zondag 30 oktober 2016

Monique 109

All good things must come to an end.... This happy portrait of smiling Monique marks the end of her wonderful photo shoot. Monique is the 78th Lady behind Crystal Veil.

A word of thanks goes to Wassja, the owner of the coffee bar at Rudower Chaussee for the free coffee and his kind permission to use his premises for a part of this photo shoot.

It came as a bit of a surprise when Monique reacted on my casting call for Berlin. A model all the way from LA.... But of course, modelling is quite international and it soon turned out that Monique was already staying in Berlin. We soon had a clear email exchange and Monique was quite fast with sending the information required for the selection of the glasses. Her motivation for the photo shoot was that it sounded like something out of the ordinary, something special. The first thing I noticed in her portfolio was a portrait with lots of freckles. Nice, and a novelty to the project. So during the selection of the glasses, I "treated" Monique as if she was a redhead rather than a blonde and this turned out a good approach.

Monique, it was a pleasure to hear and watch you during the selection of the glasses on the table in the apartment! Many models with 20 / 20 vision leave the choice to me as they have no experience with glasses whatsoever, but you were different. Quite outspoken in what frames you liked and disliked. I noticed that frame shape was often the decisive factor. You sounded as if you had been wearing prescription glasses all your life. But you invariably made the right choices and this contributed a lot to the outcome of the photo shoot.

When we started the actual shoot, it struck me that you have a patient way of posing. Patient but far from monotonous - it was amazing to see how you kept switching from a neutral look to an intense look and back.

The actress in you came to the forefront when you started posing in strong glasses that only created a massive blur. Again, there was nothing theatrical in your posing. It was a style best described as quiet but clearly with the eyes of an observer. This may sound like a contradictio in terminis because of the strong lenses, but the photos in this documentary testify to that. You took directions quite well and I was amazed by your quality to open your eyes just enough to create an intense look rather than an expression that might have been over the top. Your posing was an excellent example of "minimal art" and that's a compliment.

An unintentional but surprising aspect in your posing was that you occasionally looked like my life partner Nel in her younger days. And when we switched to the strong cataract glasses, you could easily pass for the twin sister of a dear friend of mine in Ireland. I never had that experience during any preceding photo shoot. It was certainly something I never expected. A good actress is able to look like anyone she is playing in her role, but in your case there was no script that included the ladies in question. In short, it was a wonderful experience working with you. I wish you a great continuation of your acting and modelling career in Berlin. Monique, thank you so much!

Monique 108

These make up glasses were acquired around the turn of the Millennium and they were then fitted with lenses of +2.50. When I met my life partner Nel in 2008, it stuck me that she really had to put the tip of her nose to the mirror when she was doing her eye make up. So when the first anniversary of our relation was approaching, I paid a secret visit to her optician and asked them if they could fit the make up glasses with Nel's prescription for reading. Nel was quite surprised with her present and she soon gave the make up specs a try. Unfortunately, she never got used to them. The pattern of a lifetime is hard to change.... So half a year later, she gave me back the glasses, suggesting that they might come handy at photo shoots. Models who posed in them include Rachel (150), Farishta (581), Jolien (120), Osi (237), Leah (209), Abeer (182) and more recently, Cat in Paris. Here Monique joins their ranks, pointing away her eyes from the camera in order to avoid the flash light.

Monique 107

Glasses: make up specs from Taiwan
[L: -8.00; c-0.75 v / R: -8.25; c-1.50 v]

Monique 106

These striking "op art" glasses by designer Valentina Rehder were sent to me by Stefan from Bavaria who had a wonderful collaboration with his then partner Sandra during the previous decade. Their work was an important source of inspiration to me at the start of my own project. Other sources of inspiration were Alain from Paris and Konstantin from Moscow.

Monique 105

Glasses: Valentina Rehder, 1990's
[L=R: -20.00]

Monique 104

The difference in height between the "bowls" presented no problem to Monique as the extreme power in the lenses already produced a massive blur. By contrast, the frame of these Trend glasses is quite attractive.

