one model's Creative Adventure

Because Keira's journey has represented a very broad realm of creative interests between arts and industries; this page is dedicated to give a personal connective insight into the treasured adventure-like steps taken along the way. A world of creativity through Keira's eyes, and the wonderful connections along the way... Because the gift of creativity is a limitless wonder. 

Long Ramblings Alert!

The Model & Actress Born

image45

I don't believe there has never been a point in time when my true heart and mind hasn't yearned for creativity in one way or another. I always seemed to have this crazy little habit of turning whatever task I was doing at any time into an innovative mission... This little world of Keira that I would skip off to was guaranteed to get me through anything, no matter how laborious! And it strangely enabled me to do the task more efficiently too. Goodness knows how! Now modelling - not something I had even contemplated for one second until the moment I fell into it (pretty much by accident!) Had you asked me as a young child if it was something I fancied when I grew up... I'd have probably smirked and carried on playing with my toy dragons, if you asked the early teenage me... You'd have probably got some kind of grouchy sarcasm. So who would have ever known that the very glamorous profession of having your photo taken for a living could wind-up being the full time occupation of someone that never really lived a stereotypical glamorous life and was actually pretty shy once upon a time?! The only way I can begin to describe it is the evolution of your true self: whilst we stay connected with the things that grasp our interest from early in our lives, we learn and discover new ways of unleashing those interests in which we can grow and develop in who we are. Kind of like the caterpillar-butterfly transformation. Dare I say ugly duckling to the swan? Ha! (The creative associates and colleagues that know me will recognise that demeanour of a person who, whilst professionally serious, doesn't take herself too seriously. But this is very much me, so hopefully it will make for a a fun read too!) So anyway... Back to what I was waffling on about before I got sidetracked (I do that sometimes). Taking a look back to that very first time I stepped in front of a camera for my first ever photo shoot - it was as if something within me had come alive following years of being dormant! But it was like it had in fact always been there, just waiting for the spark to ignite it. Instant addiction... What more is there to say... I was a student at the time studying my (now completed) science degree, yet a single taste of creativity amid the theoretical studies... I needed to express more! Just like a highly addictive drug.


 As the years progressed, I modelled part time alongside my studies, mostly just enjoying the creative release, but also building up to professional jobs which became more of a frequent thing... Commercial E-commerce shoots, clients product shoots, little publications popping up. It was amazing how fast it seemed to escalate with what seemed like such a natural effort. Now don't get me wrong; many full-time professional models (myself included) will confirm that a successful, full-time modelling career is hard work... I'm certainly not saying that my modelling work developed effortlessly, but the ease came as the creativity felt more natural to my true self. Whether it was my serious artistic head that was screwed on to work for an artistic project/exhibition, or the little actress coming alive with expression for productions and TV work... Each and every assignment and the essential but rewarding team rapports that would form with all the artists on board just enhanced the love for it. The future was looking expressive. Very expressive! Whilst it was certainly nice, and lifting getting great feedback and approval for job satisfaction from the various clients for whom I worked (some days it would be promotional, others it could be video demos and so forth), there was always an element of love for the purely creative shoots that I did in-between. Working with artists, photographers and videographers alike (whether they themselves were full time also, or just enjoying a creative hobby) each and every shoot/job had it's own exciting elements which left it completely impossible to ever tire of modelling and acting. Seeing the results coming in with the consciousness that you have been a part in achieving that. I can tell you now... almost a decade since my very first shoot, and the buzz for the work has only become more so! Everything from the many shoots I will fit into a modelling tour, to receiving a fully printed and published book or glossy magazine pages with my face in through the post... I'm terrible for noticing these things because I'm normally getting myself hyped up for the next shoots in the calendar, when a message from a colleague will pop up asking me if I'd like then to post me the latest printed article. Then I just cannot contain myself - it really is just an everlasting state of excitement. No matter how many suitcases I manage to wreck from long tours, no matter how much mud I get between my toes (and everywhere else!) on location, no matter how many how many hours I spend on the road... I love my job more and more every day.  Hmm, well there goes my attempt at ending this paragraph slightly different from the last... Can you tell I love what I do? 

