Nature Nude Art Model Mila of Marquette, Michigan

Winter Morning. Photographer: Edward Holland, (c) 2010 . Location: Gwinn, MI. This was my first shoot with Edward of 2010, our fourth year shooting together. The shoot was early in the morning on May 8th, when snow is not uncommon for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan…but not exactly common either! Poor Edward is from Florida, and I think he was colder than I was even in his coat. But we both sucked it up, and Edward captured this crisp color shot perfectly.

Winter Morning. Photographer: Edward Holland, (c) 2010 . Location: Gwinn, MI. This was my first shoot with Edward of 2010, our fourth year shooting together. The shoot was early in the morning on May 8th, when snow is not uncommon for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan…but not exactly common either! Poor Edward is from Florida, and I think he was colder than I was even in his coat. But we both sucked it up, and Edward captured this crisp color shot perfectly.

Much of Model Mila Avani’s work is art nude.

Her settings are often in remote nature.

There is a feeling of beauty and freedom, of courage and honesty to her work which serves to both uplift and inspire viewers.

A quote attributed to Michelangelo and shared by Mila …

“What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful than the garment with which it is clothed?”

… this for me is a personification in words of the nude form as beauty.

Genesis.  Photographer: Blake Fisher , (c) 2010.  Location:  Munising, MI.  Although it looks like somewhere in a desert, this shot was taken beneath the popular geologic landmark of Miner’s Castle in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, near Munising, MI.  Unknown to many, who see it only from the viewing deck, the sandstone shore beneath Miner’s Castle is riddled with caves carved by the Lake Superior waves.  Blake – another Florida resident – stood in 12-inch-deep water until his feet nearly froze off to capture this shot, without complaint.  Jumping the “Off Limits” fence and exploring the erosion-prone shoreline might not have been the best ecological decision, but it sure paid off artistically.

Genesis. Photographer: Blake Fisher , (c) 2010. Location: Munising, MI. Although it looks like somewhere in a desert, this shot was taken beneath the popular geologic landmark of Miner’s Castle in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, near Munising, MI. Unknown to many, who see it only from the viewing deck, the sandstone shore beneath Miner’s Castle is riddled with caves carved by the Lake Superior waves. Blake – another Florida resident – stood in 12-inch-deep water until his feet nearly froze off to capture this shot, without complaint. Jumping the “Off Limits” fence and exploring the erosion-prone shoreline might not have been the best ecological decision, but it sure paid off artistically.

There are models who today are courageous enough to embody this spirit of pride in God’s work with the body.  I’m not saying Mila is religious, I do not know.

What you do not know is the only thing you know (TS Eliot).  Photographer:  Thom Peters, (c) 2011.  Location:  Kalamazoo, MI.  This shot followed an evolution of awkward poses that began with a casual, “Let’s see what I can do with that stool.”  And from the fact that I invariably think upside down things are more interesting than rightside up ones.

What you do not know is the only thing you know (TS Eliot). Photographer: Thom Peters, (c) 2011. Location: Kalamazoo, MI. This shot followed an evolution of awkward poses that began with a casual, “Let’s see what I can do with that stool.” And from the fact that I invariably think upside down things are more interesting than rightside up ones.

I do say that Mila is one of these courageous models whose work is both beautiful and inspiring.

Through her art nude modeling, Mila personifies beauty in form.

Arched. Photographer: Thom Peters, (c) 2011 . Location: Kalamazoo, MI. Though you’d never guess it from his work, Thom is relatively new to fine art photography. His artistic vision and mine became BFFs at first sight and something new and amazing (but indubitably cracked in the head) emerged. This shoot, focused on silhouettes, produced several excellent shots which have been displayed at art shows throughout southwestern Michigan.

Arched. Photographer: Thom Peters, (c) 2011 . Location: Kalamazoo, MI. Though you’d never guess it from his work, Thom is relatively new to fine art photography. His artistic vision and mine became BFFs at first sight and something new and amazing (but indubitably cracked in the head) emerged. This shoot, focused on silhouettes, produced several excellent shots which have been displayed at art shows throughout southwestern Michigan.

Mila provides via her art as Model, form from which talented photographers capture and create captivating images of incredible nude beauty, unusually in nature settings.

The trick is what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same (Carlos Castenada). Photographer: DJ Watts , (c) 2009. Location: Eben, MI. This photographer has a strong affinity for water, frozen or otherwise, and the Eben Ice Caves is the perfect place to find lots of frozen water! Shooting nude in the winter is a rather different proposition than shooting nude in the summer, requiring a lot of warm-up time between short bursts of posing. Bringing several models is a good way to make a more efficient use of time, and more fun, as well. While one model posed, the others warmed up and watched the trail for approaching hikers.

The trick is what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same (Carlos Castenada). Photographer: DJ Watts , (c) 2009. Location: Eben, MI. This photographer has a strong affinity for water, frozen or otherwise, and the Eben Ice Caves is the perfect place to find lots of frozen water! Shooting nude in the winter is a rather different proposition than shooting nude in the summer, requiring a lot of warm-up time between short bursts of posing. Bringing several models is a good way to make a more efficient use of time, and more fun, as well. While one model posed, the others warmed up and watched the trail for approaching hikers.

