November 10th, 2008

congee hanzi


Remember this nun suit? In the comments section on that post, someone asked why I was wearing it, what I was modeling, and whether I went home on the bus in full nunnalia or cleaned myself up first.

This was the response I wrote in the comments:
"I was modeling the beautiful designer nun suit and other clothes for a magazine editorial. I CAN'T WAIT for the pics to come out; I adore the photographer [Baldovino Barani]. He only uses natural light, not studio lights, which liberates the entire shoot: in a studio situation, if I so much as kneel down on the ground, everything grinds to a halt while the photographer and his assistants adjust a shitload of lights. THIS photographer took me out on the streets of HK...when a trolley rolled by, he yelled, "Get on it!" and I ran down the sidewalk in my enormous gown and climbed up on the trolley while he took pics. We shot inside of fruit stands, in an elevator, on the sidewalk where I tried to convince old men to give me a was awesome.

Furthermore, in Asia, the photographer usually shows the model a "reference" picture- something he's ripped out of Italian
Vogue or the like- then asks her to copy the pose. This photographer's "reference" was a bunch of pics of evangelists and faith healers from the 1920s! There was no stultifying pose copying; he just said, "OK, we've dressed you up as a bizarre extraterrestrial evangelist...go!"

This shoot was an example of the absolute zenith of fun and glamor of my job. I loved it. And at the end of the day, I pulled that little hood off my head and did indeed ride the bus home in full makeup and matted sweat-hair, making that face the whole time!

Now, dig it: update! Do you remember that movie How to Make an American Quilt? At the end, Winona Ryder exits the front door of a house, wrapped in the (presumably) titular quilt, and trips through the rain and mud toward some tearjerking scene, the nature of which I don't remember at all. Ignoring the emotional climax of the movie, my mom shrieked, "Oh god! The quilt is dragging on the ground!" I feel the same way when I look at this picture, but in the moment, neither threat of sweat nor soot nor soil would've stopped me from swishing that meticulously hand-sewn gown all over the dirty sidewalk in the service of gettin' the shot. "Australopithecine disregard for the cleanliness and well-being of couture": that's my middle name. Whee! It was worth it!