Rebecca doesn't have a blog of her own (although I'm trying to make encouraging noises), but she rather wonderfully offered to write me a post about being on the other side of the camera.
"So," Kim said with his characteristic optimism, "the possibilities are endless. You can be anything you like!" I nodded (I hoped) thoughtfully. Meanwhile, the voice inside my head was screaming, "Anything?! You’re never going to come up with anything. Never mind anything.”
I got off the phone and quietly panicked. I started a tentative list of things I could dress up as. Then the mischievous voice whispered, "You could be a can-can dancer". This was the starting point and from here I looked online at photographs of dancers, Toulouse Lautrec and Degas paintings and film stills from Moulin Rouge and Black Swan.
The next week, we had a long chat over the most delicious hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted (In House Chocolates, Castle Douglas); in fact, I’d had difficulty concentrating for the first part of our meet-up. Through talking with Kim, I realised it wasn’t the bright lights and glamour I was drawn to, more the backstage, off-duty side where things were darker and less perfect.
After calling in a huge number of favours from family and friends, we were ready to go. I was pretty nervous on the morning of the shoot, wondering if this would turn out to be a daft idea after all. Me, a performer? Who was I kidding!
However, Kim couldn’t have been more calming and encouraging. We built up the set with various props and costumes that I’d borrowed and it already began to feel like I was backstage in a seedy theatre. One of the most useful things Kim had suggested over hot chocolate was writing a paragraph about my character.
My friend’s five-year-old puts on her pirate costume and immediately knows who she is, how she spends her days and the name of her cat. Most of us lose that ability to play and free our alter egos. It was fantastic to have this opportunity to daydream and create a different reality.
This really was a collaboration. I’d never have explored this fully on my own and at the end of the shoot it was fascinating to look back at the 60 or so shots Kim had taken and see the journey of the day. Each subtle change in lighting, pose and angle brought us closer to the final image. Kim has a gift for building rapport and trust so that I felt comfortable at every stage of the process. As a result, the final images are so much more than I could have imagined. Thank you, Kim.
As always, click on the photo for a slightly bigger version. And do feel free to leave a comment - I'll be letting Rebecca know to come and read them.
In Preparation - the second of the photos we did last week - shot through a net curtain on the same set