Anne Lindsay has written a series of poems based on bizarre black and white photos from days gone by. Each of the images has a "What the...?" feel about them – whether it’s the woman in the mourning veil wearing boxing gloves, or the wee boy smoking a cigarette while sitting on a stool next to a chicken.
Anne’s making a book of this collection of strange images with her poetry called, "The Undefended Hour" and asked me if I would do an author’s photo of her for the back cover. As we talked about her book, and the recurrent themes of death, sex and humour, the suggestion arose we should do a narrative photo rather than a headshot.
The idea was bounced back and forth and eventually settled on an image where Anne would be applying lipstick in the dressing table mirror, but in the reflection there would be ...
Scruffy Buzzards’ guitarist, Richie, and his partner, Sharon, were game for providing the extra figures we needed for the photo.
I’d already worked out the broad composition, but it’s the details that can make all the difference – a shift of the shoulder here or there, the direction of a hand and where the shadows fall.
Indeed light was one of the most challenging aspects of this shot, as I had to create 2 different lightscapes for it – one for Anne, and an entirely different one for Sharon.
Usually when I take a photo I will try out both colour and black and white versions, and there will be an obvious winner. In this case, however, each has their own strengths.
I like the colour palette of the first one, with the deep reds of the dress and lipstick (also more noticeable on the cigarette in the ashtray). The black and white, though, has a moody, European Noir feel to it that has a definite appeal.
Anne’s decided to go for the black and white version for her book, which is more in keeping with the images within, but I’ve included both versions here for your perusal.
As always, you can click on the images for slightly larger versions.