Another crunch, Dolly?

Sunday April 24, 2005

It tends to be very much of a standard ritual now, does photographing Dolly for a new portrait. I persuade her to sit in a good location, with appropriate natural light, hold the camera down at arm’s length, relying on my instinct to aim the thing correctly and frame the shots appropriately, and start clicking at high speed. One of the things I wanted most when I bought the Fuji digital was fast cycle time between shots.

Anyway. The studio conversation goes along the lines of me saying “That’s it, hold that…” [click] “Wonderful, lift your head up a touch… good…” [click] “Oh, very good, now this way…” [click]. And so on. You can tell I learned my studio photography back in the 50s and 60s, can’t you?

To her very great credit, Dolly almost always obliges, preening, posing, turning her head this way and that. And, sometimes, she doesn’t. Sometimes she snorts her disdain, turns, and stomps off, evoking a less than professional remark from me, typically: “Oh, you bitch!…” [click]. And I get yet another snap of a cat’s bottom.

Yesterday, though, she was on premier form. First she licked her lips to make sure they were presentable, then she gave me a series of really rather good poses, finishing up with a magnificent profile. The whole session was done and dusted in no time at all, and I ushered her into the kitchen for a reward of cheese and chicken crunchy nibbles.

“You sound like David bloody Bailey when you do that,” said Graham, observing the pair of us in our post-session ritual.

“Nah. I said. “I don’t think David bloody Bailey was around when I learned my patter. Anthony Armstrong Jones was the darling of Fleet Street then. But I think I owe more to Cecil B. de Mille than Anthony Armstrong Jones when it comes to portraits. Or to Cecil Beaton, perhaps.”

“That explains a lot. There’s always an echo of ‘I’m ready for my close-up now, Mr de Mille’ when you and Dolly are doing the portrait thing.”

“Thanks. I think. Another crunch, Dolly?”


Stickford, Apr 23,'05
I’m ready for my profile now



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