Posts Tagged ‘ShootStyle’
It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, mainly because I’ve been concentrating on my writing. But, in truth, I can’t believe my last shoot with ShootStyle was May 16th – what happened to the rest of May, and June and July?! The photo season usually is the summer season. Anyway, aside from the fact I haven’t been doing much shooting, it’s high time I blogged about an event that happened in late April. This was with my favourite photographer in the whole world , Earl Christie, at The Mount, in Lenox Ma.
The Mount, Edith Wharton’s old home, is now a museum. Being an out and out fan of Mrs Wharton, I have visited the house several times now and consider both the interior and the gardens to be stunning. Well worth a trip. I’d always thought it would be an excellent location for a shoot so I asked Ross and Elise, the people i/c of the property on a day to day basis if they would consider letting us do a shoot there and they said sure – they’d never had anyone do a photoshoot before and were excited about it. I’d have to pay… they’re still trying to get their renovations finished… but they would be willing to waive the price if I could get them some good publicity out of the shoot, by getting the photos and an accompanying article printed in a Boston magazine, see the upcoming issues of City Living.
The build-up was by far the most stressful I have found before any shoot to date, even before my first shoot. (I usually do get stressed before a shoot; my mood bounces around all over the place but finally, once the day comes and I get into it I’m fine and excited and keen to get on with the job). Added to this, one of my dress designers pulled out at the last minute, and a couple of the dresses were barely finished on time. But one designer, Kelsey Bacon, of Bedagi Fashions in Sunapee NH, whom I had literally only just met via LinkedIn, stepped in at the last minute and created a fantastic dress out of nothing. And on the day itself everything went like clock-work. A big thanks to everyone involved for that.
I was up at 4am, in make-up at 6am, Earl (chauffeur and photographer extraordinaire) arrived looking really quite ill at 6.30am (apparently he’d been up all night stressing too) and we left from Cambridge for Lenox at 7am, getting there at 9am. A brief tour of the house later and I changed and then we started shooting. At roughly two-hour intervals throughout the day, our other designers arrived, first Barbara Poole, then Julia Ebel and Meredith Ionelli. And before we knew it, it was 5.30pm and we were being kicked out! That’s always a sign of a great shoot!
I can say at this distance that, even though Earl’s photos are fantastic, I still don’t feel that I myself really performed. At one point I said to Earl, ‘I’m being boring aren’t I?’ He agreed. I think a mixture of exhaustion, burn-out, confusion and stress over the dresses not being quite ready and concern about whether or not Earl liked the place that I’d dragged him miles to and felt there was enough in it photographically for him to have a good shoot, not to mention the fact that I knew I wasn’t doing very well, all played their part. As Earl said, ‘You keep falling back into your old ways’ , those being the limited number of facial expressions that I have at my disposal in front of a camera (mostly raising one eyebrow in combination with some form of smirk: not a sexy smirk. Just a smirk).
Earl spent at least twenty minutes with me getting me to perfect the below expression, which Jamie Wexler when he saw the shot later said ‘was indeed an expression he had never seen on me before’. Hurrah! But all was not lost, the photos (thanks to Earl) turned out great and I learned a great deal about planning and running a big shoot on your own – that some things you just do not have any control over, no matter how hard you try; and that just turning up and doing what you do without trying to push that envelope just a little bit further is not acceptable, especially at the expense of other people’s time.
I took Earl out for dinner at the local Red Lion Inn afterwards to say thanks for the shoot and for driving us there. It’s a place I’ve eaten at before, had recommended years ago by a friend and usually enjoyed very much. My meal (swordfish) was great, but Earl’s entrée was something from the 1950′s – a huge sluggish plate of mashed potato, overcooked turkey and inedible vegetables, all in one big heap. Our waitress topped everything off by being rude. I did contact the Inn afterwards regarding the meal and the service and the from their executive chef, Brian J. Alberg was – ‘Please should you chose to try us again do not hesitate to email me directly so I can make your reservations and show you that we do pride ourselves in both customer service and our food… . As for the food, although our menu is diverse in that some of it is traditional fare that lets [sic] us relive our youth to the type of food you would get in a metropolitan upscale restaurant “inedible” is not a word we want to associate with any of our menu items’. He added that they would talk with the waitress in question. It seems like someone else was having an off day . Anyway, hope you enjoy the shots. Earl worked really hard on them and I think they’re amazing.
How often do we look in a lifetime at the one we love? Look, look? Many thousands of times when we’re dating? Maybe once or twice a month when the wheels on the marriage have worn? Perhaps when one of us has changed our hair or is wearing a new dress? Maybe not even then. Everyone’s different. My husband and I were invited to take part in a ‘posing couples’ photographic workshop this weekend run by the ShootStyle crew and to both our surprises, as well as receiving some fantastic photographs of ourselves for the time we put in as models, we learned to look at each other anew.
I’d always been skeptical of engagement shoots, or even of spending money on a photo-shoot for a special occasion, celebrating 40 years of marriage, say, or a new baby. Sure, it was something I’d love to do if I had the money, but it wasn’t worth spending the money on if you didn’t have it. What this weekend taught me is that such photo-shoots can bring you closer, make you closer, physically and emotionally. For not only is the camera looking at you for a long time, you are looking at each other – forced to by circumstance, if you like. These shoots aren’t fashion shoots where the model’s gaze is often away from the camera or at others in the shot, inviting the onlooker to study the clothes or accessories. These shots are all about you.
The shoot was in Ogunquit, Maine and it was cold. Mouth-numbingly cold. I was shivering like a skeleton at a dance. The photographers put us into poses where we were close together, something the photographers were inclined towards anyway. More than that, the cold itself invited us to shuffle close! Holding poses – on the bridge over the harbour, beside a stack of lobster pots, on a woodpile, in front of a beautiful old doorway, beside a dumpster – we stood face to face, whilst the photographers milled about us, concentrating only on each other as the shutters fell. For those few moments time and time again that day, I huddled close to my husband, looked into his eyes, and studied his face. Surviving the cold together made us feel the closeness of war veterans. Later he told me that when looking into my eyes, he had found two new flecks of colour he had not seen before. My heart was in my throat.
You could say that I’m in the business: I work with many photographers, and, being a model, it’s in my interests to keep them in business! But if, like me, you’re inclined to forget in the humdrumness of life to look, really, at the one you love, especially a year or two into a marriage or after six years of living together, as I am, taking time out and being given the excuse to look at each other all over again is a great gift. Look into each other’s eyes! What do you see?