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Jewels of Immeasurable Worth

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IMG_1---Ana-COVERWritten by Rick Trottier – RJT Images

“You are all jewels of immeasurable worth, each of you like rubies, sapphires and emeralds. All special, unique and priceless.” – RJT

 

The benefit to growing up in a household with Depression-era parents is that you swiftly learn that EVERYTHING has a value. Nothing is useless, all things should be seen as having potential merit and naught could ever be wasted. While the children of the Great Depression became adults that sometimes may have taken the need to “scrimp & save” a bit too far (I remember having to cut the napkins in half to make them last twice as long), the lesson that all things have value created an optimism in my generation, a sense of positivism that even Viet Nam and Watergate couldn’t completely stamp out. And like all folks whose lives transform as the years go on and what we learned as youngsters would be applied to other wisdom as we aged, those lessons took on depth and profundity as they melded with other knowledge gleaned from experiences along the Road Quite Heavily Traveled.

IMG_30 - Nancy

IMG_18 - CarahMany years later, I was immersed in the field of Public Education and by the 1990s was dealing with the resistless tide of the “Feel Good Trend” of teaching and coaching children. During those years, pundits, experts and think-tank types were espousing the benefits of making sure that each and every child felt a sense of validation and accomplishment, even if they failed a test or dumped chocolate milk all over the floor. Responses to children’s actions and choices were to be couched in the most praising of tones and syntax and at the end of the day, each child was to feel like they had somehow won a trophy. While the thrust of this trend went too far and was too utopian in nature, there was a kernel of rightness nestled deeply inside that ball of amorphous fluff; that every person has innate value and some kind of praiseworthy talent.

 

After all the intervening years of fusing those two lessons and many others like them into a personal/professional creed when it comes to running a photography studio, I can finally say that I now am able to speak on this subject as it relates to modeling. Just as not every young man has the physical gifts to play NBA basketball, not every single girl/woman can successfully be a model. But just as there are varying levels of success in professional and semi-professional basketball, there are a variety of planes of achievement in modeling. For even more than sports, modeling is about an incredibly undefined, subjective and interpretational ideal, that of Beauty. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, it comes in many different guises and there is something appealing in the realm of glamor imagery for everyone. But the problem lies not with the viewer, all of whom find allure and loveliness in the personal tastes that they pursue. What often defeats a model’s potential is not how she is perceived by the public, but how she views herself from within.

IMG_23 - M

IMG_29 - PatriceBy the time a model reaches the age where she is legally and/or ethically ready to be in front of a camera, she has already run a gauntlet of familial, social and media abuse, programming and manipulation that has reshaped her soul from the fearless and sparkling little girl with a boundless sense of wonder and enthusiasm, to a young woman who is often already a seething nest of insecurities that could keep a squadron of clinical psychologists in business for years. And it’s all because of the words said to her, the actions visited upon her and the media she was exposed to that have become internalized tapes, endlessly repeated inside her mind and nearly crystallized in their fixed nature as part of her thinking. But rather than looking inside and courageously attempting to address these misconceptions and distortions, women tend to look outside their experience at others and give in to envy, coveting that which they perceive to not have in themselves. It is precisely that tendency to look at others and not building a stronger foundation of self-appreciation that creates an ever-deepening vortex and unbroken spiral of pessimism, defeatism and negative self-critique.

 

There is a fine but clearly demarcated line between appropriate self-assessment and self-abuse. And sadly, most women don’t see that line drawn in the emotional sand. Self-assessment is the ability to weight strengths and weaknesses in the scales of rationale evaluation. From there, the assessor must dispense with enough distorted feelings to be able to clearly determine what are worthy qualities that deserve continued refining and what are weaknesses that can be addressed so that they can either become strengths or at least are issues that can be compensated for with thoughtful strategies. But it takes knowing what to look for when it comes to falling into bad habits, giving into needless self-torture and savaging your self-esteem instead of bolstering it. Surgically examining personal traits and clinically evaluating those qualities takes practice and training and it is the very best models who have those skills.

