I've been hanging on to this post way too long but I have never just posted an image with no commentary. Alas, I am at a loss for the right words. I'll chalk this up as verbiage to follow as it becomes more clear to me.
My new friend, brother, admirer, photogenic man, Francois Robert.
So I'm sitting in the Apple Retail store here in St Louis and sitting next to me is this photograph waiting to happen. As I get older I have no hesitation to speak to total strangers, especially if they have photographic beauty at their behest.
Maybe it was a grasp at some retribution for the inconvenience I had incurred while dealing with the repair of my otherwise dependable Mac Pro. She was dressed in fairly normal seasonal attire but her hair and make-up shouted pin-up girl or at least a retro 40's style. Without so much as a hesitation, I introduced myself and asked if I could properly photograph her. I guess she must have been in a similar state of mind, because she quickly accepted my invitation.
She had been in a pin-up frame of mind for a while and recently changed her style to a 40's look. At any rate, she was indeed an image waiting to be captured.
She showed up at the studio less than a week later and was prepared to make her mark as a would be subject. We shot for several hours and we still had more options to explore. She worked to the camera very well for an amateur model and was willing to accept direction and encouragement with out skipping a beat.
Normally a new model lacks in hair and make-up experience, hers was as good as anyone could have expected, especially her hair.
We'll pick this up again in a couple of weeks after I make my way through some others projects of significant importance.
Yesterday, I invited an old friend to sit for a portrait. Rob is his name and he is an extremely talented artist who specializes in surfaces. Faux paint and textural manipulation if you would. Rob has been the go to guy here for years and one of the most pleasant folks you'll ever meet. Rob's link
Come time to start the session and everything feasible went wrong; camera, computer, lights and cords, failing at an amazing rate. I couldn't figure which to address first. To top that off, I had decided to try out a new pair of glasses that I had made at the V.A. My god, everything was key stoning and finding the right space in the progressive lens seemed an impossible task. The trick is to remain calm and act like you have everything under control, not that difficult for the experienced shooter...if you can see.
Luckily Rob found some reason to excuse himself and give me a chance to regroup.
Once we finally got started, things went very well. He has a great facial structure with a strong jaw and chin. If it weren't in my nature to mature most subjects beyond their age, he looks years younger than he is.
Thanks Rob for your patience and willingness to stick around through my disaster.
I've reached that sad, odd, time in my life where I have become the care taker for the people that once took care of me. This is my 87 year old Zia (Aunt, in Italian) Gloria, for whom I've been chosen to be her responsible overseer or more legally, Power of Attorney. She had a stroke almost a year ago and has since diminished in capacity a little everyday. Her spirits are still reasonably good but her mind is forsaking her. It's not an unusual story, many of you will be familiar with it.
Yesterday when I came into to her room, she immediately grabbed my hand with both of hers, rubbed it gently and then held it to her body as if it were her teddy bear. My heart felt the rush of love and it made my responsibility seem so meaningful.
When my grandfather died, way before I was born, and her brothers married and moved out, Zia decided that she would devote her life to caring for my Nonna (Grandmother). Forget all the suitors who would want to be her beau or even her husband. She would care for Nonna until she died.
She was a beauty and will always be remembered for her youthful appearance even late into her life. People come up to me today and say how they remembered how beautiful she always was and always looked years younger than she really was. This is not to say she wasn't intelligent but on the contrary. For years she was the admin, as we call it today, for the head of the Glass Factory in Alton, Illinois. Since there were no women in management back then, her position was about as high a woman could get.
A funny story arises more often than not these days, at least since it was brought to my attention. My mom tells me that shortly after I was born, she over heard Zia talking to Nonna and saying "I'm not standing up for that kid, (Godmother) he's the ugliest baby I have ever seen". Now, every chance I get, I remind her of that, and tell her I'm not sure why I'm being so nice to her now.
We laugh of course because she knows I like to tease her.
This could become a book, but since its just a blog, I'll leave the rest of the story for a later date.
I really didn't plan on making Cicadas a life's work. I took a minute to record video and sound this morning and posted it to You Tube but then I found this professionally made version and I thought I'd share this with you instead.
There will be no more posting on this subject, I promise. BTW, I did taste one over the weekend. While I was firing up the grill to do some Brats, I tossed one in and closed the lid. When it looked sufficiently crispy, I applied a touch of Lawry's seasoned salt, plucked the wings and feet and took a nibble. I can't tell you what it tasted like but it wasn't bad. I was fearing a squirt of some kind but it was more like eating a shrimp shell.