By Gary A. Johnson, Founder & Publisher – Black Men In America.com
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Richard Franklin was one of the first photographers that we dealt with the site was first launched. I spoke with Richard several times and he was always gracious and forthcoming. The man has an eye for beauty like no other. In fact, his eye for art goes far beyond models.
Check Out Our Exclusive Interview with Photographer Richard Franklin
The Genius of Photographer Richard Franklin
This web site has been out of the business of featuring models for almost a year. We’ve received hundreds of e-mails requesting (some of you demanded) that we bring back new features on models. Once it was decided that we would feature models (again), I reached out to my friend Richard Franklin to discuss my vision for featuring models in 2008. Let me state for the record, if there was a Mt. Rushmore of photographers, Richard Franklin’s face would be one of the images on the mountain. It is hard to believe that Richard has never had a photography lesson in his life. A look at the body of his work is tantamount to a visit at an upscale art gallery. Some of the images are simply stunning. Richard can tell a story through his camera.
After discussing this for about 15 minutes, Richard suggested that we feature a young model named Kre. He directed my attention to a series of photos. I was overwhelmed by the models. Notice I said, “models” (plural). A few moments later, I noted that Richard was talking “model” (singular). It turned out all of the pictures were shots of Kre. It was at that moment that I decided that Kre needed to be the first model featured in our new segment “Behind The Spotlight.”
By her own admission, Kre is not your typical model. “I’m in my early 20’s. I’m not very busty, I’m 6 ft. I’m a size 3. My measurements are 34-25-35. I’m a high fashion/print/fitness/model from Oakland, CA.”
The Spartan Warrior shots are amazing. I assumed these were shot in a studio and digitally enhanced. Richard explained that these photos were shot outdoors with him on his back pointing his camera upwards. He could not see the model due to the bright sun. If you want to see a contrast in appearance take a look at the “tiger-like” shots with Kre covered in body paint.
I mentioned to Richard that it would be great if I could meet Kre one day to interview her for a feature. At that point Richard replied, “Look, let me bring her in so you can say hello.” Seconds later, I was conducting an impromptu interview with Kre. (From this point on you’re going to see a model named Kre, as seen through the eyes and camera lens of Richard Franklin).
Model Spotlight featuring Kre
BMIA.com: How long have you been a professional model?
Kre: About two years.
BMIA.com: What were you doing before modeling?
Kre: I was in college. I played basketball in high school and college. I ran a little track. I’m from Texas but I always wanted to model, so I went to Hollywood.
BMIA.com: Tell me about yourself.
Kre: I was the college captain of my basketball team at Texas Christian College (a historically black college) in Tyler, Texas. I’ve was in 3 national commercials in 2006 and 2007–Visa (Life Takes Visa), Nike ( Brand Jordan) and NCAA (March Madness 07). I’ve been in SHAPE magazine for Ryka Fitness, worked with Adidas (runway) , Roberto Cavalli (runway), DKNY (runway), Sebastian (runway), JC Penny (runway) and a former Miss Hawaiian Tropic model. I’ve also been in various catalogs for print and fashion shows. I’ll be moving to Paris, France in mid December for a high fashion modeling.
BMIA.com: What’s the best part of being a model?
Kre: You get to meet all kinds of people. You get a chance to look beautiful, even for a brief moment. All of the attention is on you.
BMIA.com: Was the “Spartan Warrior” shoot difficult to do? The photos are visually stunning.
Kre: Yes, I had just sprained my ankle and it was hard for me to maintain my position at times, especially being on a balance beam. I didn’t want to let Richard down so I toughed it out.
BMIA.com: What motivates you to do this work?
Kre: As I mentioned earlier, I always wanted to be a model. Growing up being dark-skinned, I heard a lot of people tell me that I couldn’t do certain things. When you’re a kid people can be cruel and say mean things. My momma always told me I was beautiful so I wanted to be a model.
BMIA.com: How were you discovered?
Kre: I went to a convention and met this guy who was an agent. He cast for commercials. I got into a Michael Jordan and then a Visa commercial. I got an agent after that and the rest of it just fell into place.
BMIA.com: We’ve been out of the business of featuring models for about a year. We’re going to get back into it and want to start off with you. What do you think? You interested?
Kre: Wow! That’s dope. Yes, I’m interested. Thank you so much.
BMIA.com: Let’s talk about the business end of modeling. How involved are you in your career?
Kre: Very involved. I’ve managed my career and got my first two commercials that earned me a significant amount of money that went straight to my pocket. I leveraged the commercials to get my first agent. Now I have three agents. I’ve found that it’s really really hard to get modeling work if you have dark skin.
BMIA.com: Really, that’s still the case? You have to deal with the dark skin vs. light skin thing.
Kre: Yes. I cut my hair off and just went with a natural look and it’s really working well for me right now.
BMIA.com: I want to talk about modeling scams. Have you been scammed?
Kre: Yes, I’ve been scammed before.
BMIA.com: What advice you would share with women to help protect them from being victims of a scam?
Kre: My advice is to research the companies. Never pay money in advance. Most agents take a percentage of your earnings. You should not have to pay money up front for someone to “manage” you. A reputable agent will take 10% for commercials and 20% for print work. Some people are also involved with photographers so you need to be careful of the different angles that people will use to get money from you.
BMIA.com: Is there a down side to the modeling business?
Kre: Yep. You meet a lot of slimy people. People who offer you things to do “other” things if you know what I mean. You see a lot of stuff at parties. You meet people who claim to be your friends when they really want what you have. You need to learn how to manage your money and beware of these kinds of people.
BMIA.com: Last question. How long do you think you’ll stay in the modeling business?
Kre: I’m going to be around for a really long time because I’m also into fitness. Fitness models get work well into the 40’s.
BMIA.com: Thanks Kre. I know this was unscheduled. I appreciate your time.
Kre: Thank you, this is awesome.
BMIA.com: Tell me with something about you that I didn’t ask you.
Kre: My motto is “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” Sounds like a cliché but I’m an example of whatever you put your mind to you can do! Everything I’ve said I was going to do I’ve done it.
This interview was conducted and posted on December 7, 2007.
Models Beware — Don’t Get Scammed! Check The Resources Below