I’d been trying to arrange a shoot with A since the first time we met last summer on a sunny sunday afternoon at the beach. The fiance of a friend of a friend and an actor, I had a good sense about him immediately. Every few months we’d attempt to arrange a time and without fail one or the other of us would have to cancel. Straight from the start he’d sent me a hilarious youtube clip of one of his characters so I was confident that we would be able to work together to create something really rich and didn’t want to give up trying to connect.
A few months ago Viccy and I had determined we were going to make 12 pieces total. With only four left I had began to outline the rest of the series in my head. I knew who I wanted for models and what I wanted for concepts for almost all of them.
For A I had been inspired by the Donald Schmendiman youtube clip he’d sent me. I was imagining a birthday surprise gone wrong- a man in pink undies locked out of an apartment with a dozen mini cupcakes rejected and strewn about. By the time A and I managed to set a date to shoot it was February and my unfortunate birthday scene morphed into an awkward Valentine. I was particularly excited about it because Viccy and I are known to send each other Valentines and I thought this could be my very special personal/public Valentine to her. When I talked with A on the phone he suggested using Paz as he’d been working with her as a character and I was thrilled.
In the morning I cut out the hearts, wrapped the box and organized my camera equipment. I drove over to A’s neighborhood and searched for the rest of the props. Standing in a deserted wine shop just before noon I hummed and hawed over which bottle to get- there was a good chance I’d end up drinking it after the shoot but I couldn’t help being drawn to the bottle of pink bubbly and in the end I bought the $9.99 rose cava because I loved the tacky foil on the top.
When I got to A’s apartment we talked a bit about the concept, I had a look around, he got into the costume and we started shooting. I decided “Paz” would be coming up the fire escape and in the window to present her Valentine so we started with me in the kitchen and A outside the window climbing the fire escape. It was hilarious! A had to hang off the fire escape for quite a while – the whole time he pouted and threw himself into each little suggestion from me. He would pout and mutter some Paz-y phrase and I was cracking up the whole time. While generally I’m silent while shooting, this time I found myself saying those photographer things “oh! hold that. That looks great! Right there, just like that. Now hold that.”
It was so fun and so silly I hardly wanted to stop shooting. If anything I started to fear I would have so many pictures that it would be impossible to choose.
In terms of the form and style of the triptychs, for the last two sets I’ve broken with my pattern of establishing shots followed by a few close up shots generally including a hand shot. For #8 I had two nearly continuous photos stacked each showing about half of the scene. This time I was torn between picking three very different photos each giving a different perspective or three near contiguous photos. In the end the 3 nearly contiguous photos won out.
*Viccy, have you noticed this change? Has it effected how you take note of the contents of the photographs?
With #9 done there’s only three sets to go. I’m excited to shoot the next three and wrap things up. This whole process has been wonderful and I can’t wait to see how it looks when it’s all together. With any luck we can organize a brick and mortar show to finish things off.