Reflections on a photoshoot
Finally, I found someone cool, interesting, experienced and what was most important - in my price range (strangely also my criterion for a prospective date) and set up an appointment for the next day. He asked me to bring several changes of clothes ("Only cool ones please, no fullsleeve shirts or pleat-wallah pants") and wear makeup! Well, I wore makeup once in grade school (I was Dr. Sunlight in our school's production of some bizarro play encouraging 4th graders to take personal hygeine seriously) and I wasn't planning on wearing any again...unless you count the foundation I'm forced to use to hide hickeys..
I went through my wardrobe (3 shelves of a Godrej steel behemoth) and finally found something "cool". An el-cheapo shirt I bought at Fascination that had grown (or shrunk rather..) to become my favorite shirt and a pair of jeans. Full of trepidation, I headed to Lokhandwalla and the photoshoot where I discovered I was to be shot outdoors...on a VERY busy street no less. Oh how fun! How do the skanks at America's Next Top Model do it? I'll tell you why they have no problems...cause there's not 200 unemployed men staring at them from 5 feet away while they try their best to pose! That's why! Anyway, I wa frogmarched (that's the word for it...phottographer to one side, lighting assistant on other and chai-walla lackey bringing up the rear) into a carpenter's shop where I was supposed to "pose" with err..tools. While I've had my share of posing with "tools", these were a set I'd never seen in my pampered middle-class life. Much to the amusement of assorted carpenters (Jesus?), I proceeded to pretend to saw a plank of wood and plane it. (OK, so I just re-read that sentence and every cell in me is screaming to make it "pretend to "see" a plank of wood")
It's hard to get direction! 'Look cool", I'm ordered. What the Fuck is that? If I knew how to look cool, I'd be draped around a hottie at Zenzi or something instead of sweating at a carpenter shop! Plus, it's just as hard to "look cool" on demand as it is to "say something funny". My photographer cracks me up trying to show me what cool is. Then he scolds me for smiling and tells me to look serious instead. And cool at the same time. I am never gonna win this one methinks. Anyway, the deed is done..and off to Photoshop it goes! Time to get rid of those scars, zits and blotches that the Bombay air has carefully deposited on my skin. All done and I see it on the computer. I'm SO embarassed as the entire photo studio comes around to see the results. I quickly pick up the shots and exit right. The next day at the audition, the "almost too young to be critiquing me" people pick up the one that's least hideous and say we're filing this away for future reference. And don't call us, we'll call you. Umm. OK. I mentally notch up another ..notch? on my cliches I've heard list. It ranks right up there with "It's not you, it's me" and "I'm just not ready for a committment right now".
I met my awesome friend Andy for a coffee and for some honest-to-goodness, no-sugar-coating views on my photos. He gulped, sighed and asked me what mood I was in at that moment. I said I felt vunerable, alone and insecure. "Yep, you look good!" he says. I wonder if the answer would have been different if I told him I was feeling awesome, top of the world and my self esteem hadn't been better. "Of course, that would change everything" he replies...these pictures are bad! Fat, fat, fat, bald, cold, fat, vacant. There.
Anyway, in the truest tradition of my favorite show on reality TV (till the Amazing Race comes back on) America's Next Top model...I present to you....my best shot.