How do you get someone to trust you? It can be tough. Sometimes, it can be more difficult than others and it is not even your fault. Individuals will sometimes do things, bad things, and it will reflect on the rest of the population. It happened to all of us, whether we were in school, at work or at home, we all saw or heard of someone doing something and the next thing you know, it casts a shadow on the rest of the group. When that happens, how do you convince the ones who have a lack of trust in you to trust you all the way? As photographers, male photographers, many of us are given that untrusted eye when we are discussing photoshoots with young female models. Are we that creep trying to score a “date”, get risky pictures to have something to show off at work on Monday?
After I did my shoot with Marinick in the woods, I made a few additional Facebook friends. This happens after most shoots; you post the images online and the model’s friends ask to become your friends. In general, I get one or 2 photoshoot requests, not always very serious. One of Marinick’s friends, Audrey, contacted me and started to ask questions about my work. I looked at the few pictures she had on Facebook and 2 of them stroked me the most. I often have ideas brewing in my head for weeks and her look matched 2 of them. I asked her if she would be willing to do a shoot with me and Audrey accepted.
The time passed and we were still trying to synchronize our schedules. Only Sundays were possible and there are only so many Sundays in a month… Eventually, a day was set, preparations started and we were going to meet. The Friday prior the shoot, we called each other to establish the 1st verbal contact, discuss the final details, point of rendezvous and such. I offered to meet her at her place because I knew there would be a crucial step to be completed there.
You see, Audrey is 17 years old. I have kids myself and I would not let my kids leave the house with just any 35 years old. I made sure when I called her that she knew I would have Victoria with me for the shoot as a safety measure and Audrey was more than welcome to do the same on her side. When Victoria and I showed up, we were greeted by Audrey, her mother and father. While Audrey finished her preparation, I had THE TALK with her father. It felt like I was taking Audrey for a night out and needed the seal of approval from her dad. Was I offended about that? Heck no! I was actually happy that this happened. It showed me that Audrey’s parents were concerned enough with her safety and that should be expected. The discussion went about past bad potential experiences and me doing my best to convince Audrey’s father I was not that other creep. Once that was done, Audrey and her mom, Victoria and myself left for our 1st location.
There was rain in the forecast for that day. The temperature was also oscillating between 5 and 8 degrees Celsius. We headed to a corn field nearby. I wanted to do a shot of a girl, princess looking, leaving her town with the only few belongings she has. For that shot, I had my 80s TV, a few luggage from the 30s and a fish tank. Audrey was wearing her prom dress and a pair of high heel shoes. In order to give credibility to the TV, it was attached to a battery pack and a DVD player, playing a series of old TV test patterns from several locations in the USA. Shooting such setup is not that obvious; any exposures faster than 1/30th of a second will show the refreshing band on the TV and I wanted to shoot hand held. It was a good day not to abuse coffee in the morning. The original plan was to bring an actual goldfish to put in the tank. I figured that with near freezing temperature, I would toss the goldfish in the ditch after but since Victoria, Miss animal lover (even the ones that stink), was with me, I figured I would shoot an empty tank, put the fish in later and keep my chaperon on my team… We were lucky that the traffic was inexistent on that road as that gave me the possibility to lay down on the pavement to shoot low. I still made sure Victoria was on the car calling duty.
For the 2nd setup, I wanted to shoot with an old bike my neighbour was giving away a few weeks back. Audrey’s mother suggested we go to the Abandoned Croydon factory. I had no clue what that building was like but the fact it was in bad shape really intrigued me. The bike shot should work there.
What an amazing place! The building is clearly on its last miles and I feel lucky to have been able to shoot in there. For this look, I wanted to go with 1 light only and grids. I had never used my grids before but I knew the effect I was going for. Audrey had 2 different outfit for that shot. One consisted of very short shorts and a corset type top. She also had a jacket and pants. When she asked me if I had any preferences, I told her she could go with the warmest outfit given the current temperature. When she came back from clothe changing, to my surprise, she was wearing her short shorts and the corset type top.. “I just thought it would look better for the concept.”. How do you call that? Dedication? Professionalism? That is pushing the limits for the shot! Dan Couto once said: “Cold is momentary, the image is for eternity.”. As photographers, that makes sense. Tell that to the girl dressed like it is July all over again…
I have to say it was a great day. I got to meet a fabulous professional and dedicated model who trusted me with ideas that can sound weird on paper, got pass the parental trust inspection, got introduced to a cool location and came back with images that made me smile. And since it did not rain, I also learned, one more time, not to trust the weather channel.