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Home » Shooting Days » 2015... » Aachen 2016

The first International Shooting Days of 2016 were organised in Aachen (Germany), near the border with Belgium, exactly 12 years after our first Shooting Days in Oostende. After this event there is a need to change the event. It's not normal that a single person organises the complete event, invites the photographers and models, looks for locations, and so on. The photographers work with our models and go home in the evening and are not interested in the event itself, they are only interested in taking their pictures.

Our plan was that each model would stay for two days (sleeping one night), so 20 models in total could participate in the event. Practically, it was a nightmare, models who don't respond anymore, models who don't have a means of transportation, and so on. For german models the house was located in the University district, at a walking distance from the railroad station. Models didn't have any excuse not to come. But this time, nearly 90% of all models who registered didn't come to the event.

We'll change the system, probably with shootings over one day: models don't seen able to come for more than half a day. For us it's very difficult to make a planning (where to go and when to leave).

One of the photographers was André Pizaro who lived in Aachen. Our aim was that he would show us the region, but he was of no help. He was sometimes too late and didn't rtespond to the phone. He could have looked for an appartment, but again it was Belgium Model Academy who did all the work (and the appartment was very expensive and not so good). The last day he had to join us to make the planning for the Shooting Days in the Netherlands, but he didn't show up and we could not join him by phone. Needless to say, there were no Shooting Days in the Netherlands.

The plan was that the german photographers would contact german models, and the belgian photographers belgian models. Another problem is that i was working for FTM (Future Top Model, a belgian model contest) and was not authorised to contact the participants. I had to refuse participants because they were doing FTM. It's the last time i work with FTM, so that i am free to contact anybody.

At last, there were more belgian models than germans (even with the event taking place in Germany and most photographers being germans). The german photographers came each day to take their pictures, and then leaved in the evening.

Wednesday

The first day we had a model who participated in Top Model Belgium (another belgian model contest). I know he's doing TMB because all the models are obliged to make the promotion of the contest, publish all sort of rubbish on facebook concerning the contest, and so on. But the model had no information about agencies, about castings,... He could not do a decent catwalk and he could not pose. It's not surprising: TMB is mostly a money business and they don't have much contacts with real model agencies.

So i lost some time explaining the trade to this new model, then we went to the University grounds to take some pictures. The model is leaving in the evening.

Then i got a phone call from two models blocked in the railroad station of Verviers. There is no train anymore to Aachen, and going home is not possible, since there are no more trains this evening. The railroad station is closed and the models have to wait outside. I'll drive at night to Verviers and pick them up.

Thursday

This day is for shootings in the region. We go first to the castle of Stolberg. I went there some years ago: it's an interesting place if the shooting doesn't take too long, since there are not that much interesting places for a fotoshoot with male models. I do nearly the same routine with each model: the entrance gate, underneath a bridge, near a staircase, and so on.

Two german models were body builders type and were not interested in fotoshoots. It seems they were there to show their bodies, they had no interest in becoming a model for a modelling agency. They were using all sort of chemical stuff to get more muscle, and i know for sure that nobody is interested in this sort of models: everybody can see they were not "natural".

Besides, most model agencies are not interested in body builders: sometimes they are bulking, and then they are really ugly and fat, and then they are shredding, but their peak body only last for a couple of days. No serious agency would work with such sort of people. It was not a good choice to pick up those models. They looked better on their pictures (taken some years ago), than in real life.

The third german model is OK. We can directly see that he had no posing experience and working with different photographers was a difficult job for him. This of course was not a problem, our aim is to work with new models and help them acquire a suitable posing technique.

In the evening we went to Lousberg, a park nearby Aachen. It's not very intersting, there are no usable attributes for a shooting, and there is so much people arond that it's difficult to find a suitable place. There is some water place nearby (it would have been interesting to put phe models in the water), but the german photographer decided to stay here.

Friday

This is the most important day of the event, we're going to Vogelsang, an old military base (build by the nazis and then used by the belgian army after the war). Now it's a time capsule, with buildings dating from before the war. There is a petrol station right from the fifties ("Happy Days!"). The distance from the house is only 35km, but it took us more than an hour to get there.

There are no german models anymore, they dont seem interested. The belgian models are fully motivated.

However, we need to go back in time, because there is a new group of models arriving in the evening. We don't have time to visit the whole site, but a new stay is planned for the next Shooting Days.

In the evening, after the models arrived, there is some time to do a short shooting in the bathroom, and then the models leave for the night (they will come back at 3 in the morning)

Saturday

There is a shooting in the industrial port of Cologne, but the models are more fashion-like types and don't fit in the place. We left the house at 10 in the morning and were already back at 15. The models drive directly home after the shooting.

They are no models for the next day. They didn't bother to respond to the mails, after they confirmed their stay. No car anymore, uncle died (for the third time in a row),... I decide to drive back saturday night instead of sunday night. I tried to contact the photographer residing in Aachen (Andre Pizaro), but he didn't respond.

It's clear now that we need to devise another system, with less emphasis on the models. No models? OK, lets do some sightseeing. Lots of models? OK, lets do some shootings.

The house was not so good as expected. The University place was of course very intersting for the models, with lots of cafés ans young people around (hat's why i choosed this place), but a parking place is 3€ for two hours. There is no microwave in the house, only one cooking plate, the airco didn't work (and was really needed in the penthouse with lots of windonws facing south). The appartment is completely worn out, half of the lights didn't work, the kitchen table is too small for the guests. I had to back up my images using a small table.

International Shooting Days
Aachen May 2016

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