Friday, June 18, 2010
The model vivant (The live model)
We had worked late in the studio one evening during my recent workshop. So the next morning I slept in a little later than usual. I was still groggy while getting ready when I heard Kippy calling my name from outside. I rushed to the window, bent over the second floor balcony to hear better and she said, "It's OK now. Everything's fine."
"It's all OK. I've talked to her."
"What are you talking about? Talked to Who?"
"Zee model vivant."
Zee model vivant was tall and slender, dark and fashionable, commanding in presence. She has been modeling in Paris for over 20 years for art schools, independent artists and commercial photographers. No doubt, she has some stories to tell. "I'm looking for Degas type poses, nothing fancy, simply a woman grooming herself. Maybe even Toulouse Lautrec," I had told her. She knew exactly what we were wanting. I placed a boudoir chair onto the model stand and told her go go ahead and get comfortable, I'd work with the lighting. She sat. And bounced off the chair as if she had been stung. "NUH! I can not seet in zis chair!"
"Because eet does not feel right. I can not feel zee pose in eet."
"OK, well, then let's try this..."
The day wore on with me making suggestions and "NUH! I can not do zat pose, I do not feel it. I can do ziss.." By the end of the day, she was extending her long leg above her head, "..and I can do ziss, and I can do ziss for you...and I deed ziss pose for..." So zee model vivant posed in cabaret fashion, stradling chairs, extending pointed toes, wearing her top hat.
The morning I was called to the balcony, there was to be a photo session between one of the students and zee model before breakfast. But zee model said it was too chilly. Thus ensued a talk between Kippy and zee model.