Archive for November 2008

Macedonian organiser, Lidija Velkovska from "Miss M" agency decided to withdraw our representative Suzana Al-Salkini from competition due to financial reasons and lack of sponsorship. Suzana was expected to compete for the crown with a more than 100 contestants from all over the world. Nenad Sekirarski and Argent Studio have preparing the dresses for her while she was practicing oriental dance.
The 58-th Miss World Final will be held at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 13, 2008. Originally, the pageant was going to take place in Kiev, Ukraine, but because of the ongoing crisis between Georgia and Russia in neighboring South Ossetia, the Miss World Organization decided to move the pageant away from Eastern Europe.

Photo: Vladimir Georgiev

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It’s been a week since I posted anything here, mostly because I’ve been busy doings things like framing pictures, trying to catalog my photo collection and, of course, cleaning up my apartment.

The exclamation of “Huzzah!!!!” that forms the title of today’s post is a reference to my last post, when I wrote about the photo that I’ve had for ten years and had been kept in the darkness of the closet for all but a few hours of that time. Last week I tried to finally frame it but ended up breaking the glass for the frame.

Today, however, was another story. I am happy to report that after having it for ten years, that large print is now hanging on my wall – for the first time ever! Let’s hope it stays there for a while, though I may rotate it now and then with some other things, like the picture that had been on that spot on the wall until now – a watercolor painting of a couple of squirrels that I bought in China 19 years ago.

Today is Thanksgiving Day, and as I had no plans other than having dinner out with some neighbors, I decided to take care of framing and hanging that big print first thing after breakfast. I’d thought of taking it easy and just watching a video after dinner (I usually watch March of the Wooden Soldiers with Laurel and Hardy around Thanksgiving), but I’ve been in a mood to get things done lately so I decided to work on stuff instead.

First off was taking some steps to organize my negatives, so I went into the closet and took out about half a dozen negative page binders. I went through these and affixed labels to the side of each one indicating the numbers of the pages contained within and the contents and dates of those photos. (I had done this some years ago to my earlier binders, but typically, I never continued it.)

Then I put a number on each box in chronological order. This should help me to look up a particular negative or set of negatives when I want to find something, but it’s only just the beginning. I have more binders that need this work, but the final project will be to create a computer file detailing every subject and every model I’ve photographed, page by page. This way, if I want to look up my negatives of Paris or the model Rhowena from Scotland, the file will tell me which pages they’re on and in which binder I will find them. It’ll be a bit of work, but it will be worth it.

(Speaking of Rhowena, today’s photos are of her.)

Finally, I decided to put together some more picture frames and have now basically completed Phase 2 of my three phase picture framing program. Ten of the thirteen new frames are up and on the wall (not including the big one mentioned above), with just three 16 x 20 frames left. I’ll try to finish those off next week.

Unlike many people’s places of business, the day after Thanksgiving is not a holiday for my office, so I’ve got to get up early to go to work tomorrow. (If any reader has the day off, please enjoy it!) Given how much I did today, I think I will take it easy tomorrow night. After all, Stannee Dum and Ollie Dee and the other residents of Toyland await my viewing.

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Here are some more scans that I just made from a few of the old 8x10 RC prints that I wrote about recently. These images were made at a workshop at Big Sur in California in 2000. As with the previous set of 8x10’s that I posted last time, I never did print them larger.

Otherwise, I’ve spent my time at home this week just trying to clear off the pile of papers and envelopes that had piled up on my desk. I managed to do most of it. I also went to the opening night reception for a show of paintings at the Tibet House on Monday.

Regarding photography, I finally picked up all of the materials that I need to make the picture frames that will complete my new at-home photo exhibition space. I got the glass and foam core that I ordered yesterday, and went to get the modular frame pieces today.

I had ordered these things last week, but today while at the store I picked up some new modular pieces to make a 25x32 inch frame. This frame will finally allow me to display a large photographic print that I purchased ten years but has spent the intervening years in the darkness of a closet. Why? I bought a beautiful wood frame for it back then, but due to the difficulty in safely transporting the large print, I decided to just order the frame and the glass. I got these things, ordered the necessary matte boards from Light Impressions and successfully matted the print myself.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t reckoned on fixing the matted print into the frame, and after several attempts do so (without success), I gave up and basically just forgot about it. I’ve been thinking of it lately, and have decided that I just need to bring the stuff in to be taken care of professionally. The problem still exists of transporting the large photo and the heavy frame, and until I can solve that problem (or find a place where I can park my car nearby, unlike the framing shop in Manhattan), it’s just not going to happen.

