Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Test Shoot: Annaline Smit

A professional city agency had shown interest in me as a model, it was time to perform. Sharon Mulligan wanted me to bring some pictures to her office, so they could decide whether I had potential. I decided that happy snaps taken in the back yard were not going to do it, so I asked a friend to help me out.

Annaline was one of my best high school friends, who'd been left by the wayside when I got slurped into the Bad Boyfriend hole. We reconnected at Uni and I discovered that she'd been studying photography part-time, with a keen focus on fashion photography. Perfect! She asked another of our high school friends, Lelani, to help with the styling and make-up, and off we went on my first creative, cool editorial-style shoot.

Bear in mind, this was 1996, BEFORE DIGITAL. We shot a few rolls colour, a few rolls B&W film and since we weren't so lucky as to own a polaroid camera, we couldn't see a single frame before Annaline developed all the pics in her dark room!

A bright green mini shift dress with wide waist belt and exposed zip detail: au courant!

This simply stylish little red number was Annaline's Matric Farewell dress. Well, she is a simply stylish girl. I remember her and Lelani telling me to really look angry, scowl and pout. Apparently that wasn't within my range just yet.

These pictures remind me how cyclical fashion is. 20's flapper style long beads and you can't see them, but I was wearing two-tone brogues!

Fishnet stockings, a feather boa and a dreamy off-camera stare... I've always liked this one.

Little house on the prairie vintage cream sundress, I'd love one now!

Oh my word, check the waist line on these white jeans. This was before we went low-rise! I just realised now, we used to call low-slung jeans hipsters...

I'm definitely getting a tiny bit more expressive as the day rolls on.

White strapless sweetheart bodice, full tulle skirt and chinese slippers. Sweet bridal ensemble.

Then we went a bit hard-core and crept onto a building site / scrap yard. I'm wearing my Dad's leather jacket from the 70's. I lived in it for three years.

Posing on a fork-lift. So necessary.

Proper editorial style: model having a little lie-down in junk yard.

Annaline & Lelani really had the greatest styling intuition! We found an old school bus and paired it with a fab retro print dress. My model slouch still needed a lot of work, I look a bit stiff and awkward.

If the camera was positioned a little bit higher here, this would've been a beauty.

Annaline was so enthusiastic and creative with our locations. We'd been driving up and down twisty unknown paths, changing outfits, hair & make-up, setting up and shooting within minutes, it was a rush! At some point we were a bit lost and came upon a tiny squatter settlement in the woods. I was hustled into someone's sister's wedding dress, bedecked with hat and pearls and positioned on a rusty old car wreck. A young mother with four kiddies in tow shyly asked to be in a picture with 'the bride'.

A mile long washing line, out in the open veld, was just begging to be captured.

I knew we had to take some swimwear shots too, but I wasn't looking forward to it. Due to a silly childhood incident I only ever wore full swimsuits. The fact that Annaline & Lelani could talk me into a tiny little leopard print triangle, was a miracle. And just like that, the spell was broken, bikinis all the way!

How young do I look? I was 18.

I love the b&w ones.

Knowing what I know now, having been exposed to the harsh modelling world and its precise requirements, I can see that these pictures look a bit naively amateur and that I certainly didn't posess instant model mentality. At the time though, I proudly took these to Mulligan's Models and expected them to sign me on the spot.

They didn't.

I made my way into town at the appointed time and entered the hallowed halls of a real life model agency. It was a chaotic office space, not nearly as glamorous as I'd imagined. When I said that Sharon had asked me to come, it barely raised any interest in the receptionist. She flicked through the photos, called someone else to form a second opinion and then brusquely thanked me and said they'd be in touch.

I never heard from them again.

So I experienced my third false start in this ridiculous industry. Luckily, I wasn't crushed or even disappointed; I was too busy with my studies and distracted by my blooming social life. Modelling could wait, if it was ever going to happen at all. And besides, I knew that I'd much rather be a respected actress than an airhead model...


Julia (Color Me Green) said...

i dunno you look like a real model to me in these photos. i'm amazed at what a great job your friends did fitting all these outfits and locations into one shoot!

Ruby Slippers said...

I can see you look a bit awkward, but at the same time SO much more pro than I could ever be! And your flat tummy...urgh, I could kill you. :-)

Meanwhile, at least your jeans showed your belly button! I had even higher ones at one point. Though surely in '96 we were going hipster jean mad already? Hmm. I can't recall.

Being Brazen said...

such great photos - what fun to look back :)

Superficialgirl said...

I remember mulligans! My sister boyfriend was with them in 1997/8 but they went dodgy and bankrupt or started stealing money from models. he then went to boss. I love the bikini in the last few btw! :) ah to be 18 again... turning 25 in a week :(

LPC said...

I can't say I know what a real model looks like but you sure were beautiful.

Marie said...

These photos are great, I know I haven't got the eye for it but they look pretty professional. I love the locations you found too. So much fun!

Cate Subrosa said...

I love them! It's so cool to see photos to accompany a story from so long ago. That first one in the green dress is fantastic. And the first b&w one of you in the bikini... wow.

Anonymous said...

everything looks rather au courant in some way.
i love the 2nd bikini shot. what lines you have love.

alas, a lass! said...

Wow, your friends were pretty damn great. And YOU were great --very real, naturally beautiful. I think there's so much "story" in your face --in some of the shots you look more like a beautiful actress with a model's body than a model. I think it's because you sort of outshine the clothes.

Modelmental said...

Julia, when I look back at these pictures now, I too am amazed at my creative friends! I've done shoots recently with much more professional teams and the location/styling themes weren't nearly as cohesive as this. Or as quick! I really, honestly don't see a model in these pics, but then I still often don't, even in pro pics! It's hard to be objective of yourself? Thanks though! 19 year old me is super flattered!

Ruby, I too was convinced that we were all about the hipster in '96, maybe we were going for a retro look? And I could kill my 19 year old self for that tummy too, believe me! If only I'd known then what I know now...

Brazen, I do enjoy it! Though it's a bit freaky having a gazillion pics of yourself!

Carlin, ha don't all agencies end up that way? Bastards. I love the bikini too, I bought a similar one last year without remembering this one... Regression. And honey, 25 ain't NOTHING! I'm thinking, oh to be 25 again. Remember that!

Thanks LPC, you're sweet!

Marie, it was fun! I almost wish I could 'lose' my critical eye. It makes looking at pics of yourself quite hard!

Thanks Cate, that is the upside of having a gazillion pics, it reminds me of the stories!
Thinking of framing some of the b&w ones, would it look narcissistic? I feel like it's so long ago, it's a different girl!

Thanks Link love... what lines I HAD!

Oh Alas, give me more give me more, what beautiful compliments you dole out? I don't see what you see but I'll take it nonetheless!

Cate Subrosa said...

Nah, not narcissistic, a bit of history!

ansie said...

love the bikini ones, the forklift one is great, wish your face was not in shadow so much!

Modelmental said...

Ansie, maybe you and I and photoshop can have a go at some of these some time? ;-)