachzugehen.
Heute sind da Facebook und Instagram wesentlich präsenter und es erscheint schon fast legitim zu sagen, dass man ohne ein Profil dort quasi im Internet nonexistent ist.
Heutzutage suchen recht wenige Menschen mit direkten Suchbegriffen in Suchmaschinen nach Fotografen oder Models. Und selbst wenn sie es tun, bleibt die Frage, ob sie ausgerechnet euch dann finden. (Außer ihr seid solche SEO-Spezialisten, dass eure Seite zu den Top 3 gehört, die bei der Suchanfrage “Fotograf in [Stadt oder Region einfügen]” angezeigt wird)
Ich weiß, dass besonders in bestimmten Generation ein gewisses Misstrauen und eine Abneigung gegenüber Social Media herrscht und allein die Idee einen Facebook-Account zu haben schon als lästig empfunden wird. Und ich kann das vollkommen verstehen.
Aber leider muss ich sagen, ihr solltet es als Option in Betracht ziehen.

Nun, wo immer ihr auch nach Models sucht, hier einige generelle Punkte:
Anstatt direkt nach Models zu suchen, gibt es noch eine andere Möglichkeit: Findet Fotografen, deren Stil euch gefällt und klickt durch deren Portfolio. Meistens sind die Models dort verlinkt (so wie sie es sollten, Ehre, wem Ehre gebührt, hm) und dann könnt ihr die Portfolios der Models durchstöbern und schauen, ob sie eure Wünsche und Bedürfnisse erfüllen. Falls ihr unsicher seid, ob dieses Model die richtige Wahl ist und die richtige Arbeitsmoral mitbringt, schaut euch die Bewertungen an oder fragt Fotografen, die bereits mit diesem Model gearbeitet haben.

Lest den Sedcard-Text!!! Normalerweise, sofern nicht vollends von der heutigen verkrüppelten Kommunikation aufgefressen, geben die Models alle relevanten Informationen, wie Aufnahmebereiche (Fashion, Portrait, Akt, etc.), Verfügbarkeit (Vollzeit-Arbeitende oder Studierende), Preise und besondere Merkmale (Sommersprossen, Tattoos, etc.), Beeinträchtigungen (Allergien, Kurzsichtigkeit, etc.), Maße, Fähigkeiten (kann sich selbst gut schminken oder benötigt MUA) und so weiter und so fort ihrem Text an.
Stellt sicher, dass euer Interesse an einer Zusammenarbeit echt und ernst gemeint ist, ansonsten verschwendet ihr nicht nur die Zeit des Models, sondern vor allem eure eigene.
Dann schreibt eine Nachricht, in der ihr schon einige Eckdaten eures Konzepts präsentiert, das ihr gerne umsetzen möchtet.
Wenn möglich, haltet ein Mood-Board bereit und/oder speichert die Fotos des Models, die euch besonders gut gefallen.
Schickt am besten Bilder mit, die das Styling zeigen, das ihr euch für das Shooting wünscht, entweder aus dem Portfolio des Models oder im Mood-Board und falls ihr anbietet, die gewünschte Kleidung für das Shooting zu besorgen, teilt es dem Model mit. (Es gibt kaum etwas nervigeres als eine Anfrage für ein Brautmoden-Shooting zu bekommen und nachdem man drei Nachrichten hin und her geschrieben hat, stellt sich heraus, dass das Model das Hochzeitskleid mitbringen soll – welches nicht jedes Model im Schrank hat, nur mal so nebenbei –)
Stellt klar, ob das Model eigene Schmink-Fähigkeiten mitbringen soll oder ob ihr einen MUA bereitstellt.
Ganz wichtig: Stellt in den ersten drei Sätzen klar, ob es sich um eine Anfrage für ein TFP- oder ein Pay-Shooting handelt!
Macht es euch beiden einfach und kommuniziert klar und deutlich. Nein, ihr müsst keinen Roman verfassen, Stichpunkte sind völlig in Ordnung, aber macht euer Briefing so klar und deutlich wie möglich, das spart auf beiden Seiten immens viel Zeit.
Und respektiert euer potentielles Model. Wenn das Kästchen für “Akt” kein Häkchen aufweist, dann kaum zu glauben, aber dann macht das Model keine Akt-Shootings!
(Ich weiß, es klingt offensichtlich, aber glaubt mir mal, es ist unfassbar, wie viele Leute anscheinend die Basis-Infos auf der Sedcard nicht wahrzunehmen scheinen.)

Falls ihr Workshops besucht, fragt den leitenden Fotografen, ob er Models empfehlen kann.

