July 11, 2016

Art Model Leslie interviewed by Terrell Neasley

Art Model, Leslie ©2015 Terrell Neasley

"He has an art project in mind that will take time and eventually all of his life to get done."  ~ Art Model Leslie 

I would like to take a moment to introduce you to a muse of mine, Art Model, Leslie. We've been working together for about 3 years now whenever she can spare the time. We had an 18 month gap at one point between sessions. I take what is given and am glad when I can get some of her time. She definitely has more important things in her life to consider. So this interview is a little bit different. I tried to conduct it with my own questions as if I was asking them to someone I didn't know, but I've also included a little more detail to add to the overall picture at times in yellow text. French is her primary language so I've corrected some parts to ensure her meaning is understood, but otherwise, I've left her words as is.

Art Model, Leslie ©2013 Terrell Neasley

So tell me where you are from Leslie?

I'm from France, it's now 11 years, that I’m living in Las Vegas.

And what are you normally doing when you are not modeling?

I’m a full time mom. Two kids, 8 and 5 and one of them with life threatening illness and multiple disease.

Art Model, Leslie ©2013 Terrell Neasley

How did you come to decide to model for Terrell?

It was a night around a huge fire pit just before my neck surgery in 2013. I was their to find a relaxing connection with some friends and horses. I didn’t know him, in a sudden just after I open the door of the house to come out, Terrell was their and coming from no where he said something like that ‘’ Whoa, I like that face, those hair…just what I see. Do you want to be a model for me?’’ I was honestly finding that new technique pretty funny to meet someone. But he insists and said it was real and wanted to talk to me more about his work. So we finally sat and talk. He show me different work that he did and I really appreciate the way how he was looking at those women bodies and also more different work that he do to help families. At that time, I was just wondering why he wanted to do this with me (meaning you don’t know me man, you're crazy to take that path it will be more than just a shoot) and I was not sure if I wanted to do something because I was so much in pain with my own body waiting after so long to have my 2 herniated disc replace (long story). But I like to go with my feeling often and this one was a cool one so we made a deal. I will be a model when I can and he will help me understand the photography that I want to take when he can.

[Leslie and I have mutual friends who do horse shows (Gladius the Show). We usually have a big bonfire, food, and drink afterwards, sometimes til the sun comes up. I confess, I was slightly inebriated at the time when I saw Leslie. A beautiful French girl with dreadlocks! Her appearance was so oddly unique!]

Art Model, Leslie ©2013 Terrell Neasley

Describe to us what it was like to do your first experience model shoot? Were you bashful or nervous? 

SO the first one was just after my surgery at my house (I think 4 days after, I was still on crazy medicine helping me with the outcome of the surgery). It was pretty simple. He told me that the after surgery was good for him, I told him ‘’I can not really do poses, take what you can, hope it can still work’’ and he was confident to get good stuff. I was not bashful or ever nervous none of them. I just trust his word and was fine with that.

[I was surprised to get her call to come visit her in her home. She was basically home alone and found herself with a lot of time on her hands so recently after her neck surgery. So we did candid work throughout her house as we sat and talked, did dishes, and cleaned up. ]

Art Model, Leslie ©2013 Terrell Neasley

What do you personally get out of modeling nude for him? How it is a fulfilling experience to you that makes you continue to do it?

I m not sure about getting something about modeling nude. I m not really looking at our work after. I look quickly when he send me the series of his best shot of the session but as soon as I know he like certain shot, I m good with. I m not doing this for my self I think, I have no complex about my body, I like muscle but I m not full of it. Or either any need about it. I have my little mama belly and I always had the habit in France in my younger age to be bikini on the beach or be naked in my house. For me the body is just a shell around us protecting our inner side, it’s not really us but it have the story of our life write on it.

I think I continue because when I start with Terrell, I see his need like those class painter with a nude model, he just had a camera on his hand other than a brush and was not in class but in real life. He has an art project in mind that will take time and eventually all of his life to get done. I’m even not sure about the full idea or need at this time but this is a nice challenge for me. I love helping people and feel that supporting an artist in his work it s always a good story.

[I'm actually pretty sure I'm getting the majority of the benefit in this relationship. Leslie came along at a hard time in my life. The nude is my calm and she has been the perfect muse for those moments.]

Art Model, Leslie ©2013 Terrell Neasley

Do you have a favorite place or situation you like to model?

I definitely prefer to be in nature than inside because it’s my happy connection with life. But the work inside a house or a studio is interesting too and completely different.

What is your general view on the nude? What makes you so comfortable with your body that you can pose for Terrell and have your image on display?

