In Conversation With Model Misuzu

John Duder spent some time chatting with Misuzu - a model he photographs regularly who specialises in art nude images.

| Professional Interviewed

In Conversation With Model Misuzu: Misuzu


Misuzu is a professional model from Stoke-upon-Trent – and her speciality is art nude images out of doors. She’s been a model for around six years now and is a quiet and thoughtful woman with two degrees. She’s got her own website, and over 150 positive references on the model-photographer networking website, Purpleport.


How and why did you start modelling?

I signed up with Purpleport on a whim – my Dad had a photographic business and he’d hired a model and asked me to help out with the shoot. I remember thinking ‘I could do that’ just as a hobby, so I signed up. Very soon after I signed up, I had somebody who wanted to work with me. His name is Kevin Sheldon and I’ve worked with him a lot over the years I’ve been modelling. People really liked the pictures from that shoot and then I started getting more and more people wanting to work with me, then all of a sudden I was getting paid work! Within nine months, I was modelling full time. Since then, I’ve been a full-time freelance model. It sort of happened by accident.


What do you enjoy most about modelling?

Everything, really! I always tell people I’ve got the best job in the world. I love being able to meet people, being creative on a daily basis. And to get paid for being creative is a really amazing feeling. The fact that I’m physically using my body to create something is quite unique. I think it’s that idea that makes me love my job so much. I get to travel, I get to meet amazing people, and I get to do something I love every day.


How about the nudity?

It doesn’t bother me at all – as far as I’m concerned, I feel as comfortable without my clothes on as I am with my clothes on. It doesn’t make any difference to me. Because it’s my job, and it’s just what I do, I suppose I’m desensitised to it in a way.


In Conversation With Model Misuzu: Misuzu


What is your best feature as a model?

I don’t know what my best feature is, but the two things I get complimented on the most are my eyes and my hair. I think because I’ve got quite an unusual look it’s something that people are drawn to. But I think, also, that having the confidence to do what I do, especially when it comes down to the art nude work is a feature in itself, though it’s a feature you can’t see.


What one thing about yourself, or your situation in modelling, would you like to change?

I’m pretty happy with everything about myself – I’d like to be a bit more popular, I suppose and have a bit more work, that’s always a good thing!


In Conversation With Model Misuzu: Misuzu


What makes for a really good shoot, for you?

The shoots that I’ve had the most fun on are the ones where I’ve had a connection with the person that I’m working with. If they’re particularly chatty or fun to be around, I think that comes out in the pictures, and it brings something out in me. If someone’s quite quiet and there’s no connection, sometimes it can feel like the pictures aren’t as good. For me, it’s about the person that I’m working with as much as what we’re doing. Also, I like doing things that are different or unusual.


Please tell us three things that a photographer should do to make a shoot go really well.

What I was saying about before, that communication, talking to the model. Being able to see the images after is always good, it’s great to get them sent over afterwards! And vegan biscuits – if you’re working with a vegan model, bring her Oreos and she’ll be very happy.

Which photographer would you work with on your dream shoot? (For clarity, I told Misuzu that she can’t say ‘you’!)

If I can’t say you, then let me have a think... There are loads of really, really good people that I’ve worked with already. My absolute dream shoot would be to do something in period dress, historical fantastic gowns – and the one person who comes to mind for that is someone people might not have heard of, except locally, is Mike Szabo. I’d choose him because his style of photography would really suit that genre. He’s really good at pulling out colours and detail in Photoshop. I’ve worked with him loads of times!

In Conversation With Model Misuzu: Misuzu


What’s the silliest thing that you’ve seen or done for a photograph?

I quite often get asked to do silly, crazy things. I’ve been asked to get inside a birdcage before – one of those dome-shaped ones – I had to sit on the base, and the photographer had to very carefully lower it down onto me. That same shoot, I also posed in a coffin that was in the studio too. There are always little silly things, like wearing clothes in the wrong way, being given random or strange props to hold, being asked to wear things that aren’t clothes as clothes, climbing trees. I enjoy those silly or weird things. Sometimes they’re the best shots.

