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Photographer
Risen Phoenix Photo
Posts: 1,086
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


After 3 years I have lost my wonderful muse.  She had to quit modeling because her family were threatening to financially cut her off if she continued to model. 

She was absolutely a pleasure to work with.  She loved our work together and she supported me emotionally in good times and bad.  Now I  feel like I lost my rudder.

I know it may sound silly but losing a muse hurts.


So this got me to thinking.

Photographers:

What do you look for in a muse and why is he or she your muse.  What sets them apart from all the rest.


Models

What does it mean to you to be a photographers muse....  What attributes do you feel a muse must possess.


So all your thoughts and ideas are gratefully accepted


Risen Phoenix
Aug 05 13 06:34 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marin Photography NYC
Posts: 6,124
New York, New York, US


A muse should be someone that inspires you to create, it may be different for everyone. I never had one so I can't say I understand how it feels to lose one. If you look and you are patient you might get lucky and find a new one. Best of luck.
Aug 05 13 06:38 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Bare Essential Photos
Posts: 3,143
Upland, California, US


Risen Phoenix Photo wrote:
After 3 years I have lost my wonderful muse.  She had to quit modeling because her family were threatening to financially cut her off if she continued to model. 

She was absolutely a pleasure to work with.  She loved our work together and she supported me emotionally in good times and bad.  Now I  feel like I lost my rudder.

I know it may sound silly but losing a muse hurts.


So this got me to thinking.

Photographers:

What do you look for in a muse and why is he or she your muse.  What sets them apart from all the rest.


Models

What does it mean to you to be a photographers muse....  What attributes do you feel a muse must possess.


So all your thoughts and ideas are gratefully accepted


Risen Phoenix

True muses are mythical creatures that take the form of beautiful curvy woman. Like other mythical creatures -- genies and fairies, for example -- they are obligated to fulfill a task if caught. The way you know if she is a muse is if she inspires you to do a photoshoot.

For whatever reason, muses seem to enjoy frolicking in my backyard. From time to time I catch them and I have them pose for me for shoots. It inspires me : )

Aug 05 13 06:50 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Jolly Rauncher
Posts: 1,515
Seattle, Washington, US


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Aug 05 13 07:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Artist/Painter
Grin Without a Cat
Posts: 408
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


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Aug 05 13 07:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
J I M M I
Posts: 557
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, US


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Aug 05 13 07:18 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Risen Phoenix Photo
Posts: 1,086
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


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Aug 05 13 07:20 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Risen Phoenix Photo
Posts: 1,086
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


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Aug 05 13 07:25 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Koryn
Posts: 34,706
Boston, Massachusetts, US


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Aug 05 13 07:31 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Risen Phoenix Photo
Posts: 1,086
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


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Aug 05 13 07:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Model
Koryn
Posts: 34,706
Boston, Massachusetts, US


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Aug 05 13 08:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Risen Phoenix Photo
Posts: 1,086
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


Koryn Locke wrote:

All Andy Warhol gave Edie Sedgwick was misery, and an early death. Pretty sure she relapsed into drug use and died before her 30th birthday, only a few years after being kicked to the curb as not cool enough to be Warhol's "muse" anymore, because she was getting older and burning out.

I think female muses give a lot more to male artists, who end up being praised and loved for the things these women inspired them to create, while the muses often sort of disappear into history, or are used and discarded.

I shot with, and modeled for, probably a couple hundred (just guessing) different artists and photographers, from the age of 22-28. The minute I decided I needed time away, and stopped creating new material, I pretty much stopped existing - immediately. We live fast, and die young - in the metaphorical sense.

I think that may be true, even Modetti, O'Keefe, Charis, Lee Miller would have been lost to the ages if not for the fact they became artists themselves.

So I think you are saying that the artist / muse relationship is neither fair or balanced. Yet I lost my muse and I did not kick her to the curb. 

I think while an artist may become the household word for his or her work the model will have been made immortal  through the eyes of that artist.  (I'm am not speaking of myself here)

Very good thoughts ...

