When it's cold outside, it takes me a while to warm up under the lights and it takes the model even longer. They're usually naked, after all. It takes time to get into it, get the feel and flow of the shoot, but the results are often more interesting, deeper in some way, the mood changing as the temperature rises.
Argentina and Brazil in their opposite seasons offer different circumstances, but in one way they turned out to be very similar indeed: both staunchly Catholic, both that mixture of the old fashioned and ultra-modern, and in both countries the same reluctance to do nudes; microscopic, postage stamp sized bikinis, they can't get enough of them, but there's still a taboo on nature's best garment, the nude.
The shoot planned for today had already been set up through an online pre- casting. Photographers are a strange breed: we may be a bit jealous of each other, it's natural when you have the same passions as well as the same profession, but we do like to help each other when we can. That was certainly the case with my friend Walter Bosque, a lens man from Argentine's Cordoba, who was generous enough to offer me one of his best models.
He'd given her a big build up, always dangerous, but every word turned out to be true, and not only was she hip to the whole new nude revolution, she was just the kind of model I like to work with: petite and beautiful with positive energy and a charming smile.
We started off shooting at the hotel, an interesting location with the red velvet curtains and colonial style interior making a moody backdrop. It was the kind of place I could imagine Helmut Newton shooting in and anywhere that's good enough for Helmut is good enough for me.
In the Argentine everyone dances the tango. Girls walking down the street seem to be doing the tango. You see them practicing in the parks and open plazas, not merely a passion but an obsession that describes perfectly the exuberant spirit of the people. My model had that spirit, easy going, open and just a dream to work with. We moved from the hotel to the agency premises where another model was waiting for a casting. She joined the shoot; we ended up renting the agency's studio and worked there until they closed for the day.
Agencies when you first approach them are always very positive, but when it comes down to the actual casting, they just send old glam models that don’t have the energy I’m looking for – the energy that bring life into the photographs. Still, this turned out ton be a good day with some interesting shots and there are plenty of appointments in the diary for the coming week. With our supportive local team I am confident we'll crack it.