vrijdag 5 december 2014
This fine portrait of lovely Jennifer in Bon Lux glasses from Italy concludes her magic photo shoot. Jennifer is the 62nd Lady behind Crystal Veil.
My photography project "Ladies behind Crystal Veil" started with my life partner Nel who was my first model. In October, Nel had to attend a congress in Lund (Sweden) and she invited me to accompany her. Needless to say, I had to make my own "spouse program". Doing a couple of photo shoots seemed a fine target so I checked the portfolio material of models in the vicinity of Lund on Model Mayhem. Jennifer somehow stood out. I posted a casting call and to my delight, Jennifer was among the four models who reacted. We agreed to meet at Starbucks in the Central Station of Malmö. I took an early train to find some suitable locations for the photo shoot and Hedmanska Garden looked like the best option. Back at Starbucks, Jennifer arrived and we soon were in a lively conversation. The manager Jason kindly allowed us to use a large table as my optician's shop and very soon, Jennifer was trying the 100 glasses on the table. Jennifer has perfect eyesight but she was really interested in her looks in glasses, especially cat eye glasses. Needless to say, Jennifer had to rely on my opinion when it came to the selection of the strong glasses. During our email exchange, Jennifer suggested Vestra Hamnen as a suitable location but it was a windy October day so we headed for Hedmanska Garden.
Working with Jennifer was a treat. Very easy going and a hard worker. The only problem was the cold but Jennifer managed bravely. On our way back to the station, we stopped at the bridge to Vestra Hamnen and I took some more pictures. Jennifer put on my coat for protection against the cold wind. The idea of using the contrast between a medieval place and the modern area near the station had already crossed my mind during my search for locations. We returned at Starbucks for another big mug of coffee.
After returning home, I saw the pictures on my computer screen and the idea of a script came to my mind. This was mainly caused by the subtle changes in Jennifer's expression during each series in the photo shoot. Also I noticed that some of the model's very best posing was in the strongest glasses. Jennifer is an actress, specialized in the horror film genre and no doubt, this background came handy when posing in glasses that only created a massive blur. It's all about introspection and imagination. Writing the script was only a day's work and I was delighted that Jennifer liked the script when she read it.
Jennifer, thank you for a pleasant afternoon in Malmö and for the dimension you added to the project!
A word of thanks goes to the friendly gallery owner who allowed us to use his doorstep as location for the photo shoot. He also provided a big mug of tea to us and this enabled Jennifer to warm up and continue with the photo shoot. We exchanged cards but alas, his card was mislaid. I remember him saying that he was of German descent and his ancestors were Freiherr. Not bad going! When seeing the strong glasses, he surprised us by saying "I needed glasses of -23 until a few years ago".
Finally, a word of thanks goes to my sister Paula who suggested Hedmanska Garden as a suitable location. Paula is the Scandinavia expert in our family and she knew Hedmanska Garden from a visit to the Form and Design Museum mentioned in the script. Our father worked for Iittala in the 1960's and the Museum has a wonderful collection of Iittala glass work on display.
"Hold on... I have to take off these glasses, Lord Lentilux. I am watching the station clock and I swear that it says 11.15. It was eleven o'çlock sharp when we met. We must have been busy for hours. There is no way this clock can be right"
"In that case, you'd better check your watch. There is no need to remove the glasses for that. The lenses are slightly magnifying"
"This is absurd. My watch is perfect and I just saw it jump from 11.15 to 11.16. Lord Lentilux, what's happening here? And why are you smiling?"
"Dear Jennifer, I can't tell for sure but perhaps you are still under the influence of our time machine"
"Let's hope not, I really need to return to the present"
"How about that coffee at Starbucks? Coffee is the best remedy. Always. I can tell you this on good authority"
"Do you work in the coffee business?"
"No, but I am Chairman of the Society for Coffee Centered Thinking. It's a new wave in Philosophy"
"You keep surprising me, Lord Lentilux. OK, let's go for a big mug of coffee. Can I keep these glasses on for another moment?"
