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Garrett Centre, London, 31 August 2022

6 Sep 2022

I guess everyone who made it through the peak pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 at some point thought about their priorities in life. Towards the end of 2021, I knew I had to improve my work-life balance, so for 2022 I decided to limit life modelling bookings to an average of just three per month. I’ve kept to the rule fairly well, but it’s only early September and I’ll have had my year’s quota of 36 bookings by the end of October.

Despite exceeding my target I’ve had long periods without modelling. This booking at the Garrett Centre for Adrian Dutton was my first of any kind in 30 days, or 50 days since a comparable short pose session. And bizarrely although I’ve been a life model for over a decade, operating with an almost innate instinct in recent years, suddenly I found myself on the spot, bereft of pose ideas, and having to relearn the skills.

That’s lack of practice. In life modelling, an interesting physicality and a natural ability will get you so far, enthusiasm and commitment may take you further, but experience and constant creative re-engagement are what make it an instinctive performance. In the seven weeks since I’d last filled two hours with short poses, it appeared I had lost the instinct. Or rather I’d mislaid my subconscious menu of empathic manifestations.

When Adrian asked me to start with a 15-minute pose, I realised my response was to invent one – not wholly original in every aspect, but not dredged from memory either. The same was true in varying degrees for the the next five poses of 1-minute and the pose of 5-minutes that followed. It wasn’t until the subsequent 10-minute pose, and a 20-25 minute pose taking us to an interval, that I managed to remember what I do.

Not senility (yet), merely rustiness. As I say, poses were not totally uninformed by my past efforts, I just didn’t know what each would look like until my body had settled into position. It was fun – the whole not-knowing – and I managed to avoid pains too. After the break, I concluded the session with poses of 10 minutes and 25-20 minutes to the end. So now I ask: what next time? Do I mentally prepare, or just let it flow?

From → Art

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