My experience in the Bahamas with Monty Knowles: October 2013

by Shannon Kringen

I met Monty Knowles online over a year ago via Facebook. We have in common body painting & photography. (Monty paints onto models and I paint onto myself as I am a model, photographer and painter who enjoys creating self portraits) I felt a kinship with his talent as both a photographer and body painter.

I love to travel as much as I love modeling and taking photos. I was delighted when Monty Knowles invited me to visit him in Nassau Bahamas, to be painted and photographed.

I spent a glorious week with him in Nassau for 3 days on his beautiful 46 foot Bertram fishing boat and then another 3 days at the Treasure Cay Resort on Abaco Island.

Monty is also a pilot and has a 4 seater plane. We flew in his plane from Nassau to Abaco Island. I was a little nervous to fly in such a small plane. I immediately felt calm and safe with Monty as the pilot. He has a relaxed, calm, centered way of piloting his plane. He made sure to tell me all the safety precautions, life vest strapped to my waist and emergency gear location, special airplane seat belt straps that buckled us in safe and snug. It was a beautiful relaxing flight both directions. He even made sure to fly through some clouds when I remarked how much I loved clouds. I got some gorgeous photos from the plane.

It was a pleasure on many levels spending time with Monty. He cooked me wonderful healthy meals, we had stimulating conversations about the Bahamas, Photography, Modeling, Nutrition, Health, the importance of being positive and focusing energy on what you want to build up and editing out of your mind things you don’t want to have in your life.

Monty is a generous host. A warm, positive person with a great sense of humor and keen intelligence.

He can climb coconut trees barefoot and harvest the wonderful fruits cutting them open and sharing the coconut water and coconut meat.

It was my first time meeting someone from the Bahamas. His family has been there for many generations. He is very friendly with both new people he meets as well as all the local friends he has in the area. Monty has a warmth that emanates from him that I find healing and invigorating.

The Creative Spark is alive and well in Monty. I connect strongly with people who love to travel and Create Art.

Being painted by Monty was a sensual experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. He spent 7 hours painting a design on my body from head to toe. We took breaks as needed. He studied the shapes and curves of my body and got to know my personality for a few days before he decided on the color and shapes in his design. He incorporated my favorite hues into the work.

Monty is a demanding photographer to model for, but in a good way. He pushed me to pose in ways to bring out the best of me as a model. He directed me and also gave me freedom to explore some of my ideas in posing. He has a gentle kind voice and yet is very strong and a force of nature. He is focused and driven to take the most amazing photos that he can.

Monty was able to capture a side of me I was not fully in touch with. I see a spark in my eyes in the photos he took of me that is transformational. It is a healing and empowering process modeling for Monty.

In addition to the body painting session and photo shoot of me as a “Nymph” we did photo sessions of me nude and natural with no make up. I was happy to be on the most beautiful colored and textured sand I have ever seen. (A creamy golden white soft textured sand) The aqua blue/green water of the Atlantic Ocean in the Bahamas appeared opalescent to me! The Bahamas are a magical setting for Photography: both natural landscape photography and modeling photography. There are beautiful dragon fly’s, lizards and birds singing their tropical songs. The fresh coconuts are delicious. The ecosystem of the Bahamas is lush and fertile with life. (I live in Seattle,WA USA a mild cool climate that is also lush and green…originally from San Diego, CA USA.) I was happy to be in a new climate warmer than Seattle, similar to San Diego and yet much more humid with brighter light and a warmer Ocean.

Monty and I did some spontaneous photo shoots walking along the beach: we each took our own landscape photos mixed with me posing for Monty and me doing self portraits.

We had a particularly fruitful experience when I was taking self portraits in the gorgeous pool at Treasure Cay Resort on Abaco Island. Monty came over with his camera and offered to shoot pics of me with my underwater/waterproof camera. He encouraged me to take off the goggles I was wearing to get better images of my face underwater. He coached me and we ended up getting some gorgeous, unique photos of my face underwater. Then Monty took some stunning photos of me from above the water with his professional camera. He helped me find the best poses and directed me to bring out the most dazzling side of me as a model. My eyes shine in those glorious pool photos.

