As I sit here next to my best friend, who also inhabits the role of muse in my life, I have decided to put into my words the difference between model and muse, and why I am so entranced by the later. By definition, a model is someone who represents something, in fashion this is most often a brand. They are inherently a tool of capitalism, used to sell products and images, and susceptible people will look up to them as examples for how to live their lives. (How models become role models and why that can be toxic, to be addressed in my next blog post!) By taking on the role of "model" and working under an agency, it is easy to put personality and intelligence in the back pocket as they are replaced by appearance and complacency.
The definition of muse boldly explains why I can be so drawn "a person or personified force who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist" (Webster's). I shoot all different kinds of people- both models and non models, and there is of course something to be said for solid training and experience, but there is so much more to be said for natural presence on camera. I know that I became a better model after years of experience and intensive shoots, but I also know that I am only a good model because I stand in front of the camera as a muse-an open template for expression to flow. A natural affinity and beauty and a deep love of expression are the perfect ingredients for inspiration, which is the only way to create interesting art in my opinion. Lack of inspiration, pure commercialization, is boring, mundane and not what the greater audience is desiring. We all have heart centers that want to be ignited and when the creator is ignited, the audience is too, and we can unlock deeper human powers of connection.
Models may sell clothes, but muses sell ideas. I am extremely interested in merging these worlds. Ideas are huge and powerful, and can change the world with one photo, but commercialization is a straight path to a large audience. Ultimately, my dream is to work with only people I consider muses, people that inspire expression, and to expand the network of muses. It is a fulfilling and passionate relationship, where artistic ideas can flourish like flowers in the sun.
Photos of my main muse-Chula Vet. All shot on 35mm.
Follow her on insta: @chulavet