In my blog entry before last I wrote about how I photographed Maria Eriksson from England on the beach at Malibu and that I was planning to photograph her elsewhere later that afternoon. My last entry finished off with a photo of a beautiful young woman that I identified as a harbinger of things to come. Today I’ll follow up on both of those things.
I’ll start things off (at the top) by picking up where I left off last time – with a photo of Betcee May. Betcee is a model who I have wanted to work with for quite some time, beginning with when she was living back in Las Vegas. She then lived in Chicago for a short time and is now residing in Los Angeles. (She told me that she lived here in New York before Vegas and I didn’t even know it!)
When I made my plans to visit southern California, I held out the hope that I might finally get to work with Betcee. She’s a full time model who seems to be in great demand, and as she has recently begun doing fashion modelling with the requisite time commitment, I wasn’t sure if she’d have time to work for me. Thankfully she did, but to continue with her story, I need to go back to Maria.
I went with Maria, along with my friend Alex from Scotland, to Malibu Creek State Park (three or four miles south of Calabasas) in mid-afternoon following the morning of our photo shoot at the beach. To put it simply, I found it to be a rather difficult location. Everything seemed to be dry and scraggly, with little shade for even lighting or for cooling off.
We walked off of the main path onto some trails, but with the harshness of the setting I just found it hard to come up with many interesting and workable ideas. To top things off, the three of us got lost trying to find our way back to the main path and the parking lot as the sun was going down.
I made some photos of Maria on the shady side of a tree or two, but I think my best image was from this set-up with Maria in silhouette on the branch of a downed tree (as seen in photo two). You can also see that she tried her hand at pumping gas into Alex’s car (though I had to lend a hand to show how it’s done here in the U.S. of A.).
Now on to my photo session with Betcee May two days later. I’m not at all familiar with the Los Angeles area and so am dependent on the advice of others for such things. The Malibu beach location I used with Maria was fine early on a weekday morning, but I wouldn’t try it on a weekend afternoon, which is when I was scheduled to work with Betcee. So, with the lack of a proper location, I decided to start off things by photographing her in my rather ordinary (neither opulent nor dingy) hotel room.
As I said earlier, I’ve followed Betcee’s imagery for some time and came to see that she has a unique look. So, when I heard a knock on the door of my hotel room, I opened the door to find – Betcee. “Jee,” I thought to myself, “ she really does exist after all!” I set out to work with her in the room for a couple of hours and then maybe go out and try the park again, but we ended up working together in the hotel room for the whole four hours that we planned. The air conditioning inside felt good, we had gotten into something of a rhythm and the prospect of going out and getting scratched up again in the park just didn’t appeal to me at that moment.
As for Betcee herself, she was a joy to work with and an absolute doll. She’s quite a giggler, too, which kept things fun. A hotel room can be a boring place in which to work, so I decided to try some unusual things like asking her to lie on the bed with her head between the two pillows (as in the top photo). When she did this she said she felt rather like an astronaut, so instead of counting “one, two, three” before pressing the cable release attached to my camera, I counted “three, two, one, zero, blast off!”
All of the photos here were made with my new Canon A570IS compact digital camera. (The film will be developed later.) As her Model Mayhem page used to mention something about doing “nekkid twirling,” I used the camera to take a little video of her doing……nekkid twirling. (In this case, that was just spinning bodily around. When I first read it on her page, I imagined her as a naked band majorette twirling a baton. I told Betcee about this and she thought the idea to be rather comical, so I’ll need to try it with her one day.)