Still, in the interim, I decided to buy the same type of black frame for it that I’ve been getting for my other photos. I already had the glass and the foam core from the wooden frame, so after eating dinner tonight, I put together the new frame. I was so looking forward to finally seeing that print on the wall.

The next step was to remove the foam core, matted print and glass from the wood frame, the whole thing secured (not very securely) with gaffer’s tape. I slid the glass into the new frame, followed by the matted print and then one of the foam core boards. Everything was going fine. All I had to do was to connect up the fourth and final side of the frame, then attach the hanging wire, and – voila! – I could put it up on the wall.

Before attaching the final section, I decided to check for any specs of dust or dirt between the matte board and the glass. I began to lift up the frame by one side to turn it over – and then it happened.

The bottom part of the frame slipped outward, and the glass slipped with it. I carefully tried to push the glass up back into the frame, but for some reason it wouldn’t go back. Then I looked over and I saw it: the glass had broken. Cracked into two pieces. Busted. Unusable.

Needless to say, I was absolutely livid. This was to be the night that I’d finally get to hang up that print after ten years, and it wasn’t going to happen. It seems to have some kind of a curse attached to it when it comes to displaying it – but beyond the glass, I was really really worried that the print might be damaged. I carefully slid out the foam core and the print, and thankfully it looked okay. (Had the print been damaged, ‘livid’ would have been a grand understatement.)

The print was undamaged, but it still needed to be protected – and I do not have any 25x32 inch print bags. So, I did the only thing I could: I slit the sides of four 20x24 bags, used them to cover the matte boards and print, then taped them up. I sandwiched that between the foam core, taped them together, fit them back into the wooden frame and finally put the whole thing - where? - back into the closet! Yup, after ten years in the dark, that print finally got to see the light, all right!!!

Still, it could have been a lot worse. The print could have been damaged, but it wasn’t. When I called up a friend to tell him the story, he thought I was about to say that I cut off part of my finger with the broken glass and had just come back from the hospital where it had to be sewn back on. (I did get a little cut to my finger earlier, but certainly nothing that bad!)

So, for the third day in a row, I will need to go to the art supply store, this time to order another piece of glass. I just hope that I won’t have to do it again.

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Model: Bojana Vasic
Photos: Ani & Dimi
Year: 2008, September
Place: Skopje
Equipment: Canon EOS 40D

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I photographed a model today. Sibyl Nin came over and we worked together for about three hours in my apartment studio setup. I really hadn’t planned to do any more photography for a while, as I’d already had about 80 rolls of film to still develop, but she wrote to me last month with an offer to work for me at less than her normal rate, so I thought “Why not?” She’s somebody I had wanted to work with, anyway – so what’s another half a dozen rolls of film.

As I’ve written here before, studio photography is not my favorite thing to do, especially when limited in space to use and the strength of the lights that I use. Still, I tried to do things a little differently this time. The first was to use umbrellas with my lights to avoid the harsh effect of straight hot lights and to get a more diffuse effect. It worked, but it also lessened the amount of light I had to work with. I spent most of the time using f/4 or f/5.6 at 1/30 sec, so I had to ask her to hold still quite often and had to try to be careful with my focusing. I’ll see how the photos turn out when I get the film developed – eventually.

The other thing I’d done was to buy a pair of very long black and very long white gloves to use as props. One of the digital snapshots I’m posting is of with the black pair. When I showed the gloves to Sibyl she commented that they looked like the sort that Rita Hayworth wore. I’m not quite sure if my final photos will look like her wearing them. Time will tell.
I continued my fight against inertia yesterday by going to a number of photo galleries in Manhattan. I started off in Manhattan back downtown at Staley-Wise to look at some prints, then I went to another couple in Soho, including one with a nice exhibition of photos made by Douglas Kirkland of the designer Coco Chanel during a three week period he spent in Paris in 1962. It’s just a shame that the modern prints were digital rather than silver.