Thank you

Aug 05 13 08:19 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Wolfy4u
Posts: 1,048
Grand Junction, Colorado, US


Many years ago, I was lucky to have not a muse, but two muses. They even knew each other and occasionally modeled together. At the time, I didn't know the word muse. I just knew that they were like minded with me, available most times and we shared common goals. One, I introduced to Ken Marcus who auditioned her and she appeared in Playboy two times, but not as a Playmate. she went on to tour with the 'Playboy Girls of Rock-n-Roll' for two years. The other muse, continued to shoot with me over a period of 2-3 years. At one point, she and her husband moved across the country for a job opportunity and I never saw her again.
That was around 1986. I'm still waiting for my next muse, although I have been shooting a lot recently, with a wonderful model from MM. Maybe......  who knows?
Aug 05 13 08:35 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Frank McDonough
Posts: 139
Boston, Massachusetts, US


I know once the restraining order expires I'll work with my Muse again.
Aug 05 13 08:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Viator Defessus Photos
Posts: 932
College Station, Texas, US


I've had a couple of women that have been muses for me I guess, but I've never used that word for it. It was just a period in which we both liked shooting together and had fun with it. Some pictures came out of it. In time it eventually ends.
Aug 05 13 10:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Leland Ray
Posts: 297
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, US


Viator-Defessus Photos wrote:
I've had a couple of women that have been muses for me I guess, but I've never used that word for it. It was just a period in which we both liked shooting together and had fun with it. Some pictures came out of it. In time it eventually ends.

Yes, that about sums it up.  But these are the models I value in a way that they don't really seem to understand.  I've had a few who fit your criteria, and they were genuinely modest about their talents.  One was completely clueless about just how good she really was, so I tried to tell her.  She acted like I was just being silly, but she thanked me for the compliment, which she seemed to feel was misplaced.  Not hardly--I meant every word, and the pictures said the rest.

Aug 06 13 01:26 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Big A-Larger Than Life
Posts: 33,395
The Woodlands, Texas, US


Frank McDonough wrote:
I know once the restraining order expires I'll work with my Muse again.

Hahahahahahahahha!!!!

Aug 06 13 04:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jeffrey M Fletcher
Posts: 4,300
Asheville, North Carolina, US


First of all my condolences, having a three year creative partnership end from that sort of pressure and being drug typified as something harmful has got to be a big blow. So keep working and keep your hopes up because they are just more of those destructive and obstructing voices that tell the sort of lies that keep real and good communication and work from happening.

As for the question I think a muse is a person who both represents an ideal of beauty, is present and available for contemplation, and who has some affinity for and response to the work being created. It's a state of mind, an obsession, and a communication and while I don't think it can be forced I do see evidence that there are certain ways of proceeding with relationships and creative work that allow for this and invite it to occur.
Aug 06 13 04:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
L Bass
Posts: 905
Nacogdoches, Texas, US


Frank McDonough wrote:
I know once the restraining order expires I'll work with my Muse again.

LMAO

Aug 06 13 05:18 am  Link  Quote 
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Model
MB Jen B
Posts: 2,501
Anchorage, Alaska, US


Risen Phoenix Photo wrote:
Models

What does it mean to you to be a photographers muse....  What attributes do you feel a muse must possess.


So all your thoughts and ideas are gratefully accepted


Risen Phoenix

Hi,
When interviewed in The Actors Studio Angelina Jolie said, somewhat, that she felt "The artist in you wants to be seen and recognized by the artist in someone else."  I think a muse does that as well as connects with a photographer in a creative way.

Maybe it is also similar to a mentor relationship where the mentor and the person being mentored self select each other because they have some subconscious recognition of them self in each other. Add on top of that mutual personalities and support and cooperation of collaboration and everyone wins.

Aug 06 13 06:00 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Isis22
Posts: 1,697
Muncie, Indiana, US


I was once told I was a muse but I didn't believe them. I was merely a "crush".
Aug 06 13 06:01 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Risen Phoenix Photo
Posts: 1,086
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


MyrnaByrna Jen B wrote:

Hi,
When interviewed in The Actors Studio Angelina Jolie said, somewhat, that she felt "The artist in you wants to be seen and recognized by the artist in someone else."  I think a muse does that as well as connects with a photographer in a creative way.

