Through photography and text, Danish artist Matilde Søes Rasmussen explores her time as a professional model in Asia. Having spent more than a decade in the industry, she now turns her attention to questioning its power structures, beauty ideals, and objectification. Unprofessional is a playful and crushing book that moves between documentary and fiction, performance and real life, wherein Rasmussen uses her own body to investigate how these structures impact her self-image and identity.
The book is a mix self-portraits alongside still lifes, landscapes, and photographs of friends and acquaintances. We see fruits cut in half, a naked back and the model sitting lost in a studio wearing a green fur and swim flippers. A kaleidoscope of colour and form envelops her as she shapeshifts through the pages: hair spiky then slicked; makeup natural then extreme; naked then exquisitely dressed. Short texts, almost like diary entries, punctuate the book, revealing Rasmussen’s first-hand experiences and reflections. Unprofessional is an attempt to find meaning in a career as a model, as an ever-changing character, and as something that is constantly being assessed, bought and admired.
A model generation in China typically lasts from two to three months no one thinks of you before you arrive
no one knows they need you
there is no one who thinks they’re going to be needing someone and that this someone is you
and there is definitely no one who thinks of you once you’ve left
in China you become visible
but only to yourself.