“Circe, go wear something fancy and I’ll take your photograph, okay?”
Circe the Belly Dancer
Circe, the seven year old daughter of my friend Fred, decides that “fancy” means belly dancer outfit (complete with socks.) Before I take her portrait, she checks herself out in the mirror and sucks in her little belly. After a few pictures, she flies upstairs to change into something else.
Preparing to emulate Marilyn Monroe
Circe is not in the mood for classic portraiture. She trades in the oriental costume for the Marilyn look. She then reclines on the settee and looks at me from under her eyelashes appearing slightly underwhelmed. The portrait is vaguely disturbing, even more than I had anticipated, but the rule is to let her do and wear whatever she wants.
Circe has a new idea for a fancy outfit and tells me it will be a surprise. She will call me when she is ready. Five minutes later, she screams my name from the top of her lungs even though I’m just in the room next door.
Circe and the lion
In her happy messy room, Circe, dressed like Tarzan’s Jane, is lying on her bed with her favorite lion… and the little stick to beat him into submission.
I ask her to find something a little more simple and she comes back in a white dress.
Circe a la fenetre
I hear a bit of commotion outside the room, open the door, and find myself facing Catherine C., my neighbor from 35 years ago. I had not seen her since she had moved from our street in the seventies but I recognize her immediately! Weird! I ask Circe not to move while I go downstairs to meet her husband and children. One thing leads to another and before I know it, I’m having a cup of tea and cookies. More exactly tea and a cookie. The confections had all been made by Circe and taking a bite out of them is a mere impossibility. We all sit around chatting and dutifully sucking on our cookie, trying not to break any teeth.
Half an hour goes by and I suddenly remember poor Circe. I grab the camera and run up the stairs. This is what I find when I open the door:
Circe who awaits
She has not moved an inch but looks mildly resentful (and freezing.) I have now created some abandonement issues in that sweet abiding little girl and I’m not feeling very proud of myself. The mood has soured and the session appears over. I am not used to being obeyed. Who in their right mind would obey me anyway?
This session was photographed with a medium format film camera. I went back to film for the first time in many many many years, only to find out that in Dallas, you cannot find a lab with an old-fashioned dark room!