I wrote about meeting the photographer back in September. It had been a good chemistry test. And good chemistry is important if you’re planning on getting naked with someone.
He was coming to mine after work. The day didn’t get off to an auspicious start. A delivery so early I had to set my alarm to be up in time, a cancelled workman by 8.15, me spending four hours assembling office furniture. And rain. Persistent teeming rain and dismal slate grey sky. Skies made for poems about the Welsh valleys, but equally suited to building Ikea furniture on a Monday in October. By 5pm I was tired, unshowered and unsexy.
I feigned concern about the weather, it being Monday, him having to walk up a hill. Something. Anything. Nothing concerned him.
“Are you in the mood tonight? These pictures are for you so I want you to enjoy it.”
“I would say I am 50:50,” I replied.
Oh, get a grip! A talented, engaging, interesting and charming photographer is coming to my flat to photograph me! A quick trip to the corner shop and I am pouring a glass of wine, sinking into a hot bubble bath and skimming a razor up my legs. I slip into my favourite black dress and before long I am padding barefoot down the stairs to open the front door. I didn’t realise until I opened the door that I’d been feeling nervous, but it’s nice to see him. He has a handsome and friendly face, and I remember how relaxed I felt the first time we met.
I pour wine.
“So, what have you thought about? How would you like to be photographed?”
“I haven’t, really.”
“Come on, tell me.”
“I haven’t. The whole point is I want you to articulate me. I want you to shoot me how you see me, not how I see myself.”
I am playing with my wine glass, avoiding eye contact. His camera is already out.
“What do you like about yourself?”
“My legs, my arse, my smile. My arms are OK.”
“What don’t you like?”
“My breasts and stomach.”
“What else don’t you like?”
I feel my defences come up. Is that not enough? Is it not enough to not like the middle bit when we are constantly bombarded with flat stomachs and pert breasts? That aside, I don’t like being challenged. I am open about my vulnerabilities, I wear them with a certain amount of pride, mainly because I spend a significant amount of time chewing them over in my mind before verbalising them. Once they’re out there I want them to be accepted or addressed, but never questioned.
But he’s pushing the right buttons and I can feel my energy rising. I move in my seat, my feet go up on the table and I shift so my dress slides up. I pretend it’s casual, that I haven’t noticed that he’s dropped to his knees gripping his camera, but I know I am performing.
And I trust him. I know I can be vulnerable. I stand up and slide the dress over my head.
Merci beaucoup, photographer friend! I’ll be sharing your photographs here over the next few weeks so I hope everyone enjoys looking at them as much as I enjoyed having them taken!