Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Tale of Two Ladies and a Dog

The Other Eyeglass Saleslady, 2012

It’s true. People with unusual clothing, body art and markings want to be recognized and photographed. They’re easy to approach to photograph because you know they didn’t dye their hair purple or pierce every loose bit of skin on their body in order to go unnoticed.
It’s the people without distinctive style, appearance or features who you have to work a little harder to find something to compliment and break the ice. It’s not like you can walk up to someone with an unusual jaw and compliment it (though I’m working on it, because you never know when you’re going to encounter someone with a really unusual and interesting jaw and need a good approach line).
The easiest people to approach, it turns out, are people with dogs. The more dogs, the easier they are. Dog people are nutty. I should know. I am one. They love to be noticed because of their dogs, as if they have something to do with how cute their dogs are. If you don’t believe me, go watch Best in Show. Those crazy depictions of dog owners aren’t that far from the truth.
In any event, it’s an encounter with a dog that resulted in the pictures in this post.
To be honest, I really didn’t care about the dog, an ancient Jack Russell terrier, recently resurrected from its deathbed, its owner told me, by copious amounts of money, surgery and space age medicine. Rather, the dog was a way of getting to the owner, and she was just a way of getting to the lady shown below with the red lips.
I’d noticed the lady with the red lips when she stepped outside of the eyeglass store where she works to smoke a cigarette and drink a glass of iced tea. Her red lips were striking against her pale skin.  I wanted to photograph them, but was a little sheepish about approaching her with some cheesy, “I really love those red lips” line. Fortunately, one of her c0-workers joined her and and started a conversation with the dog owner, who happens to be a customer of the eyeglass store.
As I approached I reached down to pet the old dog. The dog’s owner immediately struck up a conversation. I listened to the dog’s sad medical history and, when the time seemed right, told the second eyeglass saleslady I loved her glasses and would love to photograph her wearing them. That’s her at the top of this post. Doesn’t she have a lovely smile?
After a little conversation, I figured it was time to turn to the lady with the red lipstick, who had meanwhile had a brief and hostile cell phone conversation with her boyfriend and was looking generally pissed. When I turned the camera to her and said, “You know I can’t ignore those striking lips. They’re gorgeous,” she initially turned away, but was eventually charmed into giving me the pose you see here.
By the way, all of the glasses are blanks.
The Eyeglass Saleslady With the Red Lips, 2012


  1. Thanks for sharing tips. Sounds like a good way to get used to approaching people is to start with dog-owners and the pierced/tattooed/unusual-hair-coloured people. Seriously. And love the pix of the eyeglass ladies.

  2. You must be charming them all somehow, because they're obviously opening up to you. Great portraits, and they all look very natural, so you're making them comfortable. Are you sure you're not handing out margaritas first?