18th March 2010
I've known Andra for about a year and have always admired her intelligence and commitment to photographic art, all tied up in a laid-back bow.
She approached me with an idea, originally meant for a magazine submission, but that after the shoot became her 'Shooting ShutterBetty' contribution.
The buzz words for the shoot were 'white' and 'Rubens'. I'd like to say I immediately knew who Rubens was, but I didn't. A google search later and I found hi to be a 16th-17th Century Dutch painter, and a google image search later I found a lot of naked ladies. Now, I'm not shy in front of the camera and as I've known Andra a while I felt it quite reasonable to let her know that if she wanted a little flesh in the photographs, I'd be happy to oblige. On reflection, I was perhaps a little too enthusiastic to take my clothes off!
I felt very privileged at Andra's shoot. She'd hired a studio and that morning I had gone into town to get a make-over at a cosmetics counter. Once in my costume (my wedding dress and a fetching blonde wig) we commenced with the session. I tried really hard not to stick my photographic nose in where it was not wanted, but felt comfortable enough to get involved in the posing decisions.
The two or so hours I laid on that chaise lounge went by like lightening. Andra tried a couple of different lighting set-ups, prop changes and shooting angles. I get the sense that she could've carried on for another couple of hours. I could've too, if a large chinese take-out had been ordered in!
I enjoyed the shoot very much as it allowed me to perform - something I love to do. I also felt very beautiful and confident (in spite despising my post-pregnancy body). I do't know if it was the dress, the make-up, the lights or Andra herself, but I liked it!
Andra decided to submit not one photograph to the project, but eight. Perhaps she saw different aspects of me in each image. Or perhaps she saw narrative displayed in the specific order chosen. Is it me in the images or a character created by subject and artist? And does that matter? Don't we all play for the camera anyway?