the Bucky Four-Eyes Cotillion

Monday, June 30, 2008

Smile, OR ELSE.

I've seen a lot of babies this week. Happy babies, grumpy babies, babies who find me charming, babies who want me dead and mangled immediately...baby pictures are a staple of the portrait business, so we see legions of infants, marched by mommy or grandma past the backdrop and into the prop bathtub.

Being a trainee, I'm not allowed to photograph actual babies yet, so I've done a lot of setup and observation of the bebeh photo sessions. My trainer is a whiz with the camera, a genius at getting the tit-feeding army crawlers to smile and laugh and forget their angry tears just long enough for the flash to pop and the most unbelievably adorable expressions to be captured.

My fellow trainee and I have been learning to use the camera, mostly by taking turns modeling for each other, which has mostly taught me that I will never, ever be a model, unless someone decides on a need for the new face of Haggard Skank Adult Diapers. Posing an adult, though, is not a thing like posing an infant, so our trainer went home on Friday and brought back the Training Baby (TB). The TB is incredibly realistic, from coloring to veins to real hair to the weight of the thing. It's been a big help in giving us ideas for prop setup, subject placement, camera and lighting angles, backdrops, all that crap that the pros make look effortless.

Truthfully, though, we've had far too much fun with the TB outside of the photo room. The studio is in a busy grocery store, so shoppers walk past us constantly while we're working. When we're sitting out in front, trying to drum up business, you'd think we were invisible, or at least untouchable. People do everything in their power to avoid eye contact, lest we draw them in, rendering them helpless to resist our Bonus Package Voodoo. But take that TB out front to fix its hair while we do paperwork, and no one can walk past without staring.

Once we noticed this phenomenon, we all got downright evil.

We carry the TB in the most careless fashion possible, leave it sitting precariously on the counter, set it upside down by itself in a chair...we may or may not have tossed it to each other at one time. How can I describe people's reactions? Well, if looks could kill, we'd all have our skin flayed clean off of our bones. My fellow trainee was sitting with the TB in her lap today, and she set her notebook on top of it during a meeting, and a couple stopped dead in their tracks, staring and whispering to each other for several minutes, looking slightly aghast. Oh, they figure it out eventually, every one of them, and then they look sheepish and usually giggle and shake their heads. If someone looks like they're too confused, we call out after them, "Don't worry - it's not real, it's a doll!" So far, no one has called the authorities on us.

Don't worry, I promise to treat the real babies with care. But I make no such promise about the teenagers.

5 of you felt the overwhelming need to say somethin':

Blogger Squirl said...

Teenagers who won't sit properly for a photo shoot deserve to have a laptop on top of them. What does your trainer think of how you guys play with TB?

10:08 AM, June 30, 2008  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

For a moment I thought that working had gotten you all serious and this was a "serious" post. I must be getting senile!

10:58 AM, June 30, 2008  
Blogger PlazaJen said...

You MUST go listen to this episode of This American Life. Specifically the last segment (Act Three). Your hijinks immediately made me think of "Nubbins".
http://www.thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?sched=1226

11:04 AM, June 30, 2008  
Blogger eclectic said...

HA! We do that with Resusc-i-Babies at CPR class, too. Only, they're not very life-like, so no one misunderstands. More's the pity.

11:33 AM, June 30, 2008  
Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Squirl - she is the evil ringleader!

SSNick - Nope, I'm unlikely to venture in the serious direction again, so no worries.

PlazaJen - That was hilariously WRONG! I fear for Nubbins, though.

Eclectic - this baby has its eyes shut, and I keep yelling at it, "LOOK AT THE CAMERA!"

9:56 PM, June 30, 2008  

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