zondag 15 november 2015
"Light will filter through all barriers, even the strongest barriers...."
This powerful portrait of Lady Claudine posing at a small graveyard marks the end of this brief but memorable photo shoot. The model's posing is one with her surroundings. A rare feat indeed.
Dear Claudine, what else can I say than that you surpassed yourself as a model? Thank you so much!
Upon my request, Claudine slowly moved her head to the left, allowing the viewer an image of the highly unusual myodisc lenses from behind. The Brtish graves from the first World War can be seen in the background. A major part of the bowl is visible, showing more of the background than what is visible in the photo itself. I am not sure how to explain the vertical stripe of light. It may have to do with the cylindrical curve on the front side of the lens.
Most myodisc glasses have lenses with plano fronts or in extreme cases, concave fronts. Here the fronts of the lenses have a convex shape. The strong cylinders are not just included in the bowl but in the carrier lens as well. The back side of the bowl only has the strong curve corresponding with the extreme spherical values needed by the first owner of the glasses. I have never seen this in any other pair of myodisc glasses.
Intermezzo.... My photo shoots always include short breaks during which the model can give her eyes a rest, using her own glasses. Claudine used one of these breaks to pose in her own glasses. Shortly afterwards, my life partner Nel arrived, expecting that the photo shoot might be ready - but it wasn't....
Fine, concentrated posing by Claudine in one of the most striking myodisc glasses in my collection. Note the double image of the model's left eye. Extreme myopia is often accompanied by substantial astigmatism, in this case -4.00 for the left eye and -5.25 for the right eye. My collection only hosts a few pairs with stronger cylinders. The image of the carrier lens suggests that it's positive but in this case the + value is only caused by the cylinder. This is highly unusual and it will be shown in more detail later on.
The width of the frame is only 120 millimeters. If my memory serves me well, the first owner of these glasses was a young girl in her early or mid teens. Surprisingly, her prescription did not get much worse afterwards. Extreme myopia tends to be progressive.
Claudine did two fine, interesting photo shoots for me in 2011, posing in a large number of glasses suitable for models with a small PD. She kindly agreed to pose in these newly arrived myodisc glasses and for contrast, I brought along the drop temple glasses shown earlier in this photo shoot. The drop temple pair was used on one previous occasion, with a model called Charlotte, in 2010. Claudine had posed in myodisc glasses on previous occasions and here she manages once more to deliver fine portraits in a standing position. Note the double image of the inner corner of the model's right eye. The height of the frame is 45 millimeters but the diameter of the central "bowl" is only 24 millimeters.
Anti-reflective coating on lenses did not exist 45 years ago when these myodisc glasses were made. As a result, it took a lot of editing to uncover the model's eyes in most of the portraits shown in this series. Some of the glare in this portrait is left as it was, on purpose.
Editing can add to the quality of portraits. Over the past couple of years, much effort has gone into the editing of new photo shoots. This goes especially for removing at least a part of the glare in the lenses of vintage glasses used during my photo shoots. These four photos of Claudine are notable exceptions. Here the reflection of the sky is kept in situ to express that even in days of sorrow and shock, there is always light, somewhere above the dark. Hope for the future, especially when one has an open mind and is willing to learn from history. Admittedly, this is hard because of the endless repetition.
Claudine is posing here in a section of the graveyard where seven graves of British soldiers from the First World War are kept in perfect condition, even after almost a century.
When we arrived at this section of the graveyard, I heard music running through my head. Holidays in Ireland, 1979. A then famous group called the Furey Brothers had a gig in Dingle and this offered me the opportunity to see Finbar Furey playing the pipes. However, the memory from that concert that will always remain is the moment when Finbar started announcing a song he would sing next:
"The next song was written by Eric Bogle and it's one of the greatest anti-war songs of all time. Eric wrote it when he was a young man, hitchhiking through France. He was supposed to sleep in a hostel in the next village but he was very drunk, so he decided to climb over a wall and sleep in a field. And the next morning when he woke up, he realized that he'd been sleeping in a graveyard, using a grave as a pillow. So he sat down and wrote this fantastic song about what he saw, all around him"
The song Finbar sang was unknown to me at the time but it turned out that they were just back to number three in the charts with it. The name of the song is "Green fields of France". In the lyrics, Eric Bogle talks to the soldier who lied buried under the gravestone that the songwriter had used as a pillow. When singing the song, Finbar had his precious pipes on his lap. During one phrase in the final verse of the song, he became so moved that he beat the stock of the pipes with his fist:
"Young Willie McBride, it all happened again,
and again, and again, and again and again"
Aside from its universal beauty, the song was special to me as my own grandfather fought in the same war. Unlike Willie McBride and millions of other soldiers, my grandfather survived the war without any physical damage. However, he had a nightmare that kept coming back throughout the rest of his life. When he was in his seventies, I often shared the only bedroom in the house with him and kept myself quiet, pretending to sleep each time he surfaced from his recurring nightmare. He never talked about it but I managed to put the fragments together and finally understood what his recurring nightmare was about. He was lying in the trenches in France and two of his friends were lying some twenty yards on his right hand side. They asked him if he had matches with him so that they could smoke a cigarette. My grandfather crawled to them, handed them his matches and then crawled back to his own position. A few seconds later, a big shell hit his friends and they were torn to pieces. The worst thing was that they did not die instantaneously but only after minutes of agony.
