This is a strange one! Our milestone this time comes not from one model, but from a whole bunch of them!
Our “Group” series (not really such a dynamic name for the series, but it is what it is) has reached it’s 1,000th catalog entry, courtesy of the duo shoot with Jake and Kaylin (see picture at right for #1,000).
We’ve had the privilege over the years to work with some great and talented models… when we put them together, we got some great photographic results, and some smiles and stories along the way. I thought it would be nice to take a look back at the various duo (and a trio!) shoots from BY’s past.
Our very first group shoot was of our original 3 female models, Courtney, Mandy, and Yvette. We’ve somehow lost the exact date of when this shoot took place, but we’ve narrowed it down to the time between January and April of 2001. It was a beautiful, if not a bit windy, day, perfect to blow the overcast clouds away from the coast. The 3 models drove with us down to the coast to a popular surfer’s beach, where we hiked a half of a mile down to the beach from the road and started shooting. I remember, this being the first beach shoot that I had done, that sand sticking to skin and clothes was an issue… one on which I had not planned! However, the shoot came out well, even if there were only a few shots that made it into the catalog.
Our next group shoot- in October of 2001- featured Jake and Lance. A visitor to the BeautifulYouth site had noticed the two of them, and asked if they would pose as models for an informational brochure for a homeless kids’ ranch. I was also honored when they asked me to be the photographer. The shoot went well, and I was allowed to keep the shots that were not used. Some of the pictures, I feel, were very moody, and reflected well on the abilities of the two young models.
In March of 2002, we took a chance and shot Lance and Courtney together. I say that we took a chance because Lance, while very personable in a one-on-one setting, was very shy, and no one knew how he would react when asked to pose with a member of the opposite sex. While the results didn’t turn out quite like we had anticipated, the chemistry between Lance and Courtney definitely lent a unique look to the set.
Our next group shoot was a collaboration between Pee Wee and MiniMe down in Los Angeles in May of 2002. We spent the Saturday of the long weekend shooting individual shoots (and goofing around town) with the two of them… on Sunday morning, we got them together for a duo shoot. The tone was playful and the results show that sense of frivolity.
In August of 2002, we shot Baxter and Zoe, both of which were relatively new to the BeautifulYouth Project at that point. As was the case with Lance and Courtney, shyness and discomfort of close proximity had to be overcome, but I think the results were well worth the time. Unfortunately on this shoot, Baxter somehow got into some poison oak, and, over the next week had this itchy reminder of the shoot.
Pee Wee came up to San Francisco in November of 2002 to visit, and we arranged to have him shoot with Mandy. This is the one shoot, in my opinion, that has produced the greatest number of “five star” photographs. The funny thing I remember about this shoot has to be the cocksure manner of Pee Wee on the days leading up to his shoot with Mandy. He would brag and boast about how sure he was that Mandy would instantly fall prey to his charms and self-assured machismo. However, when the time of the shoot came, it was Pee Wee who was suddenly shy and reserved, and blushed each time that they were asked to stand near for a shot.
August of 2003 found us shooting twins- Abra and Kadabra- for the first time. We had chosen the perfect day to shoot down by the American River- the sun was warm, the water was cool, and the light was just right. The poise of the twins, as well as their obvious like for and trust in each other was evident, and made for a wonderful shoot.
It wasn’t until a year later, in July of 2004, when we shot our next group shoot- another Abra/Kadabra pairing. This shoot went off rather unremarkably, and the end shots were eclipsed by their solo work on the same day.
In August of 2004, we shot the combination of Pee Wee and Chuy. The boys were visiting from Los Angeles and posed for an unplanned session while we were waiting for Jake to arrive for a shoot. The playfulness and spontenaeity shows through in the end result.
In March and June of 2005, we shot “angel” duo shoots of Abra/Kadabra and Tony2/Mackenzie (respectively). Each of the angel shoots had an almost ethereal air to them, and that ineffible quality is apparent in the artwork that was produced in each of the shoots.
In July of 2006, we returned to the American River to shoot a Summer series with Abra and Kadabra again. And again, the rapport between them created an almost magical series out of a mundane setting.
Our most recent group shoot was in September of 2006 with veteran model Jake and newcomer Kaylin. Again, here, chemistry was interesting to watch. Kaylin was very excited in advance of the shoot, having had the ability to review Jake’s past work on the website. For Jake, it was a bit harder to anticipate, as Kaylin, at that point, was relatively new to the BeautifulYouth Project, and not much of her work was available. As the shoot started, all almost seemed lost. The two of them seemed distant (both figuratively and literally)- which made for some somewhat “empty” looking shots. Fortunately, as the shoot progressed, they became more at ease with each other, and the later shots in the series reflect that.
All in all, it is much more problematic when you have more than one person in front of the camera lens; more can go wrong, more details need to be managed, more personalities need to be accounted for. But, in the end, shoots that feature more than one subject feature, not the models themselves, but the unspoken relationship between them.