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September 10, 2009

Celebrity for an Hour

Celebrity for an Hour (Or Four)

by Nancy                        Nancy%20bridge

Two weeks ago, as you may recall, I was told I needed a new jacket photo, pronto.  Worse yet, it needed to be "edgy," because my new series has a different flavor from the last one.  For a girl who's worn pearls and written about polo luncheons for the last ten years, "edgy" required some translation.

A local writer friend, the lovely and talented Lila Shaara, (explore her bio---she's a hoot, not to mention edgier than I will ever be) gave me a tip on a great local (my agent was threatening to make me go to New York for the full, terrifying treatment) photographer, so I hurriedly emailed him late on a Friday night.  

You may say that a photographer who answers his email at 11pm on the weekend is either a serial killer or a guy who lives in the basement of his mother's house and conducts his social life on the internet.  But Archie (that's what I'll call him because . . . well, that's his name) turned out to be more the workaholic type, but in a good way. He's kind of an artist who can't drag himself away from his projects.

When I blurted out that I didn't know what edgy meant, plus I needed to look ten years younger and a lot of pounds lighter, he immediately interpreted my dithering and strongly suggested I hire a stylist. 

With visions of my checkbook draining faster than my bathtub, I contacted the top stylist on his list and braced myself for a diva act.  Patty (also her real name) was working late on a local movie set and had appointments to do a commercial and a fashion shoot the next day (who knew that kind of thing is happening in Pittsburgh??) but she thought she could fit me into her schedule.  From her website, I noted she's a former model, so I figured I was in for an experience with a smug beauty who might barely hold back her dismay at working on a 50-something author who spends waaay too much time sitting at a desk instead of running laps around movie sets and getting facials.

Boy, was I wrong.  Patty turned out to be a sweetheart---any girl's new best friend--with tales of working on celebrities (no dirt, though, darnit--she's a pro) while she dabbed my face and exclaimed about my beautiful eyes.  We gossiped and shared stories about taking care of elderly relatives (Patty, if you're reading this---I hope your dad is doing great!) while Archie set up the lights in his studio and joked around with us.

His studio, by the way, is located in a former industrial part of the city in an old ice factory that's been beautifully converted into chic lofts, glam galleries and funky artist studios.  His space is crammed with props (even the ubiquitous feather boa flung over a lampshade) and lights, screens and computer equipment.  (Does anybody print paper photos anymore?  Or have we all gone digital?)  The whole neighborhood was way cooler than the parts of the city I usually frequent. (Who am I kidding? The only places I frequent are the uncool grocery story, the geriatric gym and the totally un-edgy Red Robin restaurant, because I'm a writer, for Pete's sake, and I just stay home.)  The seemingly deserted steel mill located across the back alley turned out to be the robotics lab for a local university. And every corner had either a coffee shop, a hip-looking bar or a gallery on it. Who knew?

Patty applied my makeup for about an hour, which I realize now was time spent calming me down as much as prettying up my cheekbones.  I had brought a suitcase full of clothes, but both Patty and Archie encouraged me to try a few shots wearing the white shirt I'd come in. (I do not wear the white shirt because it's chic.  I wear it because it's easy.) Archie put on some music and went to work.  He adjusted lights, coached me on where to tuck my chin and snapped a few photos, and then a few more.  Meanwhile, Patty ducked in to adjust my shirt, spritz a little spray on my hair or blot my upper lip when it got a little moist under the lights.

Here's Patty.  Isn't she lovely? I'm looking like a doofus, but that didn't last:


I had a lovely time.  And I was so glad I'd put myself in the hands of professionals who knew what edgy meant and made it happen. Money well spent, and less than the last photographer I used.  Plus, know what?  I actually felt edgy at the end!

Here are the results: _AWC9239-2

Of course, my mother prefers the shot where I'm smiling, but that's not edgy, Mom.  

And the publishing types like the super "touched up" one.



Everybody will see the rest of the photos when my new website goes up in a few weeks.   


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You did it! And the results look fabulous.

Ack! A few weeks? Oh, yeah, October. I'd better get busy.

PS: You look fab. Edgy, too.

I got to see several of the shots, and she looks fabulous and edgy in all of them.

Can't wait to see the new website! Holly is the best.

You look mahvelous!

Nancy, James Bond himself would start purring after seeing these photos....:)

Wow! You look fantastic.

If I had more cooperation from Mr. Typepad, I'd have put up more photos, but he resists my charms. Thanks, everybody.

It was a cool experience. One thing I learned is that there's a whole community of photographers, makeup people, models, news folk, magazine types---just like the writing community, except they actually leave their places of work to be together in the same room!

You look GREAT!

They caught that devilish look in your eyes!

Wow, Nancy, glam, edgy, gorgeous, and smart!

These photos are great, Nancy, and they capture such diverse moods. A beautiful photo lives on, especially in cyberspace. Cheers.

You look fabulous!

What a fun experience you ended up having, despite your nervous misgivings about it beforehand, Nancy.

Just goes to show you, life is an adventure sometimes, if we roll with it. It turned out to be a good thing that your publisher was so insistent! You could so easily have missed the fun. Been there.

Although all the pics are good, I really like the last one in the white shirt. You are beautiful in that one.

Good job

Very glam, Nancy, and worth the effort. I'd rather have root canal than get my photo taken. I salute your courage.

Your pictures are amazing and incredibly edgy! Can't wait to see the new website, and I can't wait to read the new book. It sounds fantastic.

Nice photos! You look great!

