“With this card I have planted my seed, you’re now infected with my artistic disease,”

Picture yourself at an event, you’re hungry, and walking towards the smell of food before the start of the show. A random, ginger, latin male with a shiny shaved head, a right cauliflowered ear, rare facial piercings, chewing on a toothpick, points a camera at you, while walking towards you with a bounce to his step, and then greets you with a, “What’s up?” Behaving as if this meeting was planned, he begins giving you suggestions on how you should pose. You’re puzzled, asking yourself, “Who is this? Why did he choose me? What are these photos for? Does he know that I’m not a part of this event?” But, his unanticipated compliments describing you as aesthetically pleasing is gratifying, so you give in and become his model as he snaps away. Before you know it, it’s over, he thanks you, and hands you his business card which reads: “With this card I have planted my seed, you’re now infected with my artistic disease,” credited to a, “Rey Rey Rodriguez.” Next to the quote, is the image of the back of a man’s head as he stares into a mirror, with the blurred reflection of an eerie rabbit looking back at him. Intrigued by the card, and by the surprisingly good time you had during this mini-photoshoot, you allow him to introduce you to his Twitter page on your phone, and hit the “Follow” button. According to the bio, this stranger is a professional photographer, a visual artist, combat sports photojournalist, and most likely not the serial killing stalker you thought he might be since his account is verified. Before you can begin to read his tweets, he grabs the phone, and then hands it back to you, now displaying his Instagram account (with the “Follow” button already hit again). As you scroll through the photos, you find an unorthodox mix of fashion, mixed martial arts, fetish, portrait, commercial, street and dark photography, that seem to tell a story, shot with artistic angles and intensified by vivid colors. A gruesome bleeding man floating in a bath tub, a beautiful woman running in her wedding dress, a fighter trying to escape a painful choke, a well known politician posing with his wife… the weird combination of genres goes on and on, and impresses you. Your heart starts to race with anticipation, praying that your pictures come out this good. As you begin to complement his craftsmanship, he suddenly states that he has to leave, he thanks you, and then walks away. You quickly flip the business card over and add his info into your phone. As you restart your quest towards the concession stand, you continue looking through his page. You’re hooked! You have just become his fan, and possible client.

The memorable artist in this tale, “Rey Rey Rodriguez” (if you haven’t already figured it out) is me. What you just read was a recount of how I met one of my top clients, as told to me by her. Her medical career prevents me from revealing her identity, but within the underground fetish community this registered nurse by day, is a masked internet supermodel by night. This encounter happened in 2012, while photographing the “Heroes in Action” Charity Event at the Hard Rock Live at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL. At that time she was working as a bartender at a local strip club, and was asked by her friend (a “ring card girl” for that night’s event) to come along. The burgundy colored hair with matching lipstick and nails, the extra tight leopard printed dress, the 4 inch platform heels, and the exaggerated sway to her hips when walking that guided everyone’s eyes towards her, caught my attention. She later told me that she came to this combat sports event unaware that it featured local firefighters fighting against police officers. She came hoping she’d find a rich fighter to hook up with, or to be scouted by some modeling agent. My approach to getting her attention worked. Her method for receiving attention was very different from mine, but also successful. I was looking for people that craved attention, someone that needed their ego stroked, so that I could feed their vanity. She came ready to seduce her way to success. 

Some people have the ability to stop traffic with their God given features, others need a little touch of magic here and there to help them be that person that stands out in a crowd. Once you figure out who you want to approach, remember that anything provoking emotions of excitement, shock, sexual arousal, fear, pain, or sadness, causes a chemical reaction to our central nervous system, which accelerates our hearts and keeps that moment embedded in our minds. Whether a positive or negative reaction comes from it, the individuals experiencing it will never forget you. This is useful when meeting someone for the first time, introducing your artwork, or trying to shock yourself into someone’s brain for any other reason.

Originally published at journal.thriveglobal.com