vrijdag 11 november 2016
This fine portrait of lovely Clare in Formlenti glasses from China marks the end of her wonderful photo shoot in which over fifty glasses were shown. Clare is the 79th Lady behind Crystal Veil.
My first photographer mentor Jan Hesselink always said, "Finding a good model is half the job" and he was absolutely right. My first step in the preparation for photo shoots abroad is posting a casting call on Model Mayhem, a worldwide meeting place for professional models and photographers. So far, my experience with this forum has always been excellent. Each casting call leads to far more applications than jobs available, and the average posing quality of the models is quite good. The continuing interest among models all over Europe keeps surprising me. Many models mention the fact that I have a rather unique niche in the field and that it's a pleasant occasion to do "something different" than the average photo shoot. The days after posting a casting call are always hectic. Some models don't realize that each photo shoot in prescription glasses calls for a thorough preparation from my side. It's impossible to select the best glasses for a model without knowing her prescription. I also need to know the PD (distance between both eye pupils) as this is to her face what dress size is to her body. So candidates have to do a bit of home work before they get the job. Some models drop out during this phase so the large amount of applications comes handy. One of my criteria during the selection of models is motivation and understanding what the job is about.
Clare was a fine example of a model who immediately understood the nature of my project. She wrote "I thought I would be perfect for your shoot. Eyewear is very important to me as I'm blind without it". She also sent me her prescription and PD straightaway. Unfortunately my schedule was already full so all I could offer was the chance of a cancellation - which in fact took place. There was just enough time to select the glasses for Clare before catching the train to Berlin.
When Clare arrived for her photo shoot, we got along great immediately. She was bight, cheerful and we had lots to talk about besides glasses. This continued when we did the photo shoot. Clare was motivated, a hard worker who took directions quite well. Highly concentrated when required, but the fun was never far away. Clare was not bothered by anything, not even when we made the switch to myodisc glasses. She managed to produce credible, natural looks in every prescription. A perfect ambassador for the project. And she is blessed with the most gracious hands. Incredible elegance. The photos testify to that. It all went by itself. All in all, over fifty glasses were used, including many in the short lived compact style of the mid 1960's.
Clare was amazed by the strong glasses in my collection: "I always thought that my own glasses were quite strong. All my friends in glasses have milder prescriptions". A real eye opener. Minus five is quite a common prescription. A few weeks later, it was my privilege to give her a guided tour in the old part of my native Amsterdam. It was Clare who discovered a private glasses museum - bless her eyesight - so we inspected the collection. It was a fine afternoon. Talk until the cows come home.
Clare, thank you so much for your unique contribution to the project! And yes, whenever my travels lead to Berlin again, I will contact you. A promise is a promise....
These tiny but nice glasses with Formlenti lenses were sent to me by Steve from China. Clare is the fifth model posing in them, being preceded by Sandra (213), Iris (158) and more recently Anna in Paris. My collection also hosts a pink Formlenti pair by the same brand but this red version is more suitable for brunettes.
donderdag 10 november 2016
Another "which of me do you like best" portrait of Clare in early 1970's myodisc glasses, this time taken "en face". For the record, the glasses were featured in one preceding photo shoot, last year with Claudine (204) who did a fine job posing in the nostalgic setting of a graveyard. Ever since, I was curious to have these extraordinary glasses tried out on a next occasion. The lot fell on Clare because of the small PD. A striking contrast, an entirely different mood board. It's always great to see and compare the way a new model brings life to a vintage pair of glasses. When the project started, my sole aim was to have each and every pair of glasses in my collection shown by a model. That's how the weblog started, in complete obscurity and without any plan to receive the attention of viewers. Simply a digital catalog. It still amazes me how fast the perspective changed over the years, but the changes were challenging and inspiring. So let's proceed with this amazing journey....
A color version and a black & white version of a fully edited portrait showing Clare in early 1970's myodisc glasses from Germany. Many girls and women in need of prescription glasses make selfies depicting them looking over and through the glasses at the same time. I never came across a written explanation for this ambiguous way of self portraying. I can think of two explanations. My first guess is that it has to do with the desire of these girls and women to show both their faces at the same time. Another, perhaps more likely explanation is that the subjects would prefer to take selfies sans glasses but still need their glasses to make the selfies.
Whatever their motives, the images crossed my mind when Clare was posing for me in these myodisc glasses used by a German school girl 45 years ago.