Climbing trees takes us neatly into the next question. You have a particular reputation for working out-of-doors. What are the extra problems – and benefits – of outdoor posing?

I love outdoor work. It’s more fun, more exciting. You never know what you’re going to get because you can go to the same location over and over… There was one occasion last year when I went to the same location on four consecutive days with four different photographers, and it was only a small location, but they each got completely different images. They’d all seen a different potential in the same small space. That’s true in studios to some extent, but with outdoor work, it happens more. It’s quite exciting to have that element of ‘you never quite know what you’re going to get’, whereas with a studio you step in and you know that everything’s going to be fine!

You also know you’re likely to get dirty and cold, and you’ve got to be careful that nobody spots you doing art nude work, which is what I tend to do most of. But you can plan for it, taking clothes that you can put on quickly, loose-fitting dresses and flip-flops. Baby wipes are a lifesaver when you’re working outdoors. Taking a blanket or a snuggly jumper, something like that because it can get really cold even on a warm day when you’re shooting nudes. There’s nothing that you can’t overcome on an outdoor shoot really. The cold doesn’t bother me too much – I worked out that anything below twelve degrees and I know I'm going to feel a bit cold.


People outside the world of models and photographers tend not to know what we mean when we talk about ‘levels’ and it can sometimes cause problems between models and photographers. What’s your perspective?

I know what my levels are, and that’s my choice: how I define them is my choice. Any photographer who wants to work with a model to those higher levels, they need to ask what that model’s definitions of those levels are. There are widely accepted definitions, but I think it’s personal. So for example, some girls say they do implied nude, and that might mean that they’re comfortable being nude, but they don’t want it photographed. But some girls might want to be wearing something and conceal it to make it look like they’re not, and it’s important you know what the person you’re working with that day thinks. And I’m not going to be offended if you ask me what my levels are, but might be offended if you ask me to do something that you know I don’t do. Levels are personal to the model and that’s how it should be. You can generally infer from someone’s portfolio what they mean by a certain level anyway. No model’s going to be offended if you ask what she means by art nude or erotica or adult – because as soon as you start getting into those higher levels, there are more distinctions, and every model’s got a point where they say ‘no’ and you need to know where that is if you’re going to work with them up to those levels.


What advice would you give to a novice photographer who wants to work with you?

The first thing is to send someone a detailed message, saying what you want. It’s also important to let the model know if you haven’t worked with a model before. I’ll work with people with no experience – if it’s their first shoot, or if they’re a professional photographer. I like working with everybody because it’s a different experience – but I’ll be a bit more forgiving if I know that you haven’t worked with a model before, because it is a different experience to photographing landscapes or animals or whatever.

Ask questions if you’re not sure about something – it’s better to ask and find out.


In Conversation With Model Misuzu: Misuzu


How about going on group shoots?

I have mixed feelings about group shoots – some seem to go very well, and some don’t. A well-planned group shoot would be great for a photographer to get references from models to get started on a site like PurplePort and to observe how other people interact with models, and how the model-photographer relationship goes. Some group shoots tend to be a bit of a free-for-all, and some people go away quite unhappy because they didn’t get the images they wanted. Stick to group shoots that are well-planned and well organised. It does make a difference to the pictures you come away with, and it does make a difference to the models because if we’re going to get pictures back from it, we want good pictures and not pictures shot over someone else’s shoulder.


You said something really important there about how models and photographers interact. You need to stay at a slightly greater than standard social distance, don’t you?

Yes and like with levels, each model has her own idea of how close she is comfortable with photographers getting. I’ve had photographers shooting with wide-angle lenses and they’ve had to be very close to me, but they’ve always warned me first and given me the option to say no and I think that’s important.


Is there anything you’d add for people who aren’t members of a model-photographer networking website?