"Of course you can. But you'd better hand them back to me when the coffee is served. Otherwise your eyesight will experience a heavy fog attack"
"Anything the matter with these glasses? They are from Italy and the lenses are really mild"
"You may not believe me, Lord Lentilux, but I had better eyesight in your strongest glasses"
"Technically speaking, that's impossible. But I can imagine that you feel that way, given the extraordinary experience you had at Hedmanska Garden"
"You look gorgeous, Jennifer. And happy as well"
"Yes, I am feeling beautiful and happy. Thank you so much. It's a wonderful experience"
"My pleasure. But now it's time to take off your glasses"
"Bye bye glasses...."
Jennifer took off the glasses and held them in her hand, eyes closed.
"You can open your eyes now if you wish, Jennifer. I hope you still have 20 / 20 vision"
"What? Excuse me, I was dreaming away.... Everything I saw through these special glasses came back. Enough said.... Hello, Lord Lentilux. It's good to see you again"
"How is your eyesight?"
"I see you are shivering, are you cold?"
"Yes, very cold"
"I will lend you my jacket. You will be warm soon. It's a physical reaction on our experiment"
"Probably. Thanks for the jacket"
"I have to pack my stuff. It won't take long. I will walk you back to the station and we can have a coffee at Starbucks if you like"
"That would be nice. Their manager is a friendly man and they serve good coffee. Shall I help you with the packing? I would like to take out one pair of glasses we did not use, and then pose for you near the station"
"Like a note of adieu"
"Good idea. Here is the box with the mild vintage glasses"
"This pair looks really nice. Can I keep it in my pocket?"
"Sure. OK, let's hit the road"
"Like this, Lord Lentilux?"
"Yes, that's fine. Don't move. Try to keep your eyes wide open.... That's it. We are ready"
"I have one request. I know we have to be fast. It won't take long"
"Alright, Jennifer. What is it that you want?"
"Just let me look in a direction of my own choice. I hate to say farewell to these glasses. They give me such a special, wonderful feeling. To be honest, I would like to take a walk through Malmö wearing these glasses"
"And end up needing them for the rest of your life? Besides, you might stumble and fall. It takes a few weeks to get used to these glasses"
"You are right, I suppose. A private moment will do"
"Any pose you like, Jennifer"
"That's grand.... Perfect. Now turn your head a bit further to the left. Slowly, slowly..."
"I will be a real model by the time we are ready. That's nice"
"You will be the first model that ever posed in blended myodisc glasses, Jennifer. The brands and the opticians never thought about doing a photo shoot like this when these glasses were invented. Really silly. I am sure that these lenses would have become more popular if they had set up a nice publicity campaign. Keep still.... That's it. Now move your head another touch towards me. Chin slightly upwards...."
"You sound as if you know exactly what you are doing, Lord Lentilux. Are you a professional photographer? This is similar to the way I get instructions on the set as a film actress"
"No, I am not a professional. just a man with a mission"
"I want to show you all the effects of these magic glasses. Now keep still... Yes, that's it. Now turn your head to the left, slowly, slowly.... Keep looking straight ahead"
"That's fine. Now keep looking at the wall but turn your head one millimeter to the right"
"Like this? Why do you ask me this precision work? A bit of variety might be better if you want me to do a photo shoot, or?"
"You will see why when I send you the pictures. Hold on.... That's it. Perfect. Now turn your head to the right, please"
"Now turn your head towards me, please"
"Yes. I am trying to capture the special effects of the intricate lenses in the glasses"
"Do you mind if I keep looking at the wall on my left hand side? I'm feeling uneasy when I have to look your way"
"Ah, I understand. You are posing for the Invisible Man"
"Thanks, Jennifer. Can you look my way, please?"
"You mean like this?"
"Yes, but it looks as if you are looking just over my head. Try to focus on the camera if you can"
"I am sorry having to say this, Lord Lentilux.... You are asking the impossible now. I can't see you or your camera at all"
"OK, in that case please try to focus on my voice"
"Ah, the grass always looks greener at the other side of the fence, is that it?"
"I seriously hope that I'm not looking like a cow. Please tell me the truth"
"You look absolutely gorgeous in these glasses, Jennifer, and that is the truth. You seemed to adapt much faster to these special lenses than you did in the previous glasses, am I right?"
