Wednesday, April 18, 2007

NIGEL BARKER and the Big Squeeze


Excerpt from Tatler story…
A month ago, I got a call from Anton San Diego, editor-in-chief of Tatler, to do the cover for a special Fashion issue. I immediately agreed, as it is a great honor. Timing was not the best for me because I had to cover the fashion shows for LookOnLine.com; that is 10 grueling days of fashion shows at Bryant Park. So there I was at the shows with a TV crew to also film footage for my TV show, The Next Anna Bayle. I figured that I had to be wide-eyed and mentally ready for the shoot, so I kept putting the shoot off until the collections were over…………
On the last day of the shows, at Chado Ralph Rucci, the finale of the New York season, I was more relaxed, after having a couple of drinks with the famed Bernardine Morris of the New York Times. I espied the handsome Nigel Barker who has been in the front row seats of all the fashion shows, patiently waiting for the show to start. I suddenly remembered my cover shoot with Tatler........
I got up from my seat and with my typical ‘selective spontaneity’ and brazenness, introduced myself to him. It was a wild stab because I did not even know if he would be in town after the shows. I discovered that he moved to New York years ago and is now based here.
Shooting with Nigel Barker was intriguing and a lot of fun. Here is a very good looking TV celebrity who turned out to be down-to-earth and a pleasure to work with. Having been shot by illustrious photographers in my lifetime, I consider this photo shoot an honor as well. ….



Dynamics of a Photo Shoot
When I was working as a model, I wanted very much to impress the fashion photographers because if they liked you, they booked you for other editorials, bigger campaigns and desirable location shoots. So for me, it was always this sense of “I am going to make them love me.” It did not matter how I was going to do it, but I will do it. I will be their slave and contort my body in the most unnatural way or stay in one position with absolutely no movements for 20…25….30 minutes. I will spin and jump around to their hearts’content until they get the perfect shot. I will climb mountains and stand on the ledges of the 50th floor of a skyscraper, with the photographer shooting from across the street on the skyscraper opposite me. I will pose beside real panthers that can chew me up to pieces in less than 5 minutes. I will lie down on an iceberg and get frost bite with nothing but gold sequins between my flesh and the cold ice.

I will also flirt with them and give them ‘the look’ (the one you give, only to your lover). It does not really matter that the photographer may be a woman or a gay person. She or he still captures in a photographic image the message you sent that will attract men. And even if all the people viewing this image are all female or gay, they are subconsciously going to identify with what you are projecting. As they say in the business, “Sex sells.”

The photographer, on the other hand, squeezes everything out of you to get a beautiful picture. “Look to the right.” “Tilt your head higher.” “Dance.” “Smile with your eyes.” “Spin around” “Give me that haughty look.” “Pretend you are dead.” “Climb that mountain and pose at the top.”

So you see, you - the model, will ‘aim to please’. While the photographer if he does his job well, will squeeze the life out of every ‘pleasing bone’ in your body.


Frisson (an almost pleasurable sensation of fright)
It is always exciting for me to do pictures with photographers that I have not worked with before. There is a little fright involved, as you don’t really know what you are getting yourself into. At the same time, it is pleasurable because through the photo shooting process, you get to exercise your individuality and maybe discover some things about yourself that you did not know existed. This always happens when you are around very creative people. Fashion photographers, especially, and some creative designers, stylists, make-up artists, etc. could have a perception of you that is entirely different from your perception of yourself. Being open to how others perceive you, thereby gaining a better awareness of yourself is how you grow as a model.

In an editorial photo shoot, you never know what you will get. It is a chemistry thing. You, as a model, are the subject but it is up to the photographer to make you, the subject, beautiful. An editorial photo shoot is sometimes an exercise in exploration and discovery. Such was the case in this Tatler cover shoot with the famous TV celebrity, Nigel Barker.

With Nigel, the process of discovery was very pleasant. With the help of ace stylist, Rodney Hall, whose choice of garments and accessories for me were on point, the photoshoot proceeded nicely. We agreed that I did not want to sell myself as a model anymore so the shoot will actually be straightforward - more of a lifestyle shoot or a portrait. Having seen some of Nigel's work and his insightful comments on fashion photographs from the TV show, America’s Next Top Model, here is a photographer who appreciates great lines on a model, a model’s command of a photo set, bone structure and eye contact, and of course, a model with an inherent sense of where the light is.