I stayed in the pool solo and took more underwater self portraits invigorated by Monty’s energy and direction, and was able to create what I consider masterpiece self portraits. You can see the radiant joy and beauty shining from my face.

Monty is good at inspiring others to express freely their most lovely selves. He is technically very good at composing shots and editing on the computer but also very gifted at encouraging the model to challenge herself to be as confident and present as possible in order to get incredible images above and beyond “good photos”. Working with Monty as a model and photographer expanded my skills in both areas. I learned from him. His positive, direct, focused, creative energy is contagious in the most wonderful way.

My more personal take on this experience: “I learned a lot in the Bahamas about focusing energy and being aware of your thoughts and how they literally create reality. I am extremely grateful about connecting with such an amazing, talented unique person who is a lot of like me on a few levels. I learned and saw many things “in the mirror “, so to speak. I consider it a healing, transformative experience modeling and taking photos in the Bahamas. I look forward to going back in 6-12 months and working with Monty Knowles again as well as doing other trips around different parts of the world. thank you universe and everyone involved in my life in a creative positive way. I feel blessed and excited about life.”

I feel a door is open now to me stepping into my power more fully and allowing myself to rise and shine my light more in the world and let go of fearing others will judge me or be jealous or whatever! I am free to be the best Shannon and let people think whatever they choose. I would love to inspire others but it’s not in my control how others perceive me…

I see Monty Knowlesas a healer of sorts. I love that he wants people to be happy and free and find joy and create what they love…I feel more inspired than ever since visiting the Bahamas and creating “aRt” with Monty.

I am inspired to get my body in better shape for my own self love and empowerment. I am one of those people who seems to fear success more than failure. I sometimes “hold back” my beauty and power for fear of it being greedy or egotistical to shine bright and be my most confident self. I believe in self acceptance and love whether someone is fat or thin. It’s a choice everyone can make for themselves the kind of shape they want their body to be in.

For me, getting fit (burning fat, building muscle) is about honoring myself and taking care of my body to be strong and healthy and expand my modeling career and improve my personal life. I cannot deny that mainstream culture prefers people to be “thin” but I also don’t want to deny that when someone is fit and trim envy and jealousy can result from those less fit. I am tired of worrying about all that and want to simply be the healthiest I can be and allow others to think whatever they choose about me as well as how fit they want their own body to be.

This quote seems very fitting:

(if you are offended by the word “god” substitute the word “life” or “nature”)

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of Nature/God/Life. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of Nature/God/Life that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. “

I choose to rise and shine and if someone is jealous of me or wants to put me down for being brilliant and beautiful I will tune that out and keep focused on love and surround myself with people who also want to shine and find me inspiring and want to empower themselves with their own beauty, talent and potential.

In conclusion, I had a unique and life changing positive experience with Monty Knowles in the Bahamas. Modeling, Photography, Eating Healthy, Staying Focused on Creativity, Touring Nassau and Abaco, Taking a couple fun boat rides in Monty’s dingy to a beach and over to Atlantis On Paradise Island for some ice cream and a tour of the Casino, and flying in his comfortable four seater plane from Nassau to Abaco and back.

If there was a challenge that came up Monty would always solve the problem or find a way to quickly move on, or adapt to the situation if need be, and keep being productive and not get bogged down in negativity or fear.

Monty is a friendly warm, delightful human being. I am so grateful for the time I had in the Bahamas and look forward to another visit for more adventures in modeling/photography and touring a tropcial paradise! I highly recommend connecting with Monty Knowles if you want a magical experience that will alter your life forever.

Monty Knowles Photography Art:

Shannon Kringen Photography Art