IMG_19 - Shauna

IMG_27 - AlexisAction rather than wistful hope is always the best way to address any problem. You can wish something will get better and even discuss the possibilities of improvement with someone, but doing something usually leads to some form of change. Identifying the reasons why confidence and self-worth erode is a starting place. For many women, models especially, negativity is compounded by envy of others and unfair comparisons. Too often, women will look at images on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook and other forms of Social Media and draw inappropriate conclusions about that which they see. First off, nearly all images found in the streams of the internet have been modified in some manner, either professionally or by some editing software app that can be found on a smart phone. Looking at such imagery, coveting that which seems to be and loathing yourself for not meeting that standard is not only unproductive, it is nonsensical. The image is manufactured; a semi to non-realistic construct and wishing to be like that girl in the manufactured image has no basis in rationale thinking. In addition, it is essential to take into account the vagaries of genetics and probability. We inherit that which our parents pass along in their chromosomes. Some girls have athletic body types while others have curvier figures. I have listened to women bemoan their short torsos, wishing for the longer mid-section of another girl. Later, I hear the girl who was the object of longing grouse about her shorter legs, wishing for the length of limb of the girl with the shorter torso. If I had a nickel for every exchange I have seen and heard like that, I would be an insanely wealthy man. But it is the nature of women to compare themselves to others, envying the gifts of those they observe and not truly realizing how rich in their own special blessings they are. Most of the time, this tendency originates in past negative assessments made by family, friends and associates in a girl’s formative years. Addressing these very deeply ingrained issues via professional services has immense merit when it comes to broad-based personal self-improvement and not just modeling success.

IMG_21 - Amanda

IMG_7 - MAnother realm of self-torture that women can find ways to disengage from that will bring endless relief from emotional misery is self-criticism of that which is impossible to change. The best example is aging. Aging is something that we all have to accept no matter how hard it is. I am reminded of my advancing age and irrevocable decline each and every time one of my joints is asked to move and the arthritis therein protests violently. I compensate for the problems and address it as best I can knowing that it is all part of the pattern of life. Too often I hear beautiful young women in their late 20s and into their 30s belittle themselves in the face of what they perceive to be the resistless threat of younger girls. The facts are simple. Is the competition younger? Most certainly. Are you capable of avoiding the aging process? Not in a thousand years. Does this mean you are unable to mount a successful competition against these younger girls? In all honesty, it is likely that you compete admirably if not better for endless reasons like being knowledgeable, savvy, having a wider range of skills and talents and a far more developed modeling resume. Greatness is not dissipated by age until the time comes when stepping away should and must occur. Babe Ruth was a towering figure on the ball field until he realized it was time to hang up the cleats. Smart models forget things like aging, focus on their health and beauty regimens and continue to mine that which they are good at, growing their skill sets, making more contacts in the industry and working ceaselessly at their self-promotion. Two of the most successful models I know are both in their 30s and do precisely what all models need to do to succeed. Do they battle insecurities with aging? Unquestionably. But they do not let it poison their hearts and minds, crippling their ability to do their jobs superbly.

IMG_17 - Ana

IMG_25 - TanishaA final arena of warfare a where a woman/model must do battle is on the front of being consumed by nit-picking and over-focusing on small details. Women, by their nature, are detail-oriented. It is one of the reasons why they are so good at multi-tasking, balancing the professional and personal world with such innate talent. But all things in life are a double-edged sword and being detail-oriented has its drawbacks as well. Each and every person has their physical weaknesses of some type. Whether they can be addressed by diet and exercise, careful compensation when it comes to attire choices or some manner of safe and sensible surgery can alleviate the problem, there are ways to solve problems or at least deal with them to a greater or lesser degree. Too often though, women would prefer to wallow in misery and consume copious amounts of energy and time shattering the house of their spirit by ceaseless self-torture rather than look the issue square in the face and tackle it. And beyond the individual harm to self that is initiated and continued by detail-oriented nit-picking, there is the social cost to consider. Angry, bitter, self-hating people become beacons of negativity, pulling down those around them and spreading their disease like the emotional cancer cells they are. Giving in to damaging one’s own personal concept is sad enough, but damaging the foundation of another person’s spiritual happiness is a tragedy. That is why finding the strength to address whatever physical or personal problem exists and coming out the other side a victor has benefit for all of us.

