It was a slow, somber day. I had the best intentions to shoots with a model I had planned details out on exactly April 17th. I think, already, you know what happens, but I want to tell you the events, or red flags that led to it.
While I was still in California my message to this model was, "Hey *name*, I'll be visiting Boise on May 26-27 and wanted to ask if you'd like to collaborate...", she agrees, "Hi there! I would love to!".
I send her a mood board and details, with the date of May 26th. Okay perfect, so logistics are set.
April 24th, she messages me, "Hey there! Just double checking that we are still on for Thursday!". Okay, so at my work, if I got the wrong month I would not have lasted after that. I tell her that it was for May 26th, not April 26th. Okay, no big deal, kind of funny.
On April 25th I message her if there's any other models she could recommend me, because there's not too many, and I guessed since she was a local, maybe she could help me out! Her response, "Yeah for sure let me ask around and I will for sure get back to you!! :)". Fantastic, this helps me out so much! I wait a few days, and there's nothing, a week later- nothing. Not the end of the world, probably forgot, I do that too. Okay, moving on.
Fast forward to May 23rd, I confirm, "26th still good for us? (:", she replied, "It's perfect!! :) so excited!". Cool, almost show time. I ask her to send wardrobe considerations, she says she will throw some together and send pictures. I say that would be helpful, and I leave it at that. The next day I still don't have any wardrobe pictures, and I ask her if she can send some over by night. "Yeah for sure I'll send some over!". Later that night she says she won't be able to send any over, but she will by morning next day. I say, that's fine, I will give her location in the next morning too, this was when I was stretched thin and recently tried for 3 hours to make another shoot work that I had to cancel on. I get it! I gave her two days warning that I would not be able to make it happen, and I really did try my best, but my mental health was not too good. When I fly into Idaho I message her saying how beautiful Idaho is, she responds "It's pretty awesome honestly!!! I'm off work at 1:00 and will go home and get some outfits. Okay, so we pushed this back 3 times already, I do get a little worried, but I just experienced the Olympia last-minute shoot, so it could work out.
May 26th, I send her the location in the morning, just as I had said. She asks if her friend can come along, sure. I have only once had someone bring an escort to a shoot, I ended up taking couples photo's at the end, it wasn't planned, I didn't enjoy it and it wasted my time. This time I'll make sure to make it clear that it's a bond between the model and photographer and I can't be the third wheel. I certainly can't be giving out free work for you and your significant other. We planned to meet at 4 PM, she sends me the pick-up address at 3:25 PM. I pull up to the address, and she lets me know that a family member went to the hospital and asks me to wait a few hours. I tell her I just got here and I give her my phone number to call me and explain what's going, if I should wait, or what the best move is for us to do. This is all within the same minute. I don't hear anything back. I go to Wal-Mart to try to buy some time again. I end up waiting for 15-20 minutes out in the parking lot, I message her to let me know the status. I hear nothing. I go back home, I hear nothing for the rest of the night. Instead I go downtown and try to shoot some street stuff with my Leica, the lighting was terrible so I just walked around and tried to not let this M.I.A., "missing in action" stuff worry me. I feel really bad that I got ghosted as I was physically in front of her address.
I make up my mind to get pizza and call it a day. I go into Pizza Hut to get one of those individual pizzas, the guy was really short with me, he was a little rude. So I try to understand, there's obviously an underlining hurt. I ask how is day is going, he says "bad, two people didn't know up, so I'm swamped". I said, I understand the stress and concern you are under. I tell him my story. I ask for a sausage pizza and leave it at that. I politely say, "take your time, I'm in no rush." Okay, so now I know what he's going through, it's communication that can bond you with someone else who had a bailing on. When I get my order, he gives me a free order of breadsticks, and it made me realize that even if something is shitty, those small gestures from other people, a smile, or kind words, or breadsticks, can help turn it around. I eat my dinner in the parking lot of a funeral home. I see people, about my age, drinking on one of those drink carts, peddling together yelling at pedestrians. In that moment, I wonder where my friends are, what they are doing back at home.
The next day, I post on my Instagram story about how I felt bad about what happened. The model replies to it saying, "I am sorry my *family member* went to the hospital." I say, "Hey *name*, I am sorry as well I hope things have started to normalize again. I'm open all day tomorrow in case you are." I don't receive a reply back.
Regardless of if this is true or not, there's a few things I want to address that should be a staple in everyone's planning. Logistic details are important to remember, if you are switching months, that means that you can't scroll up a few messages to look at a date, it also means that you don't have a calendar going. If you're any type of human, you should have a calendar going of places you should be. I thought this was normal. Secondly, the fact that she kept putting off sending me wardrobe, really put me in a tight situation to plan. Your wardrobe dictates where I shoot, and I have to do the research to make it happen. Because things like "I can't make it back to my apartment tonight" tells me that, you don't know your schedule, or you decided to go out, whatever the reason, it's a huge disrespect of my time. Third, I find it questionable that within the same minute I arrive, she says that there is a family emergency. If I'm outside your house, and I travel across state lines, it would be nice to have an actual phone call at least, if you won't do it in person. That tells me she is hiding or lying about something because I can't read body language with a message. If someone was outside my house to pick me up, and at that same moment something terrible happened, I would run out apologetically and let them know, in person, about what is going on. Fourth, if you tell someone to wait for TWO HOURS, you should at least follow up with them. I couldn't believe she requested that. What if I did wait for two hours outside your address? That's probably a reason to arrest me. I felt super uncomfortable doing that and again, a huge disrespect of my time. Why not, "let's schedule again tomorrow", or "today won't work, I have a family emergency.", because at least then I know I can go home, or do something productive instead of being on-call outside your address for two hours. Fifth, it was overly defensive, and seemingly discrediting to your story when you reply "I"m sorry my *family member* went to the hospital." There was no details, no updates, which led me to believe I was led off for something else, that was my gut feeling. Lastly, just on this specific person, I heard through the grapevine that she lies a lot, and that person who told me has been with her as she'd lied and had seen it first hand.
Moral of the story, communication is the answer to every problem. If you are going to say I will update you, then you should, otherwise you leave the person in limbo. If there is a change of heart last minute, be honest about it. I know these are grade school lessons, but it's amusing I met someone like this.