Monique 103

Another pair of enigmatic glasses, this time received from Martin in Cologne, Germany, six years ago. Here one of the "bowls" is fitted higher than the other bowl. The only explanation that might make sense is that the optical effect comes close to that of a prism.

Monique 102

Glasses: Trend, from Italy, probably late 1980's / early 1990's
[L: -16.00; c-1.50 o / R: -16.00]

Monique 101

Monique is the first model ever to pose in myodisc glasses, avoiding the ultra strong 22 millimeter "bowls" and looking through the carrier lenses instead. The first owner had a far too large PD and so we agreed upon this alternative. The strange position of the bowls makes you wonder how the first owner managed to walk without stumbling. Thank you, Monique!

woensdag 26 oktober 2016

Monique 100

These "Brett" glasses were kindly sent to me by a collector from the U.K. The first owner was male and his PD was far wider than Monique's own PD. But a few playful trick photos can do no harm....
I like the expression on Monique's face and her slightly askance look:
"Do you really want me to put up this extreme pair?"

The answer will be revealed within a few days....

Monique 099

Glasses: called "Brett" (myodisc)
[L=R: -26.50]

Monique 098

Glasses: Tiaotiaotu (Kreislenti / myodisc)
[L=R: -16.00]

Time was running out but we decided to try a few glasses with extremely strong prescriptions. This pair from China is on the large side but the effect is interesting because of the plano carrier lens next to the central "bowl" in each of the lenses. The circle shaped "bowl" contains the strong correction needed by the first owner of the glasses.

Monique 097

Another fine portrait of lovely Monique posing in the Zenka glasses that played a role in the start of the project with "Ladies behind crystal veil".

