Short Story- The Muse

It was late. It had been an extremely long day with pressured deadlines. The day had started well enough, but by noon the schedule had slipped by a hour due to a number of things. Timing issues mostly. Abigal was the most amazing MUA, but she could be untimely at times with her overly creative brain. Unfortunately, today was such a day. If I had just stuck to the brief of make-up only it would have been great. But I allowed her to get involve with the fashion side of things which caused mayhem for the younger stylist. Who struggled to push back and reign in Abigail’s interference.

In the end I had to make it clear – the brief that had to be met was mine, as I was the one shooting this set. This was my opportunity to launch someone’s career. Someone who the modelling world was about to discover. I was not going to have my time sabotaged any further. Not today!

Danielle had simply been out with a bunch of her college friends on a crisp but beautifully sunny Thursday morning. Huddled around a somewhat, weather worn wooden table in my local park when I first saw her. They all had hot drinks of some kind, with their deli sandwiches, purchased from the nearby Coffee Shop. They talked excitedly amongst themselves. Laughing where required. Jumping eagerly into each others sentences to add their bit to the conversation. It was like a understood dance that had be learnt through time, due to years of friendship between them.

Her face caught my eye as she wore the least amount of make up in the group. She laughed like the rest of her friends but there were moments when she would stop to focus on the drink in her hand. It was hot. Because, she had pulled her sweatshirt sleeve over the majority of her hand and fingers to hold the cup. When her focused on the cup, shifted and her gaze moved back to her friends the mystery appeared in her face. A look that drew you into a private conversation – asking, what are you thinking about?

As they continued oblivious to the world around them, I approached the group. I had spotted potential models before. But the awkwardness never gets easier. How do you broch the subject without coming across as sleezy and weird?

“Excuse me ladies, I don’t want to keep you to long, so let me get straight to the point.”

“My name is Alexander Stanwell and I am a Freelance Photographer.” Their conversations and laughter abruptly interupted, no matter how hard I tried to be subtle. They listened as I quickly continued not want to loose momentum.

“I predominately work in fashion and I am always on the look out for potential models.”

“Can I ask, what is your name? My question directed to the young women with the air of mystery about her.

“Danielle,” She replied. I could tell she was somewhat taken aback by my approach.

The others gestured, smiled throwing a few comments her way.

“I think you have an interesting face and think you could do well in Fashion and Editorial work.” Their curiosity grew, as they all looked directly at me, listening as I continued.

“This is my card. It would be great to get some photos done as I have a campaign coming up that I think you would be perfect for.” “Why not give me a call and bring your friends?”

“My company details are all on there. Feel free to do your research.”

“I assure you, I am real and this is a genuine offer.”

With that I smiled and bowed out of the group. Leaving them somewhat stunned, recovering as to what just happened there?

It wasn’t until around three weeks later when I got a phone call from an apprehensive Danielle.

“I’ve done my reach to find out about you. What happens now?”

I agreed with her to come that weekend to do a few simply head shots. As promised, I said to bring her friends for Saturday at my studio. It was to be a casual, relaxed shoot, using two looks. White T-Shirt and Jeans and a black Tshirt and Jean’s. An everyday girl look. Make-up and styling would be completed by my Team.

That was four weeks ago. The day went well. She took to it like a duck to water and having her friends there enabled the atmosphere to be easy, light hearted and fun. Exactly what I wanted.

I emailed out a few shots to some of my best clients who I have worked for in the past. As I knew the look they liked for their business.

Three of them called me back the same day they received my email. They loved how she looked. All three had campaigns they wanted to use her in. So I knew I had to bring her up to speed, both with the work and potentially new world that could be opening up to her if she was interested and willing to move quickly. If you snooze you loose in this business!

I rang her mobile and ended up leaving a message for her to call me back. She rang back late in the evening . I explained about the three possible campaigns – the smallest being in four weeks. It would be an entire days work, with a £700 payment. The others would be for two days each next month for more money. She couldn’t believe her ears and said yes to all three.

“What about College?” I asked

“What about it?”

“Will the timings be a problem?” “No she replied “I’ll think of something for next month.”

Fast forward four weeks and the first shoot was now, over and now I was going over the hundreds of shots I had taken to decide which ones would go out to Dynamic Fashion Studios. They were all good but were some that I knew were statement shots. They held your gaze. They were memorable – everything a Editorial face needed.

I shot half in colour and half in Black and White. The Black and White were Editorially stronger. Every shot was different but they captured the mystery I initially saw, that Thursday in the Park. But more intensified.

I knew Dina was going to be very happy with the shots I had selected for her. This was the first day of the rest of Danielle’s life. Things were about to get peek! This campaign alone had a further shoot too be completed in Martenique if Dina liked what she saw. Five days in the Caribbean with yours truly as the photographer on site. I had not said anything to Danielle because I didnt think her first shot would have been strong enough to be considered. But looking through her work today, I believe she could be a serious contender, if not the perfect choice.

It was going to be a long night. As I would have to work all night in order to send the prints over by special courier in the morning to Dynamic Fashions. I made my first black coffee and got down to business.

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