At the long time Leica Gallery a few blocks farther north, there was a show of color prints, but also a more interesting show of monochrome photojournalistic images of the countries formerly belonging to the Soviet Union. These were silver prints, and when I told the photographer (who was there for a book signing) that I was glad that he had chosen to make silver prints, he told me that he had had no choice. What I gathered from what the gallery manager said – that he was an “antideluvian” – was that at least one other person besides me still prefers silver.

I finished off the afternoon with a trip uptown to visit some of the galleries in office buildings on East 57 Street. Some of these had been there for quite a few years, having moved there from elsewhere, but I had never been to them in their new locations.

My first stop was Throckmorton, which was formerly located in a townhouse further north on the east side. I had been to the old location quite a few times, and still remembered the owner, Spencer Throckmorton. I hoped that he would remember me, so when I asked to see him, I saw that he did – but he also looked as though he was seeing a ghost from the past. Perhaps he was, as his assistant (if I heard him correctly) told me that the gallery had moved to its new location eight years ago! “What have I been doing all of that time,” I thought to myself.

This gallery, which still handles a great deal of photography from Latin American artists, had on its wall a wonderful show of nudes by an excellent photographer named Flor Garduno. (Her name has a tilda "~" over the letter 'n,' but I don't know how to get it over the 'n' on a US keyboard!) I own two of her books, and most of the images on display are from the later one, Inner Light. (If you like good books, you should seek this one out.) The show is titled Mujeres fantasticas (Fantastic women), and I was happy to read that Garduno still likes to make silver prints and to print them herself.

I finished off my gallery day by visiting four galleries in another building on East 57th, the two most notable being Howard Greenberg and Bonni Benrubi. Both of these galleries generally show the classic kind of photography that I like. The former used to be in Soho and the latter also in a smaller building further north. The receptionist at Greenberg told me that it had moved to its present spot four years ago, so again I felt that I had wasted several years time by being too lazy to get around. At least it’s not too late to change things.

Of course, I still have plenty of things to keep me busy at home. Today’s photo session was the first one I’ve had in two months. I think it may be another six or seven months before I have another one.

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Radica Lelova for Daka Fashion, collection spring-summer 2008

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I’ve spent a good part of my free time here at home trying to straighten up. Much of that has been looking through drawers and closets, trying to get rid of stuff that I don’t need. On one particular closet shelf I found a lot of 8 x 10 inch paper boxes. Most of these hold the contact sheets that I printed years ago, but a couple contain 8 x 10 prints made on RC paper. I used to make these so I could see how a print would look before I decided to make a larger fiber print, or simply so I had some prints to send to models.

Going through these boxes, and a looseleaf binder with similar photos, took me back in time to my earlier days of figure and black & white photography. Many of these photos I did make into 11 x 14 and 16 x 20 inch fiber prints, but a lot never got printed up in fiber, either through lack of time or because I was disappointed in the results of the 8 x 10.

Whatever was the reason, I’ve decided to share some of these image with my readers, so I just finished scanning five of them. These are all photos that I made in New Mexico in 1998. Enjoy.

In other news, I’m continuing to turn my living room into something of a photo gallery for my photos and my collection. Yesterday I picked up the foam core order that I’d made last week, but the store still didn’t have the actual frame parts in. Rather than wait and keep guessing when to go to the store, I decided to place an order for all of the remaining frames that I want (for Phases II and III, as I call them; Phase I is already up.) By ordering in advance I have to pay upfront, but at least I know I’ll be getting them as soon as they come in.

My subway reading of late has been the Fall 2007 issue the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. This is a quarterly publication sent to museum members, each issue having a different topic. I’ve been getting these for a few years, and though beautifully printed, I’ve never really had the time to read them. I’ve tried to remedy that recently, the first one I read being devoted to cameos in the museum’s collection.

The one I’m reading now is devoted to recent acquisitions. Most of the items described and depicted are the expected paintings and sculptures, but coming home today I read about a rather unusual item: a so-called Work Bag, made of wool and linen in England in 1669. This seemed like an odd item to be in the collection of a major art museum, but I suppose it does fit into the decorative arts category, because it’s covered with beautiful patterns and figures.

