Sunday, 5 September 2010

What has 22 legs and says "cheese"?

A photoshoot with me, a model, a make-up artist, and two tarantulas.

A month or so ago, a new profile appeared on Modelmayhem, belonging to Eanruig. She said she was "...interested in gaining more modelling experience in different genres", and was "...up for almost anything and like[d] to be experimental." So far so good. But as I kept reading, it got even better: "I own tarantulas and am fine with most creepy crawlies."

Oh yeah, that's what G likes to read. You've got my attention now, Jen...

I had a couple of other shoots provisionally organized, so I placed my newly hatched plan on the backburner while they were dealt with first. Then, a couple of weeks ago, disaster! Jen had created a new account on Purestorm as well! Noooooooo!! Every GWC in the greater Glasgow area would be inundating her mailbox with requests for nudes, nudes with her horse, nudes with her spiders, etc etc. I had to move fast, so the gist of my message to her was as follows:

Dear Jen, I'd like to do a high-fashion shoot with you. It'll be headshots with smooth skin, glossy lips, and well-groomed hair, looking all sophisticated at ready-for-the-catwalk as you pout at the camera. I'll get a proper MUA in to do your hair and make-up. Oh, and instead of corsages, ribbons, or necklaces, you'll be wearing your pet tarantula as an accessory. Interested?"

It all went swimmingly. We recruited Elle McMillan as the make-up artist after she confirmed that she wasn't arachnophobic, and a week later the three of us were up at Jen's flat, looking like a right old bunch of pros. Elle went to work immediately giving Jen some extreeeeemely long eyelashes and funky eyeshadow to complement the hairy co-models (Ginger and Chilli) who'd be sharing the spotlight. Meanwhile, I was setting up my new studio lights, reflectors, camera, tripod, etc. Could have been Milan or Paris, but no, it was downtown Clydebank.

I should interject here that I'd never used my studio lights before. Or used a professional make-up artist before. Or shot in someone's home before. Or tried to photograph tarantulas before. Ulp. This could end up a right old car crash.

But it didn't. I swapped the images over to my laptop during make-up breaks, which meant I got a better in-situ preview of how they were turning out than I usually do, so I knew things were going really well right from the start. Closer examination that night showed a few flaws, but I still had 30-40 half decent TIFs to choose from. Even my first attempt at airbrushing my model to high-fashion glossy perfection in Photoshop went great. The whole thing just couldn't have been better; the idea gave me a buzz, the execution on the day was a total joyride, and I'm high on the end results two days afterwards. Literally, a dream come true.

So thank you Elle, for your artistry with the make-up brush. Thank you Ginger and Chilli, for your patience and modelling skills. And most of all thank you Jennifer, who opened up your home to two strangers, and endured the web glands, tiny claws, and urticating hairs of your pets for three hours so that I could indulge my photographic pecadillos. And then gave me two bars of genuine Swiss chocolate when I was leaving! ❤ ❤ ❤

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