“Point yer toes.”
A day’s photoshoot at
Addison Duggan Photography.
By Juliet Gee
Driving around the M25 from Surrey towards Essex, the sat nav showed arrival time as 9.45am. Not much good when I said I was collecting Scarlet at 9.15 from her house. Approaching the A20 the sat nav instructed me to turn off the motorway. I ignored her, let her recalibrate and carried on. Turn off on the A2 was the next command, obviously directing me through the Blackwall Tunnel or over the Woolwich Ferry. I carried on past the A2 exit to the Dartford tunnel, my arrival time suddenly changed to 9.10am.
Scarlet was ready and waiting with a case as I pulled up outside her house. Case in the boot and off we went to Addison’s studio near Chelmsford.
I had seen Addison’s work on Flickr, a number of photos showing 1950’s style pin up and glamour poses. As I grew up in the 1950’s this was one of my favourite periods. I remember my mother and aunts pulling on their nylon stockings and fastening them to their suspenders. The sound as my mother crossed her legs was intriguing. At junior school parties, the girls all wore big petticoats under their party dresses.
I emailed Addison asking if there was any objection to photographing a cross dresser, no problem was the reply. Addison also put me into contact with Scarlet La Rox who would take care of makeup and hair and also advise on poses etc.
A date was set for October, a number of emails to Scarlet attaching photos of dresses I was thinking of taking and also of poses. One was from a photoshoot that Scarlet did in a black negligee, I really liked the look but I didn’t have a black negligee.
“Never mind” said Scarlet “I will bring mine”.
Scarlet also offered to appear in the shoot if I wanted. Driving to the studio we chatted about the poses, I had printed off a number of photographs showing the type of pose I wanted to achieve.
A few minutes after we arrived Addison turned up to open the studio which is in a farm building. The first thing obviously is to put the kettle on. While we waited for the kettle to boil I unpacked my cases and hung up the dresses. We decided on the first couple of looks.
Addison left to buy the snacks for the day, I sat down and Scarlet started the transformation. I said I didn’t want to see until all the makeup was finished with wig and dress. Make up and wig completed, I went to the bathroom to change, cream knickers and corselet with fully fashioned tan stockings, all from What Katie Did. I was very careful putting the stockings on, they were real nylons and expensive. The first pair I ever bought was ruined within two hours when I put my stiletto through one. Then my blue and white polka dot dress from Collectif, a white petticoat and blue stilettos.
Time to look in the mirror; I couldn’t believe the look, fabulous.
Then a word of advice from Scarlet, “Point yer toes”.
In the corner of the studio is an American diner set complete with a pink telephone. A number of photos followed, on the stool, standing and leaning on the table and then some with Scarlet joining me for a soda. A few more photos followed of me on the phone. I should say that a lot of the photos involved lifting skirts to show petticoats and stocking tops.
Scarlet was shouting instructions, “Point yer toes”, “lift your dress”, “turn your head.” All the time Addison was clicking away, occasionally giving instructions to improve the pose. We would stop while he changed the lighting setting or the camera angle. After a few different poses we would stop and review the photos on the computer, Addison often commenting on them, some he wanted to take again.
Then a change of dress and shoes, another 1950’s style still with the white petticoat. A change of set, sat on the floor, some with a parasol, generally most showing stocking tops and petticoats. Another break to check the photos, encouragement and banter from both Addison and Scarlet, insults flying around from all sides. Starting to get difficult to smile for the camera, mainly due to laughing.
“Point yer toes”.
Then off with the dress, time for some underwear shots with the white slip. All pin ups should have a chaise longue and what is there over in the corner? Lots of photos on the chaise longue, with stocking tops on show of course. One of the poses I wanted was a copy of an early French painter. I was told to stand in front of a mirror and slowly take off my slip as if I was teasing an onlooker. All of the time Addison was taking photographs of me trying to look seductive taking my slip off. If they looked as good as it felt they would be fantastic. There was constant encouragement as well as banter.
“Point yer toes”.
Time for a cup of tea and a change to black underwear, bra, knickers and open bottomed girdle, black fully fashioned stockings and mules. A slight change of hair style and more photos on the chaise longue, on a chair and with Scarlet styling my hair. A chance to wear the black negligee as well. A slight problem is that Scarlet is about 3” taller than me so great care was needed not to step on it as it trailed on the floor slightly.
All the time Addison was clicking away, sometimes kneeling down which caused him some discomfort I believe but like a true professional he never complained (not much anyway, well quite a lot really).
A quick look at the time, well after 3pm, where has the day gone? Time for one more look. My black Audrey Hepburn dress, black peep toe stilettos and a black hat that was in the studio. Another set of photographs, sitting on a stool, standing, but not showing stocking tops this time, Audrey Hepburn wouldn’t would she? Still banter from Addison, “Point yer toes” from Scarlet and suddenly it is time to finish. Reluctantly the makeup is cleaned, the dress and underwear taken off and go into the case. Time to go home.
After about 4½ hours posing and shooting and over 500 frames later I am exhausted, I now appreciate why models charge so much. Although fun it is very hard work especially for an inexperienced amateur who has to be regularly told “Point yer toes”.
Next day an email arrived with a link to a Dropbox, over 500 photos, Addison had already removed those where I had moved or exposure/pose/composition was not as good as it could be.
“Choose 24”said Addison “to be edited”. That was harder than the actual shoot and easily took as long. Some were easy to discount mainly due to a bad expression on my part. The number was eventually whittled down to the final 24 and an email returned with the numbers.
Another email with a link to a Dropbox arrived and the chance to look at the final 24 photos. All I could say was that they were unbelievable; I could not believe it was me. A wonderful job by Addison and Scarlet, not forgetting Addison’s partner who was responsible for the editing.
It was a truly fantastic day with unbelievable results as far as I was concerned, a good laugh was had by all I think.
All that remains is to save up for the next session and to remember
“Point yer toes”.