He was uncomfortable in front of the camera, which was probably a major factor behind becoming a photographer in the first place. His shyness always clamped his mouth shut whenever someone told him to “say cheese.” For that reason, he hadn’t been captured on film in years. Besides that time he was fiddling with a camera that had a stuck shutter and he accidentally took one of himself, which he burned immediately upon developing the rest of the roll in his small water closet-turned-darkroom.
And now he was dating a fellow photographer. For the first time.
He always found himself with artists or models. Confident women who not only wanted to pose for him, demanded it. And, of course, as per his demeanor, he always complied. Whether he wanted to or not.
His timidity led to a cabinet full of photographs of all kinds of women. Most he’d never seen again, but some he’d come to recognize on the big screen in theaters, in advertisements and posters, even in the press. He sometimes wondered if they remembered him taking the photographs, many of which were nudes. Although taking off her clothing was never his idea. The more confidence a woman had, the sooner she would ask him to take nudes. And his work, well, it spoke for itself. Numerous shows in some of the biggest galleries in London, full page photographs in famous magazines, he had become rather well known for his work.
But now, this girl, all she wanted was a photograph of him. He didn’t know how to avoid it much longer. She adored him from the start; he could see it in her eyes after five minutes of conversation in which he’d probably said a total of fifteen words.
The two of them were loading film before heading out into Paris, ready to photograph La Ville-Lumière, the city of lights, on their first visit to the beautiful and historical city. They were dressed to kill, her in a beautiful black dress and the beret she bought along the Seine that morning, him in a button-down shirt and his favorite brown tie with little green and orange designs. He sat on the uncomfortable hotel room couch with ugly floral print and pulled back the heavy curtain to let in more light.
Something was wrong with his Pentax and the shutter was sticking (again) so he fiddled with it as she loaded film into her Anscoflex II. She giggled and curiosity got the better of him as he looked up and heard the click.
She smiled. “I knew I’d get you eventually. Quite a candid I just captured.” She flashed him her winning smile.
He didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t angry. And after a while, he had to admit he was anxious to see how it turned out.
Posted in flash fiction, photos of strangers
Tagged 1950s, art, beauty, city of lights, couples, dating, entertainment, fame, fear, fiction, flash fiction, found art, found photograph, friends, friendship, hipster, kitsch, life, London, love, model, nudes, Paris, people, photo, photograph, photographer, photography, photos, pictures, relationships, retro, romance, vintage, vintage photograph, writing
Photograph by Tracy Zhang. Her blog can be found here. Model is Betsy from RazorBlonde.
This was supposed to be the biggest event of her life so far. Her first exhibit. Press practically drooling over her work. People stepping on each other to be the first to congratulate her. And yet the hollowness continued to consume her even in the face of possible fame.
More effort went into this day than any other. She’d been at the gallery before the sun started its shift, and still wore the striped shirt she’d thrown on as she stumbled out of her studio apartment. Coffee sustained her, passion kept her going when the former failed her, and the culminating moment was upon her before she knew it as the crowd gathered and whispered and praised her photographs.
She walked down the aisle between walls covered in her work, black and white photographs of people, some looking at her as she passed, some looking away, as hands kept patting her on the back, tapping her shoulder, asking question after question that she answered in a daze.
Why hadn’t he shown up? Could he really stand her up on such a momentous occasion?
Ignoring the questions and deflecting the fans onto her agent and the gallery owner, Belle headed outside to the loading dock behind the gallery for a moment of respite.
She leaned against the brick wall, recently painted white, and thought back to the last year. She’d been to every single one of his events, large or small, dressed as beautiful and elegant as she could just to impress him and his clients. She’d given up a lot for him, and maybe this was the final sign that he wasn’t the one .
Her head rested against the cold brick as her ring scraped against the wall, waking her up from a melancholy daze. She stood away from the wall as if an alarm went off, checked her makeup in the reflection of her nearby car’s side mirror, grabbed the simple black dress hanging in the back seat and went back inside, ready to face the crowd, the fans, and the possibility of future fame.
Posted in flash fiction
Tagged art, artist, boys, broken heart, coffee, dating, depression, exhibit, fame, fiction, flash fiction, gallery, girls, little black dress, passion, photography, photos, pictures, RazorBlonde, relationships, romance, success, Tracy Zhang
She knew it was time for her big debut, the photo shoot of a lifetime. After painstakingly going through her vast wardrobe, she found her favorite outfit, a flowing off-white sundress with purple and yellow stripes, her favorite colors. After making sure she was not being watched, she slipped out of her jumper and into the dress, carefully looking both ways as she did so. It wouldn’t be right to expose herself to her fans like some common starlet.
She went to her three-way mirror and started applying makeup, careful to keep it sensible yet beautiful. She wanted to draw attention to her best assets, her beautiful brown eyes and her pouty lips that brought her so much fame. Finished with that, she looked up and down her shoe closet, and decided after much thought to go barefoot for the shoot.
Now for the pose. She put her hand on her chin, tapping away at her cheek as she always did when deep in thought, and looked around the room for the perfect spot. They would be here any minute, and she wanted to show how professional she was by being completely prepared. Her eyes landed on the merry-go-round horse she’d been given by her first co-star, a famous actor who would remain nameless to avoid tabloid speculation. Footsteps could be heard, and she knew she only had a moment to prepare as she jumped on the plaster animal and struck the perfect post against the pole.
The door opened and a man in white walked in, surveying the scene. He carried, not a camera, but a small cup of water and some pills. She suddenly looked around the room, realizing she was sitting on a bedpost and wearing only a white sheet with purple and yellow stripes.
“Time for your medication, Miss Doe.”
Photograph by Adam Courtney and model Suzy Lanza whose blog is can be found here.