I've worked with a lot of great models who entirely have their shit together. Please try to be one of them.
The other kind don't last long, especially with me. What I look for and expect in my models:
Time to share WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION. Let’s see who the scaredy-cats are!
In Austin in 2002, I founded Austin NLP, which 19 years later is still going strong at over 1,000 members. Austin NLP is dedicated to learning and teaching Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a powerful psychological/therapeutic system. (I started the group before I had any NLP training, and went on to become a certified NLP master practitioner and trainer.)
In Madison in 2015, I founded Horrible People of Madison, a group for wicked, hilarious, politically-incorrect people to get blasted and have a blast (usually playing Cards Against Humanity). With events such as Do What We Always Do, Try and Take Over the World, the Horrible Evil BadWrong Halloween Party (there was nudity, which I generally regard as marking as successful party), A Total Fiasco!, the Pre-VD Party, the Party of the Beast, and, of course, the Midnight Carnival Orgy at our Very Secret Location!!! (you MUST read the description). HPoM blasted past 1,000 members in less than a year, and now sits just under 2000. That was before Covid, of course.
I’m currently starting a much smaller group exploring Non-Violent/Compassionate Communication, a simple communication style and therapeutic methodology that even children can learn, which has the potential to change the world. Maybe it’ll go somewhere. Maybe it won’t.
I’ve led a wild and diverse life, switching careers often.
In order, I've been:
Now I'm engaging with a more mystical calling, and developing myself to become a public intellectual focused on spirituality and culture. I expect to start podcasting and YouTubing within the next two years. I expect that this career, and all that grows out of it, will last me the rest of my life.
Because I’m just stupid smart. Rather far beyond Mensa levels. IQ researchers who define a genius-level IQ range place my IQ in that range. Braggy, braggy, brag brag.
People don’t like people who love to say how smart they are, and for good reason: such people are often emotionally invested in being the smartest person in the room, and are out to constantly prove how smart they are… usually by trying to make others feel dumb.
That’s not me.
I find snotty, superior 'smart' people just as irritating and boorish as you do.
It was me, once. But I didn’t want to be that way, and so I did the work, and healed and transformed that part of myself. Now I’m actually… likable.
But some people really do have their own issues with smart people, possibly the result of trauma or self-esteem issues, and unless they’re looking to overcome them, they really should look elsewhere: I’m not for them, at all.
If you do like smart people (especially fun, flirty smart people), but you're afraid that smart people might not like you, remember: smart isn't the same as fun, much less likable. I will like you if you're willing to be fun, positive, playful, considerate, and open.
Especially if you're also fun to look at.
You’ve been warned.
As Albert Einstein said: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
I do creative photography for the fun of it. Creation is my passion. Aesthetics and fashion are a playground that I choose to play in.
Make no mistake, there is a serious purpose behind it: the illustration of everything the world could be if we only decided to cast off mediocrity and convention, recognize how much more is possible, and to work to make it so.
But if it weren’t fun, I’d just devote the time to writing more podcasts.
Working with me is play, and playing with me is collaboration, sharing, cooperation, and an expression of creativity, of shared values, and of a shared passion for beauty.
If we shoot, we shoot as friends having fun together.
I've found that pictures from shoots where I wasn't connected to and having fun with my model don't mean anything to me, so shooting with such models isn't worth my time any more. Photography is meaningful to me when it's with somebody I feel connected to and have fun with. If you don’t want an amazing new friend, don’t work with me.
No money changes hands in my creative shoots. I no longer accept commissions to help build models’ portfolios, and the women who play with me do so because it’s fun, and because they love what I do and want to be a part of it. My portfolio has only two paid models in it, both of whom I hired for my workshops. The rest are women who did it for fun and passion.
The only models I'm interested in working with are the passionate ones. The ones willing to do it for the love of it.
Come to your first shoot prepared to make a meaningful and exciting new connection with somebody who's really, really fun. I'll do the same.
Courtney relaxing for a moment at her shoot
I establish powerful connections with people fairly quickly and easily, and those connections are genuine and valuable to me. But no matter how powerful the connection, I pretty much never ‘just hang out' with people. I honestly have trouble understanding why ‘hanging out’ is something people are willing to do.
With rare exceptions I vastly prefer my own company to that of others (the conversation is better, for a start). I’m also extremely focused and ambitious about what I want to create in my life.
Ultimately, time is the most limited resource I have. I guard my time very jealously and say no to just about everything.
For me to spend time with others, that time has to be well spent: super-high-quality time. When it comes to face-to-face interactions, I generally only choose to engage with other people for the following:
So understand while I love all of my models, if you do find that you end up wanting more time from me than I can devote to photography, it’ll be limited to these kinds of high-quality interactions.