The Many Faces of Alicia

Alicia Fox has worked with me for more than 10 years as a production designer. On her own time she’s a talented painter and poet. She was recently invited to write a guest blog post for Her Circle Ezine. She needed to submit a photo to accompany the post. We had reached a milestone in a large project and were having a celebratory breakfast at Egg, a restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where we make any excuse to have celebratory breakfasts — they serve the best breakfast I’ve ever had in New York City. Alicia explained that her recent attempt at a headshot didn’t turn out very good. I had my camera with me, and I spotted some wonderful light coming through the window at the entrance to the restaurant. We shot a few frames and had a winner. There’s nothing like natural window light for a beautiful portrait.

Alicia is a great model with many different looks. The first time I photographed her was in 2006, when a client whose brochure I was designing needed an image of a 40-something, ultraorthodox Jewish woman. We couldn’t find an appropriate stock image, and my client didn’t know any actual ultraorthodox Jews who were willing to be photographed. I had just started doing serious photography, and I offered to try, though I was kind of joking. But I said I’d show my client the images to see if any were usable. I didn’t have a studio backdrop or serious lighting equipment yet, so I suspended a chenille blanket for the background and set up a cheap light kit that a friend bought for me at a tag sale years earlier for $10. The kerchief is a bandanna I take with me on bike rides in warm weather. When I showed the results to my client, I was surprised when she said that we had gotten the look exactly right and we could publish one of the photos in the brochure.

Shortly thereafter, another client couldn’t find a stock photo that exactly fit his needs. He needed a 40-something soccer mom who looked like she was participating in a fundraising walk-a-thon in Texas in November. Since this would be the first walk-a-thon he’d be producing, there were no actual photos from previous events. As usual, this project was on a tight schedule, so there was no time to prepare. I found a t-shirt in one of my file cabinet drawers. We turned it inside-out to hide the printing on it and cinched it in the back with binder clips because it was extra large, and Alicia is not. We went to a local park and found a location with nothing distinguishable in the background. Alicia gripped a water bottle, unzipped her jacket, and tried to feel the warmth of Texas in November, even though it was January in New York.

Advertisements

One thought on “The Many Faces of Alicia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s