Still, the thing that got me thinking was this – the bag was made by a ten year old girl with the initials “I.S.” This is because, woven among the decorations, was written this: “I S / AGE 10 / 1669.” Just think. Could that ten year girl who lived over 300 years ago have ever dreamed in her wildest imaginings that her handiwork would one day be in the collection of one of the world’s greatest treasure houses, a veritable symbol of world culture? Somehow, I doubt it.

All that just makes me wonder what will one day happen to the artwork that I (and others) create today. Will my photos end up stashed away somewhere, never to see the light of day? Will they be dumped in the trash after I’m gone? Will I be discovered a century from now as an unheralded photographer from the past. Only time will tell – but I guess I won’t be here to find out. As I wrote last time, I met a collector in Philadelphia recently who took me to his home and showed me three of my photos in his collection, proudly displayed on his walls among his other photos and artwork, so at least my work will continue to be seen as part of that collection.

Still, one never knows. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is now the most famous painting in the world, with multitude after multitude crowding into the Louvre in Paris to see her. It wasn’t always that way, however. I once read that the painting’s former owner years back had Mona hung on the wall in his toilet.

Finally, some people have taken interest when I’ve mentioned some photography books that I’ve gotten. Here’s another good one. There are two new volumes out about the great 20th Century photographer Edward Steichen. The one that I have is titled Edward Steichen: In High Fashion, the Conde Nast Years 1923 – 1937. The photos in this book are absolutely gorgeous, mostly fashion images and portraits of well known people of the time. If you like classy and elegant images, give this book a look.

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The primary thing I’ll be writing about today is my trip to Philadelphia on Saturday, but as I haven’t posted many of my fine art photos recently, I thought I’d start off with a few.

Not too long ago, the model/writer who goes by the nom de plume Unbearable Lightness (a fan of Milan Kundera, no doubt) responded to a posting by Dave Levingston lamenting the lack of male nudes in fine art photography. So, in response to that, I thought I’d post a few of my images with male models. While I normally work with female models, I have worked with male models from time to time, mostly at workshops.

The photo at the top was made at a workshop in Santa Fe ten years ago. (I decided to post this one to keep fans of female models happy, too.) Actually, I tried to track down the guy in this photo when I planned a return to Santa Fe the following year, as he looked like a statue of Apollo. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able find him, as I really had wanted to work with him again.

Perhaps one of the problems in working with male nudes is that for the image to look classical (and I like my images to look that way), the model has to look like – well - a statue of Apollo, or at least be fit and athletic looking.

The next two photos, of the dark skinned model, were made in New Mexico in 1997. I wonder if this is how my friend Terrell looked in his earlier days as an art model. The silhouette image was also made ten years ago, with a model I had worked with at a workshop the year before but was able to track down.

Finally, on the subject of Apollo, there’s the final image, which I made at a workshop two years ago. As you can see, the guy here will definitely not be taken for a Greek god – but it’s for just that reason that I posed him next to the head of Apollo. To me, it’s the juxtaposition of the classical with the bohemian that makes the image interesting.

Getting on to my trip to Philadelphia, I made the two hour drive down Saturday to attend the annual Photo Review benefit auction. I’ve been going down there for this for at least ten years, and most of the prints in my photography collection were obtained here. One of my prints, as I’ve mentioned before, was up for sale, too.

I would have to say that the one overriding thing that was evident at this year’s event was the state of the economy. I met a photo dealer there who told me that business was very good this year, but that everything came grinding to a halt in September when the current financial crisis hit. My photo did not sell, but I was not alone. In fact, I went through the auction catalog today and counted that one half of the prints offered did not sell. As the auctioneer said at the end, that’s how it is everywhere now.

