Love and Passion @ Rodin Musuem

“I am beautiful, O mortals! Like a dream carved in stone,
And my breast where each one in turn has bruised himself
Is made to inspire in the poet a love
As eternal and silent as matter.” 

– Charles Baudelaire

 

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This delightful gem of a museum felt like a quiet oasis where I could get away from the usual crowds in Paris. I loved wandering in the gardens and discovering statues around each turn. The installation at Rodin Museum is the largest collection focusing on the work of French sculpture Auguste Rodin, as this year marks the hundredth anniversary of his death. Participating museums include the Met and another Philadelphia institution, the Barnes Foundation, among others.

There is a reason why so many museums are working to commemorate Rodin. He’s an unparalleled figure and one of few sculptors whose works are readily recognizable. Rodin’s work is known for its realistic modeling of the human form. He captured truth, depth, and the fluid motion of life in the most unlikely of mediums.

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The exhibition brings out Rodin’s love for “exploring what it means to be human. The figures in the gallery are posed and intertwined:  some spiraling, others flailing and still more arching outward. They show a multiplicity of emotions, such as shame, guilt, adoration, lust, fear and caring, that are possible only through Rodin’s obsession with the human form. The museum’s central gallery has been completely reconfigured with embracing and struggling lovers in marble, plaster, and bronze. The stark nudity, made all the more compelling by the anonymous, suggests unfettered ardor of the female.

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In 1912, Rodin said, “People have often accused me of having made erotic sculptures. I have never made any erotic works. I have never made a sculpture for the sake of the erotic element. Most of the people cannot conceive this because they are unable to conceive what sculpture is because they are forever looking in sculpture for literary and philosophical ideas. Sculpture is the art of forms.” The whole collection tells a hot-blooded story of lust and power and even tenderness. That Rodin was in love with passionate energy becomes abundantly clear. Rodin is sharing with us a catalog of passion. It’s a theme he comes back to again and again and again…

What is it like to be A Freelance “Model” in Paris?

I have been one of those people who look at the photographs taken by someone else and recoil in horror, and I still am, sometimes. I can point out a million things I hate: my hair is sometimes flat, my forehead is greasy, I have nowhere to hide my chubby Asian cheeks.

By no stretch of the imagination could I become a model. A model is someone you gaze admiringly at in fashion magazines, on billboards, and in boutique windows. They always have beautiful  bouncy hair, a flawless complexion, and perfectly airbrushed bums. However, not long after I moved to Paris, a city that places beauty and art above anything else, I started taking photographs for a number of talented photographers and have found the experience surprisingly pleasant and rewarding.

I was lucky. My photoshoot was smooth-sailing and easy. It was a kind and skilled French photographer Yann who reached out to me on Instagram. I arrived at his apartment/photo studio near Republique in my winter clothes and minimal makeup. We had a brief exchange on Whatsapp and found out that he has been working in the music industry and now as a professional photographer who looks for “models” to enrich his diverse portfolio.

I am not going to lie. I was beyond nervous but Yann made the entire process seem so simple. We took some portraits and had one change of outfits that I brought. During the session, his girlfriend Mathilde arrived home who turned out to be a Chinese graphic designer, which made it even easier for us to communicate and carry out a more pleasant shoot. The next week, we did another photoshoot at my studio in Le Marais which was slightly more “risque”. Yann and Mathilde never failed to provide great creative ideas and the shoot lasted nearly four hours. Here is Yann’s website. http://rithbanney.com. Feel free to check it out!

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After the first shoot with a great photographer, it only gets easier and easier. I am fortunate because so far the photographers I have worked with are very kind and professional. Despite my broken French, I never encountered any communication problem or have managed to remain friends with the photographers.

Tips

I am a “modele debutante” but I do have some valuable tips for those who are interested in starting modeling on a freelance basis.

Be professional. Have clear communication before each shoot and show up prepared when you say you will. Stand your ground and do it with grace and professionalism. Always arrive on time, reply all email in a timely manner, and answer every phone call.

