Meet the Models: Jenna
Jenna was the first female I had shot in Colorado!
She was far from the first booked shoot I had. The first ever shoot I had setup for Colorado was a young lady that I had spent about three months talking to. Her and I had gone over concepts, ideals and lighting as well as poses. The shoot was one of the most fully thought out shoots I had ever planned at that point. The day of the shoot gets here and she shows up ready to work. I opened the door and greeted her. She smiled and asked “Is Jay here? I’m here for the photo shoot” I told her I was/am Jay and watched as her face crinkled up and she said “But you’re black! You didn’t tell me you were black?” Borrowing from the great movie “See no evil, hear no evil” with the greats Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder I said “Whhhhaaat? What you mean I’m black? I’m not WHITE?” To help break the tension. It didn’t work, she said “This isn’t a joking matter. This is false advertisement, you never told me you were black!” Turned around and walked out. I ended up hearing from her about six months later after I shot a few of her friends. She wanted to give it another go and I politely declined advising her “I’m sorry, but I’m still black”. Not feeling good about my business in my new state, I was contacted by Jenna and she was eager to shoot.
This was back in 2004 so my process wasn’t what it is now. I had asked her for a few photos so I could see what she looked like. She sent some and I was impressed by what I saw. I made a point to throw out the fact that I was black as I didn’t want there to be any surprises. Jenna didn’t seem to care, only cared about when we could make our schedules meet to get this shoot done. I was impressed because she was 18 and seemed to have everything together. She showed up a few minutes early which was a shocker for me, and was ready to go. She mad made it a point to let me know casual and glamour was it. Nothing more, nothing less. I was ok with that and we booked the shoot! At the shoot she was relaxed and having fun. She was shy and nervous as this was her first time not shooting for her Senior Portraits, but I expected that. The shoot was nice and easy and pretty simple.
When the shoot was done Jenna kept telling me she had a wonderful time. I walked her to her car and we agreed we’d have to shoot again and soon. The images I got were excellent for that time and by the time she got home I had them up on a proof gallery and she agreed they were awesome. A few days after shooting, she wanted to set up another session. I was down as I was new to CO and didn’t have a lot going on. She had told me she was SUPER comfortable at the first shoot and felt safe. Being she felt safe she wanted to try some topless shots. I was dumbfounded as she was very dead set on shooting only casual and glamour. I was talking to my wife about it and my wife said “She most likely wanted to check you out to see if you were a pervert. When she realized you weren’t, she wanted to shoot what she was comfortable all along.” I couldn’t disagree with that logic so I went with it. At this time she said she wanted to do more “real” modeling and possibly land a spot with Victoria’s Secret. The percentage of girls to get the chance to work for VS is pretty slim. I advised her of this but told her we could shoot and see what happens. When it comes to them getting work that’s all on them, I don’t do anything for them as they have to learn the industry. She informed me she was going to get her hair styled and wanted to know how I felt she should do it for the shoot. I told her it was up to her and her boyfriend as I can make anything work with her. We set the date of the shoot and she came in with a cute VS pink bra and we went to work. I wanted to keep it very natural looking so I went with natural light coming through the patio door defused with a home made scrim. Silver reflector camera left to bring some light back in.
After the shoot she loved those photos and said we would have to shoot again. She wanted a hard copy of the images so I threw them on a cd for her to have. The day for her to pick them up there was a knock on my door and a short guy with a gruffy beard was standing in my doorway. I didn’t know who he was as I was expecting a 5’9″ blonde girl to pick up the cd. Soon Jenna walked around the corner and up to her boyfriend. He was evaluating me with piercing eyes and little convo. I am VERY comfortable in my skin so it didn’t bother me. Jenna thanked me for the cd and they left, not before I got one last up and down look from Mr. Gruffy.
After she got her CD, I never heard from Jenna again. When I play back what happened in my mind, all I can think about is the Gruffy kid with disapproval eyes giving me the once, twice, three times a displeasing look. I think back to the “But you’re black” comment and that’s all that I can think of since she was buzzed to shoot a third time, but after meeting the boy, she disappeared and never spoke to me again. I could be way off, but this theory helps me sleep at night. Obviously the chances of Jenna and I shooting again are non-existant. I wish her continued success in all she does!