This past week I chose my final photos from over 300 proofs that were generated during my album promo photo shoot earlier this month. It was difficult to narrow it down to ten final choices. Well, ok 11. I just couldn’t cut it down any further than that and wonderful Angela was kind enough to let me have an extra one.
I must say though, I’m pretty tired of looking at photos of myself. Even though these are awfully good photos. I think everyone should have the chance to get professional photos done of themselves once in their lives. It’s pretty refreshing to see yourself portrayed in the best possible light.
The shoot itself was fascinating, fun, and very productive. Angela Fama was the photographer. I had first met her at the Parlour Steps photo shoot for the Hidden Names record and I was so impressed with how she handled the shoot and the resulting beautiful pictures. I never thought I’d get a chance to work with her on my own, but then again I never thought I’d be able to write and record my own songs either. Never say never.
Julie Bavalis, bass player extreme and stylish individual extraordinaire is great friends with Angela and wanted to style the entire shoot. Yay for me! We had a nice meeting at Angela’s house, wrote down some ideas and a few days later Julie showed up with feathers, leather string, and an armload of clothes from C’est La Vie, a fantastically hip Main St. vintage clothing store she works at part time. Julie always goes the extra mile for her friends and I have been the grateful recipient of her largesse many times.
Angela recommended a makeup artist named Marie Pierce. Marie had done makeup for Julie and I at the last Parlour Steps photo shoot and I was happy to work with her again.
We convened at Angela’s house on a Saturday night and six hours later had 300 photos to show for it. I was a little nervous, wondering how it was going to work with the wardrobe from C’st La Vie that was not materinity clothes. I’m 8 months pregnant now and I haven’t considered wearing “normal” clothes since oh, about October or so. The ladies made two chic bandeau tops for me by wrapping me in lengths of blue and white fabric and then taping feathers over top.
I didn’t even have to wear a bra, which shocked me. I thought for sure that would violate all sense of decency (and I didn’t want to take that kind of picture) but Julie made everything look so classy.
We were going for the blue/gray/feathery vibe that the ferociously talented Jim Miller had drawn for the album artwork.
Jim and I knew each other in high school. He was an impressive artist then; he is a seasoned professional now. He’s one of the only people I know who realized early what they were supposed to be, never stopped doing that, and has subsequently risen to a very high level in his career due to years of non stop effort and improvement. He’s now a storyboard supervisor at My Little Pony, for god’s sake (All the pre-teen girls I teach are impressed beyond words that I know someone who works on My Little Pony). I’m so glad Jim and I ran into each other again as grownups, and I’m completely delighted he found the time to design and paint a gorgeous picture for my album cover. Without his asthetic, this photo shoot may not have even happened.
We did a few different looks and included some full length body shots that probably won’t be used for album promo. But I wanted some nice pictures of me as a pregnant lady. It’s been an amazing time in my life and it’s worth commemorating.
It wasn’t all hard work, though. There were some girls with mustaches.
Angela had a studio space set up in her basement and we laughed, ate snacks, drank tea, listened to music, and were relentlessly productive.
It was exhilarating and completely absorbing. I think this was my first work project that was all female. These women and I were on exactly the same page and it was amazing and joyful to accomplish so much, so efficiently, in such a short time.
Angela Fama is truly a creative force to be reckoned with.
I found myself thinking, wow she’s so talented and confident. I will be like that too, from this moment on! I thought it was cool that her vibe was one of inspiration, not intimidation. She was working very hard, but I didn’t feel anxious or pressured. I had decided to do whatever she suggested and trust her professional eye.
This approach has served me stunningly well during the entire process of making this album and it’s getting so easy to shut up and take direction. It’s a relief to work with people who are skilled and confident and know more than me. It’s a joy to relax and learn from them. My record sounds a lot more expensive than it was, due to talented professionals who gave me incredible discounts for their time because of our friendship and their connections to other professionals. My photos look a lot more expensive than they were for the same reason. The final results have far eclipsed anything I could have done on my own, with my own meager resources. I am so grateful. And very impressed frankly, that so many of my friends have blossomed into very high level artists.
Here are some of those final results. Photos by Angela Fama
Yes well, life in general has an amazing, sparkling sheen to it these days. I think it’s mostly due to the amazing, sparkly incredibly high doses of estrogen, progesterone, and oxytocin surging through my body. This hormone bath is picking my brain. But it’s a great pickling and a lovely bath to be in. I see more tenderness, joy, beauty and humor in everyday life thna I ever thought possible. How could I have missed all that before? If it’s a temporary phenomenon of pregnancy, I’ll miss it. And I’ll never forget it.
I see more pain and suffering too. My eyes constantly well up with tears of joy, and sorrow. I feel like my heart has grown ten sizes – not that I was really grinchy before I got pregnant – that my capacity for empathy and compassion has increased to delicious, almost unbearable levels. I’ve always been a sensitive person. But now my body and mind are frequently overwhelmed with how it feels to be in someone else’s shoes.
It’s a gift that has made me a better listener, more affectionate, kinder, more patient, happier, and infinitely more appreciative of the fleeting fragility of life. All traits that might help make me a good mama. Once again, I am in awe of how beautifully the transition to motherhood is designed by nature and a few million years of evolution. Thanks, hormones.
By this time next month, I’ll probably have a baby. After so many months of being pregnant, it’s hard to believe it’s almost over. And that the biggest transition, the most massive changes and adventure are yet to come.