Monday, September 28, 2009
Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone
This is me.
This is me the day Cliff and I exercised the gift certificate I bought at the Mylestone Equine Rescue charity auction. The certificate entitled us to a portrait sitting at a fabulous (and I mean that in every sense of the word) studio much heavy traffic away from home.
The look of intense constipation on my face here does not reflect my feelings about the event, only my effort to capture this one-time-only outfit for a book cover head shot by setting my new camera's automatic shutter release timer and, having done so ineffectively, my effort to press the shutter release and run quickly to the window and sit down. I give myself credit both for not falling out the window and for putting this miserable photo out in a public space.
But before I wrench a shoulder patting myself on the back for such idiocy, it is with great pleasure that I share my total fascination with the photography studio of Kramer Portraits in Hillsborough, NJ.
I'm not a portrait kind of person. I'm certainly not a ruffly-white-blouse portrait kind of person. My only "portraits" since my first marriage in 1971 have been the annual desecration of that term by the photographer that did the school pictures where I worked. There's not much one can do with a thousand rapid-fire sittings in one afternoon, so I'm not complaining, just explaining. When I won this Kramer sitting, I had no idea what I was in for.
First, Kramer isn't your average photo studio. I've been in those. I dragged my teen-aged daughter to two of the stripped-down, stool-and-background type common to the Twigs where I live. I'm a novice but not entirely a newbie. I had a head shot done at Wal Mart for my first book.
But walking into the opulent outer waiting room at Kramer's was an unexpected pleasure. The decor is elegant, the walls lined with amazing portraits... even the coffee was fabulous! For the hour we spent being posed, lighted, and shot by Peter, we were royalty, and suddenly the cheesy Ralph Lauren ruffles and suede jacket seemed appropriate. Peter was pleasant, even affable, offering water and conversation while we relaxed into the photo shoot. The hour flew by.
This weekend we returned for more coffee and a viewing of the proofs. This is a modern shop, so the photography is digital and there are no clusters of tiny pictures on sheets of paper for your fondling pleasure. Instead we relaxed on friendly, stylish furniture while Monica flashed not only our portrait options full-sized on the screen, but our chosen portrait in various incarnations directly onto the background photo I'd emailed her of the wall in my living room on which the portrait may finally hang. What ho! 'Tis a brave new photographic world!
I will return for another lovely interlude with the charming Monica when the portrait, retouched, hand-painted, and framed, is ready for pickup. My only regret in all of this is that I won't be needing another portrait, probably ever. If I were the vanity-struck type, I'd happily make an annual thing of this if only for the opportunity to see what Peter can do with me in riding gear, in jeans and my barn jacket, and maybe in a ball gown, should one pop up on the sale rack at Marshalls. Considering what he did with the Bozo look in the photo above, I have a feeling any morphing would have an elegant and beautiful outcome.
If you have a chance to attend next year's wine tasting fund raiser for Mylestone at the Lloyd farm in Califon, NJ, let me be the first to announce that Kramer's has already offered to donate another gift certificate for the silent auction. Bring your checkbooks.