Portsea Shoot 2017

Group shoot in Portsea, Australia
13 models, 4 photographers

Melbourne Models Making Magic
text by Cheyannigans

The images you see before you are the result of a slow snowballing process. It all began as a mere crumb of an idea cultivated at our casual Melbourne Model dinners. Throughout my years of modelling in Melbourne, I have admired my fellow Melbourne Models – almost exclusively through the lens of social media. Like many models, I would view others’ artwork and often feel inspired, yet sometimes comparatively inadequate in some way, shape or form. Every now and then I’d meet one of these models at a workshop or similar but we would rarely have time to chat. Sometimes I wish I knew more about the stories behind the masks we all wear, but I generally felt too shy to make a move to meet these mesmerising beauties.

Finally, one day, I mustered up some courage and organised a dinner with two of the ladies. Slowly but surely, we would meet more often to talk about the ebbs and flows of the industry and the world around us. It grew organically as we invited new models (whom we noticed on the art nude Facebook pages) to come and hang out and learn about the niche industry within which we have found ourselves. We’ve discussed so many nooks and crannies and I know that I’ve even heard answers to questions I didn’t even know I’d been (or should have been!) asking. Though it now seems obvious, the biggest thing I’ve learnt is that we are all our own worst critics – we can admire the gleaming beauty in others yet not see the organic beauty in what we believe to be flaws. The friends we make in the modelling world can help us to see past these flaws and embrace our uniquely gorgeous bodies – freckles, curves, flat feet and all!

With my departure to Perth slowly looming, we organised a group shoot as a sort of last hurrah before my move. And so, late in November, thirteen Melbourne muses arose from their sacred slumber in the wee hours of the morning, venturing way down the Peninsular to embark on an epic six-hour creative mission.

We frolicked; we swam; we smothered each other in sunscreen; we clambered over many a rock; we curled up in many a crevice; we laughed (oh how we laughed!); we entertained the local surfers; we ate delicious snacks; we were abstract and we were cheesy; we made time for sacred selfies; we scattered across the briny landscape and we came back together as one unified representation of the glorious Melbourne Models. With grazed bottoms, salty skin, sandy hair, and fulfilled creative appetites, we finally waded back through the treacherous terrain to head home – just in time as the weather turned more sinister.

Words cannot describe the honour and pleasure of sharing my last weekend in Melbourne creating art with these fine folk. My heart is warmed by the support and inspiration that emanates from each and every one of you. I sincerely hope you all continue the Melbourne Model Dinners and I’m eagerly anticipating future collaborations just over the horizon.

A MASSIVE thank you is in order to our models; to the wonderfully patient photographers Mark Hillyer, Ray Fritz, Kelly Kooper, and the shapeshifting Megan van de who photographed AND modelled; and our oh so helpful assistant Dirk who sure knows his way around a reflector and time keeping device!


    I passionately believe that the future of professional photography is in the areas that we still have advantages over technology – connection, imagination, creativity, passion, energy, soul, and – most of all – knowing how to use the technological tools, be it the equipment, framing, perspective, and creative (and relevant) post-processing. And over it all, a sense of fun, energy, a healthy dose of a sense of the absurd – and leaving the ego at the door.

    Megan van de is a Naarm/Melbourne, Australia, based, English/Dutch Artist, Educator and Counsellor-in-training. With a focus on photography and writing, and forever inspired by honesty, curiosity and grace.


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