Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Strike a Pose!

With the much anticipated unveiling of what could be the next biggest trend in men’s hair fashion (the “V” cut) I participated in my 2nd only photo shoot in my 32 years on this planet. Not being an oil painting nor being very photogenic the prelude to this big day, I was frantically trying to shed a extra few pounds as they say the camera adds 10 pounds and I was consumed with nervous tension (after all this face wasn't made for television and is more suited for radio or the print media). So I was left with the gnawing question– will I be able to play model for a day or will I crack under the pressure inflicting the same destructive force on the camera lens and photographer?

My 1st photo shoot was for my attempted television debut on the 1st ever Big Brother South Africa. This was many years ago but the memory of that Sunday afternoon is still vivid. The photo shoot was done on a couple of locations and I distinctly remember feeling increasingly foolish striking poses while the unsuspecting public were staring at this hive of activity, probably wondering who the hell I was not knowing that they may soon see me on television 24 hours a day for 3 months. I remember that the camera scared me and made me feel self-conscious about all parts of my body I perceived as being imperfect. I always hated my noose and therefore I found seeing profile pictures of me more frightening than watching the Exorcist on the big screen. The photo shoot went well and I was pleasantly surprised with the end result, but unfortunately the final decision by the producers of Big Brother excluded me from potential fame and knowing me also probable embarrassment. Like my husband says, sometimes you just can take me anywhere with my chronic “foot-mouth-disease”.

With the final countdown to the latest photo shoot I was making my way through peak hour traffic I came to the realization that what ever happens I must at all cost just relax and try having fun. Arriving at the shoot the atmosphere was relaxed. The skilled make up artist managed to artistically cover up my stress pimple that like Mt St Helens’ Volcano was threatening to erupt over night. She also managed to conceal all the nicks I had inflicted on myself with the previous morning’s shaving or rather carving disaster. My stylist who also happened to be the photographer did his magic with my hair and the signature “V” cut was perfected. I was ready for my close up! This would be my 1st shoot in a studio and it’s quite different from a location shoot. Everything appeared more confined and controlled. Unlike Naomi Campbell I was no diva and no personal assistants or housekeepers were harmed as there were none, besides I can’t afford throwing my phone at anyone or finance defending an assault law suit.

As the shoot started I was admittedly nervous in front of the camera. Having grown more mature since my last photo shoot, I have come to accept certain parts of my body that has become a good part frumpier than my Big Brother stint. A few well needed shots of social lubricant (aka strong liquor) relaxed me and the shoot progressed nicely. I am no natural therefore certain instructions on poses I found peculiar. Being said to manipulate your body into a position that feels totally unnatural, tilt your head in ways you have never done before and relax your lips was not something I was used to do. At one point having to keep a certain pose for up to a minute I could feel my leg muscles starting to shake, and I gained a lot more respect for professional models. Even though it felt queer posing in such precarious positions on camera it looked completely natural and hid all the little physical flaws and most importantly the much hated double chin. What more can a gay guy ask for!

Several wardrobe changes, themes and what felt like hundreds of photos later I actually started enjoying myself and my intense fear of the camera seemed like a distant memory. The other consolation was that if something didn’t look right at least there was the ultimate savior in the form of PHOTOSHOP! As my confidence grew adventurousness set in and the boundaries and inhibitions I had of what I was willing to do in front of the camera abated – I was now less concerned of showing a double chin and more focused on having fun even at the expense of looking like an absolute idiot. My husband was there for moral support and in certain photo’s a hand, an arm and a partial shot of his face can be seen. At the end of the day the creativity, confidence and freedom the photographer showed was contagious and it ended up being a very enjoyable experience.

Having survived my 2nd photo shoot I must admit that the experience was an eye opener. From being nervous of embarrassing myself I managed to cross a psychological barrier that prevented me from venturing beyond certain boundaries of being in total control of my outward appearance and entrusting my body to another person’s creative vision. The experience was scary, fun and at the end of the day very liberating. One thing is certain I am no professional model and the run ways of Paris and Milan will not grace my feet any time soon but having spend 4 hours in front of the camera I gained a new found confidence and my phobia of being photographed and having a Naomi Campbell epic breakdown was completely unfounded. This Diva is still utterly tame and harmless and the general public is safe for now.

Till next time.



AJ said...

love the new look, i wouldn't have the guts to do a photo shoot i'm too shy!

Blaque Tipton said...

I love the way you write. You have a new blog follower, *sigh* too bad I couldn't hear it over Martini's and gossip... your in South Africa? I'm from the East.

Pierre said...

Thanks guys! Yup I'm in sunny South Africa. If anyone wants to fly me out for Martini's & gossip (hint @ Blaque) my passport is close by ;-)

Witch Baby said...

I am blown away with your courage. Getting in front of the camera in any way/shape/form is a super scary thought. Totally love the way you let us get the little sneak peaks into your life.

Pierre said...

Thanks Witch Baby. I must say it was a bit nerve recking, but once you start to relax in front of the camera and trust the photographer is becomes easier. I think everyone should try doing something like this at least once!

Michele Martel said...

Hi we enjoyed reading your blog, me and my husband love this stuff! Michele-you have a follower in us,

Pierre said...

Thanks Michele Martel, i promise not to disappoint!

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