The role of the art model is two-fold — the model is the real-life embodiment of what an artist is looking to achieve on paper, canvas, clay, or in the flash of a camera. They hold the pose and the artist moves to find the perfect angle and perspective, adjusting gestures and light. And the art model is also art itself.
When looking through the work of Australian model Jessamyne Rose, both of these elements are ever present. In both pose and execution Rose’s work puts art first — her tone of beauty, strong and poised, thoughtful and forthright. She is a modern woman that evokes another time — the pin-up girl, the art nouveau beauty. The goddess. For the following series of photographs that make up Figure Study 003, Rose and photographer Justin Rosenberg were tasked with creating images that achieved that two-fold purpose — photographs as reference material as well as fine art.
Below, a brief chat with Jessamyne Rose followed by art from Rose and Rosenberg — Figure Study 003.
CJ: In May 2018 you are set to be a part of the Weston Photography Wildcat Workshop in Carmel, CA, a class where you will be the model working with aspiring photographers. I spent a good chunk of my life at art school where the use of live models was vital to growing to as an artist and I’m curious to know your perspective on it – is there a difference between being a model for students as opposed to it being for professional purposes?
JR: I have very little experience posing live for art classes such as painting due to being quite shy in large groups. I started out as primarily as a figure model for fine art photographers. I am really looking forward to the Weston workshop as I feel the photographers attending will be a mixture of experience levels. I am comfortable with working with aspiring photographers of all levels. As long as you have a love for art I am happy to pose.
You work often with the same photographers – Marie Killen, Justin Rosenberg, and Mark Velasquez. What are you looking for in a new photographer? Is a shoot a job and that’s it, or are you wanting to be on the same page, creatively, with the photographer and team?
I pick who I work with carefully, is not just about being paid or I would work with anyone. I am careful to look over new photographers work to see that it’s in alignment with what I want to create.
How involved do you want to be on the creative side of a shoot? Do you see yourself as a piece of the photographer’s toolkit to use, or do you want your own voice to come through as well?
I like my own style and voice to come through as well as be a canvas for the photographer’s dream.
There is always so much lightness to your work – joyful and uplifting alongside the sexual and beautiful. Do you see those as your natural traits?
I am a very joyful person by nature and love life. As a woman, I want to empower other women to feel strong and confident in their bodies and not feel ashamed of what we are given. I have always loved tasteful artistic nudes. These can be depicted way back in art history and paintings.
What first drew me to your work is the classic nature of it. You move between Renaissance siren to ‘50s pin-up with ease. You’ve been noted as being a fan of painter John Waterhouse, and his influence shows up in your poses and overall look. Are you finding inspiration from paintings and the like?
Most of my inspiration is from art history. I am a huge lover of Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, and Renaissance.
How did an Australian model find her way to the United States? Was modeling always the goal?
I just wanted to travel and see the world. I loved connecting with artists.
You travel quite a bit as a model. Are you seeking out shoots all over, is that just the nature of the business?
The nature of the business. the fine art world is a small community so I need to travel a lot.
Outside of Instagram, does the bulk of your portfolio live on Patreon? With digital images being so free to share, has it been a difficult road figuring out how to build an audience and also make a living?
Patreon is now where I put my art nude images. Nowhere else on the web. Yes because my work is art based and not sex-based I have had a hard time building an audience within the new world of Patreon which is predominantly being about sexually charged content for models. I am an old school art and figure model so it’s been hard for me to find my way there yet.
Do you try to keep every moment in front of the camera 100% you, or do you like letting a story come through?
I enjoy transforming into other characters. Like acting, but for the still camera shots.
“I was happy to be involved in an art for the people and not for private drawing rooms. It was inexpensive, accessible to the general public, and it found a home in poor families as well as in more affluent circles.”