The photographer who has not worked with you before and has only seen pictures of you will try to get to know you - your best angles, your personality, your strengths and your flaws vis-à-vis the camera lens. In terms of an editorial shooting, the photographer will try to capture a model’s essence; he will try to zero in on what he thinks is the most beautiful or most striking facet of his subject.

The best photographers are the ones that are able to squeeze all the essence out of a model to manipulate a photograph in order to achieve the desired effect. Like movie directors, who are capable of getting their actors to give everything they have got emotionally, in order to greatly enhance the storyline of the movie. The very best of the photographers are the ones that elicit a model’s inner self. The very best of them are the ones who are able to bring out the ‘real you’…not the one you postured.


Il y a des frisson dans l'air.
(There is electicity in the air)
There is always something going on when photographer meets model. (I am not talking about catalogue shots, which is the factory line of photo modeling). Photographer and model interact to get the best possible picture. That sense of excitement or electricity between these 2 lead players in a photo shoot, no matter how mild, translates itself into a good, if not great, photograph.

Most models will probably not openly admit it. But working with very good looking photographers makes the process a lot easier. If you have to flirt, you don’t even have to imagine a fantasy figure behind the lens because you already have your fantasy behind it. Flirting with a photographer like Nigel Barker is a no-brainer. He is a very handsome man, intriguing with that English accent, and a perfect specimen of East meets West. He looks Caucasian, but I detect Mediterranean features and strong Asian sensibilities.

Nigel Barker, who at one time, was on the other side of the camera as a model, probably has a better understanding of a model's range of reactions to any photographer. Having been a model before,he knows the score; he knows what has to happen in a photo shoot for a model or subject to start giving of herself and her essence. I surmised that his experiential knowledge of how a model feels, has a lot to do with his being very patient on set and at the same time, endearing to his subject.

I sensed that as a photographer, he was trying to squeeze the essence out of me in his polite and teasing way. But as I mentioned before, it is a discovery process for both the photographer and model. I discovered he has a naughty streak to his nature. And there were moments where I felt he was really pushing me to give of myself, which a true photographer has to do. But, as always, a model controls what she or he gives, voluntarily or involuntarily, in terms of emotional presence. The very best models are the ones that are always present, body and soul.



In the little time that we interacted, I believe he understood that my sexually is not superficial, nor my sensuality a trait that I try to sell. It was something he had to coax out of me which I acceded and gave to him in very small doses. Upon seeing the final prints, I consider him ingenious because here is one photographer that understood me or a facet of my personality. The funny thing is that when you hold back your sensuality, it comes out stronger. And it takes a 'genius' photographer to capture something that is hidden and present this intrinsic characteristic in an image, with a latent, animalistic quality to it, almost like it was 'caged'.



I loved working with Nigel Barker. He is 'twisted', but sometimes you have to put yourself in the hands of someone 'twisted' to get a different you. These are the fun moments in editorial shooting. When there is electricity in the air; when there is a push and pull between photographer and model. When everyone on the set is so relaxed, letting things happen naturally, so that a beautiful picture can be created.



The Big SQUEEZE
At some point during the cover shoot, Nigel instructed me to go profile with my body. He even demonstrated a very calm and non-violent pose. Little did I know that he was just after my ass. Naughty Nigel.
As for me, after seeing the cover and my great looking behind, I kept thinking - Thank God, I listened to Amalia (exquisite YSL model from Mali) and all these years did her formula called the BIG SQUEEZE. It goes like this.....

“Anna, if you want a great ass like mine, every time you are walking down the street, and every time you can, remember to SQUEEZE your buttocks while you are walking.” (1-2,1-2,1-2 like the Kegel exercises).

24 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope Nigel convinces Tyra to hire you as a guest judge in her show because her show badly needs an authoritative and definitive take on supermodelstardom (no typo, read that as one word). Janice gave great feedback but she's a train wreck...you always knew she played up for the cameras...Twiggy is a why-is-she-even-there? type of model mentor.

