One occupation I never thought I would take on in my life is that of model. To me, “model” has always meant someone taller than me, thinner than me, and, now that I’m thirty-three, likely younger than me, too.
So it came as some surprise when I was asked to model for a photo shoot earlier this month.
The photographer was Christian Kuntz. I first met him last year when I hired him to take some professional promo shots that I could use for business cards, posters, website, and so on. I had seen a lot of his portrait work on Facebook and I was very impressed with his use of lighting (even as a photography dunce, I could tell it was magic) and the element of fun in so many of his shots.
We met for coffee and I found out that he comes from Strasbourg, France. My Oma grew up about a two-hour drive away, in Haguenau. Both cities are situated in that fascinating region of France known as Alsace, which changed hands between the French and the Germans four times in the 75 years before the end of WWII. Long story short, I was delighted to discover this common ground, and to learn that Christian speaks both French and German, alongside the attractively French-accented English we ladies find so charming.
I hired Christian again earlier this year to shoot photos when I put together the Swing Street Band. I built 1940s-style bandstands for our 7-piece band, and did up my hair in 1940s-style victory rolls. It was too much fun not to document.
That’s just a small sampling of the over 200 photos I got from the event.
It was after that shoot that Christian surprised me by asking me to model for him. His photographic specialty is portraits and headshots, and he’s developed a signature style that you might call glamour or classic Hollywood. He wanted to try some studio shots of me with the 1940s look.
I discovered that some of the most beautiful poses feel completely unnatural, and I was a wee bit stiff and sore the next day. Also that “Hollywood eyes” come from kind of glazing over one’s field of vision. It’s a bizarre thing, but you can’t argue with the results. They say the camera adds at least 10 pounds, but Christian’s magic lighting seems to have done the opposite and made me thinner than I see myself.
Christian came and saw the Frantic Follies earlier this week, and of course he had his camera with him. I have never met a photographer more passionate about his work. I just can’t wait to see what kind of magic he conjured out of the lights and colours of the show!