Maybe it is also similar to a mentor relationship where the mentor and the person being mentored self select each other because they have some subconscious recognition of them self in each other. Add on top of that mutual personalities and support and cooperation of collaboration and everyone wins.

WOW I think this explains it so well....

So if that is true, which I think it is why wouldn't every photographer want to have a muse. Why wouldn't every model want to be someone's muse.


As an art photographer that type of intimacy and connection helps lift the work of both participants

Aug 06 13 06:12 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Risen Phoenix Photo
Posts: 1,086
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


Isis22 wrote:
I was once told I was a muse but I didn't believe them. I was merely a "crush".

Yes I think there is a vast difference between the two. I think crush connotes something like a sexual attraction. For me the muse is not sexual. The muse inspires and is connected to my work in general and the work we create together.

Aug 06 13 06:16 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
GoldRoseMedia
Posts: 2,932
NORTH BRUNSWICK, New Jersey, US


Like everything else, there is a real world definition, and an MM definition.

Real world definition -- Muse: A like-minded artist who inspires your creativity.

MM definition -- Muse: A model who will shoot TFP with you over and over without ever asking to be paid.
Aug 06 13 06:30 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Koryn
Posts: 34,706
Boston, Massachusetts, US


GoldRoseMedia wrote:
Like everything else, there is a real world definition, and an MM definition.

Real world definition -- Muse: A like-minded artist who inspires your creativity.

MM definition -- Muse: A model who will shoot TFP with you over and over without ever asking to be paid.

lol

lol
...yeah...

Aug 06 13 06:34 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Julia Francesca
Posts: 2,310
Maumee, Ohio, US


A complimentary personality and a willingness to try absolutely anything and everything enthusiastically, who has fun ideas and a general openmindedness for all genres/concepts.
Aug 06 13 07:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SPierce Photography
Posts: 19,362
Amherst, Massachusetts, US


I've been lucky to have 2 muses in my life; while they may not be a "traditional" beauty, whenever they're in front of my camera magic happens. I can't explain it, I don't know why, it just works. I haven't tried to ID exactly why it works the way it does, I just snatch them up whenever I can (absence makes the heart grow fonder...)

My muse doesn't know she's my muse, I don't want to mess up the dynamic or make her feel obligated...
Aug 06 13 08:18 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Selina Katzen
Posts: 11,743
Huntington, West Virginia, US


Being a muse is the highest form of a model IMO. To me, and to the photographer I'm a muse for, it means I literally "inspire" him to create works of art
Aug 06 13 08:21 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 35,349
Columbus, Ohio, US


Koryn Locke wrote:
All Andy Warhol gave Edie Sedgwick was misery, and an early death. Pretty sure she relapsed into drug use and died before her 30th birthday, only a few years after being kicked to the curb as not cool enough to be Warhol's "muse" anymore, because she was getting older and burning out.

Edie's problems started long before she was even an adult......to say Warhol had more than a passing hand, if that, in her demise would be a stretch.

Aug 06 13 08:57 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Cherrystone
Posts: 35,349
Columbus, Ohio, US


You should be able to push them to greater heights, and they do the same for you.

If either one of you stalls for a continued period of time, then something is amiss. Reavaluate & fix, or move on.
Aug 06 13 08:59 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Farenell Photography
Posts: 17,626
Albany, New York, US


I actually found one of mine by posting a flier, simply as a lark, at the local college "seeking a muse". She answered the ad, also as a lark, only to turn out she was the real-deal.

She pushed me creatively, suggesting some crazy-ass ideas. I pushed her creatively, suggesting some crazy-ass ideas. At one point we shot so regularly, we sorta could know what the other was thinking & thus anticipate each others actions. A lot of times, we simply didn't really give a shit about the actual end-results. We'd often just shoot to shoot, sometimes shoot because we were both bored, sometimes shoot expecting crap results & being surprised they weren't crap, etc.