One of the things I like about this auction, as opposed to benefit auctions that primarily offer big ticket items by big name photographers, is that many things are affordable. With the economic sitiuation being what it is, bargain hunters like me get a break (all of this makes for a buyer’s market), and I was able to drive back home with half a dozen prints in my possession without breaking the bank. Here’s what I got:

Langaki: Egyptian Temple (1870s albumen print)

Unknown: View of Mt. Fuji, Japan (1880s hand- colored albumen print)

Diane Farris: Untitled

Unknown: Model on Mirror (1960s)

Max Kellenberger: Fraulein K. mit Kaktus

Art Zilio: Sunset Over Santorini: Nude

So, one photo of Egypt, one of Japan, one still life, one fashion and two nudes. I mentioned this to a woman after the auction had ended, and she said that my choices weren’t very targeted, but I told her that they were: I have an M.Phil. from Yale in ancient Egyptian studies, so I’m interested in Egypt; I’ve studied Japanese and visited Japan twice, hence my interest there; and I photograph nudes. I have some still life and fashion photos in my collection, as well.

I also had a rather pleasant surprise following the auction’s end. I was talking with a man who had bid against me for a few items, and when I told him who I was and showed him my photo in the catalog, he told me that he had bought several of my nude images there in auctions past. Not only that, he said that he lived nearby and invited me to come over to see them on display in his house! So, we and the photo dealer I mentioned earlier walked over to his elegant townhouse to view his art collection. The walls were indeed covered with a multitude of photos and other art works, with three of my prints among them – one near the entrance, two on the wall of the staircase.

Whenever one donates prints to auctions like this one, you never know who they’ll end up with. In this case, it was gratifying to be able to see that the works of art that I created were on display for people to see and were definitely being appreciated.

(Oh, a message for my friend DL: the two Lois Greenfield prints sold for $200 each.)

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Irena Taneska

Born: 1990
Place: Skopje
Height: 175 cm
Bust: 89 cm
Waist: 60 cm
Hips: 90 cm
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown
Titles: Best model of Macedonia (2008), Miss winter beauty (2007)
Technorati Tags: , , , , , , .

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I got home late tonight, which in this case is a good thing. After work, I continued to fight against the inertia that’s set into me over the past few years by attending the opening night reception for the new Harry Benson exhibit at the Staley-Wise gallery in Soho. This is something that I used to do on a fairly regular basis, but it’s been several years since I did so and it was good to be there again.

Harry Benson is a photojournalist from Scotland who’s done a lot of work here in the U.S. He’s famous for his photo of the Beatles romping on a bed in a hotel room back around 1964 or so, but he also told me that he’s photographed every U.S. president from Eisenhower onward. He was there when Bobby Kennedy was shot and took a famous photo of an anguished Ethel Kennedy with her hand reaching out to block him.

At the gallery I spent quite a bit of time speaking with a woman, originally from northern England, who said her name is Lynette Asquith. She told me that she was a model back in the 1970’s, and that she was photographed by Bob Guccione for Penthouse magazine. She said she was in the magazine in 1971, so I just did a web search and indeed, she was on the cover of the November 1971 issue (shown here). I guess it just shows that you never know who you’ll meet somewhere.

I asked her if it would be okay if I mentioned her in my blog, and she said yes. She also said that I should mention that Guccione was basically a creep and that he would insist on massaging his models nipples in order, he claimed, to get them to stand up! (Well, that was his excuse, I guess.) She told me more stories about her modeling days, and we talked about people like Julie Christie, Charlotte Rampling and Dusty Springfield, too.

After this gallery reception, I had planned to go down to the monthly opening night at the cooperative gallery in Tribeca I’m thinking of joining, but after staying so long at the first gallery, I just didn’t have time for the second. So, maybe next month.

Well, the presidential election is over and I am, like many people, happy that Barack Obama won. Any time a new president is elected it’s a historic event, but obviously this one is even more so. I thought that John McCain was very gracious in his concession speech – more like the old McCain than the one who showed up during this campaign. I hope he’ll go back to being an independent-minded Republican who’s interested in what’s best for the country and not just for the Republican base. With the Republicans left in the Senate now balanced more to the far right, we could use him.

Obama’s acceptance speech was, as some commentators described it, sober and solemn. With his knowledge of history, I think he was genuinely humbled by the events of Tuesday. Fireworks were originally planned to celebrate his election, but he cancelled them when he found out about it. With the state of the nation being what it is, there really isn’t a great deal to celebrate right now, and his speech reflected the long road ahead.