P

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...enchantress...this is such a great blog...am squeezing my bum right now...you are my new hero...
geneva convention

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we need you back..please grace the Christian Lacroix 20th anniversary show...your ferocity will validate the Lacroix magic..and we (thinking fashionistas of the world) are tired of seeing these washednup "stars" who are like but side copies of the next "it" girl..and your walk will remind these fashion editors what fashion is all about...besides Mr. Lacroix couture dresses are timeless..just like Anna Bayle apparitions ...
am shopping..so please dont make me start getting signatures for you to walk for the show..
and by the way...you are inspiring women to take care of themselves and to celebrate being mature...
geneva convention

3:55 PM  
Blogger NYC Modelista said...

I added your Philippines Tatler cover and photos on my site. Please stop by to say HI.

P/S: Thanks for the Big Squeeze tip.

11:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out asianmodelsblog.blogspot.com. Pinag-uusapan ka na naman! I campaigned for the writer of the blog to feature you (a link is not good enough, puuuhhleeeze!!) and she did, good for her. Nararapat lang naman no?

Then ki-nompare ka na naman kay Du and Ai...OMG!! Nagdududa pa rin sila na ikaw ang kaunaunahang Asian Supermodel. Puuuhleeze!! Ang aga aga pinaiinit ang ulo ko. Siempre I put them in their place no?

Good Morning Anna!

P

9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out asianmodelsblog.blogspot.com. They are talking about you again! I campaigned for the writer of the blog to feature you (a link is not good enough, puuuhhleeeze!!) and she did, good for her. It is the right thing to do,no?

They are comparing you again to Du and Ai...OMG!! They even have doubts that you are the first Asian Supermodel. Puuuhleeze!!

It is so early in the morning and they are getting me all riled up. Off course, I put them in their place no?

Good Morning Anna!

P

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm doing the big squeeze right now. hahaha.

mauipacquiao.blogspot.com

10:29 PM  
Blogger repotergirl9 said...

Amazing pictures and Nigel sounds wonderful. I love the butt squeeze advice. For ages now when I'm bored in class I just tighten my abs, it really helps. Now I can get a nice butt too. Haha.

11:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should avoid Tyra's show like the plague Anna. Avoid it at all costs. We all know its not really a model search per se because if it was, pray tell, how many of its winners have lived up to the show's title? It's a reality show devoid of substance.

I think you will be diluting your august name and reputation by sitting on that panel. What would Elsa and Bernardine say? Maloloka ang mga lola mo!!!

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...ola Anna..on the subject of "Asia's first Supermodel"..am going to lay it all out...the names Ai and Du keeps coming up....they are good models not great..and definitely not legendary...you see them everywhere and am glad they are being exposed...but they have become as flat as any of the great models...Snejana Onopka...Natalia V...it takes longevity and credibility to become a truly GREAT MODEL...you are the the one and only ASIAN model pre-supermodeldom..enough of these declarations that these new faces...lets move on and look forward to your show.
al

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The word supermodel has been used so blithely but some people fail to grasp the essential meaning of the word. I think Du, Hye and Ai (Chinese, Korean and Japanese) are good models but isn't it a bit too early in their careers for them to be called supermodels? I personally have very stringent stardards so I can't call these 3 girls supermodels, just yet. If after 5 or 6 years, they are still around, if they still continue to walk the major shows and land on the covers and appear in editorials in major magazines, then perhaps I can call them supermodels.

P

7:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Anna,

You look absolutely amazing in the Tatler photos, this was my first time seeing full size recent photos of you! But as much as you deserve to be a guest judge for America's Next Top Model, I personally think you should avoid it. The show is completely commercialized and airs primarily for the product placement. But what annoys me most are Tyra's inane comments -- I sometimes feel like my IQ will drop if I listen to her for too long. Simply put, you are far too intelligent for the show.

- Victoria from Asia Pacific Arts

1:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miss Bayle...i know you have committed to not coming back to walk the runway again but i am gonna try to enlighten you with why you must..(out of respect we, your legions of fans...most of them are not gonna press you but i will)..
1. why blog when you can walk...we know who you are and why you are the great Anna Bayle...fashion needs an actual entity in this time and age to be inspired again with your unique grace and beauty..and you have elevated beyond generations..you might surprise yourself that you might have evolved in another level of greatness...(Ahn Doung was magnificent in the Galliano couture show and she is not even half as magnificent as you..she is one of fashions exotic/intelligent muse...just like you.
2. teach them new catwalkers a different perspective..inspire them..they all seem to walk like the copy of Jay Alexander...his walk looks great on him because he is an anomaly..if a woman is inspired by him then thay are in big trouble
3. prove it that grace and fluidity (your point) is ageless and has no boundary
4. we,(your fans) just need you back.
that was bold of me...but please consider.
Fallopian Tube

11:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

MS.ANNA, I TOTALLY AGREE WITH THE LAST POSTER-THE RUNWAYS CRAVE, NAY, NEED YOUR PRESENCE, YOUR AURA, AND YOUR GRACE....BY THE WAY, I JUST READ ON GOOGLE NEWS THAT GUESS HAS CHOSEN ITS KNEW FACE FOR FALL...LIU DAN FROM BEIJING-SHE'S 19 YEARS OLD;VERY STRIKINGLY BEAUTIFUL WITH VERY ASIAN FEATURES...A FIRST FOR GUESS! IN SOME BIG WAY, I RATHER THINK THAT YOU PAVED THE WAY FOR ALL ASIAN MODELS-AFTERALL, YOU ARE THE FIRST....

3:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...nicely put...i agree very much with fallopian tube..you are who you are...the catwalk is the extension of your personality and you are best showcased there...words need not spoken.
I once read an interview about mcqueen's principle of how he picks up jis models..and it is not about the personality alone but which model can best showcase and interpret his creation and you have the ability ( proven once too many times) to transcend above the material...this is why you are legendary and priceless...you become the art form in the same harmony with the designer's vision..you BEST get the imagery across without unnecessary flashes or fanfare..
bravo for this blog
frances bean koenigswarter
frances bean koenigswarter

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...that was a nice read and you have obviously become a true legend now that you have heard your "legions of fans"...they sound very passionate and intelligent..just hoping you might oblige their longings to see you catapult yourself to the next level..especially nowadays when we have been overwhelming exposed with blase, flatly photogenic models...(its 90% photographers vision anyways..and these girls are just maeketted for easy access to being identified then off the "next it girl")..fashion it seems is revolutionizing into the need of personalities who have defied convention, someone who can interpret imagery that makes the audience feel relevant into what they perseive to understand..or in that line of thought..fashion is never truly purist in conception.there's always so many minds and hands involved into a work...(designers need stylists, etc. and definitely a model who IS the ONE WHO CAN CAPTURE THE ESSENCE of his collective vision in a show or campaign..this is where you come in)..its exciting what you response will be..will you walk this time?
i tell you what..i will watch your show if you will...(am on your side..just teasing you on the idea..lol)..
we love you Anna Bayle...you are the one of the many entities in our awareness of true fashion along with the other models you rever...
by the way I you tubed the Thierry Mugler runway shows..and really...that was true FASHION SHOW..the clothes..the models and the presentation..where has drama gone?
Eat Bulaga

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

kukutikutitap talaga ang ganda mo!
mwah!

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..i heard about your blog through a friend who is but crazy about your work..and i am not disappointed at all!..the insights, your photos and just the way you see yourself and life in general amidst the fickleness of fashion (or being a fashionista at that) ..this is such a treat..its like peeking into "what moves ANNA BAYLE"..on what have been your motivations and how you have approached the challenges then having overcame the great barriers of being a succesful beauty icon...not just as a model but as an influential muse that undoubtedly impacted a lot of designers and conceptualists. This fabulous blog of yours is indeed FABULOUS and very well written.
You not only give us (your fans) the chance to know how you are but in a way help us see what is substantial from what would be flash-in-the pan in this overwhelmingly manipulated world of fashion. I so much see your point of disappointment regarding the "march of innocents" article..that youthful beauty are the very models selling the well constructed clothes of the designers...i get that Rei Kawakubo uses an otherwise flatly attractive models to walk her shows..she is also known to use street people who has nothing but "appealing ordinariness" because her clothes is a study of deconstructionism..pure avante garde..and this is why she is very succesful for this makes the general thinking fashionistas to identify with her works..anybody can wear it..only if you think how you present yourself in the experience of wearing a Comme des Garcons outfit. Where has all the models with characters gone by?...we do not have anymore Jerry Halls..she was beyond fabulous even before her twenties and she has always projected herself with pure class....another model who would never cut of her frocks (just like you)..to give in to another delusional designer...hello Tyra Banks show...to attempt to convince us viewers that these poor models wannabes..part of it is to transform themselves into someone they are bot comfortable..thus the crying, bickering and unnecessary footage of "The Next Top Model"..yawn yawn...only the very seasoned ones can transform themselves with the least effort...Linda, Shalom (was very obscure until she dyed and cut her hair) and Christy..i talked too much..am so excited to agree with you!! Anyhoo...
bravo and keep blogging..
i love it.
Do Re Mi