Monique 096

My photo project with "Ladies behind crystal veil" did not start as something intentional. My giant collection of glasses was simply a collection quietly built up over a period of almost four decades. Occasionally, lady visitors to the house saw a small part of the collection and several ladies were eager to try some of the glasses. They even asked me to take a couple of snapshots, just for  fun. But I never saw the real potential of the collection. In retrospect, it all started to happen one day in May, 2008 when I came across an amazing picture of a lady in glasses. There was something there and she fascinated me. Fortunately I was able to contact her and we first met on June 14th. Our first date was great so we started seeing each other on a regular basis. What struck me was that the lady seemed to have a substantial collection of glasses. She even switched glasses on our first date and on each next occasion she appeared in different glasses again. It took three dates before the lady showed me that what I had seen was in fact the same pair of glasses all the time. The only difference was that she had a collection of clips in various colors and shapes. The lady was Nel and we soon started a relation that is still going strong after eight years.
In retrospect, Nel was my first model. We did two photo shoots in glasses from my collection and another photo shoot in her own classes with all the various clips. It was Nel who saw the potential of my collection. She realized that her strong prescription made only a fraction of my collection suitable for posing. And then she said, "You should find other ladies to pose in all your glasses". I hesitated a few moments - memories of jealous partners from the past went through my head. But Nel started suggesting names of ladies in the know as possible candidates. Neighbors like Irma and Clarine, friends like Brigitta and so on. And then the ball started rolling. Of course, Nel and I did discuss a latent risk of me doing photo shoots with other women. We were both aware that doing an extended portrait photo shoot with a lady might imply an element of intimacy. But it soon turned out that there was never anything to worry about, for any of us. The element of intimacy was there alright, but it was platonic, innocent intimacy. It turned out to be surprisingly easy to handle each new photo shoot in a professional manner, based on mutual trust between model and photographer. I suppose the age factor and my life history of serial monogamy made things a lot easier. Another factor at stake is that my taste for ladies has always remained the same over five decades. The girls and later, women in my life were always near my own age.
The easiest way to document the project was starting a weblog and this was simply meant as a catalog showing all the glasses in my vast collection. I never expected any interest from outside. But within a couple of months, it turned out that people were discussing the photo shoots, wondering who the photographer might be. I introduced myself to them and the rest is history. Two years later, one of my followers in the UK suggested that my work had enough quality to try my chances on Model Mayhem. I did not expect any real interest among freelance models but this soon turned out to be a miscalculation. The first casting call (in the Netherlands) resulted in over a dozen applications and I was amazed by the quality of the models who reacted. Nel and I had another discussion about the potential risks but it soon turned out that working with young freelance models was even easier than working with middle aged amateur models. The age factor and the professionalism of the freelance models offered perfect protection. Nel was amazed by the way the project kept developing itself as it progressed. She always kept supporting the project in many ways, including raising interest among potential models.
Nel was the catalyst of the project and it had a gradual effect on the way she looked at herself in her strong glasses. Nel is far from shy, quite outward and blessed with a rock solid personality. However, I remember one moment of self awareness during our first date. It was a rainy evening and she stopped to clean the lenses of her glasses, holding them near the tip of her nose, saying "My eyesight is quite bad". She did not look at me and it ran through my head that she was half awaiting rejection because of her strong glasses. My answer was simply, "You have lovely eyes and the glasses look great on you". That was it. Problem solved. When we did our first photo shoots, Nel was amazed by the variety of glasses near her own prescription in my collection. She mentioned the astronomic cost of her own glasses - well over 1200 Euro - and that this made her choose the glasses with all the various clips.
Zenni came into the picture just a few weeks after I embarked on the photography project. Many amateur models were happy with a free pair of glasses in their own prescription. I ordered lots of glasses from Zenni so that models could make a choice after seeing the photos. Nel was interested to try the new arrivals from Zenni as well. Unfortunately, her prescription was too high as Zenni has an upper limit of -10.00 for progressive lenses. This problem was soon solved when I came across ciliaryblue in England. Nel now has a nice, varied collection of glasses and she can choose the pair of the day, depending on her outfit of the day. It makes all the difference in the world if one pays 300 instead of over 1200 Euro for a pair of new glasses, fitted with 1.74 high index progressive lenses. Nel now says that she would never switch to contact lenses, even if she could.
There was a big surprise at my 66th birthday, in August. Nel had given me several of her old glasses during the early years of the project, but this time she gave me her Zenka glasses with all the clips. The glasses shown in the photo that fascinated me, the glasses she was wearing at our first dates. It made me feel a bit shy as these glasses are a part of our history. But Nel insisted that she had no use for them anymore. High myopia tends to be progressive and although it's a slow process in her case, she had a couple of increases over the past eight years. Her glasses were minus ten when we met and now they are minus twelve.
With this background, it seemed a good idea to bring the glasses with the clips to Berlin, just in case. Monique and Nel met each other during the selection of the glasses in our apartment. It struck us that several of Nel's own Zenni glasses really suited Monique. So how about asking Monique to try Nel's old Zenka glasses with the clips? The answer is given in the above photo. A perfect match!

Monique 095

Glasses: Zenka, made in 2006
[L: -10.50; c-1.25 v / R: -10.75; c-1.25 v / var add 2.00]

Monique 094

This frame was a bestseller for Silhouette and my collection hosts at least half a dozen examples of it. The frame came in at least four different colors. The transparent white version was the most popular but this brown version seemed the best candidate for Monique. An airy frame like this does not lend itself for substantial prescriptions and the pairs in my collection are all between plus two and minus three. I like the way the glasses match with Monique's face.  

Monique 093

Glasses: Silhouette 1156, made in 1984
[L: -2.00 / R: -0.75; c-0.50 o]

Monique 092

These green Conquistador glasses were a find in Germany and subsequently featured in several early photo shoots (e.g. Rachel 022, Astrid 058, Hiska 084, Melissa 001). They surfaced during the hectic preparations for the visit to Sussex in May. One of the models (Jade) selected them for the final part of her photo shoot in the historic Laines of Brighton. The green Conquistador glasses seemed an obvious candidate for the photo shoot with Monique and to my delight, they passed the test.

Monique 091

Glasses: Conquistador, late 1980's / early 1990's
[L: 0; c-1.00 o / R: -0.25; c-0.75 o]

dinsdag 25 oktober 2016

Monique 090

Another example of marvelous posing by lovely Monique in green glasses made by Zenni. Alas, time went all too fast underneath the willow tree, so we decided to head back to the apartment for an encore.