What actually happened was this. Clare had a bit of trouble raising the glasses to a point where she could use the bowls. Instead, she was looking through the upper part of the carrier lenses. In retrospect, she had to deal with two practical problems at the same time: the low position of the tiny bowls and the fact that the slightly positive carrier lenses were much closer to her minus five prescription than the extreme minus prescription in the bowls. Instead of asking her to raise her chin, I snapped. Translated into the world of thought shown in the world of selfies, Clare's expression here would be something like this:
"Do you like me better as a longsighted girl or as an extremely shortsighted girl?"
We are able to choose our frames but none of us can change our prescription in glasses, except for steps like laser surgery, IOL implants or - on a temporary basis - GOC (Glasses over Contacts). None of my models ever used GOC and it's my intention to keep it that way. There is no need, given the astounding ability of many models to look natural and credible in glasses fitted with many different prescriptions. Still, there may be a hidden preference among young women faced with eyesight problems. Three years ago, one of the models posing for me in Ireland confided to me that she would soon go for an eye test as she felt she needed prescription glasses. After seeing her portraits, she wrote to me "I hope I will get the magnifying glasses!". Soon afterwards, it turned out that she was in fact longsighted so she got the prescription she preferred. Lucky girl....
This and the two preceding portraits are deliberately different from what is usually seen in my documentaries. It's not a new trend but an answer to a follower who requested that I would show some less edited portraits of a model posing in extremely strong glasses. I met this polite request after consulting Clare. She did not mind. To me, there is something creepy about these portraits but as they put it in French, "chacun a son gout" so there you go. The only editing involved here was to transfer the portraits into black and white. The next portraits in this series will be edited and in color. See for yourself which you like best.
These remarkable glasses were sent to me by Stephan from Bavaria whose projects with his partner Sandra were highly inspirational to me when I started my own project. The first owner of the glasses was a lady who used this pair in her schooldays. During our correspondence, Stephan mentioned that her extreme myopia was barely progressive and that she is still wearing myodisc glasses.
Having the stem of the willow tree close at hand facilitated the posing and this lead to a series of wonderful portraits. The way Clare manages a direct eye contact with the photographer is second to none. Quite credible, just as if these are her own glasses. Great!
The tiny orange glasses were featured in several of my early photo shoots (Astrid 415, Farishta 402, Nanda 131, Merleen 260, Nel 167 and 242, Sandra 230) and again when I started working with freelance models like Christien (100) and Leah from Dublin (197). In spite of the extreme strength of the lenses, the above mentioned models managed to create wonderful and often quite natural portraits. With this in mind, I brought the orange glasses to Berlin for Clare.
Wonderful posing by lovely Clare in another pair of extreme glasses sent to me by Steve from China. The tiny orange frame is ideally suited for very high prescriptions. It's the only pair in my collection in which no myodisc lenses were needed for a Rx above minus twenty.
These glasses were sent to me several years ago by Steve from China but they were never used in any of my previous photo shoots. Here you see the reason why. The reflection in the lenses is excessive and it takes a lot of editing to eliminate or at least reduce the glare. Over the past three years I made good progress at the editing. Just take a look at the next portrait which is the edited version. A word of thanks goes to Clare for her kind permission to post both versions.
These extraordinary glasses were kindly sent to me by a collector from England some time ago. The lenses are of a rare type called "Formlenti". It was an attempt to provide an aesthetic alternative for the traditional myodisc lens with a circular "bowl". The first owner of the nameless pair shown here by Clare had quite an unusual and complicated prescription. My educated guess is that the choice for Formlenti was given in by the prism correction rather than the spherical strength.
woensdag 9 november 2016
Six years ago, these nameless tiny glasses were sent to me by Steve from China. The glasses were subsequently featured in four photo shoots (Marleen 168, Petra 271, Nel 295, Claudine 103) and then forgotten about. I brought them to Berlin with Clare in mind. The dimensions turned out to be just right. Some of Steve's glasses are problematic as the lenses have no anti-reflective coating to speak of, but in this case there was no problem. I asked Clare to look at the stem of the willow and that was enough. An attempt to take a satisfactory "en face" portrait failed because of an excess of glare in the lenses.
This is a great portrait of lovely Clare in the Zenka glasses. Her long hair was sliding over the edge of the left lens but I decided to leave it that way. Clare's cheerful posing and her credible direct eye contact did the rest. Impossible to guess that her own prescription is only minus five instead of minus twelve. Hat off for Clare!