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..hello Anna..great blog and good luck to your upcoming show...
the question is will you ever guest judge with Tyra's show...if you then you will have the much needed exposure and then you can reintroduce yourself to this generations fashion watchers...and if you won't...good for oy...her show has lost the credibility of she aim s to acjieve..instead it has become just but another reality show with ZERO actively working models..a picture here and there (right after the show but after that...obscurity and no one wants to give them anymore assignment as they are associated with THAT SHOW..full of catty, whiny, crazy and rally just ugly girls)... she has not really created that "Top Model" or never did she follow through to guide them....so there...all i really want to say is DON'T..by Nigel Barker taking you up for a photo shoot that is all the validation you need that you are your own entity and very much capable of having your show..he can be your judge and bookers from modelling agencies..all somewhat obscure people who really makes the fashion world going and continue to follow and guide your girls...so they will be supportive to each other...remember your article on " the power of two"...
Godd luck and looking forward.
KC Concepcion

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..hello Anna..great blog and good luck to your upcoming show...

the question is will you ever guest judge with Tyra's show...if you do, then you will have the much needed exposure and then you can reintroduce yourself to this generations fashion watchers...and if you won't...good for you.

..her show has lost the credibility of what she aims to achieve..instead it has become just but another reality show with ZERO actively working models..a picture here and there (right after the show but after that...obscurity and no one wants to give them anymore assignments as they are associated with THAT SHOW..full of catty, whiny, crazy and rally just ugly girls)... she has not really created that "Top Model" or never did she follow through to guide them.

...so there...all i really want to say is DON'T..by Nigel Barker taking you up for a photo shoot that is all the validation you need that you are your own entity and very much capable of having your show..

he can be your judge and bookers from modelling agencies..all somewhat obscure people who really makes the fashion world go and continue to follow and guide your girls...so they will be supportive to each other...remember your article on " the power of two"...

Good luck and looking forward.

KC Concepcion

2:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog, add your site to http://www.qweki.com for greater exposure.

Keep up the great work.

7:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

..hello anna and bloggers alike...luv this article and ur "commenters"..and its great to know there are people out there who are getting tired of these fashion editors manipulations of which models are "great" or at least able to deliver and who just "fillers" in the ever changing world of fashion of which of late..the grand masters are retiring in 10 years ..Lacroix..Valentino...Lagerfeld..they have but tweaaked their own ideas..who will be the next crop of fashion movers?..and what has become of the models...?
Haave you guys seen Viktor and rol Fall 2007 show..they have nothing to present so they made FUN OF THESE flat and "weedy: girls..burdening them with industrial lights on their shoulders and ugly s clunky shoes so that they can execute what shallow designs they have created...am so over this stupid shows of models with no character..
come back Anna.
al

9:19 PM  
Anonymous River said...

Got your blog address from the fashion issue of Tatler. You don't know what THAT issue means to a self-proclaimed fashionista.

Your marvelous photos shot by THE gorgeous Nigel Barker no less prod one on to think that you are nothing short of a genetic wonder...I mean, you still look like you could give them contemporary models a run for their money. Yes, you are right when you said that not only have modern models become uninteresting and robotic but they have undeveloped personalities - factors which critically figure if one must successfully be an interpreter of design creations on the ramp.

You definitely are one of the moving forces not only in international fashion, but most importantly to the fashion-famished Filipino society. You are somebody whose influence on anything fashion will most likely stay much longer than the eventuality of the much-dreaded post-apocalyptic fashion scene in the not-so-distant future!

Rock on, Anna Bayle, the Ubermodel's Ubermodel!

8:47 AM  
Anonymous Melvin Dave said...

Nice to see a Filipina supermodel who was able to work with the fashion icons!

I was wondering if you were able to work with a few of my favorite fashion photographers David Bailey and Max Vadukul...

But working with Helmut Newton, on of the best as well is inspiring!

More power! Cheers!

11:00 AM  

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