That kind of creatively relationship can be a double-edged sword though. Definitely NOT for the faint of heart!
Aug 06 13 09:10 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jeanloup De Loupe
Posts: 110
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


I was in a frame of mind for a long time needing someone else to be my muse. Like you it happened after a close model/photographer relationship dissolved. No longer, I changed my definition of muse.

If we look at the real world definition, outside of MM. A muse is anything that inspires you to create. It's what you meditate, ponder and ruminate on and eventually makes you get up and shoot. I often work with models who I have a good friendship with but I hesitate to say they are a muse though often they will meet the above definition. Prefer to see them as fellow artists that I create with. We both draw our inspiration from each other, outside sources and experiences.

The 'person as muse' idea is a little subservient to me. Treat each person you work with as an equal and don't expect them to replace your previous model. Let each relationship be it's own thing. Draw inspiration from everything.

Of course these are my own biases, beliefs and opinions (you can tell because I used 'I' a bunch) and others will approach this differently. It did help though and I think I'm a better artist now that I no longer require models to be muses.
Aug 06 13 09:12 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Jeanloup De Loupe
Posts: 110
Calgary, Alberta, Canada


MyrnaByrna Jen B wrote:
When interviewed in The Actors Studio Angelina Jolie said, somewhat, that she felt "The artist in you wants to be seen and recognized by the artist in someone else."  I think a muse does that as well as connects with a photographer in a creative way.

Interesting, do models ever consider photographers to be their muse?

Aug 06 13 09:17 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DougBPhoto
Posts: 37,104
Portland, Oregon, US


Isis22 wrote:
I was once told I was a muse but I didn't believe them. I was merely a "crush".

Questions of professionalism aside, do those two things need to be mutually exclusive?

I'm not an art major, but thinking back at representation of famous artist/muse relationships it seems like quite a few of them might have gone beyond a strict artist/subject relationship.

Therefore, I am not saying what is right or wrong, just that I don't knwo that the two are necessarily mutually exclusive things.... can be one, or the other, or both

Aug 06 13 09:33 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Garry k
Posts: 26,483
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


For many years this young woman was my muse and I don't remember how many shoots we did together

http://photos.modelmayhem.com/photos/080319/10/47e1293a17c6c.jpg



Inspiration ,  Friendship , and a Positive Outook on life  were the gifts she gave to me
Aug 06 13 09:44 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Dekilah
Posts: 4,799
Detroit, Michigan, US


I think perhaps the word muse puts some people up in arms because it has come to be seen by some as an intimate relationship (not sexual, but emotionally intimate). I think that can be the case, but not always.

For example, my best friend back in East TN called me his muse. We shot some, discussed a lot of ideas, I helped him choose photos from other shoots, etc.

I would say I am a muse for my husband now. He rarely shoots with anyone else and I happen to apparently fit his vision on the form and type he likes for his art (body type, hair, etc). We develop concepts together, we take over areas in our house to shoot in together, etc.

I have had artists from places I have never been and who I have never met send me messages telling me I am their muse. I take it as flattery and indication that inspire them.

Muse is a word with different meanings for different people ^_^ I choose to think it means I inspire someone on some level and to take that as flattery.
Aug 06 13 10:30 am  Link  Quote 
Artist/Painter
MainePaintah
Posts: 1,530
Saco, Maine, US


I have had a couple of models that I would have loved to turn into my Muse, but they were all busy with their own lives!    "Sigh"!
Aug 06 13 10:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Toto Photo
Posts: 2,021
Belmont, California, US


Grin Without a Cat wrote:
Muses happen.  They are not planned, so there is really nothing you can look for...one does not go shopping for a muse like they are an item on the grocery store shelf.

What sets them apart from all the rest is a song...but it is not a song you hear with your ears...it is a song that you feel in your soul...when you are creating with your muse, there is a tingle - and a tear which you fight back.  It is a sense of beauty so profound it cannot be truely described - it is like being in love, but not with a person - with existence itself.  The person who is your muse is the conduit for this feeling - the channel through which the essence of creation demands something of you.  It is beyond simply making pretty pictures...with a muse, you have no choice - you must create...for her...for she is life itself.

