Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Я не понимаю

The stress level leading up to this trip was almost unbearable. There were to be 4 models... Taya, Karisha, Tatyana and Mika. Taya canceled first. She very professionally declined my offer about two months before the shoot. (She had previously accepted.) Karisha on April 4th confirmed she would participate. I never heard from her again...

 I invested, my patrons invested, a great deal of money in this venture. The lion's share going towards flying Tatyana and her Mother to Odessa. My main line of communication with Tatyana was via her social networking page. Not my favorite way to communicate. And... wouldn't you know when it came time to book flights from Vladivostok to Odessa her page goes down. It had been down before. She is dealing with trolls, stalkers and trouble-makers. Now the timing was such that I needed to book tickets and I could not get final confirmation. Sure... she had confirmed at least three times prior. But you want that extra sense of security before you drop $3000.00 on plane tickets and accommodations for a teenage model.

 A few days later I receive a message from Tatyana saying everything was OK and that she would have her page down a few days more. Flash forward to my departure. I left Charlotte, NC airport very excited Everything was in order. My only real stress level was did I bring too much US cash. Exchanging it would be easy but costly. Minutes before I departed for JFK I received a text from Tatyana that all was well and they were off to the Airport in Vladivostok. Beginning an endless flight to Moscow and then enduring a 6 hour layover with one more 3.5 hour flight to Odessa before their trip ended. I arrived at JFK with about three hours to spare. I checked emails and made a few unrelated business phone calls about purchasing some guns for the gunstore I own and about a recurring payroll issue.

An hour or so before departure our plane is rolled into position. 15 minutes before boarding the Polish Airlines staff, in very broken English, tell us that we will be delayed 1 hour for repairs. 1.5 hours later we begin boarding. 30 mins later we start to taxi. Just under 4 hours later we finally take off for Warsaw Poland... NEVER fly Polish Air... and depart anywhere but from NYC if you value your time.

 I was able to get out a few emails via my iPhone to all interested parties that I would be late arriving and I would check in when I could. I missed my Odessa connecting flight by 3 hours. I was booked into the Warsaw Airport Courtyard Marriott. A VERY nice, clean, affordable hotel. Too bad you have to fly LOT to get to it!

 The next AM I few for Odessa. But only after another delay of 45 mins to wait for passengers in transit to Odessa. Never again Polish Airlines... never again. One day and One hour late I arrive in Odessa. Waiting just on the other side of a brief trip through customs was Aleksey of the apartment service holding a sign "Odessa Group LLC". All was well.

 Aleksey informed me that Tatyana and her mother arrived on time at 12:45 am and had spent the night in my apartment because of a misunderstanding as to when they would arrive. A short bumpy drive to the Arkadia district of Odessa later and I was standing under a partially renovated 20+ story building located immediatly next to the Russian Embassy/Consulate. As it turns out from my room you could see a party being held at the embassy. It's a Russian holiday month. In fact, Tatyana missed no school for this trip because of the Russian holiday.
Tatyana and her mother were no where to be found. They needed to be moved from my apartment to theirs. I assumed they were shopping or at the beach. I later found out they were in the City Center getting chemical burns to Tatyana's scalp because of some bootleg Odessa hair salon's crap coloring products. Tatyana was very worried I would be upset. No need to be upset when you have hired Odessa's best Make Up Artist.

The day's shoot that I was supposed to have 24 hours to prepare for would start in 30 mins. Dasha (make up artist), Mika and the new replacement model Natasha were waiting somewhere in Arkadia for my call with directions. One problem... the Interwebz in my apartment were down. No way to Skype Dasha to say I'm "here" and you need to come to 5 Genuezskaya Street. So I pack up from my apartment and go to Tatyana's hoping she has internet. Her apartments internet was working. I call Dasha via Skype and try to convey where I am. She is having trouble understanding me. She hands the phone to Mika who also speaks English... no good. Mika can't understand my several attempts at "5 Genuezskaya". I was begining to wonder how I would find some random Ukrainian and via sign language explain how he/she needed to tell my friends on the phone where we are!!! But... I remembered you can SMS text from Skype. So Skyped a text to Dasha. She was less than 10 mins away sitting at a cafe. Hugs, kisses and laughs were exchanged and the photoshoots that had been LONG in the making finally started.

Two hours later we wrapped up. Tatyana's mom had called to say they were on their way. And in short order I met such a lovely angel. Tatyana is petite. She has pale flawless skin and the darkest brown eyes. A soft melodic voice that betrayed a little nerves. The nerves gave way to laughs as Dasha related my saga of delays and mis-ques to Tatyana and mom. Tomorrow we would start at 3pm. A few "dobrays" and "dasvidaniyas" and we parted company.


 The Tatyana shoot is one of the best most productive photo sessions I have ever had. I've been a photographer for 15 years. I've worked with models who have been in Vogue, Abercrombie and Fitch, Playboy, etc etc. Tatyanna is one of the best. And we don't even speak the same fucking language!
She moves flawlessly from pose to pose. She takes my direction better than most models who speak English. She is aware of the camera. Where it is pointing. How it is positioned. She is aware of the lighting. I could not have asked one more thing of her.
We shot for three days. Over 1700 photos. This work will make
my last work in Odessa look like amature night with a disposable camera. I wish I could post it all immediately. But God's will and Commerce must be done... I am planing on reworking my entire website. Make it more customer friendly. Easier to navigate. So while I am editing photos... I'm also building a new website.


It's 12:34 am in Warsaw Poland... More than 12 hours ago I saw Tatyana and her mother off at the Odessa Ukraine Airport. 3 hours ago she said she and mom were settled in Moscow waiting 6 hours for the 9 hour flight back home.
Obviously I am impressed with this young lady. She renews my faith in what can be done with art. How we can communicate easier with art than we can with words. She is a serious model who I would give my highest recommend. We will be working together again. When? Not soon enough... Not nearly soon enough.


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  2. Yes! She is amazing. Tatyana does not have a web page. But you can see more of her at

    Also the next eBook out this weekend will be 100% Tatiana.

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