Mila first came on my radar through Billy Monday‘s (for Billy’s GlamourPhotography.co profile, click here) photo of her leaping nude off a rock face into Lake Superior.

Today, Mila has graciously consented to share her thoughts and a bit of back story on her portfolio with us today.

“Fine art modeling involves making uncomfortable positions look comfortable, having boundless energy through long days of posing, cheerfully getting up at 4 AM, risking arrest for indecent exposure, and generally getting cold, wet, dirty, and scraped up day after day without complaint.

Photographers should remember that during most shoots longer than two hours the model will need time for food, rest, and warm-up breaks, and be sensitive to these needs.

As a paid model, there’s always the fear that your creativity will fail you or the photographer will not be happy with your work.

It’s not usually an easy job, but it’s worth it!

I’ve been a part-time art model almost constantly since 2005, mostly throughout Michigan but with occasional travel to other parts of the Midwest or to rock climbing destinations.

I started modeling when my now-husband, who is an amateur photographer, asked me to pose (nude) for him by a waterfall when we were dating.

I thought, ‘Ok.  Why the hell not?’

About a year later I was looking for a job in the Classifieds section and saw an ad that said, ‘Seeking model for outdoor figure studies, $30/hour.’

I thought, ‘Oh, that’s nude modeling.  I can do that.’

Earth. Photographer: Bill Strome, (c) 2010. Body paint by JestPaint. Location: Kalamazoo, MI. Graffiti-themed body paint meets gigantic light. What more needs to be said?

Earth. Photographer: Bill Strome, (c) 2010. Body paint by JestPaint. Location: Kalamazoo, MI. Graffiti-themed body paint meets gigantic light. What more needs to be said?

Enter Edward Holland, art photographer extraordinaire.  In the past five years, he and I have worked together countless times.  I like to joke that Edward has seen me nude more than any other 10 people combined.

Eden. Photographer: John Hacht , (c) 2010. Location: Lawton, MI. Generally preferring the studio where he can control the lighting exactly, John told me, “I don’t like to shoot outdoors this time of day – the light is just too harsh.” But he felt like doing something outside the box, so to speak, so we gave it a try. As he was adjusting the camera, I was casually playing with a series of poses next to the tree to see if anything felt promising. He looked up and said “OH MY GOD DO THAT AGAIN!” and Eden was born.

Eden. Photographer: John Hacht , (c) 2010. Location: Lawton, MI. Generally preferring the studio where he can control the lighting exactly, John told me, “I don’t like to shoot outdoors this time of day – the light is just too harsh.” But he felt like doing something outside the box, so to speak, so we gave it a try. As he was adjusting the camera, I was casually playing with a series of poses next to the tree to see if anything felt promising. He looked up and said “OH MY GOD DO THAT AGAIN!” and Eden was born.

Initially, I worked with Edward for two years before meeting another photographer at an art show, who told me about ModelMayhem (MM).

I hate making promises I can’t keep.  Photographer:  13th Floor Photo, (c) 2011.  Location:  Near Marquette, MI.  If ever there was a photo that embodies the complete essence of who I am, it is this one!  The photographer and I had met only the day before, so obviously my hatred of clothing…and of authority… comes across loud and clear!

I hate making promises I can’t keep. Photographer: 13th Floor Photo, (c) 2011. Location: Near Marquette, MI. If ever there was a photo that embodies the complete essence of who I am, it is this one! The photographer and I had met only the day before, so obviously my hatred of clothing…and of authority… comes across loud and clear!

I joined MM and started getting work through the site.  This process has continued mostly unchanged to this day …. Although I’ve learned the hard way about some red flags to watch for … !

People who know me often joke that ‘Mila hates clothes.’  This is actually sort of true.

Artistic modeling is a way for me to express humanity’s connection with nature, and the beauty and versatility of the human body when it is allowed to be free of clothing.

When modeling, I aspire to create photographs which move people, which make the viewer aware that life is more than the sum of all its parts.

While shooting, I think entirely about posing – the current pose, the next pose, and the 5 poses after that.

Commitment. Photographer: Billy Monday, (c) 2010 . Location: Marquette, MI. I tell people that the reason this shot happened is because someone threatened me with clothes, and the only way out was off the cliff. People who know me find this highly believable and generally don’t get the joke. The real story is that it was the end of our dawn shoot, and at 7:00am on an August morning it was already sweltering. I told Billy, “I’m going to jump off the cliff now. Take a picture if you want to.” He wanted to.

Commitment. Photographer: Billy Monday, (c) 2010 . Location: Marquette, MI. I tell people that the reason this shot happened is because someone threatened me with clothes, and the only way out was off the cliff. People who know me find this highly believable and generally don’t get the joke. The real story is that it was the end of our dawn shoot, and at 7:00am on an August morning it was already sweltering. I told Billy, “I’m going to jump off the cliff now. Take a picture if you want to.” He wanted to.

This enables me to work all the aspects of a concept and then move quickly into another one, making the best use of the photographer’s time.

