Monday, October 22, 2012

From the Model's Perspective :: Sylvia's Portrait Session in the Park

"Here I was, excited to meet Chamonix for my photo shoot. I was soooo much looking forward to it, soooo curious what’ll happen, but also a tiny bit nervous.

"Just a couple of weeks ago I had replied to Chamonix’s post, willing to volunteer for one of her glamour photo shoots. Of course I was up for it. A make-over, a photo shoot and plenty of pretty photographs? That’s a no-brainer!

But who would give something like this away for free? Could that be genuine? I checked Chamonix’ website and it took my breath away. She had already taken a host of wonderful photographs, weddings, still lives, glamour women ... why on earth would she need guinea pigs?
Here she was. Cheery, welcoming, friendly and soooo young.

She started by taking my ‘before’ photograph, well, two for good measure. I had made sure that I looked presentable as I didn’t want such a big difference between my ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs. Not sure if my effort will be noticeable, though.

Chamonix continued by getting the make-up out, removing mine, and happily making up my face. ‘Big make-up’ she explained. How did she learn that? She went on a course on how to apply make-up for photo-shoots as this is quite different to your – or my – normal, understated bit of colour on my face. More like stage or film make-up. I only had a pocket mirror on me, and it looked fine.  I found it really relaxing: Sitting there and being pampered as we talked about our lives.
Then the hair. I had no idea what she had in mind, but her super-gadget – a gas-powered – curler did the trick and she a good job. I’ve always wanted curls, now I had them. After about an hour – dear who would have thought it needs so much hard work? Chamonix eventually started shooting.

I was told that she’ll be directing me a lot, which was OK with me, but I had no idea what that would entail. It was a bit like a yoga session and I found myself sitting on a bench, cross-legged and stretched out like reclining on a chaise lounge. Then she showed me how she wanted me to cross my arms and turn my body round. Or to put my hands on my hips and move them down my thighs. Or twist my legs and make a hand stand ... alright, OK, I made the last one up.
I had read articles about professional models and photo shoots and I knew it was hard work, but I had no idea how artistic and bendy the models have to be in order to display their curves elegantly.

What I have now learned and definitely won’t forget was Chamonix’ standard ‘and move your chin forward’. A classic! After a few times she only had to make a gesture with her hands and I knew in which direction to move my chin and how to tilt my head.

It felt quite weird and although I’m convinced you won’t see these turtle-like movements in any of her photographs, I’m still curious to see that for myself. If they are as stunning as the ones she took of the other women, I’ll have an amazing reminder on what I could look like which is brilliant for anybody’s self-confidence – especially when the majority of snaps on ones Facebook page are pretty unprofessional and pretty awful. 
But will these snaps be awful in future? Don’t think so, I have high hopes and it’s easy, I’ll just move my chin forward like a turtle!
Anyway, thanks again, Chamonix for a fun afternoon, I’m so grateful for the session, especially being lucky enough to be your last ‘Scottish’ model, I’m so impressed by your skills, and still find it hard to digest that you are entirely self-taught. I’m sure you’ll have a big, creative career ahead of you. Mario Testino? Move on ... Also, all the best for your imminent move and for kick-starting your American career. You’ll make it. Big. I don’t have a shadow of a doubt.
A big hug"

— Sylvia