"Absolutely. Lord Lentilux, it's really amazing. I can hear you snapping away but aside from that, everything is quiet and peaceful"
"I would like to take some more pictures from different vantage points. Can I give you directions? We have to work fast"
"Sounds as if I am in a real photo shoot. Yes, you can tell me what to do next"
donderdag 4 december 2014
These nameless but beautiful glasses were first bought by the same German lady who at a later stage was also the first owner of the pink Flair glasses shown by Jennifer in the previous series. During a span of fifteen years, the lady in question had several increases in her prescription. It was minus eleven in her earliest pair by Metzler (late 1970's), minus twelve in the glasses shown here by Jennifer, minus thirteen in a pair of Silhouette glasses with high index lenses (1988) and minus fourteen in the Flair glasses. Unlike normal myopia, high myopia tends to be progressive. The four glasses just mentioned testify to that. The lady in question had a fine taste for glasses and she clearly had a very good optician who gave her advice about the latest developments in lens technology. As far as I know, blended myodiscs were an invention of the mid 1980's and if so, the lady in question was among the very first who gave them a try. High index lenses were an invention of the late 1980's and the lady's choice to switch from blended myodiscs to high index lenses may indicate that the glasses shown here by Jennifer were not entirely satisfactory. The problems may have arisen by the frame which is fairly narrow and rather high. As a result, the carrier lens (that surrounds the circle shaped "bowl" with the prescription required) fills the lower section of the frame. This must have caused problems for the lady in question. She was forced to look over a section that only created a massive blur, much worse than the adaptation problem to bifocals. Apparently, her switch to high index lenses was not entirely satisfactory either and within a few years, she switched back to blended myodisc lenses in a frame that was not too high. Enough talk about lenses.... let's hear what Jennifer had to say about these ultra rare (and no doubt, expensive) glasses.
"What's happening now, Jennifer? You don't look very happy"
"I'm fine and these glasses are fantastic. Everything is tiny but crystal clear. But now these young folks are quarreling, even in a fight. My good feeling has gone and I'd like to return to you now"
"Just a second. Allow me to take this final picture... That's it. The glasses are playing a funny trick with your make-up and I thought you might like to see the special effect"
"Are you ready? I'm feeling a bit cold"
"Yes, ready. You can take off the glasses now"
Jennifer took off the Flair glasses, kept her eyes closed and then looked up.
"Hello there, I'm glad you returned all in one piece"
"Hello there, good to see you again. You were completely invisible. Did I take directions well this time? I believe so"
"Yes Jennifer, you did. Perfect. This time I was responsible for a delay. How is your eyesight now?"
"Back to normal, Lord Lentilux. It's incredible. Those glasses are mighty strong but they felt like a safeguard. I will never forget them"
"Would you like to try the final pair? These glasses belonged to the same German lady"
"Yes, please. Do they have the same special lenses?"
"Indeed they have"
"Could be. I can't prove anything but it's a line of thought"
"Do you have any idea about the time difference between us now, Lord Lentilux?"
"Yes, we're talking twenty years, perhaps a bit more but not much"
"I'm watching the couple. They seem completely lost in each other and they seem to come my way"
"Be careful, they may walk right through you. If that happens, you would probably feel nothing but it's best not to take any chances"
"How on earth do you know that, Lord Lentilux?"
"Tell me first if the couple is still walking in your direction"
"No, they just stopped and now they are in the middle of an endless kiss"
"OK, I will tell you briefly but warn me if they are heading your way again. Did you read the famous book called Tom's Midnight Garden, Jennifer?"
"It does not ring a bell. Who was the author?"
"A lady called Ann Philippa Pearce. She died about eight years ago"
"Never heard of her. What was the book about?"
"Ah, it's a classic. Highly recommended. It's about a time machine in which a clock connected a granny called Hettie and a young boy called Tom. They were in the same building and she was the owner of the house. She was dreaming about her childhood and Tom landed in her garden during his sleepless nights. They often played together. The adults in Hettie's dreams could not see Tom, he was completely transparent and occasionally, they walked right through him. Tom was never hurt by this and it was the clock that warned him when he had to return to his own bed and his own time. I read the book when I was seven or eight and it made a lasting impression on me. Tom was safe because of the clock ad I assume you are safe because of the glasses. But it's better not to take any chances. Is the couple still where they were?"
"Yes, they are. You are blessed with an excellent memory, Lord Lentilux. Thank you for mentioning the book. I will try to get a copy of it. Hold on, the kiss has come to an end...."
