Sunday, October 23, 2011

Overlooked but Not Forgotten

Some months ago you may remember, I ventured up to Chicago to shoot some new portraits.  I ran several of those images on this blog and was proud that some of my best work was among them.

Well, I've been harboring one of them until I had the right story to go with the image. I don't know that I'm there yet but then I'm not sure I will ever be.

That was the trip where I was introduced to me new best friend, Francois Robert.  The charming Swiss Frenchman, with whom I become instantly intrigued. During one of our first phone conversations, I invited him to bring his wife along and maybe we could do her portrait as well.  I'm sure you all have experienced that moment when you instantly have a vision of a person in your mine's eye.  I picture Mrs. Robert to be, well, elderly, and most likely wearing a mink stole and a 40's hat, pin and all.  When Francois made his entrance I didn't see the Mrs. as I had expected but instead by his side was a very lovely younger woman who I assumed to be his assistant. Oh contraire , it was indeed the Mrs. and certainly nothing like I had envisioned.

Meet, Jane Gittings Robert.

Of course the next thing one might imagine is, Francois, you old dog you, sly old fox that you are, marrying a trophy wife. A pet poodle to show off and keep you warm at night.  Wrong again.

So now I'm thinking, she is just hanging on to learn what she can from the master.  Wrong again.

During their recent trip back to Switzerland, I began following Jane on her FaceBook page and eMails and boy was my face red.  Her work from that trip blew me away.  I fancy myself as an above average photographer or more precisely the "Greatest average photographer in the world", but then there is Mrs. Robert who has a photographic eye similar to mine but her results are far superior to those that exit my camera.

Aha, here is where I have the edge.  I have done a beautiful portrait of her that is far better than anything she has done of me. (Do you see the obvious trick in that sentence. Of course, she hasn't shot any of me.)

Seriously, I do love this portrait, not only because she looks mavelous but because it shows that my work doesn't have to be dark and gritty and contrasty.  The sparkle in her light clear eyes and the silvery skin are something I'm very pleased with.

Live and learn.

Addendum:  I should mention, while I don't have first hand experience and thus unable to write 
with authority, legend has it, that Jane's design skills, rival if not exceed her photography.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sometimes, It Just Happens

So, I'm sitting in the restaurant minding my own business and this stunning woman comes up, smiles and say, "You come here often?.  Yeah, I know, I couldn't believe it either. I should have known, the next thing that comes out of her mouth is, "are you a coffee drinker?"  Then it dawns on me, she's gonna try and sell me something. She's in one of those multi level marketing companies.  Oh, have I seen this before. Turns out she's very nice and I have to tell you, she knew her stuff when it came to selling coffee but before she could get her teeth into me I shot back, "I have you ever modeled?"  Good one, Tovo. Well, it seemed only fair to fight fire with fire or in this case, cliche with cliche.

"Not modeled, she said, but I've been involved in pageants."

"Let me give you some coffee samples," she came back.  "OK, but you'll have to let me do your portrait," I said.    She agreed.

A week or so later she came in, as promised, and we had  marvelous sitting. 

I try to incorporate hands whenever possible.  A lot of people, even professional models and actors just can't pull it off.  This woman has it mastered.  Not only mastered but she has wonderful hands, very appropriate for her person.

She left, thrilled with the images and promised to bring back more samples.

I must say, I'm more thrilled with the images than I am with the coffee but I'm very glad I was in the right place at the right time for this one.

As I look at the portrait, I'm thinking to myself, Grace Jones.  Maybe there is some greater opportunity to come.