Ted is an old friend of mine who used to dress himself a few years back as Valentina, he does not dress these days, but we have still kept in touch and we meet up every now and again. He contacted me a few months back and told me that he was in photography now and would I be interested in doing a photo shoot. Well as you know I’m the shy retiring type and don’t usually get my picture taken, but thought hey for once I’d give it a go.
Ted and I spoke a few times on the phone and tried to get a few dates fixed up, eventually we found a date that we both could make, but unfortunately Nas was unavailable on our chosen date, so I had to try and find somebody else to do my hair and make up. I managed to speak to Alison Dale at Image works and luckily she was available on the date that Ted and I had chosen.
On the day of the shoot I had arranged to drive to Alison’s get my make up and hair done and then drive across to meet Ted, before going across to his studio. I had been to Alison’s before, but it was several years ago, so took the faithful Sat Nav with me, it got me pretty close, but then I hit a main road which led to the road where Alison lived, every time I tried to take a left turn I come across a gate blocking the road. This went on for about 10 minutes and I was going in ever Increasing circles of frustration, eventually I managed to find the correct way in and even found a parking space right outside her house. As mentioned it had been a while since I had seen Alison and a lot had happened in both our lives, after viewing her garden which I had seen on facebook we spent a bit of time catching up on what each other had been up to. It was then time to get on with the hair and make up, Alison has done modelling herself and knew that for photo shoots the make up had to be somewhat piled on. She did a really good job with the make up and even managed to put false eye lashes on me without my eyes watering. She also did a good job on my hair putting curlers into it which eventually held and also managing to style it, I think the amount of hair spray we used would have boasted sales of Treseme by a large percentage.
I then got changed into a casual dress and drove round to meet Ted, it was only a 10 minute drive to his place and I was only about 10 minutes late, it was a bit of a struggle getting all of my bags into Ted’s small car, but eventually we managed. Once loaded up it was off to the studio in Brixton, I don’t know how we got there as once I am across the Thames onto the South Side I don’t have a clue where I am, but Ted seemed to know where he was going, and we got there within 45 minutes. After some initial problems trying to find somewhere to park it was unpacking the bag and into the studio.
The studio appeared to be used as a cinema as there were rows of temporary seating and a bar at the back, Ted and his mate started moving the sitting which I was excused from doing as I was in heels and a short dress. I was left alone in the changing rooms to sort out my clothes and stuff. I don’t know what the guys were doing out front, but I managed to get changed, drink two cups of coffee, get changed again and they were still moving furniture. Eventually I settled on my first outfit which was an orange dress and then the guys were finally ready to commence taking pictures. It was going to be a bit of an experimental shoot for Ted with him trying out various lighting and photographic techniques, and I just had to stand or sit there and try and look pretty.
We started off by doing just head shots, with various different light settings which I really did not understand, but after about 20 minutes of trial and error Ted and his colleague seemed happy with the results. However the trial and error process went on all through the day shoot, occasionally I got to see what they were talking about and could see the difference between two pictures and the various lightning techniques. One of the more interesting results was when I was holding up the reflection board, which was either white or gold, it was amazing the different colours and textures that could be achieved by changing a simple coloured board. We also experimented with putting lights in different positions in the background and tall white boards either side of me so that i was almost boxed in. They did explain what they were trying to achieve with this, but I’m afraid it went totally over my head.
After about 2 hours and numerous pictures in the first outfit, it was time to change into, a rubber jacket with an indecent length short skirt. I teamed this up with suspender tights and high heel patent leather heels. The only problem was that it was pretty hot in the studio and rubber is not the best thing to be wearing when its warm. However by this time ted had done a lot of the technical stuff with the light and camera and we were able to snap away at a much faster rate. I had seen a photo shoot with Charlotte Church in a magazine where she was wearing a military and tried to replicate some of the poses from this shoot, I’m not sure how successful I was. The juggling the tins of beans was Teds idea, but after dropping the cans twice we decided to just pretend to juggle them, and make it look like an action shot.
The next change involved a short sleeved black shirt and a white pencil skirt, once again it was back to being sandwiched between the two boards and lots of back lighting. Again it was very much trial and error with two lights and the back and then one, and then changing the height of the background lights. Occasionally I got to see the effects of the different light, or sometimes I just nodded and pretended I could see the difference between the two pictures.
The final outfit was a short black dress, however for this outfit we decided to move to a different part of the studio where we had a brick wall behind me, however this meant that we had to move all the cameras, boards and lights. Again I was forgiven removal work as I was still in my dress and heels. It took a bit of time to get on the lights and the camera set up to Ted’s liking and then we had some problems with the floor , but eventually he was happy and we were ready to shoot. Ted tried to get a few different poses out of me during this section and at one point we may even have gotten a smile, but not sure if he actually caught. Ted was using his knowledge of films to try and think of poses, we tried to do some moves from some of them, but I think I just stuck to the wall and perfected my 1000 yard stare most of the time.
Finally the last of the shots were taken and it was time to start packing things up, Ted asked me to try and move some of the pictures from his pc to a memory stick, but this entailed using a lap top and the touch pad in the middle. I hate those touch pads and just could not get the thing to work without nearly deleting the pictures. So I left this job to Ted and helped with some of the moving. It took about an hour to get everything put back and for me to pack my bags(well chuck everything in) and then change into a more everyday outfit to firstly get a lift back to Ted’s and then to drive myself home.