Falls ihr Anfänger seid und euch auf Technik mit allem drum und dran fokussieren wollt, lasst mich euch einen gut gemeinten Rat geben:
Fotografiert nicht mit Anfänger-Models!
Seid bereit zu zahlen! Bucht ein erfahrendes und fortgeschrittenes Model, das weiß, wie es sich vor der Kamera bewegen muss, sodass ihr euch auf Licht, Linse, Blende, ISO und all die anderen Dinge fokussieren könnt, auf die ihr euch fokussieren müsst.
Ihr spart euch eine Menge Energie damit, denn ein unerfahrenes Model, das euch fragt “So? Oder anders?”, “Soll ich das so oder lieber so machen?”, kann enorm viel Druck aufbauen, während ihr noch all die zuvor genannten Dinge im Blick behalten müsst, denn dann ist das Model ebenso verunsichert wie ihr und das hat enorme Auswirkungen auf das Resultat.
(Das gleiche gilt im Übrigen auch andersrum, darüber habe ich bereits in einem auf Englisch verfassten Beitrag über building a portfolio gesprochen.)

Also nochmal in der Zusammenfassung:
* sucht auf Model-/Fotografen-Plattformen
* sucht auf Social Media
* scrollt durch die Profile anderer Fotografen und schaut euch deren Models an
* fragt leitende Fotografen auf Workshops nach Empfehlungen für Models

* lest den Sedcard-Text und schaut euch das Portfolio und die Aufnahmebereiche des Models genau an
* kommuniziert eure Ideen und Konzepte klar und deutlich
* schreibt alle relevanten Informationen in eure erste Nachricht
* sagt direkt, ob es sich um ein TFP- oder Pay-Shooting handelt
* macht klar, was ihr anbietet und was das Model mitbringen soll
* als Anfänger: Seid bereit für ein erfahrenes Model zu bezahlen

Ich hoffe, meine Ideen haben euch ein paar Impulse und Inspiration gegeben.
Was denkt ihr? Und sollte ich noch Ideen und Informationen vergessen haben, schreibt mir gern eine Nachricht.

Und um der Selbstwerbung Willen:
Ja, ihr könnt mich als Model buchen, wenn ihr mit mir arbeiten möchtet 😉
Schaut euch einfach gern mein Portfolio an und kontaktiert mich dann über das Kontaktformular.

Auf bald, meine Lieben

xx

#modelmonday: The Carnival of Characters

Beitrag auf Deutsch

#modelmonday: The Carnival of Characters

Helau & Alaaf, my dears!

Well, if you don’t know what that means, probably you’re not from Germany and/or have never lived in areas where carnival a.k.a Fasching (in my area we call it Karneval) is celebrated.
No prob, it’s a great festivity before Lent, with a long tradition, where everybody dresses up as someone or something else and celebrates with parades and music (and a lot of booze).
It’s not comparable to the colourful carnival de Rio, obviously, as the weather mostly isn’t as spectacular, but many people across Germany get feverish for the 5th season, as it’s also called.
[if you want to know more about this tradition, which has its roots in Christianity, let me know or ask uncle Google or aunt Wiki :p ]

So, now, Gina, is modelling like a great carnival in front of the cam?
Do you feel like wearing a disguise or dressing up as someone else when you work as a model?

Well, for me personally, my work in front of the cam is not comparable to carnival.
Although I participated in photo projects in which I felt like wearing a disguise or rather like an actress playing a role and slipping into a different character.

dw-foto-art
justyhmakeup

But in my personal case, I have to say that modelling showed me rather more of my own facets than taking me away from my own character, I’d say.
I think, the fearful thoughts of a mother, when the kid says “Mum, I’m gonna become a model!” swirl around things like “Great, now they will get superficial, compare themselves constantly to other models, take their measurements three times a day and only eat cotton pads soaked with orange juice!”. Ergo: Panic!
And by no means do I intend to diminish or belittle these worries.
The age, in which many of the girls and boys start entering the model business, is a fragile one, one, in which the self-confidence and character is not yet as stable as to deal with the constant competition, the comparisons and the many rejections without taking it personally or connecting it to oneself and one’s body.
On the other hand, we could say that youngsters don’t have to enter the model biz for that, as peer dynamics and peer pressure do the same.
That’s what I know from my instagram-free youth. Nowadays the oh so social media just adds to it.
But what I’m aiming at, is that youngsters and young adults will end up searching for themselves and their uniqueness by trial and error anyway. One day they will run around like a hippie without a bra and the next day they’ll wear fake lashes looking like a femme fatale.
I am not denying that the pressure in the model industry, especially if pursued as a professional career and not a hobby, is another dimension!
Important note here: No matter, whether it’s normal peer dynamics or whether your children, friends, etc. decide to start modelling, let them try out things, but if you detect dangerous and harmful changes in their behaviour and thought patterns, please do talk to them! That’s my humble opinion.

