This is how I introduce myself to a new model in a cafe, on the bus or where ever I was at and I have been on the simple quest to find new models to update my portfolio. Luckily this model had been a former pro as well as one of my model muses back in 1992. I still recall the day I asked her to model. I was going to an interview for some kind of job in Seattle and she was the next seat and she had the scent of pepper corns.
Because I sought out interesting models to shoot I offered them a free model test. I normally shot only one roll of 36 exp roll for this model test and offered one free print for exchange for them helping me add more interesting photos into my portfolio. These models I found at the famous Cafe Paradiso (now Caffè Vita) smoking section. I would pay for a endless drip coffee and go upstairs and case out the joint for new talent. I didn’t wait too long just went up to someone or even a group that looked like they would fit in my portfolio and asked.
“Can I take your photo?” Some would say sure and some still needed more information so I showed them my 8×10 portfolio of prints that I had printed in a dark garage that I used as a darkroom in my parents house. Some would ask me if the shoot would be there in the cafe and I told them we would meet again later that week for a more formal shoot near the cafe.
Because I was limited to the 36 to 40 images of a 36 exp roll I figured out a way to
squeeze 4 different looks (clothing changes) per roll. I started off with 3 head shots, 3 half body and 3 full body unless the model seemed like they knew what was going on and I would add another roll to the shoot and a additional print.
Some models did order more prints and I was able to afford all my film and paper because the expenses of home film processing and printing was pretty cheap compared to having a lab do the work.
Photography was also one of the only social things I did really. I found one tea cafe/consignment dress shop that I would play the game of it the model came into the shop I would ask them. This model strangely came back and to my luck she was sort of famous being on the cover of the stranger and also a Elite Model Management hopeful. The day of the shoot she was smoking this nasty smelling cigar and that ended up being part of the first shots in the test.
To my joy Elite did something that no modeling agency in Seattle ever did and that is they bought 3 of my prints for their new model and told me I could shoot their models when I was visiting their Beverly Hills agency.
My social life was meeting models, doing shoots, showing results of the shoot on a contact sheet, taking print orders and asking for more shoots with the same model. Some of the models I lost touch with so I had to keep looking for new talent.