When it comes to photo shoots, I prefer to stay behind the shot. I’m considerably more comfortable directing a pose, styling a set, or making corny jokes to enhance candid laughing shots (Spoiler: it’s exactly as awkward as it sounds). But every so often I get the inclination or offer to work on the other side of the lens, and I push myself to take on each role. This time around it was with local Murray Hill photographer Josh Wessolowski. We grabbed iced americanos and trekked across downtown Jax in search of painted brick and prime golden hour light. Both the atmosphere and the goal of the shoot were completely out of my realm of experience, but I felt unusually at home in the somber poses and improvised backdrops. It was a welcome break from the bright Momni brand image that I work so closely with, and the farther I departed from the look I’ve worked to curate, the easier it became to be myself in front of the camera.
Resting bitch face aside, this shoot made me understand modeling as an art form more than ever before. Suddenly my “bad side” and chunky brows weren’t meant to be maneuvered or hidden to score insta likes or look perfect, but to tell a story I was intimately dictating. A story about creatives climbing ten flights of stairs and basking in the chance to create, if only for the sake of creating.
Words by Mara Strobel-Lanka. Photos by Josh Wessolowski.