dinsdag 14 februari 2017

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This Valentine special would not be complete without a new model. These three pictures were taken today, on Valentine's Day. The lovely lady is called Patricia and she obligingly took a short break from her hectic job in the best fish stall at the weekly food and flower market in Enschede. A real Dutch "Molly Malone", cheerful Patricia is the perfect host for Hanini's stall and indeed for anyone who enjoys fish. The only complication was that it was time nor place to remove her contact lenses. So Patricia bravely coped with the massive blur in the red Valentine glasses (-8.00). Much to her relief, I had another Valentine pair with me. These glasses only arrived a few days ago and as you can see, they are more discrete than the red pair. The lenses in these metallic glasses are -5.50. Still a substantial prescription but Patricia found them more comfortable. I hope to do a full photo shoot with Patricia in spring or in the summer season - but not at work. Thank you, Patricia, much appreciated!

zondag 12 februari 2017

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Our final station in this Valentine special is Berlin. Clare did the second half of her epic photo shoot under the willow tree. And then out came the Valentine glasses.... Lovely Clare zoomed in on the acting bit suggested by me. Spotting an imaginary handsome man under a willow tree and then having to draw his attention.... what a crazy idea. But Clare saw the fun element in it and she decided to give it a go. This entire series was taken within twenty seconds and nothing is left out, not even the moment when she cracks up. Many photographers would have left the third photo out, but in my opinion this spontaneous "behind the scene" capture contributes greatly to the series. It only took Clare two or three seconds to get back into her stride as a model. Her instantaneous adoration of the handsome man is expressed in a fantastic manner. Simply beyond words. Only a man with a heart of stone would not answer the love in Clare's eyes.... She then puts up the hood of her coat to show him another aspect of her face. This time she is not just adoring the handsome man but also observing him at the same time. The final photo shows that true love prevails, deeper and wiser than it was during the first magic moments of bliss. What an instinct, what a power of imagination, and what a perfect yet spontaneous execution of the entire sequence. What a gem.... Thank you, Clare!

This extraordinary series marks the end of this Valentine special. My sincere thanks go to Julia, Nel, Monique, Miliswa, Lettie, Nefeli, Nicci, Xenia, Lucy, Mirjam, Emma, Carla and Clare for their highly individual contributions. Unfortunately, one model had to cancel our appointment upon the last moment as she is down with a bad flu. If it comes to a new photo shoot soon, her photos will be added as a PS to this documentary.

Wishing all viewers of my weblogs a Happy Valentine Day!

And to those who may doubt if there will ever be a new Valentine in their lives, here's an appropriate song chorus for you. Written by Johnny Duhan, the song was popularized by the late Ronnie Drew during the 40 years celebration concert tour with the Dubliners.

"Don't give up till it's over
Don't quit if you can
The weight on your shoulder
will make you a stronger man"

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The new photo shoot with Carla took place three weeks before Christmas. Two third of its output is now posted on my next weblog which is called "Gracious ladies behind crystal veil" and the other part will be posted there next week. When it was time for the Valentine glasses, Carla looked at the familiar heart shaped pillow on my sofa. Some of the very best pictures in her first photo shoot (2009) were taken with the same red pillow as it matched perfectly with a beautiful pair of blended myodisc glasses. Why not use the red pillow again? The first photo is all about repetition of heart shapes - the lips, the glasses and the pillow. Some extra editing was thrown in for a maximal effect. The series then returns to standard editing. Carla of course went for the acting part but departing spontaneously from the script, she divides her Valentine attention between the imaginary handsome man and her devoted photographer. The entire series is fantastic. Stunner looks and confident yet playful posing. And then that final moment of reflection about Valentine's Day.... Thank you, Carla!

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"Valentine's Day is great.... What a pity that it can't be Valentine each day for everybody.... But that's life". What a fantastic encore.... Thank you, Emma!

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After the hospitable, warm but hectic surroundings in the restaurant, Emma had a bit of time left, so we headed for the station and found a quiet place in its immediate surroundings. The Valentine glasses came out again and this time we followed a more loosely arranged script. The imaginary handsome man only appears after the first three photos. Emma spots him in the fourth photo and she returns to her photographer for feedback in the seventh photo. This is beautiful posing and of course Emma's big smile is priceless. But Emma had a wonderful encore in store....

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Gronau in Germany.... Encouraged by Nel's advice to continue with the project under the new circumstances, I contacted Emma. To my delight, she was all go to do a new photo shoot on short term, in spite of the wind and the cold. After our limbs had somewhat warmed up in a big restaurant called Extrablatt I asked the man in charge if we could use his premises for a short series of model photography. Being a generous man and knowing me for ages, Mohamed gave his permission straightaway. A giant reproduction of a well known photo by the famous Frank Horvat looked like a perfect background for Emma to pose in the Valentine glasses. The only disadvantage was that the restaurant was rather crowded but we managed to install ourselves anyway. It was an entirely new experience for Emma who prefers quiet surroundings but she managed bravely. What sets this Valentine series by lovely Emma apart is the wonderful element of devotion in her expression.

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Nel's daughters have a similar track record as models but this is the first time they posed for me on the same occasion. Mirjam participated in the catwalk at the opening of my first exhibition with "Ladies behind crystal veil" (Vrijhof, Enschede, 2010) and she did two excellent photo shoots for me in 2015 and last winter. Each of the sisters has a highly personal, contrasting posing style so it came as no surprise that Mirjam delivered a Valentine series with a different feel to it. She zooms in on the imaginary handsome man and manages to get his attention briefly. Unable to keep her concentration long enough, she loses the attention of the handsome man. He turns his back on her and walks out, leaving a stupefied and disappointed Mirjam behind. All the posing is good but the expression on her face and the slightly lowered right arm in the final photo are priceless.

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Christmas in Amersfoort.... There is often collateral damage when a long relationship has come to an end. Call it a loss of context. It was heartening when Nel's daughters decided to keep contributing to the photography project as well. Lucy participated in the catwalk at the opening of my exhibition in Germany (2011) and she subsequently did two excellent photo shoots for me in Amersfoort and in Amsterdam (2012). Lucy knew all about the up coming Valentine special and she delivered a great series with a twist of her own. After hearing the acting directions, she looked at the imaginary handsome man but then decided that a glass of red wine would add an element compatible with the Valentine theme. Nel filled two glasses of Gl├╝hwein, one for Lucy and one for herself so that they could toast when required. But instead of toasting straightaway, Lucy thought of another plan. Holding the glass of hot red wine like a microphone, she tried to produce steam on the lenses of the Valentine glasses. Unfortunately the lenses did not steam up enough for her to draw hearts on the steam and create a new Valentine image. So she proceeded with the toast and then discovered that the imaginary handsome man was still waiting for his turn. He was rewarded for his patience with several sweet kisses. But the story does not end here. Lucy reminded me last week that we had long planned to do a sister shoot. Lucy, I look forward to do that photo shoot with Mirjam and your good self!