Talking from my own experience, I can definitely say that there were moments in which I compared myself to other models concerning height, measurements, weight, outward appearance, hair, style, body and work ethic. But probably every employee and amateur pursuing a hobby does the same.
We compare each other and our work.
And probably that’s the biggest crux in this particular field of work: To make a distinction between your work and your body when it comes to modelling isn’t as easy as in other fields, let’s say a report, a product, a text.
If I wrote a text my client doesn’t like and they say “Gina, the text you produced does not fit my requirements.”, of course, I could take it personally, but there is the text and here I am. Although I produced the text, the text is not me.
But when a photographer says “Gina, your posture is a catastrophe and your body doesn’t look like the measurements on your profile, you seem more corpulent.”, to make this distinction between my work and my outward appearance, my body, the home of my soul, becomes far more complicated.
I think you get what I mean.

But it’s not impossible. It’s a lot of hard work, as is taking critique not too personal in general and to despair and doubt oneself directly, which probably everyone of you knows, be it professional, hobby wise or in personal matters.

Fortunately, in retrospect, I can say that modelling rather helped me see and understand my own facets than pushing me into crises.
To the contrary: On days, where work didn’t go as planned or when in personal situations things went wrong and I started doubting myself, my work and wondered what the eff I was doing, a look on my colourful portfolio often gave me a kick of “I am Miss fucking Laventura, I have been so many things already, a fairy, a nerd, a fashion model, an artificial being, the powerful rock girl, the delicate one, and so much more. Why the heck should I not be able to do it?!”

helena behle

JimP4nsen

dw-foto-art
justyhmakeup

vanessa marie

sw-fotografie

norbert josefsson

But, here’s a big BUT, that can also be related to the fact that first of all I didn’t pursue a professional model career, I didn’t run from casting to casting, and quite early on my focus was put on creative, artsy productions and later on on expressive pictures that I could combine with my texts. Maybe that helped me a bit to escape the pressure of the mainstream. (And I say that with all the love, I mean the popular fields of beauty, fashion, lifestyle, commercial).

By the way, I don’t mean to sugarcoat anything here. I received so many rejections that I can’t even put all the frustration, disappointment and doubts into words right here.
Agency after agency rejected me because they didn’t see good placement chances with their clients, because either my face was too special or not special enough.
So many jobs slipped through my fingers, although I fulfilled all the requirements, etc. etc. etc.

But through all this experimenting one can learn what feels natural and what doesn’t, where is the line between a facet of me and a role I play?
There were shootings in which I wore clothes and styles that couldn’t have felt more strange to me and I can say, it was a role I loved playing.

christian becker
visahamm

What counts then for me is: Did I play the role well? Does it come across as authentic?

Likewise, there were shootings that set out as a role, with which I couldn’t identify at all, and during the shooting itself I discovered that it was an unknown or even neglected facet of myself.

norbert josefsson

This playing and experimenting has the potential to teach you a lot about yourself, which can also contribute positively to self-confidence.
After a while, it becomes clear what feels natural and what feels like a role, which role is a role that I can identify with and which one goes completely against my natural disposition.
Likewise, it teaches you to reject projects that don’t fit you, no matter how versatile and flexible you are, because if it’s a role that you cannot bring across authentically, it doesn’t serve anyone.

And sometimes it’s just great fun to jump into a different character and to be someone you’re normally not.
Like on Karneval: You’re a princess, a king, a clown, a childhood hero.

The most important thing is that you always take the core of yourself with you.
And that means mostly and foremost to know yourself and to get to know yourself. Of course, laughing about and with yourself, too.
And in an ideal case it’s fun and enjoyable to be yourself.
With all the facets, crazy attitudes and quirks.

manufaktur lichtbild
andreas trnka

Did/do you celebrate carnival?
If so, what’s your disguise today? Who are you?
I’m sick, so I go as a bottle of cough sirup.
And you?

xxx
Gina.

#modelmonday: Building a Portfolio

#modelmonday: Building a Portfolio

Building a Portfolio

As there are many aspiring models and hobby models out there who’d like to take a step into modelling as their profession or passion, but often don’t really know how to start, I thought about sharing some experiences, insights and my personal opinion, based on what I have learned during 10 years of standing in front of the camera myself.

I’d like to start modelling but I don’t have good photos

Now, first of all I recommend you ask yourself whether you’d like to pursue a career in this business or whether you consider it more a hobby or passion.
This is not to say that once you decided, you have to stick with that decision, you might as well turn your professional desire into a passion or make your passion your profession.
All I’m saying is that depending on your answer, the approach might be different.

1. If you’d like to pursue it as a career I recommend you get some good digitals (basically shots with no make-up, face front, face profile, sometimes front with a smile, whole body shots, often in tight clothes or bikini so your shape becomes easily visible) and directly apply to agencies.
But beware, getting good digitals isn’t always as easy as it sounds as a wrong angle might eff up your proportions completely and looking at them you’ll wonder why you ever thought you could apply to a modelling agency.
Believe me, I know what I’m talking about.
The other option is you check for open castings provided by your agency of choice, sometimes they offer open castings where digitals are also taken, but it’s always a good idea to already have some pictures with you.
And yes, that might mean you’ll have to invest. Check for photographers that offer sedcard (or setcard) photo shootings, they might help you get a good base to get a foot in the biz, and yes, as it is their profession, they want to be paid.

