Lost Connections

Feeling a bit down and frustrated today. I had two people lined up to work with this week and suddenly they have cancelled. I don’t know if they are feeling intimidated by what I am doing or if everyone is just so busy all the time. Sometimes finding subjects is near impossible and sometimes I can hardly keep up with it all. Right now I desperately need to create something in the studio, if only a portrait. January and February have always been difficult months for photography. I have tried many approaches to finding subjects but for the most part people think I am a bit crazed and do not see the beauty in what I am doing. I had a kid I approached a while back respond with: “I would rather do meth than indulge in fulfilling your deranged fantasies so you can have something to get off on”, well at least it was a response. I actually had to laugh about that one and am still quite amused by it. About half the guys I work with are straight. I have tried advertising in the University newspaper, which yielded a few great subjects and ended up costing more than it was worth. What has become most effective is working the social networking site like gay.com and manhunt. Here everyone seems to expose them selves anyway and you can kind of get a feel for who they are and where they might be willing to go with an image. I have built a profile that says “Light, Beauty, Desire, Art! Classic artist looking to immortalize you in extraordinary imagery. Images in exchange for posing. Any and all body types and shapes.” I have a picture of myself, some examples of my images, and nothing else suggestive. I have a lot of people look at my profile with great comments on the beauty of the work. Occasionally I will connect with someone, then, more often than not, it will take months to actually meet up. More often than not they simply do not show up or postpone it until they are in better shape. Why are we so afraid of looking at our own self-images? To me this is one of the greatest explorations we can have of looking at our selves, or capturing the essence of who we are at this particular stage in our lives. I don’t really think it’s narcissistic but a way of seeing ourselves from a new perspective. Once someone comes in, a bond or connection is instantly made, they love working with me and my approach, feel safe and secure to explore themselves and when they see the final results are blown away by how remarkable they truly are. Most subjects come back for additional shoots, wanting to explore a bit deeper. Often times they post their images on their profiles and suddenly others begin to make the connection, excitement builds, my style becomes recognizable and they seek me out. Recently that connection has been lost and I am having difficulty regaining it. Last summer I got very busy with more commercial work, maintaining the gardens, and working UPS and could barely keep up with everything and had to let this part of my work slip. The people I have been photographing do not show my images in their profiles and the association is lost. Do I need to find a better way to connect with people or do I just need to remain focused? Is this market tapped out for Missoula? Am I too old to be doing this kind of imagery? Have I just become too intimidating because my work has become so classic and recognizable that nobody thinks they are good enough to fit into my style?