    

It's interesting because I never really became pigeon-holed to one specific style of modelling (for photographs). There are styles I do a lot, certainly... But it's really quite difficult, particularly when people outside the industry bubble say: "so what kind of modelling do you do?" Ummm, is "expressive" an answer? Or will that just confuse things beyond fixing? I work on the basis that my whole self is a tool of expression when I'm at work, and the genres just have slightly different ways and means within the poses of letting that expression out. Okay, now nobody really knows what I'm harping on about. I get that. But hopefully this will make more sense: so on a fine art shoot; I take myself to that place where all my fine art poses then erupt from. Similarly, narrative portrait stills; I go back to my little expressive cave of wonders and out pop the facial stories. It's like a creative form of communication/language without speaking. The story is still told through poses: be it figure shapes or expressions of the face, and there you have expressive modelling! But most folk relate better to non-gibberish terms like fashion, head-shots, glamour, artistic nude. =] I guess the more adaptable that any professional becomes, then the harder it becomes to describe what one does! What may seen subjectively interesting to some (those who have already viewed my body of modelling work) is that I actually started out with a heavy lean and love towards fashion where I was actually quite deeply enthralled also in the love for designing garments myself. After spending quite some time focused around what I could do creatively with fashions; developing an understanding for products and the model photography associated... Even going as far as to create a garment brand and experiment with photography of the items, I begun noticing other genres of modelling which were increasingly catching my eye.  I adored the way that light fell upon figure nudes in photographs. My self-awareness was growing all the while as I became inspired by works... But my nature when I have an interest in something if to actively engage in it: more swaying towards being the writer than the reader (as you can probably tell by now!) and I wanted to write my own story through images that I was already really appreciating and noting the effort that had gone into such images. Now; a typical day at work could be gliding with grace and statue-esque elegance across a studio floor or mountain face. It particularly makes a shoot interesting beyond belief when 5 minutes after performing the graceful, arty dance of the sprite-like creature, you're sensuously tantalising the camera with jaw-dropping erotic poses on a boudoir setting or similar... Yes, it is typically standard practice to have a good giggle about it on shoots when you're reviewing the images/footage and ask for the culprit to own up on who killed-off the "butter-wouldn't-melt" little nymph; or perhaps she got possessed by some heavy duty herbal tea? I would be lying if I said I don't enjoy getting the opportunity to express versatility in pictures and video/film work, and it's the same dynamic interest which merges into the work I do parallel, but tied into modelling as a designer of innovative wardrobe and my alter ego makeup artist. 

The Hair & Makeup Artist

image46

The makeup artistry side of things and exploring with different levels of creativity as per had always gone side-by-side with the modelling work from the word go. However, there was certainly more to it than simply "looking presentable" for work. Of course every model/makeup artist is going to have their "stock" looks which work as an all-round beauty look etc. but it became in instantly prominent skill set before I had even gone full time as a model/actress. It had actually evolved from way back: re-wind back to GCSE Art and that is where it all began. One of the art projects I was on with back then was a self-portrait which had to be drawn/painted in a way that we felt brought "a piece of us" out in the artwork. I had divided my face into too half on the artwork... half of which was as naturally drawn/painted as can be and the other half leaned into the realms of elaborate. It's a funny story because as I was finishing the painting around the eyes, I was meticulously self-critical because at the time, I had taught myself how to do the most beautiful eye-makeup on myself having got the liner and shadowing and off to a tee with insane dedicated practice and, because of the viscosity differences between the oil paint provided and actual face makeup, I was struggling to replicate the exact finish I wanted on the eyes of my painting. Naturally it was going to be different and need a careful approach due to the difference in media. The resolution? I painted the rest of my face as instructed, and took the canvas home that evening where I painted my eye on the canvas using the same makeup I was putting on my face! The finish was perfect, and from there, my blending skills further developed with confidence to take on the different products and create a catalogue of understanding for achieving the desired effect with absolute exactness in the finish. So when I enter into call-sheet discussions with a photographer or client and the topic of makeup comes up, only a few words describing the desired look are needed before I know how to approach for the prep. 