2. If modelling is rather a hobby or a passion for you, it’s not a bad idea to have good digitals, too, but this doesn’t necessary have to be the first step.
What you want to do is get some photos of you that show your versatility.
What do I mean by that? I mean that you want to get pictures of yourself that differ in style, styling, location, facial expression and mood you portray.
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have friends who are photographers or you know someone who knows someone, etc. to get some pictures that you can start with at least to register on platforms in order to find other creatives to collaborate with.
If not, you might consider paying a photographer for a first session in order to get a base.
Then you can for instance register on a platform that offers a space for photographers, models and make-up artists to collaborate for joint productions, free projects or even paid jobs.

digital face front -dermagdans-

I’d like to build a versatile portfolio, but how?

1. Even if you decided to pursue modelling as a career, registering on a platform where creatives meet or setting up a Facebook page or showing some pictures on Instagram might help you get attention from some amazing photographers that would like to work with you. If an agency accepted you, they often know photographers and you start off by shooting some free projects with them, which adds to your and their portfolio.

2. No matter whether additionally to your career or for your hobby or passion, checking said platforms for Tfp projects (free projects intended to broaden the portfolios of photographer and model where none earns money but the photographic results serve as compensation) is a good idea to get involved into different projects set on different locations in different outfits and styles and to work with different photographers who produce pictures in different looks.

3. Another option, which many don’t like to take into consideration, is search for photographers whose style you adore and whose work would level up your portfolio and then, yes, guess what, PAY THEM ! I know, unbelievable. Thing is this: Often times the top ranking photographers you’d love to work with don’t offer Tfp shoots. Or at least not to amateurs. And yes, darling, according to many people’s definition we are amateurs. So, if you really crave getting pictures from this photographer, save your money and go for it.
By no means do I say that you can’t ask them whether they’d be down for a Tfp shooting with you, please don’t misunderstand. I’m just saying that often times they do free projects either with very experienced models or with promising new faces. And whether you’re a promising new face or not is unfortunately not up to you to decide.

.

Should I invest into building a portfolio and if so, how much?

1. If you’re registered with an agency, they normally take care of test shoots to broaden your portfolio, so you shouldn’t pay a photographer in order to take pictures from you if your agency got you this test shoot.
Never ever should you pay for the registration with an agency or for a casting! Never ever! If you read about a casting where you should pay for the establishment of a setcard or for the photos taken by a professional photographer or anything like it, leave it, drop the idea, don’t do it, it’s not serious!
You might tend to think “but I’m not an experienced model, of course I have to invest before I earn” and well, the approach is more than true in various fields of life, but consider this: If you sent your pictures to an agency or went to a casting and they decided to add you to their list of models, then it was because they saw potential in you. Potential to get jobs, earn money, and as they earn from what you earn, it’s also the potential money they see you bringing back. So, don’t ever pay for setting up a profile or setcard for your agency. Serious and professional agencies don’t do that. They might take a certain charge from your first fees in order to compensate the expenses they had for getting you those jobs, yes, but: You don’t pay in advance!

2. Different when you’re not registered with an agency. Of course you still have the chance to participate in free projects, but there is no one providing you options like these, but you have to find them yourself, for instance on creative collaboration websites or if you follow photographers and make-up artists on Facebook and Instagram and they are searching for a model. If you only find Tfp options that don’t really add to your portfolio because you already have a million pictures in this style or because they all go into a direction you don’t aim at, there is still the possibility to search for jobs you have to pay for, but sometimes these are special offers for a specific topic. So, sometimes you only have to pay the make-up artist or it’s just a small fee you have to pay for photographer, make-up artist and post processing. And with small fee I talk round about 80 €. That’s a mofo deal!

3. So yes, I understand that you don’t want to or can’t invest a fortune into building a portfolio, but saving some money and putting it into a well spent shooting that gets you extraordinary results, is worth it. It raises the tendency that great photographers, yes, even those ones you stalk on a daily and that mostly work with very experienced models, see you and see your potential and that you get asked by cool creatives to collaborate with them.
Does this already land you jobs where you earn a lot of money? Well, if you’re really lucky, yes. In a normal case, rather not. But it gives you the chance to collaborate with other creatives whose portfolio might be broader or of high quality on Tfp, which then adds to the attention you gain, which offers you more chances for more free projects, which eventually might lead to you getting paid jobs. (Oh, and paid jobs rarely come to you via email in the morning post, while you’re drinking coffee and painting your nails or grooming your beard, if you’re a male model, you actually have to search for them and apply. Unless you just ate a fortune cookie that serves you luck 24/7, then your inbox might explode in 3,2,1….)