"Can you tell me what's happening, Jennifer? No rough crowd, I hope"
"No, it's a young couple. They look madly in love"
"I just saw a middle aged couple and they seemed to have lost real interest in each other"
"Any chance we are talking about the same people, Lord Lentilux?"
"Do you see any difference in the buildings or otherwise, Jennifer?"
"Compared with the white glasses? It's hard to tell, I was on a different planet. Good that you are asking this. No, I don't think so. But that funny feeling is back"
"What funny feeling are you talking about? Stay tuned, please"
"I feel protected by these glasses, really protected. They do limit me in a way, having to turn my head all the time. But somehow they work like warm curtains on a winter evening. Embedded, if that makes any sense to you. By the way, do these glasses have a name?"
"Yes, the frame is called Flair"
"That's not what I meant. I was talking about these peculiar lenses. They make me feel protected"
"They are called blended myodisc lenses and they also have a name in German"
"What's the German name? Hold on, something is happening"
"This is amazing, Lord Lentilux, really amazing. It works quite well and I can see everything crystal clear as long as I'm looking straight ahead. You are right. I could get used to this. Can you tell me how I look in these glasses?"
"You look stunning in these glasses, Jennifer. The frame really suits you, it's quite mellow. And the lenses change their aspect with every slight movement of your head. It's really a fascinating sighting"
"Please take some pictures of me. I would like to see those changes"
"I already started taking pictures as soon as you put up the glasses. Another one.... That's it"
"Can I turn my head back now?"
"Of course you can"
"Lord Lentilux, can I ask you a question about these glasses?"
"There is something weird in what I'm seeing. The fog is clearing up when I look straight ahead but something is seriously wrong with my peripheral view. The lenses are fogged up in every corner. Did you clean them properly?"
"I did, indeed I did. there's no magic in dirty glasses"
"So your advice is that I must look straight ahead all the time?"
"If you wish to see a different part of the surroundings, turn your head in that direction but make sure you keep looking straight ahead"
"That is weird, really weird. Did the lady who bought these glasses have to turn her head all the time?"
"Yes. She was from Germany and she had a great taste for glasses"
"Poor lady.... I feel sorry for her"
"I saw a lady in glasses just like these, around the same time. She looked quite confident in them, really at ease"
"So you can get used to these glasses?"
"Absolutely. Just turn your head to the left and you will see how it works"
"Hi Jennifer, I will keep talking to you this time so you won't get lost in the past"
"Yes, Lord Lentilux, please do. We need to keep in touch. Wow, these are very strong glasses. I am still seeing everything through a cloud but it's clearing up slowly"
"Take your time, Jennifer, I said half a minute but that will start as soon as you see everything clear"
"Jennifer, I will now take off your glasses. Sorry for the interruption but it's necessary"
"Glasses? Am I wearing glasses? No, please don't take them off. I will do that myself in a second"
"Take them off now, please. Otherwise you may need them for the rest of your life"
"That would be fine with me. I'm sorry, Lord Lentilux, for saying this. These glasses are yours and I will hand them to you now. One last look.... Here they are"
Jennifer closed her eyes for a while. She looked withdrawn, then she slowly seemed to surface and she opened her eyes.
"Welcome in the present, Jennifer"
"Thank you, Lord Lentilux"
"I guess it's not the right moment to ask what you were seeing"
"No, it's not. All I can say now is that it was beautiful and peaceful. There was total silence. I was listening to the sound of silence"
"I had the impression that you even lost contact with my voice"
"I heard you, faintly. Then you were gone for a while. And then I heard you again. It was like there was anger in your voice and that brought me back. At first, I did not want to come back. But now I am glad you brought me back"
"I was not angry with you, Jennifer, but I was really worried. Do you understand?"
"I do. I'm sorry if I behaved like a naughty child. But your glasses are pure magic. They gave me an experience I will never forget"
"How is your eyesight now?"
"Perfect, absolutely perfect"
"Well, I think this may the right time to finish our experiment"
"Yes, there are two more pairs in the box. I would love to give them a try, Lord Lentilux. They look so mysterious and beautiful"
"When I talked about finishing our experiment, I meant no more glasses"
"Oh no, Lord Lentilux, please allow me to try that lovely pink pair. Whatever happens, I promise to keep connected with you. I realize how worried you must have been. It won't happen again"
"Alright then, but no longer than half a minute. For your own good"
Formlenti were an invention of the late 1960's. The aim was to provide a more aesthetic alternative for traditional myodisc lenses with a circle shaped "bowl". The demarcation between the "bowl" and its surrounding carrier lens is clearly visible in this fine portrait. A tiny image of the partially wooden medieval house in the background can be seen in the "bowl". By contrast, the positive carrier lens shows a reflection of the model's skin. Jennifer's amazed look is priceless.