The only difference would be that you won’t have any references if you’re not on a networking site. As a model, I don’t want to go off on a location shoot in the middle of nowhere with someone if I can’t confirm that they are who they say they are. My safety has to be my first priority.

I’d be more comfortable arranging to shoot at a studio with the studio owner there, that would be fine with me, as a model I’d be happy with that. It’s important that new photographers know that I’m not accusing them of anything – it’s just that my safety has to be my priority. If I say no, it’s not you, it’s the situation.

I have my own website and people can contact me through that, as well as through networking sites like Purpleport so I often work with new photographers. As a model, you just have to be more careful who you choose to say yes to outside of networking sites.


In Conversation With Model Misuzu: Misuzu



About Author: John Duder 

John Duder celebrated fifty years since developing his first film at Christmas – on Christmas Day 1967, the only present that mattered was a developing tank and chemicals, so that he was able to develop a negative film in the morning, and process a film for black-and-white slides in the afternoon. He doesn’t remember Christmas dinner – but he was only 14 at the time.

A way of saving money developed, so to speak, into a lifelong obsession.

John still has and uses a darkroom, and specialises in black-and-white images, portraits, and nudes. He’s been a member of ePHOTOzine since 2003 and joined the Critique Team a few years ago.

Now retired from his day job, he is keen to share his cumulatively acquired knowledge and experience (CAKE) with others: and who can resist CAKE? 

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pablophotographer Avatar
pablophotographer 12 2.2k 450
25 Apr 2018 8:27PM
Thank you both for the article
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
25 Apr 2018 10:01PM
And thank you for reading!

hrsimages Avatar
hrsimages 10 1 Germany
25 Nov 2018 8:52AM
Very interesting and informative article, thank you.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
25 Nov 2018 8:57AM
Our pleasure, Howard.

Since writing hte article, I've worked with Misuzu several more times, both as photographer and as a tutor ofr other photographers: she is one of the most friendly, intelligent and sensible models I've ever met. As she also has an interest in taking pictures herself, she also understands many of hte technical issues involved.

She's a delight to work with.
Stevetheroofer Avatar
26 Nov 2018 8:27PM
Very interesting article
I think we need to try some drone model shots for a different perspective

dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
26 Nov 2018 9:01PM
Steve -

That is something that i actually contemplated a few weeks back - I was shooting a model on Cannock Chase and by the power station at Rugeley.

Any time you want to try... Providing the weather's warm enough for the model not to turn a delicate shade of blue...
Owdman Avatar
Owdman Plus
7 19 34 United Kingdom
18 Jan 2019 12:52PM
Good interview John, hadn't come across it before your link!
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 36 8 England
18 Jan 2019 1:18PM

Quote:Good interview John, hadn't come across it before your link!
Ditto Smile
A Wonderful model and a lovely person. she really enjoys her work and it makes working with her very enjoyable.
Your Interview is full of useful information and advice, especially for new and inexperienced photographers.
As misuzu pointed out, being able to take good pictures is only part of the equation. The
connection between the model and the photographer has to be there to get the best results.
Trust and mutual respect, very important in her chosen profession.
Thanks John.


dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
18 Jan 2019 2:22PM
Thank you, Dave! And I know - having seen you working with models - that you have precisely the right style to give any model confidence.

The trust matters so much - and it's undermined by the view that some people have that it's like a scene from Blow Up: in fact, any photographer behaving like the David Hemmings character in that film would rapidly be banned from the networking websites, and could easily make the acquaintance of the police... The best photographers keep their physical distance, while giving a strong professional and emotional connection.
JuBarney Avatar
JuBarney Plus
12 36 7 United Kingdom
7 Apr 2019 7:26PM
A really enjoyable and interesting article John. Thank you.
bliba Avatar
bliba Plus
17 1 2 Austria
13 Apr 2021 8:53AM
Very interesting and very informative, JWinkhn

thanks for sharing

ollie Wink

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