.

So, talking from my own experience, I can say that building up a portfolio which enabled me to work with the great photographers that I had been stalking often enough before, dreaming to work with them, thinking “they will never work with me” etc., wasn’t an easy task, but you learn a lot on the way and that’s amazing, too.
I started off with having some Tfp shoots. I was lucky enough to have caught a photographer’s eye on an event who then gave me his card and asked me to come around for a free photo shoot. That was pure luxury and I’m really thankful for that. With those pictures I registered on platforms and browsed through the Tfp jobs and applied.
And guess what: I’ve been rejected a lot. Like… A LOT!
Then I saw some jobs where you had to pay, but I watched the pictures of the make-up artists and photographers working on the projects and thought “I’d love to work with them!”. Well, round about 100 other girls thought the same, so even paying for it wouldn’t give you a guarantee to be part of the project. So, I took some of my saved money and invested in different jobs of this kind. And it WAS SO WORTH IT!
I picked them wisely and did my research well before throwing my money out of the window, but it instantly raised the level of my portfolio. It’s really important to choose wisely and to consider the quality of the photos, the uniqueness of the project etc. before you invest.
We’re talking inVESTment, not inWASTEment, huh.
It must have been round about 5 photo shootings I paid for, each of them ranging somewhere between 40 € and 100 €, so yes, I invested something between 250 € and 300 € of my hard earned and saved money into great pictures of extraordinary kind back in those days.
And they gave me the chance to work with so many great photographers on Tfp later on that now I can count several Tfp and paid shootings to my portfolio, because yes, later on, I also landed jobs where I got paid.
The way wasn’t easy, but every step was worth it!

dermagdans

I hope my recommendations and coffee chat like rambling helped you and gave you a little insight.
Feel free to share your own experience with me and let me know if you still have questions. Let me know in the comments below, shoot me an email or send me a DM on Instagram.

Blogwarming Party

Hier Beitrag auf Deutsch lesen

norbert josefsson

Welcome!

Grab a drink, take a seat or join me on the dance floor and let’s celebrate together.
The sofa is already there, decoration is not yet complete, table and chairs are ordered but not yet delivered, so take some cushions and make yourself comfortable in my place of creativity, my new virtual home.

Just like a housewarming party where not everything is 100% ready and perfect, I throw this blogwarming party today, where the frame is set, new layout plastered on the walls, but some details might still be added or removed in the course of the coming weeks.
Nevertheless, I hope you enjoy it here and that you come over and visit me often.

After two years of not blogging, many months of planning the new layout, structuring ideas and setting up a whole strategy and subject schedule, pulling all-nighter after all-nighter in order to progress and proceed here, my fingertips are still covered in colour, my hair’s a mess and I’m still sweating.

But you see me with a smile on my face as it feels good to be back.

Let me give you a quick “room tour”. – Everybody should know where the loo and the fridge with fresh beer is, huh? –
On top you find the different topics.
The portfolio offers you an insight into my photo and video repertoire.
The about section offers you information on me, this blog and my work. Same in German below.
The services section gives you an overview of the services I offer on this website, including modelling and writing with the specific services of poetry & prose for special occasions and professional storytelling.
Contact & booking explains itself, I guess.
The Creative Chaos Cloud shows you all categories which you can find blog entries about, so that you can quickly get to the topics you’re interested in.

So much for the room tour, I hope you’re gonna find your way and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m trying to be a good host, you know.

What are the plans for the next weeks, what do I offer and why should you come back?
First of all, I’ve worked hard on a concept and contents that might be of value and interest for you.
So, here is what I came up with:
I will blog four times a month, so once a week about topics connected to the different fields I’m working in. One topic a week, that is.
Thus, what you gonna get is this:
#modelmonday: Information for models and photographers, funny anecdotes I experienced during 10 years in front of the camera and other info connected to this field.
#writerswednesday: Information for writers and readers, food for thought, inspiration and impulses revolving around writing and reading.
#socialsaturday: Random topics connected to us humans interacting with one another, social phenomenons, questions, perspectives, impulses on social topics.
#sundaystory: Yes, the sundaystory will be back and we gonna play again. If you don’t know what the sundaystory is, please click here. I will announce the next round early enough, but this won’t be before August probably, as I still owe two of my readers their stories.

After this blogwarming party, where you can take your time to stroll around and look at the redecoration, the new furniture and features, there will be a special series on the balcony, a.k.a instagram. So, don’t forget to check out my plants on the balcony, too.
Plus, I will also take you with me behind the scenes of creative productions in the insta stories.
The special series has been a production with Norbert Josefsson, which we produced last year, but I considered it so beautiful that I kept it for a special moment.
And I think that moment has come now.
So every day, starting on Friday, 15th June, I’m going to post one picture with text on instagram and facebook, which will add up to a series of six. On Thursday, 21st, you will get the complete series here on the blog as well as on instagram.