Set your limits but do not limit yourself. What are you willing to do or not do? Are you okay with nudes? Lingerie? Video? Fetish? Stick to what you have agreed to for the shoot and say no if you feel uncomfortable as most would understand. However, be open to new ideas. When you submit your portfolio to freelance gigs, do not limit yourself to one category; rather, expand your horizon and actively converse with photographers about new interesting ideas.

Build a portfolio. This one is not necessarily mandatory but if you’re more serious, a portfolio will help you reach out to more photographers and potentially build your own network. Having a website of your own would give you the best platform to list details of your experience & background and promote yourself to potential clients. Having your profile in social networks will boost your online credentials Also think about what genres and styles you prefer and perhaps state your preferences in your portfolio.

Stay optimistic. Your positive and fun attitude would be welcome by clients and photographers that choose to work with you. At the same time, be prepared for the worst. Stay cool even in a negative environment, never badmouth anyone, or do not exchange heated words with a client when things are getting out of control.

 

8 Great Reasons to Teach Yoga

Recently I read a wonderful article with eight important quotes from eight beautiful yogis. As a fellow yoga teacher and a yogi, I had to share them here with you.

Every day we go to work. Eat lunch. Commute Home. Work Out. Make Dinner. Repeat. Do you ever stop to think about WHY you do the things you do? Are you eating the quinoa salad because you’ve made it a million times already, or are you thoughtfully choosing the ingredients and preparing the meal with care? In other words, do you do things simply because it’s become routine or is there a deeper intention behind your actions?

This year, I’ve been questioning why I do certain things. And of course yoga was called into question. In a recent Wanderlust Journal article, I asked Wanderlusters why they do yoga. In the same vein, I was also curious about the yogis who had taken another step from student to teacher. So I interviewed a handful of Wanderlust teachers with one question, “Why do you teach yoga?”

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1. To help others feel good
“I teach yoga because it makes people feel good about their bodies. I’ve learned to accept myself more, and I want to give that to other people, especially in the dance world where it can be very discouraging sometimes.”
– Beau Campbell, dancer and yoga teacher

 

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2. To be a better student
“I teach yoga because I want to be a better student. You learn so much when you teach; it’s a never-ending process of learning by teaching. There’s a certain point you start to stagnate as a student, and you just go out there and you teach to learn.”
– Schuyler Grant, co-creator of Wanderlust

 

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3. To help others achieve goals
“I didn’t actually choose to teach yoga to be honest. I had friends who wanted to practice yoga but they were too scared to go to a yoga studio. So I offered to show them some things and then set up a “class.” I taught five of my friends in my basement and then five turned into ten and many more. I just wanted my friends to practice yoga, and then through that intention to help my friends accomplish what they wanted to accomplish, I became a yoga instructor.”
– Matt Giordano, martial artist and yoga teacher

 

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4. To allow others to choose what they need to learn
“I don’t think I teach anything. I think I hold a space for people to experience an honest, authentic, and pure version of themselves through me being radically honest, authentic and pure. If there’s anything I teach it’s how to hold a space to facilitate and people around you choose what they’re going to learn.”
– Cameron Shayne, founder of Budokon University

 

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5. To help others connect to a higher consciousness
“I teach yoga to serve the best way I can so people can learn how to connect to their own highest consciousness and connect with their inner being.”
– Nirinjan Kaur Khalsa, Kundalini teacher

 

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6. To send out love
“I teach yoga because there’s this force out there called love. At the end of our yoga practice we turn our bodies, minds, and hearts into this antenna that picks up the signal which we can then radiate out as positive energy and nothing in the world matters more than that.”
– Eoin Finn, founder of Blissology

 

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7. To fulfill a destiny
“I teach yoga because it pulled me to teach yoga. It was one of those things where my teacher of fifteen years said, ‘You will teach yoga.’ And I teach yoga because it is in service to my very practice because it reminds me to remain a student.”
– Janet Stone, vinyasa yoga teacher

 

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8. To keep it real
“I teach yoga to bring more ‘real’ into the world.”
– Alex Mazerolle, founder of Girlvana