I have just seen this article on the Daily Mail website, where the father of Edie Campbell, who is the face of Burberry has questioned why he wasted a reported £250,000 on his two daughters education now that his younger daughter Olympia is following hers sisters career path.
When I started photography a few years ago I was of the school of thought that I just needed a pretty girl to stand there and create awesome images, how wrong was I. Over the relatively short period of time I have been doing photography I have seen models come and go and other models develop from shy little, insecure humans, to become almost celebrity status in the local circuits.
My respect for good models is huge. It is a skill, a talent, a craft, that needs practice, discipline and hard work. To succeed you need plenty of other skills beyond what goes on in the studio: finance, negotiation skills, diplomacy, confidence to travel alone long distances, strong social skills, reliability, patience and a thick skin to name just a few.
Only this past Sunday, I was shooting a new, young, wonderful model that is just finishing a business degree. I made (a stupid, looking back) passing comment, 'thats an odd mix, a business degree and fashion modelling' and she quickly came back with the best answer - 'Everything is business', such wise words.
This article struck a note with me as a father of a 14 year old son and 2 year old twin daughters. Especially as I recently have had a very challenging period at work and also had to help my son choose his options at school.
My son at the moment has dreams of joining the military. When leaving his schools options evening though, he asked what I thought he should do. I always felt the social pressure, that my answer should be focus on something well paid and secure, an engineer, a doctor, blah, blah, blah. But recently, and photography has been a big part of opening my eyes, my new answer is:
'Be happy, do what makes you happy, because you're going to be doing that shit for the rest of your life and the only way you can be the best you can be, is by being happy. Forget money, being comfortable is something you should strive for, but happiness is the most valuable currency you can desire. I guarantee, if you follow your dreams in a passionate way and strive to be the best YOU can possibly be at what you love, everything will be ok.'
So would I want my kids to become models? Hell yeah, if thats what they wanted to do, I'd support their every choice and protect them all the way. During my short journey, I've met models who are young enough to be my kids, that inspire me with their passion, so whilst it's too late for me to jump out of the rat race, I have too many people that depend on me, but theres no way I'm going to let my kids make the same mistake. So Mr Campbell, take a look at your amazing daughters, you wasted nothing. They are going to take all their experience and become something amazing, be proud and enjoy the journey!