BLOG #145 3/22/16
Statue of gold, with a mesh scarf weaved from real gold.
This is a story the likes of which I guarantee you’ve never heard before.
I was asked by the editors of THE ROBB REPORT, a magazine for zillionaires (advertisers include private jet planes, Rolls Royces and Lamborghinis) to do a shoot featuring very exclusive pieces of jewelry on a pair of models who would show them to the best effect.
The editors were thinking about placing the jewelry on enticing bodies but weren’t sure exactly how to do it – which is why they called me.
I asked about ideas for the shoot and the jewelry and learned that it was mostly gold and platinum. I thought about it and then suggested we paint one model silver and another gold, making them look like statues adorned with the jewelry on the matched pair of bodies. “We love it!“ came the response from the magazine.
The first task was to find two models who would be comfortable being photographed with no clothing after having their bodies painted, head to toe. Given New York City’s magnetism for beautiful women, we had a large number of willing models to choose from, and readily found two remarkable women with bodies perfect for the shoot. Each had assured us she would be fine with the unusual nature of the shoot, and each was enthusiastic about being painted and photographed.
On the appointed day of the shoot there were about eight people from the magazine who came to observe/attend the shoot, including editors, art directors, copy writers, and others, plus two armed guards on hand to be sure the dozen or so pieces of jewelry (that totaled well over two million dollars) didn’t wander off. This number of onlookers is more typical of advertising work than editorial, but this was a special shoot for the team from the magazine.
The models (Saskia Slaaf at New York Models, Silver and Daniellea at Fuel Models, Gold) had arrived well before the magazine people, allowing plenty of time for them to be “painted” in the studio’s private dressing room; Tara Meadows did the hair and body-painting make up, while my two assistants and I set up the lighting to best feature both the jewelry and the bodies.
Platinum-set diamond necklace and earrings valued, in total, $600,000.
After a few hours of meticulous makeup work, the first model walked into the studio from the dressing room, naked and gleaming. Seeing the large group of people in the studio with all eyes on her, she freaked out, made a whimpering squeak, quickly turned around, and escaped back to the safety of the dressing room.
Models are rarely shy. And, I had to get the shoot done. I went to speak with her, to reassure her. “I can’t go out there like this with all those people!” she said anxiously, so frightened that she was shaking.
We had a quiet, soft, caring talk and I decided, and reassured her, that I’d close off the entire shooting space with temporary partitions, so that she would be “exposed” to no one but me and my assistants.
I explained to the creative director and the others what I was doing and why. I told them I felt certain that she would feel differently once we started shooting. I told them we might get to the point where we could remove the partitions, but that if we did, they should initially totally ignore her, look anywhere but at the set, as if she were not there.
A jeweled bracelet with hammered gold band.
It worked. Once we began to make images, the model became completely comfortable and got into the work.
And then, two remarkable things happened: when it was time to take a lunch break she went to the food table, still naked, though wearing slippers to avoid getting the body paint all over the studio, served herself lunch, and had conversations with almost everyone there, face-to-face, including the guards, even flirting. I was prepared to intercede if she began to look uncomfortable, but it was clear she needed no help from me.
When the shoot was over and both models were finished, the once shy model, still fully painted and totally nude, put on her heels, stuffed her clothes into her bag, and headed for the front door. Seeing her from the far end of the studio, stunned, I shouted for her to wait.
I ran toward her. “Where are you going?”
Real gold dust poured into a gold goblet.
“My car is a block down the street,” she said. “I’m going to drive home. I want my boyfriend to see me.” This from the same once-terrified model.
I explained to her that going out into crowded SoHo naked, and painted, was really not a good idea. After some discussion, especially when she saw I wasn’t going to allow it, we agreed that she could borrow one of our makeup robes to cover up without damaging the paint, and left – still gleaming.
For the sake of discretion, I won’t say whether it was Miss Silver or Miss Gold.
Glitterati Incoprorated, the publisher of the Retrospective, Schatz Images: 25 Years is now offering the two- book boxed set at a discount from the original price. The set comes with an 11″x14″ print of the buyer’s choice.
Click here for information about the Retrospective:
To view more of my work, visit my website.