Girls On Film
“OI! OI! Don’t use all yer camera on her!” hollers a sheepskin-coated, flat-capped man in his 60s.
We stop what we’re doing.
I’m posing on an empty market stall and Anete is doing what photographers are wont to do – getting herself into a ridiculous position to get her shot. (I’ve worked with a lot of photographers – I swear they have a death wish.)
I am having a photoshoot.
My Very Own Photo Shoot.
I’ve arranged zillions for others.
I’ve briefed photographers, actors, and clients.
I’ve advised, collaborated, researched, and planned.
I’ve carried kit bags and tripods; held flash lights and brollies.
I’ve rearranged people’s hair, costumes, and backdrops.
I’ve pulled ridiculous faces from behind the camera to make the person smile, laugh, shout or sing.
I’ve dealt with very awkward ‘models’, run around for last minute props (I had to borrow a passing pedestrian’s poppy for Jason Donovan), and quite literally stopped traffic for ‘Michael Jackson’ to moonwalk across a city centre road.
But I’m always behind the camera, and that’s because I prefer it that way.
I don’t like having my photo taken.
I love having my photo taken, I love posing, being ridiculous, being the centre of attention for a bit.
What I mean is I don’t like my photo.
At this point, draft one of this blog went off on a whole Thing about self-loathing, beauty and brainwashing (there was some good stuff in there so I’m saving it for another piece), but it’s not relevant to this – just know, I really, really do not like my own image when I see it back. I don’t know what I think I look like, but clearly it ain’t this.
Anete was looking to do some more street photography for her portfolio and I wanted some images for my website and social media accounts, so we agreed to help each other out.
And here we are in Leeds Outdoor Market.
I chose this location because the market is firmly rooted in my history. We had a bric-a-brac stall there when I was a kid (I hated it then – I wanted to be on a fruit stall shouting about my wares – funny that) and I still love going - not least because it is always full of characters - and here we are, immediately introduced to one.
‘I mean, she’s a beauty,’ continues the flat-capped man (where’s he looking?) ‘But I’ve got a great stall.’
We go to the man’s stall.
There are old record players, vinyl records and guitars; he lifts the stylus and changes the record to Chuck Berry ‘Route 66’. I feel like this guy knows me! It’s quite bizarre.
‘What are the pictures for?’ he asks. I tell him.
‘Can you promote me?’ I say of course, what’s the name of the stall.
‘Just ‘Andy’s’ says Andy.
He’s there every Thursday – rock and roll lovers unite at Andy’s!
‘Get a picture of us jiving,’ he tells Anete.
Anete duly obliges and we jive. People stop and laugh, enjoying the performance. I’m a bit in love with Andy.
The jive ends because I go a bit too freestyle. Andy perches on the stall, looks at me seriously and says, ‘I had a bad first wife you know.’
I express my sorrow.
‘Yes, she ran off with me best mate. I do miss him.’
I guffaw – delighted to be transported to the 70s for a bit.
‘On our wedding day she said, ‘I’ve got something old, something new, something borrowed but nothing blue’, I said you’ve got varicose veins ain’t you?’
He is buoyed by my raucous laughter.
‘She had everything a man could wish for; hairy chest, moustache…’
I could stay here, in my childhood, all day but we have a shoot to finish so I promise Andy I’ll be back.
When she sends me my images, Anete includes an instruction: ‘You can not like my work, but you are not allowed to be negative about yourself.’
I might love her a little.
If you’re looking for images for your business, your pleasure or even as a gift, I can highly recommend Anete – you can check out her work here: anetelusina.com
Andy’s stall is well worth a visit, as are others around him – more about Leeds Markets here
Thanks to Village Books in Thornton’s Arcade who allowed us to use their little exhibition space for a couple of pics. Another fabulous Leeds Independent offering a curated selection of contemporary art, design, fashion and photography books and magazines. They also source self-published and small press zines from artists around the world - www.villagebooks.co