Couture in water

In a beautiful, white dress I am sitting in an old, wonky, wooden boat. I am on the forefront of the boat with my legs hanging over the railing. The paint on the railing is flaking off and with my nails I peel it 0ff. My feet move along the rhythm of the little waves which touch the boat gently, in a calm and peaceful way. Now and then my toes touch the water. I stare at the reflection of the blue sky in the lake. It is summer. The sun burns on my skin and I can tell it is turning red without even looking at it.

Frustrated photographer
I am startled by a loud “No, no, no!” I turn my head. There are three people on the other side of the boat. A stylist, a make-up artist and a photographer. A well known photographer. I am really grateful for the opportunity to shoot with these people. “This is not going to work!” The photographer changes his lens while his two colleagues watch him getting frustrated. I stare back at the lake. The peaceful environment just got disturbed.

The peaceful environment just got disturbed

“Look into the lens, please”, my eyes focus on the camera with difficulty. “Open your eyes more!” I get watered eyes from the burning sun. “Okay, close your eyes. When I say 3,2,1 you open them and I shall take the picture.” I close my eyes. For a moment the world seems to be standing still. I only hear the sound of the birds in the trees. “One!” A bright sunbeam greets my eyes and just before my eyes turn into Asian slits the photographer takes the photo. “Nice!”

Apparently it worked. “Can you turn your arm the other way around?” In my beautiful haute couture dress I try to hold an impossible pose. I think it must look really forced and unnatural in the photo, but okay. “No, this looks terrible”, the photographer confirms my thoughts. “What are you doing? You are not paying attention to the composition of the photo! And the light! You have shadows under your eyes, I can not retouch that. You have to hold your head more up!” His fierce reaction shocks me.

It must look really forced and unnatural in the photo, but okay

I try my best and hold different poses but whatever I do the photographer only gets more frustrated. “It is not working like this. You are not even paying attention to the diaphragm! Have you ever heard of shutter speed? White balance? Iso value?” I laugh but my face turns serious again when I notice the photographer is not joking. “Do you think that is funny?” I take a look at the team behind the photographer. They seem very serious and do not laugh either. Insecure and wondering whether this is sarcasm or not I ask: “Why should I pay attention with the diaphragm? You are behind the camera, not me!”

As a model you have to be able to do anything

“As a model you have to be able to do anything”, the photographer answers me. “Especially the model pays attention to things like the shutter speed.” With a face like ‘have-you-turned-nuts?’ I look at him. “Whatever”, I think. While the photographer takes an analogue camera out of his bag the hairstylist wants to put a hair behind my ear, but it does not want to collaborate.  A lot of hairspray later my hair stays where the hair/make-up stylist want it to be. The photographer continues taking pictures. I decide not to talk anymore, apparently everything I say is wrong.

Wet designer clothes
“Hello, think diaphragm!” The photographer starts yelling again. I feel very uncomfortable now and I want to leave. Shooting like this is not nice. A little dragonfly flies along my foot. “Can I be you right now, dragonfly?” I try to act like nobody said something and continue posing.

Can I be you right now, dragonfly?

I am now jumping on the boat in another haute couture dress and try to not fall into the water. Just as I jumped a couple of times, the stylist starts shouting at me as well. “You create a wrinkle in the dress! Pay attention to the wind.”

I am super done with this. Before someone else starts shouting at me I decide that I am not going to shoot like this anymore. I stand with my feet on the railing of the boat and jump – yes, with the super expensive dress – in the water. I swim to the shore and hear the stylist screaming. “I have to bring that dress back to the designer!” I do not even think of looking back and run away in the meadow. – Just a few seconds later I wake up, relieved this was just a dream.

I have to bring that dress back to the designer!


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