 

Beyond what each individual can and should do to augment their self-confidence and eventual happiness, there is also the community presence at large to consider. Photographers have a role in strengthening the self-concept of models of all ages and not spreading self-doubt and self-hate in a society that already could be doing better. Surprisingly, I have found that honesty is always the very best approach to dealing with any charge at any time. When I taught, I found it best to be direct with students and their parents about the cognitive and affective domains of the child and how best to address the needs of all involved. I am equally as truthful with models, but just as I found in my teaching years, there is a diplomacy and aplomb that is needed to get a model to buy into celebrating their strengths and addressing their weaknesses. No one likes criticism, but everyone likes to know they are valued, have qualities in which they can be proud and have opportunities in front of them that they can grasp if they make the effort. Photographers need to blend honest feedback, thoughtful analysis and tactful delivery of professional assessments. It is essential to remember that models, by their nature, tend to be women who have strong outer defenses and facades, but are often sensitive and fragile in regards to their self-concept. The most professional and considerate methods of handling all dealings with models will not only lead to improved relations with these essential colleagues, but allows photographers to plant the seeds of personal improvement in these women, gently guiding them on the path to a stronger sense of self-worth.

 

I have always liked comparing women to precious gems because like jewels, women are beautiful, complex, of a diverse and varied nature, exquisite and worthy of effusive praise. Like sapphires, emeralds, rubies and opals, women shine of their own radiance and can receive light, giving it back in hues more marvelous than before. But locked in darkness, they shine no longer. Defiled and sullied, their glory is dimmed and lost to us, unlikely to be redeemed. It is within all our power to work towards the betterment of all people. I see the benefit in helping models to believe in themselves so that they can become the brighter, stronger and more marvelous women which will make this a far more lovely world.

IMG_24 - Hillary

  • IMG_30 - Nancy

    IMG_30 – Nancy

  • IMG_1 - Ana COVER

    IMG_1 – Ana COVER

  • IMG_2 - Alexis

    IMG_2 – Alexis

  • IMG_3 - Shauna

    IMG_3 – Shauna

  • IMG_4 - Carah

    IMG_4 – Carah

  • IMG_5 - Amanda

    IMG_5 – Amanda

  • IMG_6 - Christine Marie

    IMG_6 – Christine Marie

  • IMG_7 - M

    IMG_7 – M

  • IMG_8 - Hillary

    IMG_8 – Hillary

  • IMG_9 - Ana

    IMG_9 – Ana

  • IMG_10 - Alexis

    IMG_10 – Alexis

  • IMG_11 - Tanisha

    IMG_11 – Tanisha

  • IMG_12 - Brittany Lynn

    IMG_12 – Brittany Lynn

  • IMG_13 - Nancy

    IMG_13 – Nancy

  • IMG_14 - Amy

    IMG_14 – Amy

  • IMG_15 - Patrice

    IMG_15 – Patrice

  • IMG_16 - Alexis

    IMG_16 – Alexis

  • IMG_17 - Ana

    IMG_17 – Ana

  • IMG_18 - Carah

    IMG_18 – Carah

  • IMG_19 - Shauna

    IMG_19 – Shauna

  • IMG_20 - Christine Marie

    IMG_20 – Christine Marie

  • IMG_21 - Amanda

    IMG_21 – Amanda

  • IMG_22 - Brittany Lynn

    IMG_22 – Brittany Lynn

  • IMG_23 - M

    IMG_23 – M

  • IMG_24 - Hillary

    IMG_24 – Hillary

  • IMG_25 - Tanisha

    IMG_25 – Tanisha

  • IMG_26 - Ana

    IMG_26 – Ana

  • IMG_27 - Alexis

    IMG_27 – Alexis

  • IMG_28 - Amy

    IMG_28 – Amy

  • IMG_29 - Patrice

    IMG_29 – Patrice


 

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Featured in this issue Cover Model, GlamModel:Dpnna Brook, Featured GlamModelz: GlamModel: Donna Brook, GlamModel: Jessica Rose, GlamModel: Marisa James, GlamModel: Paola Alba, GlamModel: Billy Pointe, GlamModel: Whitney Nicole, Makeup Artist, Sarah Elizabeth, Featured Articles: Jewels of Immeasurable Worth, Complex World of Fitness Modeling, The Morning Light Effect, Inspiration vs Emulation, The Theory and Practice of Posing,


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xoxo Jewels of Immeasurable Worth

Managing Editor, GlamModelz Magazine I’m a Central New England photographer based out of Worcester, MA, just one hour west of Boston. I specialize in fashion and glamor commercial imagery as well portraiture of all types. My style is a blend of commercially viable work melded with artistic innovation, whether on location or in studio. I prize collaboration quite highly and am proud of the fact that most of my work displays the ideas and designs of my models as much as it does my skills, efforts and planning.

Rick has published 78, articles with GlamModelz Magazine.

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