If makeup work can be likened to art as such, then hair work compares nicely to sculpting. Not all media will stay in place as easy for a sculpture... and the same goes with hair. But the very same artistic routes which taught me those valuable skills for managing the blending of shadows/highlights, I also came to understand (and respect) the similarities, but also differences when dealing with hair to achieve a desired look: whether big and boasting volume or natural but stylish. The challenge of planning ahead and knowing exactly what is going to be done with the piece of "barnet" you've just isolated whilst you style another piece is all part-and-parcel of the creation of the look, combined with the enjoyment of doing so. Over my creative working career, I have also developed several styling techniques which allow me to create virtually any hair damage-free. This ensures that my hair remains in good condition for each and every client/photographer that books me as a model.  despite beging my own makeup artist: it actually gives me a full insight into the work efforts of stylists/makeup artists that may be hired to do my makeup/hair as a model. A little understanding from the other side certainly never did any harm!



The Designer

image47

I think my rambling so far should have just about covered (several times!) that a creative and artistic understanding of the image-making process and all it's attributes is undoubtedly useful in a line of work such as modelling. But what about if our model designs too? Surely the clients always bring the clothes? On a commercial shoot where the product is the clothes - of course. But this element of my creative work and interests begun as an (almost) completely different sideline: still born from the same love of creating, but the initial collections initially unrelated until the two avenues inevitably merged. The connection begun in association with "creative" or "non-product" shoot bookings. It became beneficial to have an extended, dynamic wardrobe of garments and accessories in situations where a designer may not be attending a shoot to supply as such. A modelling wardrobe often differs significantly from what one would wear day to day, (especially if your name is Keira Lavelle!), hence it's a huge plus to be able to offer photographers just shooting for the enjoyment, or even other companies who would have a requirement for more specific wear in their brief. It's certainly non unheard of for me to produce special custom pieces either; equipped and capable of quick fixes, or serious the heavy duty sewing machine runs... It's an exceptionally cost-effective way for a photographer/client to get some diversely innovative outfits rocking on a photo shoot/video. =]    


Or we can get bejewelled: More of an inventive hobby which I manage to scrape to time to do for myself very occasionally which goes something like: arming oneself with the suitable tool kit to carefully design glistening bling attire made out of crystals/pearls and whatever other semi-precious treasures I happen to order in. The designing of my body jewellery collections was a brain-wave following an influx of bookings for body-scape nude work (as seen in my galleries). Wearing the jewels under the photographic lighting setups, or even against the sun made their pigments and sparkle seduce the camera to add a delicate element of (nearly clothing?) to a beautiful nude image. =] These crystal lingerie sets, skirts, harnesses, and chest-piece style trinkets were then soon enough finding their way into my more fashion orientated bookings too! Special commissions are certainly always possible, whether for a shoot/production that I will model in or personal independent shooting/theatrical plans. Like everything else: I approach this work with a self critical and precise eye. If it's not perfect, I don't rest.   


Similar point to what I touched upon with the makeup at the end of my makeup artist ramble: having been in the shoes of a designer, I also have the same understanding of how important it is that garments look correct in-shot, hence this knowledge is most certainly valuable when working with a team of people and a client with products. I am an extremely people-orientated, down to earth person anyway but the fact that I look at aspects from the eyes of the others on-board a team makes for fantastic team starting point with the common goal recognised.

If you survived all that - message me. I need to send you your medal. =]

Or contact & discuss an assignment