Models, actors and their primpers all know, as you now do, how long and how much product and Photoshopping it takes to get everyone to look the way they do in pictures. I'm glad they took such good care of you.

Beautiful! thanks for sharing the story of this fine adventure!

Now that you mention primpers, Amy, I must say that I can see how people who are constantly surrounded by those who constantly praise their "beautiful eyes" can start believing the spin.

Oh look! More photos. My favorite is the second from the last - love the eyebrow arch! But obviously, I have to go with the top one, because the background is my favorite city!

Hey Nancy,
Next time I go to Archie, maybe I'll use your stylist. Archie's only one man, and I think I've reached the age where I need a team working round the clock, as well as infrastructure, to look passable in photos. But you, my dear, look beautiful in all of them (as you do in real life), and like you could teach the demi-monde a thing or two (the best kind of edgy!)

Lila! How nice to see you here! And come off it, your author photo is one of the best I've ever seen.

I can't help thinking that it must have taken a slew of primpers to convince a yayhoo that he was qualified to yell at the President of the United States at a formal address. But that's just me.

Nancy. Those photos. Wow!!! Yes, your eyes are beautiful, and Patty did excellent in bringing them out.

I can hardly wait to see the rest, but really loved the first (with the city behind you) and you in the white shirt. But yeah, the scarf thingy did add to the edginess. :)

Ditto, Nancy. You look wonderful in your photos. Very glamorous.

I hate having my picture taken, too. I always feel like I'm looking at a stranger. And, of course, all my many flaws seem to be magnified by the camera. Zit on my chin? Looks like a hairy wart that'd do the wicked witch of the west proud. Wrinkles look as big as the Grand Canyon. Pores look like craters on the moon.

Can't wait for the new book. I'm intrigued by the title and cover.

Comic noir.

That's what the new series is supposed to be, according to a note to myself I just found buried on the desk. Not sure any of the photos communicate that, exactly. Maybe I needed a clown nose?

A clown nose! Nah, that's for Tom Barclay, Nancy. It's much more flattering on him than on you.

Is comic noir a new genre? I am beginning to need a scorecard at the bookstore these days.

Gorgeous! Edgy!

And thank you too to Archie and Patty, who typify most of the hard-working behind-the-scenes people in show biz, in my experience. I love being reminded that those intimidating-sounding professionals usually turn out to be Just Folks and are happy when the client turns up and it's someone as wonderful and fun to work with as you, Nancy. I bet you made their day.

I got the impression, Harley, that everyone in their line of work is Just Folks. Thanks for confirming!

Karen, either I made up "Comic Noir" or I found the phrase in some odd place. I adopted it, then promptly forgot it, judging by how deep down it was in the archeological dig of my desk!

Awesome photos, Nancy. I, too, love the one in the white shirt. The one with the scarf is my favorite "edgy."

May I hijack briefly? My evil daughter just introduced me to a website called Wordle (www.wordle.net). Take a bunch of text. Paste it into a box. Voila! Word art! You end up with a word collage in which the words you use most often are the biggest. You can vary font, layout, and color schemes. It's way cool to play around and come up with a piece of art that looks like what your text is about, plus you get a revealing look at your word choices.

It's highly addictive and soooo fun! I thought folks on this blog, who love words, might like it :)

'Comic noir' is a terrific idea, Nancy, as was your photo shoot and today's blog. Wonderful results.

Karen, the clown nose photo is one of my few opera-world souvenirs. Glad you like it (though that may not be what you meant . . . ).

Tom, I do like it. It's a nice change from the run-of-the-mill Facebook photos. You know, the ones that are flattering. ;-)

All kidding aside, which opera?

Your pictures came out wonderful, Nancy!
I could have used a stylist yesterday, new drivers license eeeekkkkkkk!
Used all the makeup tricks of darker powder on jawline & neck, but then they had me sit in a chair & look up at the top of the camera.
Oh well, at least I didn't have to take the tests again!
I know a bunch of folks will hate me for this but I was in & out in 10 minutes! New license, eye test, organ donar & voter registration paper work!!! Much less stressful to take a drive in the country & find a license office in a small town!

Great photos........love the Paris one with the darker edge.

Kerry, will Wordle work for my work in progress?? Think it would write a whole novel?

Mary Alice, you wishful thinker you, that's Pittsburgh in the photo!

You look absolutely smashing!!!

Karen in Ohio, that was shot in the Santa Fe Opera costume shop.

The 'Paris' shot is freakin' perfect!

Nancy, I'm pretty sure Wordle can do anything :) Wouldn't it be cool for each of our authors to put in one page of the current WIP for us to look at and enjoy??

That was a question deftly dangled, Kerry. I'll check with my colleagues and get back to you.

I already told you the pics show off your beautiful eyes, Nancy. I love all the shots.

Despite the nerves, it had to be kind of fun, right? :)

Nancy, you look so great!!
I can't wait to read your new novel. Congratulations on everthing!!

Ooh, love the wordle . . . I'm off to paste to Facebook (I'm Judy Merrill Moticka over there).

Um, or not. I couldn't figure out how to copy it.

Glam, glam, glam dahling.

You look wonderful.



You wrote an article about Dean Winters this year. He and I were roomies at the Colorado College in 1982 for a while. I'm trying to track him down and CC hasn't been much help. Don't know if you can pass this along in a manner that will keep his privacy private but tell him Dehey is seeking to talk to him. And, no, I'm not a stalker. Just an old college mate! Please give him my email address, etc.

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