In later years, I often sang "Green fields of France" on stage, dedicating it to my late grandfather. Needless to say, the story about that sad but great song came back to me yesterday when preparing myself for the posting of this photo shoot. Yesterday I was unable to find words but now the words are back.
"All the world is upside down" is the opening line of a song I wrote ten years ago. The world is like that during "the day after" and that line keeps running through my head. Glasses for substantial long sight have the same effect, even more so when seen in the setting of a graveyard.
A beautiful "en profil" portrait of Claudine showing why drop temple glasses became quite popular soon after their invention during the mid 1970's. Photographs were often called stills and that quality in the model's posing here is second to none. Claudine has a moderate minus prescription and it's instrumental that the lenses are plus seven.
Graveyards are places for commemoration, introspection and to an extent, consolation. Yesterday, it was beyond my powers to find these words. Another key word is dignity. The magnifying lenses put an additional emphasis on these elements in the model's appropriate style of posing.
zaterdag 14 november 2015
vrijdag 13 november 2015
maandag 2 november 2015
This fine portrait of beautiful Emma in black Zenni glasses marks the end of her wonderful photo shoot. Emma is the 65th Lady behind Crystal Veil.
A word of thanks goes to Joe for his kindness during the preparatory talk about this photo shoot and the concept behind it.
Emma, making your acquaintance was an amazing experience and the same goes for the photo shoot. You are a raven beauty and excellent company but it takes more than that to deliver a good photo shoot in prescription glasses. Intelligent adaptation based on trust is perhaps the best way to describe one of the key factors during the start of a photo shoot. The entire process was a new experience but you took directions quite well without losing a part of your unique personality. What struck me especially was that you are life wise for your age. This intangible quality became more and more visible when you got into your stride as a model.
Other key words are motivation, an open mind and a capability to use "introspection" when it came to posing in strong glasses way beyond your mild prescription. Gradually you opened and widened a whole gamut of poses and expressions that were clearly not "acting" but an integral part of who you are. There was concentration, dignity and an element of pride, but your spontaneity was never far away. And your radiating smile could make an iceberg melt.
It came as a major surprise to me to witness a clear element of anticipation from your side after changing glasses. Just as if you felt instinctively what mood was needed to highlight each new pair of strong glasses. A perfect example is the contrast between both series with two quite different pairs of burgundy glasses at the bed of roses in Epe. Some ladies twice your age have several pairs of glasses and they select the pair of the day with great care, depending on the tasks that lay ahead. You did exactly the opposite at the bed of roses. Your role was basically the same in both glasses but you managed to put a strong emphasis on the characteristics of both the sturdy pair and the delicate pair. The most remarkable is that you managed this in a massive blur created by strong lenses, without an opportunity to assess your looks in a hand mirror. Some people are called mind readers. You are a glasses reader. I have never met anyone with this instinctive ability.
You confided to me that you hate glasses in daily life, wearing them only when it's really necessary. It speaks for your open mind that you accepted the challenge to do a photo shoot in prescription glasses. Posing as a "lady behind crystal veil" implies an ambassador role for glasses. You fulfilled that role in a brilliant way.
To quote a line in a well known Irish ballad:
"Grasp your nettles tightly, though it will burn".
Inviting an unknown young lady at a terrace to do a photo shoot is not a part of my daily repertoire. Looking back, I'm glad that I jumped over my own shadow and grabbed my courage together to invite you. And then you jumped over your own shadow when it came to glasses.... My advice is: keep hating your glasses :).
Dear Emma, you are a gem! Thank you so much for your unique contribution to this unconventional project. May life bring you health, happiness, the fulfillment of everything you aspire and dream of - and more....
"Emma, I have good news for you. Just one more snap and you are released from these extreme glasses"
"Really? I thought you'd never ask"
"And the news gets even better. The choice how to pose for the final snap is entirely yours. Just express your feelings if you can"
"No problem. Are you ready?"