Best of the Best reality show model in Mexico, by photographer Mark Laurie of Inner Spirit Photography

Sorry this is a little late, the reality show I was judging on was an amazing experience but, boy, do they jam stuff in a day!

Wow, what a time. Me, a judge on a reality show for photographers and models. It was chaos mashed into four days. The prizes up for the winners were impressive. They were a huge motivator. The phrase of the day was “Any Thing Can Happen”.  And it usually did.

Each photographer, each model, trying to outdo the others and themselves. All working in conditions they don’t usually do, while in a glass bowl. Hardly a time to really enjoy the paradise setting!

Imagine the models, doing six photo shoots, back-to-back, trying to be different in each, keeping makeup fresh, changing outfits, all in a humid paradise. Or the photographers, dealing with lighting few had ever seen before, sand, that endless humidity, and every hour a fresh model to figure out what to do with, where to go. Equipment failing, and so on.

No matter how chaotic and out of control a reality show looks to viewers in the final cut, it is nothing like the chaos that ensues during the live shoot. Story lines are not created, threads of them are found in surprising places from unexpected people. Few things go as expected and the plan is adapted to and changed. To call it fluid is a stretch.

Like any contest there is a mix of skills, which is a mix to the chance of winning. Because it is such an unstable pressure cooker, the outcome is unpredictable. Rocky always has a chance here.

Sadly I can’t talk too much about specifics as they want to keep things under wraps. They still need to edit and compile the days of footage they got.

I have always had a great appreciation to what models bring to a shoot. In this event I got to see their full working spectrum, and it was impressive. I don’t think most people really grasp the work it takes to model. They brought suitcases of outfits, fabrics, and props, just in case. They were up at unearthly hours doing makeup and hair to be perfect for the shoot, while not knowing what the shoot would be.

You could see the contestants get more confident as more things came together, and as they saw they had a real chance to win. For some, when the final choice was announced, it was crushing. Still, they had some fantastic images to use, and were changed professionally and personally by having risen to the challenge.

In the end, that was the real prize. Stepping up where others did not have the nerve to, risking at one chance. Changing into better models and photographers from working in a situation and light that simply expanded their abilities without them even realizing how much.

As a contestant last time, I never noticed it. As a judge this time, wow, I could really see it. Any time you push yourself that hard, that far out to the skinny part of the branch with no net, you become transformed.  It’s familiar for me to see because that is what most women go through in our sessions.

So what do you feel – can stepping into a crazy challenging situation transform you? Do you look for them, or find ways to skirt them?

Let me know.

(The above photo is of one of the competing models, taken in a rare free moment a few days before the competition began.)

Posted by: Mark Laurie

World-renown photoartist Mark Laurie of Inner Spirit Photography specializes in Female Portraiture: nudes, boudoir, prenatal & fine art. His empowering images of women reveal their heart & soul.