I enjoyed this book. In it model and writer Kathleen Rooney gives readers a good insight into life as a nude model. Those looking for ‘exciting’ or ‘revealing’ stories of working as a nude model might be slightly disappointed.
Kathleen leads users into a intellectually insightful side of working as a nude model. While nothing terribly outrages happens during her experience as a model, readers see what its like to work as an nude art model and some of the thoughts and experiences she had while doing so.
Kathleen sometimes highlights feeling objectified as a model. Understandably so. Most schools and even many artists working privately often treat their models as objects. Maybe not consciously so. I think perhaps its easy as a figurative artist to get absorbed in the physical. To become overwhelmed by the amazement of the human figure. Pose this way, move your arm here, move, hold still, 10 mins, 30 mins, etc.
I remember reading once how Degas nearly tortured his models. Making them hold difficult poses for unreasonable amounts of time and becoming extremely upset and irritable when they faltered or moved during a pose. I hated the thought (though I love his work).
I think and revel in the greatest challenge of drawing the figure being that behind the complexities of the anatomy is a living breathing person. The way a model holds their hand says something about who they are as a person. Every experience a person has had accumulates to translate into their physical expression. Its a true challenge to capture not only the incredible physical beauty but the person behind it.
I constantly go out of my way to view and treat the models I work with as people, not objects. I had always disdained the treatment of models as objects in figurative art. I try to pay above the current hourly rate of the schools in the area. I give every model white roses, a as a sign of adoration, respect and appreciation above and beyond cash payment and I try to get the very best white roses in the city. I do not ‘pose’ or ‘direct’ models. Instead letting them take their own poses, feeling my infringement would hinder a models ability to express themselves.
Anyhow this book is a great insight into the life of working as a nude model. A good read for anyone interested in the subject. A relatively short and easy read but enjoyable and worth the effort.