The shoot

September 28, 2020

Listen to “The Shoot” on Spreaker.

I did not want a photoshoot. The fact that it was my idea is beside the point. That dang cabbage patch kid diet, or whatever it was called, was also my brilliant idea, but that doesn’t mean I had to like it, and I didn’t.

The first thing I didn’t like about the shoot was that I was the subject of all this visual attention. (It’s all in support of my blog’s upcoming makeover and relaunch, about which, more later.) Whatever the photographer was thinking, one thing was certain. She knew she wasn’t on assignment for GQ. Weight Watchers magazine maybe, taking all the “before” photos.

I’ve always had a problem posing for photographs. My smile is completely fake, and actually causes my face muscles physical pain. One thing I’ve always envied about Dracula was that when he looked in a mirror, the reflection was a blank. What a gift! There’s a thing called body sculpting, I know. But the photographer would have to be working on the equivalent of the Crazy Horse Monument to make this endomorphic specimen photogenic.

“Whatever the photographer was thinking, one thing was certain. She knew she wasn’t on assignment for GQ”

But throughout the session Erin ( went about her business, as if she were staging promo pics for the traveling King Tut tour. She didn’t even blink when certain profile poses called for a panoramic zoom more common with photographing the Grand Canyon. Even she was genuinely surprised, though, when natural light revealed a more flattering silhouette than she would have thought possible within the visible spectrum.

Another aspect of professional photography, as it applies to brand development, is to select “locations” specializing in providing commercial photographic venues. To this you carry boxes containing various physical props and hangers of clothes, as if you’re moving into your first studio apartment, or have been fired from your job.

The owner of this “location” greeted us with the same warmth as a warden, blitzing us with a list of rules, including which of us were permitted to sit on the furniture (as the “talent,” Carol and I were so permitted. As the “client,” Erin was relegated to parking her keister on the floor, thank you very much). If the venue is supposed to exude a warmth of welcoming to soothe and relax you in front of the camera, Nurse Ratched, instead, made me feel more like inmate 56789. After the rules recitation, we were graciously offered to enter the barracks “two minutes early.” Oh, and if any food or drink was to be consumed, it had to be consumed in the kitchen, a rule we honored in its complete breach.

I learned I was remarkably pliant to being variously staged as if more flora than fauna. Perhaps it was the wine, as I did seem to grow more pliant as the session wore on. (Should some of the photos depicting moi with Q-tips protruding from my ears in comic facial expressions make it into the new blog’s photo gallery, just know those occurred quite late in the session.)

The best news was that the photoshoot brought the official end to the Mother of All Diets, and Carol and I screeched our tires directly to a lunch that violated all the dietary precepts we’d adhered to the previous two weeks. It wasn’t Popeyes, but that was only because they don’t have a wine list.

It felt so good to eat again. Just remember for any photography involving me going forward from this date – the camera adds ten pounds.

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