So, if you’re still with me after the last, rather NSFW, blogpost then this one is going to prove one of my points. There are times when I feel feral, when all this fun is directed towards the low level pleasure centres. And then other times it is about something completely different.
This week I went back to the fabulous Patti’s Wowgals dressing service in Manchester; I haven’t stopped going to Cindy’s but during the Summer I can’t function in the heat and it’s been stupidly warm the last couple of weeks in London. It always is this time of year, so I tend to go on a ‘dressing-holiday’ for the months of July->October. Plus, and this is not femm at all, I love BrewDog. Manchester has the only BrewDog hotel in England and I am kinda in love with it. It has fridges in the shower with beer in them. I kid you not.
So any excuse to go to Manchester and I’ll jump at it. I fancied doing a pregnant shoot with the lovely green flowing maternity frock I bought from New Look a while back, and had told Patti about the realistic baby-bump I had bought for this kind of look.
As per normal fate wanted to mess me about a little; I twinged the back earlier in the week (because of course I would), and had forgotten that the baby-bump weighs a *lot*. Being realistic it is designed to be as heavy as a six/seven month gestated child. Which meant I had a dufflebag that was insanely heavy. But that wasn’t the problem; I booked a train from Birmingham Intl to Manchester as the parking is way better there than at my home station, and I like Cross-Country trains.
That degree of ‘like’ has dropped a little, as having dragged my bag (one baby-bump, my jewellery box with all my retro pearls, a pair of delightfully comfortable high heels that I have fallen in love with because they don’t set my feet on fire, and five different frocks) up a non-functional escalator and then down a set of stairs as the Manchester train always goes from the ‘poor’ platform (which has no waiting room or escalators for old people/transvestites with too many props), I got myself into my pre-booked seat, got the dufflebag carefully situated so as not to mess with my anxiety, and settled down with my book. Ten minutes later we rolled into Birmingham New Street. At which point they cancelled the train due to a fault.
Luckily I had enough coverage on my phone to work out an alternative route, involving three trains, and two hours later I racked up at Manchester Piccadilly where the heat was slightly above bearable. A quick 0.75 mile walk to the hotel was, well, unpleasant because my bag was pulling my shoulder out of its socket, and I was at the hotel. It was worth the hassle; cue a nice evening with a book and four (or six) beers and it was off to bed.
When I woke up the next morning I had a text from Patti asking if I fancied trying something a little different. Her idea was to re-produce some classic, arty pregnant woman shots; all baby-doll nightdress and flowing transparent material.
I was pretty sure it would be impossible; I don’t have a woman’s shape and avoid the baby-doll/lingerie most times as I always feel a little self-conscious posing with next to no material on. But I said yes because you only live once.
The results were, well, breathtaking. I always talk about the photos I produce as being ‘art’, somewhat pretentiously (and often to distract myself) but these were art. Patti’s eye is astounding and her ability to see a look is something I’ll never have.
All of the photos of this outfit were done in black and white and I was almost in tears seeing the output. It was genuinely beautiful and so not me I could look at them and see something else. It’s a lovely feeling, and it does feel like art.
We did four other looks including one that blew my mind (I’ll stick a picture at the bottom of the blog; let’s just say all of my 15 year old fantasies about the ultimate 1980’s rock chick came to pass) but the trip itself was worth these photos by itself.
It was so far away from things I would normally consider possible that I find myself entranced looking at the pictures. Am I the anxious, cynical, world-weary 53 year old man or am I the woman I see in these pictures, pregnant, proud and happy in her condition?
I have no idea and that in itself is a lovely situation to be in.
I didn’t even realise it was on my bucket-list but there you go, it’s ticked off now. ‘Do a beautifully arty Pregnant woman shoot’.
Stay beautiful and be yourself, whoever that is.