Monique 089

Symphony in green.... Another wonderful, credible "en face" portrait of Monique in her quiet style of posing. Great eye contact. There is no way of telling that these are not her own glasses.

Monique 088

These olive green glasses were ordered from Zenni six years ago. Generally speaking, green is not considered an easy frame colour. Still, many of my early models liked the glasses and selected them for photo shoots (e.g. Rachel 086, Gita 293, Hiska 168, Lettie 200, Nanda 179, Karen 293, Marieke 212 and Doreen 161). The frame is long out of stock but the glasses make their occasional travels when there's a chance that a model will like them.

Monique 087

Glasses: Zenni 2286
[L=R: -8.00]

Monique 086

"That was brilliant, Monique, thank you!"

Monique 085

Arguably one of the very best portraits made during this photo shoot. Here Monique is outdoing herself just once more. It's another example of her ability to keep her eyes open without overdoing it. I love the expression in this portrait.

Monique 084

After the experiment with the cataract glasses in a standing position, Monique was ready to try another couple of Zenni glasses, Rx minus eight. The black pair shown here was first featured in my fourth photo shoot with Farishta (962), two years ago. The glasses can also be seen in the 1960's part of the photo shoot with Nefeli in Athens. Although slightly larger, the frame has a nice touch of the style that was popular during the late 1960's. Again, this is excellent posing by Monique. Great!

Monique 083

Glasses: Zenni 283821
[L=R: -8.00]

Monique 082

Here Monique is showing the mighty centrifugal power of cataract glasses with lenticular lenses. This is another photo which reminds me of Maura. she did not mind wearing her glasses but she was a bit self conscious whenever I produced my camera. Maura told me that she had been wearing glasses since the tender age of two. The main reason for her camera shyness was the centrifugal power in the lenses: "In some pictures I look as if I have no eyes at all". That problem was avoided by choosing the vantage points with care. However, during photo shoots I sometimes choose the vantage point the way shown here. After all, a model can prefer a bit of privacy for a moment, even in the middle of a photo shoot. Thank you, Monique!

Monique 081

The canopy of the willow tree seemed to offer more protection against the reflection by direct light, so I asked Monique to give the cataract glasses another try. It took me almost an hour of retouching but the time investment eventually paid off, resulting in this fine portrait. Some small bits of glare were deliberately kept in situ, accentuating the position of the lenticular "bowl" in the lenses. This portrait of Monique reminds me of Maura, a dear friend in Ireland. I made her acquaintance in the autumn of 1991. She was 36, a blonde and already a grandmother. She was extremely longsighted, with a prescription of +8, and she was wearing giant glasses not unlike the pair shown here by Monique. Maura and I were soon involved in a happy relation but the two seas dividing us were too much of a practical barrier to keep the relation going. The good thing is that we always remained friends till this very day. Maura eventually had her eyes operated and she is now wearing glasses with a mild prescription of +1.50. There was nothing intentional in this portrait - just another attempt to produce a satisfactory image of Monique posing in cataract glasses. When this photo came rolling past on my PC screen at home, I was flabbergasted. A real Maura lookalike....

Monique 080

Another great pose by lovely Monique in the rimless glasses with faceted sides sent on a long term loan by Mike. The eye contact with her avid photographer is second to none. Hat off for Monique!

Monique 079

Upon my request, Monique posed again in the rimless "dégradé" glasses with faceted sides sent by Mike just before my journey to Berlin. In spite of the Rx of the lenses (minus four), Monique produced a fine, natural look, just as if these are her own glasses. Great!

Monique 078

The same portrait, edited in sepia and using a raised level of contrast. It almost looks as if the smoke has changed into fire. A contemporary Joan of Arc? Be assured, dear readers, all models posing for me survive the experiments without any discomfort and so did Monique....

Monique 077

Monique did not mind participating in a small experiment from my side, blowing a bit of smoke from a cigarette between model and camera.

Monique 076

Posing in glasses with a prescription of minus two can be more difficult for models with 20 / 20 vision as the eyes are tempted to bridge the gap by accommodation. No such problem here for Monique who manages a perfectly natural look without squinting or any sign of eye strain. Well done, Monique!

