“Let’s take some photos. No, you take photos of me. You have a good camera and all those cool lenses. I need some fresh pics. I’m about to start promoting a new project, so some new photos are required. I want to look spontaneous, but mysterious, a bit fatal, but urban, you know what I mean? A good-looking, in fact, a gorgeous woman exuding intelligence and wit… Do you think it’s doable? I mean, I guess I am quite smart and people say I look ok, but can it be brought out in the photos?”

Ok, I admit the above soliloquy is a caricature, but here’s the thing: a few years ago I took up photographing and discovered a hitherto hidden talent. I’m not particularly ambitious about it and I don’t intend to turn pro. For now, I just like taking photos and I’ve covered the basics, so let’s see where it takes me.

One afternoon in spring this year I met with a friend in hopes of uniting my talent with her beauty (and intelligence) to make photos she could use for her self-promotion.

Right, so you’ve got your gear, cool. I’ve brought some makeup, bijou, sun glasses, a bit of this and that, to change my look and add some details. Aha, I’ve also brought a change of clothes; it’s a pity I can’t hope to have some privacy here. Let’s go to that meadow, it’s so beautiful! Plenty of trees there! It’s great for taking photos, believe me, I’ve seen many people posing there! It’s super popular! I don’t think it will be crowded.“

We walked up to the meadow, put our stuff under a tree and then pretended there was nothing strange about one of us crouching in the grass (narrowly avoiding stepping into a dog’s poop), immersed in a book (with her sun glasses on so that she could look mysterious, urban and seductive) and the other standing at a distance, zooming and shouting from time to time: “Lower your head! Are you reading or gazing? Make up your mind! How about taking off the sun glasses? No, I can’t see any bags under your eyes. Agreed, they are fabulous, the latest Fucci model, but no one will believe you’re reading with them on. Aha, they are blocking the sun and you can’t read without them? Right.”

After the first round of tireless snapping:

“Let me see… Ouch! I look so fat… I mean, I have gained a few pounds, but not that many… It must be the light. Can we move to the shadow? Wait, this profile is way better. To stop pouting? I’m not pouting, it’s the effect of the contour makeup. Haven’t you tried it? Come on, it’s a must-have these days, where have you been? No, I’m not pouting, that’s how people pose now, ok? To smile and show my teeth? Have you gone mad? I’m trying to sell myself, not a toothpaste! I mean, my talent and wits… And I do look ok, or so I’ve heard. Please make sure I don’t look fat. We’d better move over there, it’s shadier. Give me a sec to change my glasses… I could also change my clothes… Give me that coffee. All eyes on me sipping it slowly, deep in thought…“

We spent the next couple of hours doing our best to show my friend’s talent, beauty and wits in the green grass (thankfully, it hid the poop), with her sun glasses on, a book in her lap and a takeaway coffee cup in her hand. And the photos? In my humble opinion, they turned out pretty good. It was all there: the beauty (unquestionable) and the intellect (who else would be reading while squatting in the grass, between two dog’s poops) only steps away from the most popular shopping mall, with her Fuccis on, looking enigmatic and seductive.

But my friend wasn’t too happy about the result, so the next day she asked her brother to replace me. Instead of the meadow (too many poops, apparently), she chose to pose in a hot new bar downtown, lying slouched against the cushions like a princess from Oriental fairytales, while pretending to study something super important on her ultra thin Apple laptop (with her Fucci glasses on, naturally). Was she happy at last? Of course not.

“Look at this! I look positively middle-aged. Makeup was ok though and so was my better profile, but there’s nothing spontaneous about it. You can tell that I was stressed out and he couldn’t guide me through it. What was he thinking? I’m not a supermodel! Ok, so I look good (or so they say), but my intelligence, my talent are nowhere to be seen in these!… No, I’m not middle-aged yet. What’s wrong with you?

In the end, I convinced her to try out a young, talented photographer, highly recommended by some people I knew. And that’s when this story about the photo shoot for the new project finally reached its happy ending. 

Let me tell you one thing:

Every woman is beautiful in her own way. The profile, the shape of her body, dark glasses, face contouring (I found out about this wonderful thing in the meantime), all this means little without a relaxed stance, looking directly into the lens and a sincere smile!

P.S. Middle age is between 35 and 55. This is for those of us who have decided not to fall into this category by means of contouring, highlighters, strapping and blending. A walking encyclopedia, aren’t I?


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