Muses are special.  Cherish them when they appear.  I feel for you, for your loss, for I have lost muses also.  May you find a new one soon.

Well said!

Aug 06 13 10:55 am  Link  Quote 
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Photographer
Giacomo Cirrincioni
Posts: 20,647
New York, New York, US


Dekilah wrote:
I think perhaps the word muse puts some people up in arms because it has come to be seen by some as an intimate relationship (not sexual, but emotionally intimate). I think that can be the case, but not always.

I don't think I can think of one historical case, or one personally known case where this wasn't true. 

Henry Miller and Anais Nin

Charis Wilson and Edward Weston

Janie Morris and Dante Gabriel Rosetti (and William Morris and the rest of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood. She may have been the ultimate muse).

Da Vinci and Salai

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre

Iiona Staller and Jeff Koons

Picasso had many, but Dora Maar stands out.

Gala Diakonova was muse to both Max Ernst and Salvador Dali.  The three lived together as an intimate threesome.

The list goes on and on...

I would ask anyone who says this isn't normally the case to name some examples where it isn't (and I'm not talking about some dude on MM, but examples of what the art world or history considers artist and muse.  I've thought about it and was going to say Warhol and Edie Sedgwick, but if I recall correctly, while Warhol had many lovers of both genders, it turns out that Sedgwick was one of them.

A muse isn't someone you simply enjoy working with (in any medium) nor is it simply someone who inspires you.  It isn't a collaborator, at least not in the traditional sense.  The relationship between artist and muse is always an intensely intimate one.  As you said, that doesn't mean it's a sexual relationship, although more often than not it is, but it is certainly intimate.

I had a conversation about this a ways back with Kincaid Blackwood, who also made some fabulous points.  Basically, most photographers here seem to have a differing idea of what 'Muse' is, at least from the traditional perspective.   

I think a lot of photographers (this isn't as true with painters or sculptors for some reason - perhaps because it's not as easy to get started in it) use the word "muse" simply b/c it involves a woman they are attracted to and is associated with creativity. They often confuse a house model or someone who's good or fun to work with as a muse.  I'd argue that a muse is none of those and is often the opposite of them. 

Muses work in unpredictable ways.  A muse is not always professional.  She can, and will, push your buttons.  She will often frustrate the hell out of you.

Some guys actually try to "cast' for one… How could you possibly do this? It's kind of like "let me hire you so I can fall in love with someone" deals--big difference between falling in love with someone and hiring a prostitute.  Muse relationships  don't work as well when they're intentional and formal.  Otherwise you could just read a book about creativity. 

Muses work in part b/c they aren't planned, b/c they aren't logical, b/c they force us to go where we didn't plan on going or are leery of venturing artistically.  They challenge us--they aren't about making it easy or fun or doing more of the same. A muse will get you angry and frustrated and force you to think "what's my role in this?  what's my responsibility?" Muses often work by indirectly or covertly jacking your emotions and perceptions.  A muse isn't your manager--but she may act in ways that force you to raise your level of work by managing yourself better.


Art isn't easy or always fun--otherwise everyone would do it and be great at it.  Art is often a struggle, it often produces self-doubt or self-loathing and usually involves a great deal of risk-taking and discomfort.  It is often the most intensely tortuous experience imaginable and yet the release, when it works, is euphoria. To have a person in your life that can inspire you, stay by your side and help you through this emotional turmoil, keep you from giving up when you want to, and then celebrate your triumphs with you or console you when you fall short...  What could possibly be more intimate than that?  Sex?  Sex is nothing compared to that...

Which is why relationships between artist and muse often form.  That much passion and intimacy and true caring has a natural trajectory.  And lets face it, under such circumstances, the sex is pretty hot.  LMAO!

The relationship is quite rare.  But when it burns, it burns very, very hot.

Aug 06 13 11:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Risen Phoenix Photo
Posts: 1,086
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


I  Agree with the above statement it is beautifully said. I am 60 amd have had 2 muses. Now ythat bright light has been extinguished. I hope in the time left I may be able to experience thatfeeling once again
Aug 06 13 12:18 pm  Link  Quote 
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