Monday, November 23, 2009

Remember Summer?

When did it become November? In my head it's still June. Well, if I was going to be completely honest, in my head it's still June of 1988, but that's a whole different issue.

Last May I took on my first big fashion shoot. I cast six models knowing that not all of them would show. I got three. If I had to settle for less than what I wanted, I was thrilled to have the three I got. They could not have been more perfect.

If you can remember back to May, you might recall that we had exactly forty-eight minutes of sunshine the entire month. I booked my models three weeks in advance. The theme was an Abercrombie & Fitch ad, but done in color and to look something like an old snapshot from the late '50's or early '60's. We were scheduled to begin at 3:00 and it rained most of the day. I'm sure the weather had something to do with the three no-shows. I toyed with the idea of rescheduling, but held my breath and decided it was best to soldier on.

The first model showed at 2:00 and I spent an hour entertaining him with chit-chat. Small talk isn't really my thing. I have limited brain capacity and when I'm working, I'm all about the task at hand. This means that I have a set chit-chat patter, which I usually mete out strategically during a shoot to distract the model, to cover while I need to set up a light, or what have you. By the time the second model arrived, I'd exhausted every conceivable topic. By the time the third model arrived I felt like I had recited my entire life story, complete with accompanying ballet dream sequence.

I was not hopeful. The sky was gray. My mood was gray. The models were nervous.

But then, just as we reached the beach, the clouds broke. We started the shoot slow with the three of them sitting on a bench. The first third of any shoot is almost worthless. It takes some time for even the most seasoned model to warm up. But even the first few frames had usable shots.

I worked all three of them for nearly three hours. They ran. They jumped. The hugged. They kissed. One of them ran into the lake, carefully avoiding the floating chunks of ice. Then the last few frames I devoted to the girl. The sun was starting to sink. All four of us were exhausted. I sat down in the sand and just sort of pointed my camera in her general direction. This was the result.

And then it started to rain again.