Monique 075

Orange glasses emerged when the cat eye era ended in 1963 / 1964. The new style was solid and rather compact. Fashion began to change again after the love summer of 1967. Frames gradually became larger and this culminated in the arrival of giant frames in 1975. In the Netherlands, orange glasses were considered a must for blondes. The orange hype continued until the early 1970's. Here Monique shows a perfect example of the hype in question. The glasses look great on her.

Monique 074

Glasses: Neostyle (Vela), made in 1969 or 1970
[L: -1.75 / R: -2.00]

Monique 071 - 073

These black and white versions of the preceding three photos are arguably even better. This may have to do with my age and hippie nostalgia.... Anyway, see for yourself which version you like best.

Monique 070


Monique 069

In the mid 1990's I had a stormy relation with a blonde who was preparing emigration from the Netherlands to Ireland. She was pushing forty and I could not help noticing that she had trouble when reading small print. Of course she always denied having any eye strain. After a year, she told me that she was prescribed glasses in her late teens to get rid of her frequent headaches. She produced the glasses and showed them to me, but she refused to put them on. "I don't need glasses at all, but that silly optician said that I should wear them all the time". My next remark was that they were nice hippie glasses and that made it even worse. "I was never a hippie in my life. Never!". Her mood swings were just as unpredictable as the weather at the Irish West Coast. Finally, she gave in and admitted that going to an optician might be a good idea. The optician was a wise man. He gave her a free pair of readers (+1.00), adding "Here, these are for you. If you feel you don't need them yet, simply put them in a drawer. But you will notice that you really need them within a year". And this is exactly what happened. She soon emigrated to Ireland, leaving her old hippie glasses and that's how they became part of my expanding collection. Glasses stories.... Anyway, the first thing Monique said when she put the hippie glasses on was "I really can't tell the difference!".

Monique 068

Glasses: Algha, early 1970's
[L: +0.25; c+0.25 h / R: +0.50]

Monique 067

Here Monique gives us another great example of direct eye contact with her photographer. Again, the lenses are +0.75 and our distance was four feet, exactly the maximal distance that gave Monique perfect eyesight. The slight magnification of the eyes and the touch of mystery created by the tinted lenses certainly play a positive role. But what really sets this portrait apart is the expression in the model's eyes. Beyond words!

Monique 066

These Studio Milano glasses have been in my collection for fifteen years but they were only featured for the first time in my photo shoot with Jade in Brighton. Like Monique, Jade is blessed with perfect eyesight. It came as no surprise to me when Monique selected them from the table.

Monique 065

Glasses: Studio Milano, Italy, mid / late 1980's
[L=R: +0.75]

Monique 064

Trifocal lenses were invented in the late 1960's but they never reached a wide popularity. Around the same time, the first progressive lenses appeared on the market. Progressive lenses were aesthetically more acceptable as they show no demarcation line - the dreaded sign of "old age". However, in my honest opinion there is nothing of the granny look in this fine portrait. Excellent posing by Monique!

Monique 063

Glasses: Class (Italy), probably late 1980's
[L: +1.50 / R: +1.75 / trif add 1.50 - 3.00]

Monique 062

Monique showing another fine pair of Silhouette glasses from the 1990's. This is excellent posing indeed. The lenses correct very mild long sight and this gave Monique the occasion to see her photographer perfectly. Our distance was four feet, exactly the maximal distance that gave Monique perfect eyesight. The direct eye contact is superb. Hat off for Monique!

Monique 061

Glasses: Silhouette 1405, made in 1995
[L: +0.75 / R: +0.50; c+0.25 h]

Monique 060

Aesthetically speaking, the heyday of Silhouette was in the 1970's and 1980's when frames were large. Fashion changed abruptly in late 1988 / early 1989. The large frames disappeared from the opticians shops and were replaced by tiny, rather dull retro frames. Silhouette was the only brand that bravely tried to brave the retro storm and they kept producing larger frames for another full decade. Eventually they gave up, finding a new niche for themselves by concentrating on discrete, high quality rimless glasses. The glasses shown here by Monique were bought by a German lady who apparently disliked the new retro wave.