I love bodies and their story and I think each model and artist have their own way to talk about their subject using those bodies. I’m comfortable with my own story life so I m good with my body the way it is ….to pose for Terrell and be in a display most of it is because I m not in the life game of judging people and their action, I m more on the research of understanding ‘’why ‘’ and so it bring me on the position of being happy to support his idea more than looking at my self on display.

Art Model, Leslie after an 18 month hiatus ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Is there anything hard or difficult about art nude modeling and posing? Do you have to deal with any scrutiny from people around you at all?

I think you can feel uncomfortable if you don’t know what the photograph want from you or if it’s confuse. But if stuff are clear for me it s a work like an other, the difference will come from the feeling you have to participate to this project or not. Also the fact to work outside is very tricky sometime because you need to be careful about other people or police. The few rules in community bring you to work fast sometime outside (lol). 
The most important for me is to know my husband is not feeling worry and he is completely comfortable with that work in progress, after that in my point of view it’s not my problem about what other feel and so think it’s theirs and I hope for them that one day they will understand their feeling about.

[We once had a helicopter the continued circling around overhead as we worked under the trees. It would leave temporarily and then come back. It was difficult to tell if they were looking for us or someone else. As it turns out, we had selected a canyon where park rangers had chosen to practice rescue operations.]

Art Model, Leslie ©2015 Terrell Neasley

How do you usually prepare for a shoot? Do you practice posing or look at any other art nude model resources? And if so, is there a favorite art model who's work you appreciate?

I never prepare for a shoot other than maybe make a trim a bit lol. I never practice pose and I never take nude resources. BTW today was my first time to look at an other nude blog than Terrell and I will say it’s cool to see inside ‘’Univers d’artistes’’ all the different point of view or the different work their. I remember 12 years ago finding and loving the series Duo VisVersa (Cirque du Soleil), photographié par Michel Pilon.

Is there a special way Terrell captures you best? Maybe a certain angle he shoots you that is a favorite? Or some particular pose, bodyscape, or look that he captures often?

I'm not sure I have recognize any specific thing, I just like his own way how to see me in somewhere. Environment always change in our shoot and so we change, we adapt. For sure it’s never the same thing or poses.

Art Model, Leslie ©2015 Terrell Neasley

Describe how you two are in sync together to deliver a great body of work. Do he have to continuously direct you or would you say you guys tend to think the same things and you just "know" what to do next. Why do you two work together so well?

Now that I think of the question, what I like with Terrell is the way how everything seam natural. He chooses the spot or environment and often after everything go natural. I have in my memory just very rare time when he ask to stand there or do this, often it’s something I think is a flaw, but he is good at make me good feel about it, lol. 

When we shoot naturally he will not imagine something risky or uncomfortable for me, he never want me to do crazy thing or stuff who can hurt me, kind of a dad responsibility thing.  It’s why he let me participate during the shoot, I like when I see stuff with light in my body or part of the place that we can use, I'm not scared to tell him and often if it's not every time, he say yes why not it’s a good idea (before he will check if no big spider or snake will be there in the spot hahaha, he still in duty to protect me). When we work like this for me it's more a mission for the shoot to try and be connect to his mind. It s hard to explain what you see in your mind so often we need special connection in art like our relation I think.

Art Model, Leslie ©2015 Terrell Neasley

How about another photographer. Is there another one who's work you like to follow?

I didn’t think of it maybe if an other photographer ask me to be part of a project that I can be interested about. But if it’s just for me to keep being a nude model after Terrell project is done, I will not look for someone. I have a multi project in my life who keep me already so much busy that we cannot have the quantity of shoot that Terrell wish for.

When will we see more of your work?

When he will expose it, it s his work… I'm just the little touch of French spice in this project.

And finally, tell us if you had to decide, what would your very next modeling session be. Describe where and how you would imagine it to look like.

It will not be the next one, but I already told him one time in the snow can be very nice to see, I m not sure to be the good model for it because my neck don’t like cold lol, but I love the snow and fire concept with nude body, it can create some very nice light and shadows game.

[We may have to go somewhere for the snow part. We live in a desert. But then again, that's the beauty of Las Vegas. Despite the climate, there's other various landscapes close by. Mt Charleston is only 45 minutes away from us...with snow!
Thanks for letting us inside your heart, Leslie! 

You can always catch her on my Photo Anthems Blog, Website, and Instagram. Another project comes up soon! Stay tuned.]

Art Model, Leslie...just 4 days after neck surgery. ©2013 Terrell Neasley

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