After the special we will start off with the first sundaystory on the 24th, as it has been two years of me owing these stories to two of my readers.
I hope you’re still there and I hope you still gonna read it.

Which leads me, after the organisational part, to the speech I’m supposed to give on such an event before everybody starts popping bottles like crazy – or at least that’s what I’m gonna do –.
Ahem, clink clink, ladies and gents, may I have your attention please: (you better grab another shot and drink, this is gonna take a while – or just skip the part written in italics – the perk of being here virtually and not in reality)

Thanks for being here tonight, for sharing this moment with me, for taking some time out of your busy day to join this celebration.
I’d like to thank all of the followers here on WordPress that stayed although I haven’t blogged for two years, which, in nowadays time is like an eternity.
Also I’d like to thank all the followers on instagram that didn’t unfollow when I didn’t post for six months, which is close to social media suicide.
I’d like to thank the virtual community for staying with me, supporting me and being patient with me.

Most of all, I’d like to thank the people, especially my closest friends, who virtually and in real life sent me their positive vibes and words, who encouraged me to keep up the work, who relentlessly kept asking about my work, my art, my blog, my writings and my poetry, who invested their time and energy to provide me with tipps and tricks, good advice and knowledge about social media, who gave me input and impulses for new content, who were patient with me when I asked for advice and feedback and who were loving and caring when I had to say “no” to events and instead had to sit down and work, who shared their nurturing positive energy with me and who knowingly or unknowingly inspired me and fuelled my motivation.

Without all of you, your patience and support, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating today.
It wasn’t an easy time and task, but now we’re here and I raise my glass to all of you. I’m forever grateful.

martin zethoff

Now enough of the talk and enjoy your time here, I hope you gonna stay a little longer and come back frequently.
If you have any questions, let me know.

xxx
Gina.

Blog-Einweihungsparty

norbert josefsson

Willkommen!

Schnappt euch was zu trinken, macht es euch gemütlich oder kommt zu mir auf die Tanzfläche und lasst uns feiern.
Das Sofa ist schon da, Dekoration ist noch nicht komplett fertig, Tisch und Stühle sind bestellt, aber noch nicht eingetroffen, also nehmt euch ein Kissen und macht es euch bequem in meinem neuen virtuellen Zuhause, meinem Ort der Kreativität.

So wie bei einer Einweihungsparty noch nicht alles 100% fertig und perfekt ist, so schmeiss ich heute diese Blog-Einweihungsparty, bei der der Rahmen steht, das neue Layout an die Wand gemalt ist, aber manche Details im Laufe der nächsten Wochen noch hinzu kommen oder wieder verworfen werden können.
Nichtsdestotrotz hoffe ich, dass es euch gefällt und ihr mich hier oft besuchen kommt.

Nach zwei Jahren des Nicht-Bloggens, mehreren Monaten der Planung von Layout, Struktur und Inhalten und dem Erstellen einer kompletten Strategie und eines Themenplans, schlafloser Nacht nach schlafloser Nacht, um hier voranzukommen, sind meine Finger noch voller Farbe, meine Haare sind eine Katastrophe und ich schwitze immer noch wie ein Tier.

Dennoch seht ihr mich heute mit einem Lächeln im Gesicht, denn es fühlt sich so unglaublich gut an, zurück zu sein.

Kommt mit auf einen kleinen “Rundgang” durch die Zimmer. – Jeder sollte wissen, wo das Klo ist und wo der Kühlschrank mit frischem Bier steht, oder? –
Also, oben findet ihr die verschiedenen Themen in den Reitern.
Das Portfolio gibt euch einen Einblick in mein Foto- und Videorepertoire.
Der About-Teil gibt euch Informationen über mich, diesen Blog und meine Arbeit.
Der Bereich Dienstleistungen gibt euch einen Überblick über die Dienstleistungen, die ich hier auf dieser Website anbiete, wie Modelling und Schreiben, mit den speziellen Angeboten zu Poesie & Prosa für besondere Anlässe und professionelles Storytelling.
Kontakt & Buchung ist selbsterklärend, denke ich.
Die Creative Chaos Wolke zeigt euch alle Kategorien, zu denen ihr hier Blogeinträge finden könnt, sodass ihr schnell zu den Themen gelangen könnt, die euch interessieren.

So, das war der schnelle Rundgang, ich hoffe, ihr findet euch zurecht.
Falls ihr noch Fragen habt, fragt mich, ich versuche ein guter Gastgeber zu sein.

