Stories can be told without words; they can be told through the gestures of mimes, the carefully-articulated facial expressions of silent screen stars, the notes of music, and the pathos present in images.
Models—like musicians, actors, photographers, and other artists—are storytellers, though they seldom get the credit they deserve for it. As with all creative pursuits, modelling requires practice, talent, and passion; it is about far more than being nice to look at or knowing how to strike a pose. The best models know how to “become” a mood, a feeling, a motif in art, or a vessel for the cultural zeitgeist around them; famous supermodel Helena Christensen, for instance, has been quoted as saying that “When you are modelling, you are creating a picture, a still life, perhaps something like a silent film. You convey emotion but you are only using your body.”
On a recent photoshoot in Limassol Old Port (a shoot I conducted with the aid of Croatian wedding photographer Martina), I met 26-year-old model Themis, and was treated to a first-hand experience with the kind of wordless storytelling described above.
Themis knew exactly how to position herself against the modern geometric shapes of Limmasol Port, making the most of the area’s glass façades, jutting docks, and austere concrete surfaces so as to set off her feminine beauty. She told the story of a young woman empowered by her surroundings, the electric energy of the new millennium, a girl who knows how to carry her inner softness—shown in the waves of her hair, the drape of her dress—as a source of strength.
Themis has a lot to work with when it comes to channelling inner light and vivacity; she is a high-energy sort of person, being a cyclist, a cinemaphile, and a future world traveller. She is a burgeoning citizen of the world, ready to take in diverse cultures and incorporate the styles of the globe into both her personal and professional life. Indeed, she already works as a teacher in addition to modelling, helping to spread the knowledge of English to eager young minds.
In this photoshoot, she clearly conveyed a convergence of elements—hard and soft, modern and classic, elegant and trendy—perfectly complementing the settings around her. Limassol Old Port is, after all, a place where so many people come together, arriving in one of Europe’s most important harbours to mingle their cultures, styles, beliefs, and of course, their stories.