"What's happening, Jennifer? Something the matter?"
"Yes, a group of guys. They are walking towards me. A bit of a rough crowd. What shall I do?"
"Take off the glasses immediately and you'll be safe"
"Ah, that's better. Good to be back. I need a few moments.... Yes, my 20 / 20 vision is back. Good to see you again, Lord Lentilux"
"I could see your discomfort. Were you afraid they were going to do you harm?"
"They spotted me and they were making silly jokes about my glasses. I was not sure what they would do"
"You did the right thing, Jennifer. Well done"
"Can I have a look in the box? I see there are only three pairs left but they are beautiful and the lenses really look special"
"They are myodisc glasses, Jennifer"
"What's that, a myodisc?"
"Myodisc glasses are for extremely shortsighted people. Only the central part of the lens has the power they need to see properly. The rest of the lens is flattened, otherwise the curve would be too strong and the lenses would be too thick at the sides"
"They really look interesting. Do you think it's safe for me to give them a try?"
"Yes, I think so. You'd better start with the white pair. The other pairs are stronger"
"They look different from the white pair, am I right?"
"Yes, the white pair has Formlenti lenses and the other pairs are blended myodiscs"
"That sounds very technical. Is the white pair too strong for me?"
"No, it's not stronger than the pink glasses I bought for Lady Lentilux. She tried the white glasses a few years ago and then danced the salsa with these glasses on"
"Your Lady Lentilux does not sound as a shy woman. She must be really shortsighted but the way you are talking about her gives me the idea that there is nothing handicapped about her. Am I right?"
"Absolutely, and that's why I felt attracted to her in the first place. She is well able to drive her car, even at night"
"Sounds good. She must be quite inspirational to you"
"Ah, she is, definitely"
"Did she ever feel the magic in your glasses?"
"Not really, no. She is a really down to earth person. A counterweight for me, so to speak"
"And what does she think about your glasses collection? I mean, it's not like collecting stamps or some hobby like that. I never came across any person with a glasses collection"
"She simply took it as a part of the package when we met. And she has some benefit of it as well. She often tries newly arrived glasses in my collection and if she really likes a pair, I order it as a gift for her. Much cheaper than in the shops"
"Thank you for sharing this with me. Shall I put on the white glasses now? I'm afraid there will be no salsa dancing from my side"
"There will be no salsa dancing from my side either. I tried to learn it but I never know where my feet are"
"Can you tell me how I look in these glasses, Lord Lentilux? I had the impression they are quite stylish when you handed them to me. A peculiar shape. Am I right?"
"Yes, absolutely. These glasses were made by Silhouette and I got them in Austria"
"Are they progressives?"
"Yes, they are. Can you tell me if you see any difference around you?"
"A bit. Everything looks more modern and there is no ABBA music. The place is quiet. No people"
"You sound more comfortable and I can see it as well. You are looking great in these glasses. The design is not for everybody but they suit you, especially the eyebrow lines"
"Thank you, Lord Lentilux. Hold on, a door is opened on the far side...."
woensdag 3 december 2014
"Can you tell me what you see through these glasses, Jennifer? You are very quiet"
"I'm not exactly sure.... I can see fairly well through these glasses but not perfect. May I ask, where did you get them? They are a lot heavier on my nose than the modern glasses"
"I bought them at the Amsterdam flea market called Waterlooplein, about thirty years ago. They used to have boxes full of glasses and you could buy them for coppers and brass. Those were the days...."
"I heard about that flea market from friends, they spent a few days in Holland. Do you live in Amsterdam, Lord Lentilux?"
"Not anymore but I was born and raised there"
"And did you start building up your collection at that flea market?"
"Yes, I did. Looking back, those glasses were incredibly cheap. The glasses you are wearing cost me a guilder, that's about fifty dollar cents. But I was a poor student at the time"
"Were you aware of the magic when you started collecting? I hope you don't mind that I'm asking all those questions but I really need your voice as a beacon"
"Why is that, Jennifer? Can you describe what the place looks like?"