Was ist für die nächsten Wochen geplant und wieso solltet ihr zurückkommen?
Ich habe hart und intensiv an einem Konzept gearbeitet und an Inhalten, die euch einen Mehrwert bieten und für euch von Interesse sein könnten.
Und das ist, was daraus geworden ist:
Ich blogge vier Mal im Monat, also einmal die Woche zu den verschiedenen Themenbereichen, in denen ich arbeite. Also ein Blogeintrag pro Woche ist das dann.
Was ihr also bekommen werdet, ist folgendes:
#modelmonday: Infos für Fotografen und Models, witzige Anekdoten, die ich in 10 Jahren vor der Kamera erlebt habe und sonstige Inhalte, die mit diesem Themenfeld verbunden sind.
#writerswednesday: Infos und Inhalte für Schreiber und Leser, Inspirationen, Impulse und Gedankenanstöße rund um das Thema Schreiben und Lesen.
#socialsaturday: Diverse Inhalte, die mit dem zwischenmenschlichen Miteinander, sozialen Phänomenen, Perspektiven, Fragen und Impulsen zu sozialen Themen verknüpft sind.
#sundaystory: Ja, die sundaystory ist zurück und wir werden wieder spielen. Falls ihr nicht wisst, was die sundaystory ist, klickt bitte hier. Ich werde die nächste Runde früh genug bekannt geben, aber das wird voraussichtlich nicht vor August sein, da ich zwei Lesern immer noch ihre sundaystories schulde.

Nach dieser Einweihungsfeier, auf der ihr euch in Ruhe umsehen könnt, und die neue Dekoration und die Möbel begutachten könnt, wird es ein Special auf dem Balkon, auch bekannt als Instagram, geben. Also geht auf jeden Fall meine Balkonpflanzen bewundern!
Außerdem werde ich euch in den Stories auf Instagram auch immer mal wieder mit hinter die Kulissen von kreativen Produktionen nehmen.
Das Special ist eine Fotoserie mit dazugehörigem Text, die ich vor einem Jahr mit Norbert Josefsson produziert habe und die für mich so besonders war, dass ich sie mir für einen besonderen Moment aufheben wollte.
Und ich denke, dieser Moment ist nun gekommen.
Also jeden Tag, angefangen am Freitag, den 15. Juni, wird es auf Instagram und Facebook ein Bild mit Text geben, was am Ende eine Serie mit sechs Bildern ergibt. Am Donnerstag, den 21. Juni wird es die komplette Serie hier auf dem Blog und auch auf Instagram zu sehen geben.

Nach dem Special starten wir mit der ersten sundaystory am 24. Juni, da es mittlerweile schon zwei Jahre sind, dass ich diese schuldig bin.
Ich hoffe, ihr lieben Leser seid noch da und werdet sie lesen.

Puh, so nach dem organisatorischen Part kommen wir nun zu der obligatorischen Rede, die ich in so einem Moment halten sollte, bevor jeder wie verrückt die Korken knallen lässt. – oder zumindest ist das das, was ich tun werde –.
Ähem, pling pling, sehr geehrte Damen und Herren, dürfte ich für einen Augenblick eure Aufmerksamkeit haben, bitte: (holt euch lieber noch n Kurzen und n Bier, das hier kann länger dauern – oder überspringt einfach den kursiv geschriebenen Teil – der Vorteil virtuell und nicht in Realität hier zu sein)

Danke, dass ihr heute Abend hier seid, dass ihr diesen besonderen Moment mit mir teilt, dass ihr euch Zeit aus eurem vollen Tag genommen habt, um mit mir zu feiern.
Ich möchte mich gern bei den ganzen Followern hier auf WordPress bedanken, die hier geblieben sind, obwohl ich zwei Jahre nicht gebloggt habe, was in der heutigen Zeit eine wahre Ewigkeit ist.
Auch möchte ich mich bei den Instagram-Followern bedanken, die geblieben sind und nicht entfolgt sind, obwohl ich zeitweise sechs Monate nichts gepostet habe, was quasi einem Social Media Selbstmord gleichkommt.
Ich möchte mich bei der ganzen virtuellen Community für die Unterstützung und die Geduld bedanken.

Vor allem aber möchte ich den Leuten, allen voran meinen engsten Freunden, danken, die mir virtuell und im realen Leben ihre positive Energie und Worte gesendet haben, die mich ermutigt haben dranzubleiben, die immer wieder unnachgiebig nach meiner Arbeit, meiner Kunst, meinem Blog, meiner Poesie gefragt haben, die ihre Zeit und Energie investiert haben, um mir Tipps und Tricks zu nennen, Ratschläge und Wissen über Social Media mit mir zu teilen, die mir Input und Impulse für neue Inhalte gegeben haben, die geduldig mit mir waren, wenn ich nach Ratschlägen und Rückmeldungen gefragt habe und die liebe- und verständnisvoll waren, wenn ich “Nein” zu Events sagen und stattdessen arbeiten musste, die ihre kraftvolle positive Energie mit mir geteilt haben und die mich wissentlich oder unwissentlich inspiriert und motiviert haben.