I tend to focus a lot on details like hand and foot position and what my hair is doing, because these things can make or break a photo.

If I have one defining feature, I think it’s my sense of humor.

My sense of humor always keeps buzzing around throughout all my posing session – it’s impossible to turn it off; and, I love to joke around and laugh during shoots.

Nowadays, most of my work seems to find me, either through ModelMayhem or word of mouth.

The tricky part is weeding out the pervs from the real artists (apologies to the pervs…not).

If I’m planning to travel to an area, I search ModelMayhem for photographers in that area and contact the ones with nice, artistic portfolios and, almost more importantly, profile essays that suggest a respectful personality and presence of basic communication skills.

I’m picky.  It saves me grief in the long run.

For me, my creative process is generally very fluid, and ideally involves input from the photographer.

The most productive shoots are ones where I look at what I have to work with, usually some sort of natural environment, think about what might look compelling, and begin posing.   The photographer then begins his work and gives me a stream of comments on what looks good, what doesn’t look good, what I could change to make the image better, or ideas for other poses.

Ideas are bulletproof (V for Vendetta). Photographer: J. Richer , (c) 2009. Location: Marquette, MI. Not my usual thing, but here the direct gaze and the close crop make this a visually interesting photo. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the soul is where ideas live, and ideas truly are bulletproof.

Ideas are bulletproof (V for Vendetta). Photographer: J. Richer , (c) 2009. Location: Marquette, MI. Not my usual thing, but here the direct gaze and the close crop make this a visually interesting photo. If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then the soul is where ideas live, and ideas truly are bulletproof.

I find that this sort of collaboration can result in some really extraordinary work.  It’s difficult for me to do my best work if the photographer doesn’t give me any feedback – oftentimes I’ll see a finished photo and think ‘Damn, this is really good…but if only I had moved my ________  two inches to the _______, it would have been freaking awesome.’  I usually don’t do a lot of planning before a shoot, because the best photos seem to just ‘happen.’  Take Fallen Angel, for example ((c) Edward Holland): we walked up the stream, I saw the falls, and immediately thought ‘Upside down.’  I got into position with no small difficulty, but it was worth it.

To get ready for a shoot, I eat a good meal that will give me lots of energy, then I throw my stuff in a backpack and go.  No magic Zen or anything, sorry.

Form. Photographer: AJ Kahn , (c) 2011. Location: Ann Arbor, MI. An accomplished fine art photographer and a stellar person as well, AJ Kahn likes to hand the model a prop and let her (or his) creativity go to work. In this case, the prop was a small round table, and of course my creativity instructed me to become upside down as soon as possible.

Form. Photographer: AJ Kahn , (c) 2011. Location: Ann Arbor, MI. An accomplished fine art photographer and a stellar person as well, AJ Kahn likes to hand the model a prop and let her (or his) creativity go to work. In this case, the prop was a small round table, and of course my creativity instructed me to become upside down as soon as possible.

Must have beauty products regimen?  – Um, a comb.  That’s about it.

I really like the natural look and it works with my style of art.

My modeling work is paid.

I have only done rare TF shoots over the years.

This can be a delicate subject with photographers, some of whom feel that a model asking to be paid must feel her work is more valuable than the photographer’s.

This isn’t at all the case for me.

As much as I enjoy it, modeling is a job for me –sadly, photos aren’t edible and they don’t pay the mortgage.

Fallen Angel. Photographer: Edward Holland, (c) 2010. Location: Near Marquette, MI. This photo was taken at the end of a shoot on July 4th, 2010. Although the weather was warm, the water was frigid and the horseflies were merciless! I saw the falls and immediately thought, “Upside down, falling with the water.” Getting there was a bit awkward, but once I dropped into place everything clicked. We got several other nice shots that day, but Fallen Angel became an instant classic. My parents have an 8x10 of it hanging in their living room.

Fallen Angel. Photographer: Edward Holland, (c) 2010. Location: Near Marquette, MI. This photo was taken at the end of a shoot on July 4th, 2010. Although the weather was warm, the water was frigid and the horse flies were merciless! I saw the falls and immediately thought, “Upside down, falling with the water.” Getting there was a bit awkward, but once I dropped into place everything clicked. We got several other nice shots that day, but Fallen Angel became an instant classic. My parents have an 8x10 of it hanging in their living room.

Fortunately I’ve met many wonderful photographers willing to negotiate an agreement in which both of us feel we receive a fair deal.

I always bring all of my creativity and energy to each shoot, and have often been told ‘I never thought I would pay a model;  but, it was worth it!’

Thus over the years I’ve built a reputation as a good model worth paying, with excellent references.

Getting paid work is a matter of experience, modeling ability, communication and negotiation skills, respect for photographers, and the ability to place a reasonable, competitive value on one’s work.”

For more of Mila’s work, click here

Images © Photographers et al.

Thoughts?


 
For a listing of Models Profiled on GlamourPhotography.co, click here.
 
 

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One Response to Nature Nude Art Model Mila of Marquette, Michigan

  1. Erry Sofy says:

    Spectacular photographs ,grace ! Excellent. And Luxury ! Successful for you !

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