"The museum is there. I can see it behind you, or rather through you"
"That sounds as if you can barely see me at all. Is that right?"
"Yes, Lord Lentilux, I'm afraid you have become so transparent that I need your voice to remember where you are. Keep talking to me, please. I can't see anybody else either. It's a bit of a lonely feeling, like being lost"
"Perhaps it's better to take off these glasses if they make you feel uneasy"
"Not yet.... Hold on.... Some of the windows in the buildings are open. I see no people but there is a cheerful conversation in Swedish and they are talking about ABBA. I can hear Waterloo in the background and the voices are now singing along with that song. They all sound pretty excited. It's a pity that I can't see them"
"ABBA was from Sweden and Waterloo was their first international hit. They won the Eurovision Song Festival with that song"
"The people only joined the chorus and I can hear that they don't understand the words. They sound as if the song is new to them. I am not a singer but I could sing that song better than they just did"
"Perhaps they are listening to the radio"
"The music has stopped. It's quiet again and I am feeling lonely. Can I take off these glasses?"
"Please do, Jennifer"
"That's better.... Hold on.... It takes a while. The blur is disappearing but slower than when I took off the modern glasses. Hold on.... Yes, now my 20 / 20 vision is back"
"Time for a deep sigh. It's not my intention to make you shortsighted, Jennifer"
"Is this why you interrupted me before when I was asking you questions?"
"Exactly. The magic glasses are safe but you can only wear them for a minute or two. I'm not sure what happens to your eyesight if you wear them longer than that"
"Do you really believe that these vintage glasses could make me shortsighted permanently?"
"I don't know, to be honest. But I feel a responsibility towards you. This experiment is not supposed to be a single journey"
"I understand. It was my own fault. You told me to take off the glasses but I was zooming in on what I was hearing. Did you hear the ABBA song at all?"
"No, all I could hear were voice coming from the big square behind the gate. There was a gap of forty years between us, Jennifer. Are you still keen to carry on with our experiment or shall we call it a day?"
"I see there are only a few glasses in the box. Is that all?"
"Yes, that's it"
"I would like to try another pair. Those purple glasses perhaps? They look great"
"We will do as you suggest, Jennifer. But promise me one thing. You really have to take off the glasses immediately when I am asking. Promise?"
"Lord Lentilux, you were talking about vintage glasses with strong lenses. I would like to try some of those now. Is that alright with you?"
"Yes, we can give it a try. Are you prepared for another journey through the time machine?"
"I thought you'd never ask"
"It looks as if the fog is clearing up again for you, am I right?"
"Yes, I still feel a bit of strain but everything looks nice and clear, only a bit smaller again. I noticed that you really handled these glasses with care when you handed them to me. Are they special to you?"
"Yes, they are. I bought them for Lady Lentilux so she could use them when she is working behind her computer. I ordered three pairs for her but she preferred another pink pair for use in everyday life"
"May I ask, did you ever consider to become an optician? You could have made a living out of your fascination with glasses"
"I wanted to become an optician in my schooldays but my father was against it. This was in the sixties and fathers had more power over their children than they have nowadays. I told him that I would start collecting glasses instead and he thought I was crazy but he left it at that"
"Life stories, Lord Lentilux. It's a pity he did not allow you to follow your interest"
"Well, looking back, I don't blame him. It was a disappointment at the time but I doubt if working in a shop would have been fulfilling in the long run"
"You mean, life would have never brought you to Sweden?"
"That's a good one"
"Ah, I see. These glasses have progressive lenses. The lower part is for reading. You tried a couple of progressive glasses near the station"
"Yes, now you mention it.... It all seems ages ago. How do I look in these glasses?"
"Splendid, Jennifer. Shall we move on to the next pair? Again, it's a bit stronger but the lenses are not progressives"
"Do you mean those pink glasses? They are not cat eye style but they look nice"
"Welcome back to the land of strong myopia, Jennifer. Can you see everything clearly now? I may be wrong but it took you a while this time, or?"
"Yes, it did. Perhaps I have to get back into it after our break. But there is something the matter with these glasses as well. Are they a different prescription?"
"They are slightly stronger"
"That may be the answer. But now I can see everything perfectly clear except when I look down. There is a blur near my feet"