Way back in the early days of my career, right around the turn of the century I was seeking to avoid cliches. At the time the entire industry was just entering the digital phase and everyone was transfixed with gaussian blurr and diffused glow! (kinda like everyone is obsessed with high saturation, high pass, or warm fog now).
I have always been THAT guy who hates the work of my peers and never wanted to learn from anyone around me. All my career I pretty much isolated myself from other photographers so that even if it sucked my work would look different. Only class I ever took was darkroom stuff back in the day.
Anyway at the time bubble baths in the tub were all the rage. Every glam photographer was shooting pretty girls in soap bubbles and then I thought. Hmmmm... how can I turn this on edge, how can I "dirty this up". So I had this idea for wet underwear in the bathtub.. No bubbles no cutesy or sexy. I googled and looked through every photo book I could find. "nothing" it had never been done that I could tell!
So, I am preparing to test this shoot concept and I get a call from a makeup artist who has this girl who just graduated high school and wants to try modeling. I thought, "ok good place to test my concept, if it sucks I won't be wasting the time of a pro model".
Day of the shoot, cute young girl shows up. Very sweet natured. I was doubtful. But once we began shooting we just clicked, she came alive like no model I have seen, she was a natural all the way. She lived in every shot... I said "you are a tiger" she growled! She was A M A Z I N G!
I put her in this set and cut her lose and she became sexuality incarnate. Never seen anyone just take to modeling so purely.
I shot the set again with a pro model who did her absolute best and only really was able to equal what this girl accomplished. I put the shot up on a few sites and everyone went nuts for it. Over 1 million views in one week... and then, POOF every photographer in the world was taking this shot. Within 6 months to a year it was a cliche and I regretted having ever posted it.
But hey, someone would have thought of it sooner or later right? That's how these things work. I like to think that I still do it better than most.
As for the model, she wanted to come stay in Tucson and do an entire series of work. Playboy gave me a phone call about her. Her mom flew down to talk to me and pretty much gave me the third degree, she did NOT appreciate the images I think. I can't blame mom, we all want to protect our kids and I cannot say this industry is a good one. Anyway, she went back to Alaska and I realized her modeling career was over.
They come they go. Still, a highlight of my photography experience though. And we can all thank her for the dirty glam bathtube cliche!