Testing a model

Finding myself in Swansea for a weekend, I thought it would be worthwhile giving a local budding model a chance to do a simple shoot, try out a few poses, get used being photographed. I found one on TFP Models in nearby Port Talbot.

The model was only 16, an age group many photographers will not do a shoot with because of modern concerns about paedophile. As the father of two teenage daughters, a former governor of a girls’ high school (five years), and a Stem Ambassador I refuse to bow to media hype and act as if everyone is guilty. I am not completely stupid though, so I insisted that the shoot was done in her own home with her mother present.

model karen crouching
Karen in Port Talbot

As it turned out, her mother, step-father, younger (but taller and older looking) sister and her sister’s boyfriend were all present and very helpful. Staying out of the way other when asked to help, and only ever an open-doorway away from us. We did the shoot on a Sunday morning, and the mother was busy helping the younger daughter with her school work and making a Sunday roast-dinner (which, apparently, she had missed out for the last few weeks). There was a lot of good natured joking in the family about the cooking – a debate about the smallest saucepan excluding a milk-pan was especially entertaining. There was no criticism of the older daughter doing some modelling though, in fact the mother was especially supportive and understood very well TFP arrangements (done for mutual benefit, no money exchanging hands, both parties – model and photographer – contributing their skills and time).

It came as a bit of a surprise to hear that the father, who lives in the Forest-of-Dean, is a professional photographer (nature). When I asked why she had not got her dad to take her pictures, she simply said: “Yur, he’s my Dad!”

It was difficult shooting in a house I did not know, and it was a little cramped – hard to find areas to shoot in. We went outside for a while, but it was very cold. We also spent some time shooting with her standing on the firm cushions of a black settee.

It was good fun. The girl worked hard, took direction well, and enjoyed what we were doing. It would be good to shoot her again in a formal shoot.

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