Ohne euch alle, eure Geduld und Unterstützung, würden wir heute wahrscheinlich nicht feiern.
Es war keine leichte Zeit und Aufgabe, aber nun sind wir hier und ich erhebe mein Glas auf euch.
Ich bin unendlich dankbar.

martin zethoff

Nun genug des Geredes und genießt eure Zeit hier, ich hoffe, ihr bleibt noch ein Weilchen und kommt oft wieder.
Falls ihr noch Fragen habt, meldet euch.

xxx
Gina.

FAQ Friday: What makes modelling so interesting?

Dieser Beitrag ist auch auf Deutsch verfügbar


Photo & Editing: Dave Greensmith

I really like to perform different facets in front of the camera, because this is what it really is: a performance.
It can be a performance of a role, therefore a character, or the performance of a facet that is inherent in oneself.
What I consider most interesting is that sometimes you perform a role just to realise that this role is a facet of yourself that you just didn’t know before. (Besides the fact that make-up artists tend to show you different colour combinations and styles that you would not have chosen but that you find out suit you quite well)
I personally enjoy learning and discovering new things. As said before, sometimes you discover that you performed something that is inherent in you and sometimes you also learn what is not inherent in you, what you don’t like or want, anyway it’s a learning process. To create pictures that have a meaning or even tell a story is what attracts me the most.
All in all it is a really nice experience to play around and to try yourself out and to see how it develops, how you develop.
Some people might be afraid of ending up being stuck in competition, the ‘skinny-drive’ or the drive to appeal to masses and therefore, ending up in mainstream. And sure, there is ‘concurrence’ out there, a lot of models and those who want to become models are out there. But that shouldn’t keep you away from doing what you want to do, if this is really what you like and love doing. In contrast to the aforementioned fears, I think, as the time goes by, you learn a lot about yourself, you get to know what you’re good at, what you’re not good at, what you like and which images and styles you don’t like or do not suit you well and you get to know things that you’d like to try out.
Certainly I cannot speak for all the models out there, but for me modelling in its own way contributed to my personal and creative progress and development. At least, I’d say so.

If you have any other questions concerning modelling & Co., you’re welcome to send me a message. 🙂

FAQ Freitag: Was macht das Modeln so interessant?

This entry is also available in English


Photo & Editing: Dave Greensmith

Ich persönlich mag es, Facetten vor der Kamera darzustellen, weil es eben genau das ist, oder sein kann: Eine Darstellung.
Dabei kann es sich um die Darstellung einer Rolle, sprich eines Charakters, handeln oder die Darstellung einer Facette, die man in sich selbst trägt.
Was ich besonders interessant finde ist, dass man manchmal in Rollen schlüpft oder vor der Kamera etwas darstellt und dabei feststellt, dass es eine Facette von einem selbst ist, von der man zuvor einfach gar nicht wusste. (Mal abgesehen davon, dass Visagisten einem auch gern mal andere Farbvariationen von Schminke und Styles zeigen, die man selbst vielleicht nicht gewählt hätte, von denen man dann aber erstaunt feststellt, dass man sie eigentlich ganz gut tragen kann)
Ich persönlich mag es, dazu zu lernen, neues zu entdecken. Wie gesagt, manchmal entdeckt man, dass das was man darstellt auch in einem steckt und manchmal lernt man eben auch, was einem so gar nicht liegt und innewohnt, aber in jedem Fall ist es ein Lernprozess. Bilder entstehen zu lassen, die eine Aussage haben, oder sogar eine Geschichte erzählen können, reizt mich am meisten.
Alles in allem ist es eine schöne Erfahrung, herumzuspielen, Dinge und sich selbst auszuprobieren und zu schauen, wie es sich entwickelt, wie man selbst sich entwickelt.
Einige haben sicherlich die Befürchtung, in einen Konkurrenzkampf, Magerwahn oder den Drang, der Masse und dem Mainstream zu entsprechen, zu verfallen. Und sicherlich ist da draußen “Konkurrenz”, es gibt viele Models, Modelle und solche, die es werden wollen. Aber das sollte einen nicht davon abhalten, weiterzumachen, wenn man es wirklich gerne tut. Im Gegensatz zu den geäußerten Befürchtungen, finde ich nämlich, dass man im Laufe der Zeit viel dazu lernt und über sich selbst lernt, man weiss, was man gut kann, was einem liegt, und welche Bildstile einem nicht liegen oder wo man sich unwohl fühlt und gleichzeitig gibt es Dinge, die man gern mal ausprobieren und umsetzen möchte.
Ich kann sicherlich nicht für alle Modelle sprechen, doch für mich hat das Modeln auf seine eigene Art und Weise zu meiner persönlichen und kreativen Weiterentwicklung beigetragen. Zumindest behaupte ich das jetzt einfach mal.

Solltet ihr noch weitere Fragen zum Thema Modeln & Co. haben, schickt mir gern eine Nachricht. 🙂