It does not happen often that a pair of glasses bought by a lady with a fairly wide PD also suit a model with a much smaller PD but here is one such case. Nel has a PD of 64 while Clare's PD is only 58. I suppose this exception has to do with the fact that the Zenka glasses have a half rim frame. Also the height of the frame is quite modest.
The romantic story about how these Zenka glasses played a role in the start of my photography project can be found in the previous photo shoot (Monique 095) so there is no need to repeat it here in full. They were the glasses used by my life partner Nel when we first met and she gave them to me a few months ago. I brought the Zenka glasses to Berlin with Monique in mind who has a PD similar to Nel's. The glasses were a perfect match for Monique. After seeing Clare posing in two earlier glasses given to me by Nel, I suggested to Clare that she might give the Zenka glasses a try as well. The frame was bought in 2006 but Nel needed an increase a few years later so the lenses are stronger than the lenses in the Luxottica and Augusto Valenti glasses. High myopia tends to be progressive but in Nel's case it's a slow process so neither of us is particulary worried about it.
Nel gave me the Augusto Valenti glasses soon after the start of my photography project in 2009. The glasses were liked by many models and featured in a dozen photo shoots (Rachel 118, Astrid 380, Caroline 046, Farishta 351, Marleen 146, Nel 191, Leonne 128, Connie 031, Christien 078, Claudine 065, Claudia Allegonda 018, Juliette 069). The glasses then dropped out of sight until I selected them for the trip to Berlin, along with Nel's next pair of glasses by Zenka. As shown in the previous photo shoot, the Zenka glasses were a perfect match for Monique who has a PD similar to Nel's. Claire arrived the next day and the Augusto Valenti glasses were still lying on the table. Clare has a considerably smaller PD than Monique so she did not seem to be an obvious candidate. But Clare liked the style, so why not give them a try? In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the effect of the Augusto Valenti glasses on Clare's face in this pleasant capture. Again, the vantage point was chosen with great care.
These Augusto Valenti glasses were another welcome donation to my collection by my life partner Nel. Not satisfied with her Luxottica glasses, she bought this Augusto Valenti pair some five years later. Nel liked the eyebrow line but not the way the metal frame exposed the thick lenses. Mind you, this was in the middle of the retro era when plastic frames like the "Bettina" Rodenstock pair (ideal for absorbing strong lenses) had long disappeared from the shops and from the streets.
These discrete blue glasses were a present from my life partner Nel who bought them in her early forties when dry eyes made the use of contact lenses increasingly difficult. Nel was never really happy with the frame which - in her own words - made her look sad. This was long before we had our first date in 2008 and she could only afford one pair of glasses. The Luxottica pair was featured in half a dozen early photo shoots and I selected it for the journey to Berlin with Clare in mind.
These Zenni glasses have a nice touch of the cat eye style. Many models nowadays like cat eye glasses and Clare was no exception.The frame is a bit on the wide side for her PD but this portrait came out great. It was just a matter of choosing a suitable vantage point. The posing by Clare is second to none.
There nice red metal glasses with open sides caught my attention when Zenni launched them in the spring of 2012. The frame soon disappeared from their catalog, never to return again. They were featured in a couple of photo shoots, first in Flanders with a freelance model called Daisy and then back home with my life partner Nel. After four years of hibernation, the glasses surfaced when I was going through the entire collection to select glasses for the photo shoots in England. Jade was the model who posed with them in Brighton. They seemed a fine candidate for Clare as well so here they are again. Nice!
dinsdag 8 november 2016
Having a giant collection of prescription glasses in the house was never seen as something that could be of any practical use. However, twenty years ago it was of use one day when my daughter stayed with me for the weekend and she had a problem with her contact lenses. She was thirteen and had to go to school early next morning. So I quickly went through my collection, knowing her approximate prescription which was around minus eight at the time. The Luxottica glasses shown here by Clare were the pair that came closest to my daughter's prescription, PD and facial shape. Being thirteen and rebellious, she called them "those stupid glasses" but it helped her out and that was the main thing. Lovely Clare liked the Luxottica glasses a lot better than my daughter did, but of course posing for a minute is different than having to wear them at school for a day or two!
These simple but nice Luxottica glasses were featured in half a dozen previous photo shoots. Again, it's a frame suitable for ladies with a smaller than average PD. In my view, another great match with lovely Clare's face as the frame is not too overwhelmingly present. The posing is marvelous.