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modeling & talent ● modeling By Eve Matheson Photo Finish A successful photographer offers tips to help you zoom in on your own success T he working relationship between a model and a photographer is fascinating. For international photographer Jae Feinberg, it all began when her father gave her a camera on her thirteenth birth- day. She was thrilled with her gift and snapped and clicked constantly. At fifteen she took photography classes, and within a short time her teacher told her that she had an affinity for the subject and should consider a career in photography. Jae told me, “I loved the idea and decided to be a professional photographer. In the begin- ning my parents, of course, thought it was a terrible idea. They wanted me to go to college and earn a good living. I said I would, but that somebody had to do photography and it might as well be me!” Jae, who is from Los Angeles, went to the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena, California and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Commercial Photography. The next decade was packed with experience gleaned from working with acclaimed fashion photographers. “I assisted Bob Elias and Bill King and some of the other big photog- raphers of the late 80s. We did lots of campaigns and loca- tion shoots mostly for fashion and music. I worked as an assistant for Sting, Ann-Margret, and many other big stars. Jae’s reputation for excellence grew. She became a studio and production manager for a large studio. Then at twen- ty-seven, she decided to start her own business, which brought her once again into the rarified world of celebrities. These shoots and campaigns included Billie Bob Thorn- ton, Alicia Silverstone, Brandon Routh, and Vanessa Williams. Her work appeared in Seventeen, Spanish Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Shape, and W publications. Her quiet, unas- suming personality (a rare commodity in this industry) brought success in a slightly different aspect of her career. The late Steve Deck, who had been her longtime friend, asked her to photograph new models for his agency, Prima Models, in California. She travelled the country photo- graphing models who had been scouted by Steve at devel- opment centers. She understood the insecurity of the ingénue, and because of this, was able to instill confidence and capture their potential. 52 PAGEANTRY Steve’s death in 1998 left her devastated. She said, “Steve was one of my best friends. We had a wonderful working relationship.” Jae continued to work with newcomers. Her European flair proved a significant asset to models with dreams of working in Europe, where portfolios must appeal to the major markets of London, Paris, and Milan, as well as the United States. Another great asset is her grasp of the insecurities of as- piring models and her passion for developing careers before misconceptions, problems, and mistakes become major ob- stacles to success. When a young girl stands in front of a camera and a professional photographer for the first time, she is inevitably intimidated and her movements and ex- pression are stiff and angular. Learning how to overcome this is essential. Two years ago Jae opened Axle Model Management with partner Kadi Carlson. She told me, “It was a natural progression. A lot of models I had photographed at the be- ginning of their career came back to me later asking for help in various areas. That is why we decided to start a model management business. “Their workshops are popu- lar with models, agents, and school directors. Among regu- lar clients are First Models in Houston, Hoffman Models in Kansas City and Angie’s Model and Talent in Ottawa, Canada. The format is similar at each venue. “On the first day we have an intense seminar on model movement in front of the camera. The next day I work with them on an MODELING Continued on page 78