Of course, we should celebrate that we’ll be finally getting rid of Bush, Cheney and co. Eight years has been way too long, so getting someone like Obama will be a much needed change. I think of Barack Obama as the anti-George Bush, as the two men seem to be diametrically opposed in so many ways: Bush came from a family of power and privilege, Obama from a family of commoners; Bush is a simpleton, Obama is sophisticated; Bush has no intellectual curiosity, Obama is intellectually curious; Bush says “nucular,” Obama says “nuclear’; etc.

So, I wish the president-elect good luck in dealing with the tough times ahead. He will need it – and so will we.

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The two and a half week visit of my family here ended yesterday when my mom returned home. It was very good, of course, to have everyone here together, but I had to put my life on hold to a great extent for that time and it’s nice to get back to some normalcy. (I still have a lot of paperwork and mail to go through that piled up during that time.)

Certainly, I wasn’t able to get much photo work done, though I was able to buy some new black picture frames to put up on the wall here in my apartment. I needed to buy some black frames with wide fronts in order to meet the exhibition requirements for the Artful Nude show in Colorado this summer, and after seeing them, I decided to switch to this type of frame, rather than the thin silver ones I have now. When everything is done, I should have a total of 13 framed photos on display - both my own photos and those in my collection.

As you can see from the photos posted, the new frames are still on the floor, waiting to be hung up. I just need to (carefully!) hammer some nails into the wall, something I may try to do tomorrow. I went to the framing store near my office today to get some more frames for Phase 2 of the project, but it was out of the sizes I wanted, so Phase 2 will have to wait.

Seeing a lot of my photos together like this – all of them silver gelatin prints that I made myself – reminds me again of what the ultimate goal of my photography is: to make beautiful fine art prints for people to see (even if the “people” is only me!). I haven’t done any printing in quite some time, for a number of different reasons, but I’m hoping to get back to it before too long. For the past few years, I’ve fallen into the trap of just scanning my film and posting the images on the internet. That has got to end. An image seen on a computer monitor is not a work of art, but merely a reproduction – a shadow – of one. While I do plan to continue scanning and posting, in no way does it – or should it – replace making an actual fine print.

On the subject of fine prints, I want to remind people that the Photo Review Benefit Auction is this coming Saturday night in Philadelphia. I’m planning to attend as I usually do. As I’ve written before, one of my photos will be up for sale. (I've posted the image here. Click here for more info.) Benefit auctions are places where one can typically buy artwork for much less than the normal price, so if any reader would like to get an actual Dave Rudin fine art print at a discount price, go ahead and make a bid.

Of course, there are many other photos available in the auction, and I hope to return home with a few of them. Things may be difficult now, but that also makes it a buyer’s market, so take a look and see if you find something you like. The online catalog and bidding instructions can be found by clicking here.

Finally, I wrote this posting on Monday, but it's now past midnight, so it is now Election Day here in the United States. If you hadn’t read it before, I am voting for Barack Obama. I might have given John McCain some strong consideration in the past for his political independence, but now he’s become just another Republican. His running mate, Sarah Palin, with her small town against the big city mentality (only small town folks are real Americans, ya know) sickens me even more. Let’s hope that people come out and vote for Barack, that all of those people will be allowed to vote and that all of those votes will be counted. Eight years of Bush and Cheney has been disastrous enough for this country. We can’t take another four years of those same policies.

(And hopefully, after today, I can stick to writing about photography and the like.)

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Macedonian model Maja Sashek will take part in the Miss Model of the World 2008 which will be held in Shenzhen Province in China between 4-th and 23-rd November. Maja as macedonian representative will compete against 69 other candidates from more than 40 countries around the world at the upcoming beauty contest. The final of the 20-th contest will be held on 22-nd November at "The Window of the World Theater".
The 24-year old model started her career as a model in 1999 and has taken part in several major fashion events abroad especially in Italy where she is working today. In China, she will bring dresses from our young fashion designer Natalija Nakova from Shtip.
Founded in 1988 in Turkey by the contest’s president Qevik Suha Alpayli, the Miss Model of the World is one of the first and most serious events for international models.

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