It all started when I asked her to take off her top, not knowing it would be the catalyst for the epitome of self expression. Sitting comfortably in a white lounge couch from Ikea in the middle of a bright and airy photo studio set in the heart of the Los Angeles art district, shooting out of an old loft with a “retro-minimalist” look. The smell of flash bulbs and a stuffy vintage closet, play to a small production crew of gossipy hairstylists and a flirty makeup artist named Kiki. The glow of the sun setting on the Los Angeles skyline has more to do with the amount of scantily clad women walking around feeling “comfortable” that I would like to admit. With the scent of luxury in the air and sparkling shoes and accessories that would rival a yard sale out of Kimora Lee Simmons closet, we’ve only actually been here for a couple of hours. That’s just about long enough for the cheap sushi tray from Trader Joe’s and complimentary cheese sampler to still be edible. Its also long enough for the initial awkwardness of cordial conversation to be in it’s “delirium phase”. You know….the phase where all conversation about who you are and what you do begins to get boring and vices are the topic of conversation…sex, drugs.. the “industry”, which at this point can be considered a curse word as far as I’m concerned.
The sound of camera flashes and gossip fill the room as the low 808 bass thump Dj Krush set the mood for you quintessential hipster scenario like a behind the scenes episode of Project Runway. It can seem ridiculously difficult to be bored of the same old studio shoot set up, no matter who I happen to be shooting or styling at the time. Of course sn’t that what being cool is?! Appearing so disassociated with the things that most people find amazing, that nothing impresses you anymore? The mere thought of being impressed is more along the lines of someone else’s demise, or the type of hangover you would get from shots of Chardonnay & Grey Goose just before you black out and your re-living your night on youtube. There’s a model standing directly in front of me with her clothes off asking me how her implants look, and all I can think of is what I’m getting into later.
I’m so far into auto pilot that it appears I’m really interested in what she’s saying. Even though she’s cooler that iced peppermint fellatio, I have a tendency to appear not interested when I’m working no matter how fly a model is or how compromising the circumstances may be for the sake of having a substantial working credentials in this small ass world of entertainment. I wouldn’t attempt that skill set with out years of practice.
There seems to be and increasing number of disillusioned people who want to get into this industry because of the undying compulsion to be “it.” What you don’t realize is that for every person that is successful, you have to actually be good at something to a point that it can pass off as a skill. Whether your firing celebrities on TV, fucking everyone in the only era of hip hop music I actually enjoyed, or taking shots at the president…how ever you service your clients, be exceptionally great at it to where no one can mimic or want to duplicate your swagger.
Every now and then despite our nations insatiable appetite to breed the very things we loathe, comes along a person who possesses star-like qualities and attributes that we don’t really care to associate with. Until that is we do… Imagine hanging out with Gia Carnagi back in the day or having a beer with Andy Warhol. These people were cool before the world found out, and even though they’re gone we continue to reference them in pop culture today. To them and people like them, their contribution to their industry was more of a circumstantial means to an end. They tend to be the embodiment of inspiration. We see it on the TV shows we watch, the magazines we read, and the indulgent amount of meaningless, merchandise we feel we need to purchase on a regular basis.
What I refer to as a muse, inspires people how to look, talk and dress or even feel, and presents itself in a way that every one feels compelled to be near it. If you ever stop and think about it for even just a second, you’ll realize you’ve only scratched the surface of what it actually is. By the time you figure out what’s going on, you’ve already missed out and another “muse” has you questioning who you really are. Identify crisis at any age is not a good look…
So there’s the girl strutting her stuff once again, naked in her own fantasy, me looking out the retro windows and Kiki who just never wants to give up. You have to wonder who this is all for, the poses, the glamour, the make up, the lighting? Just tell yourself it’s beautiful, as long as it’s perceived that way…at least the client is paying.
The sad part to that magical wet dream is that it’s really an ugly business of how well you’re able to hide your insecurities and still maintain the rock star persona while financially catering to your ego. Somewhere along the way, you’ll be able to establish some great friendships with some really rich and poor bastards. Even though all my interesting so-called friends couldn’t spend five seconds in the same room together, I’ve managed to keep a level sense of self that money has nothing to do with. Fortunately for me having exquisite taste is what I’ve built a career on. Now if only I could get that girl to look this way…