Friday, January 14, 2011

...And Another...

(All pics. snapped on 12/30/10

I could not believe how late it had gotten, by the time my camera battery reached a full charge, and I was finally behind the wheel of my little car - tearing up the highway towards the burned-down clubhouse for the second time in as many days. I'm not sure how it happens exactly, but lately it feels like whenever I've got plans to do a shoot, I find myself in some sort of race to beat the clock...and darkness...and plummeting temps...

It was around 3:30 when I arrived at my destination - so not too too late, but considering the fact that I'd come prepared to stage three different shoots (two of which were to take place within the confines of the crumbling clubhouse walls, and the other - in the nearby, empty swimming pool) which meant there'd also be three correlating costume/makeup changes - I knew that if I was gonna tackle everything before dark, I would really havta hustle.

While I was shooting at the clubhouse the evening before, the only other signs of human life in the vicinity - were the voices of a couple of heating contractors working in a neighboring yard, and the cars which drove along the road, clear on the other side of the lake on which the old clubhouse is situated. This time however, I was met in the parking lot as I unloaded my junk - by a man who was having no luck at all - catching and tethering his unruly dog.

After trying in vain to capture the beast, myself (in order to try and hasten their departure from the site) it quickly became apparent that the man and his renegade pooch weren't going anywhere, anytime soon. It looked like I had no choice but to get started regardless. Fortunately (for everyone involved) in my first set of pics. - I was to start off fully-clothed. Unfortunately, upon reaching the slated conclusion of my photographic short story, I would have shed a good bit of clothing - even if the guy and his dog continued to circumnavigate the building. 

Later on, while reviewing the pictures from this shoot, I nearly deleted the photo seen above. But when I shifted my eyes up and away from how dumpy I look in it, I realized that it's the only example in the whole lot - that show's that dude's close proximity to and his bird's eye view of me and my little photo shoot...neat!

(Soooo...Ok with you guys if I delete it now?)

Before long (thankfully) I had all but tuned out the ebb and flow of the man's intermittent pleading with the dog to come back to him. As the pace with which I darted back and forth between camera and set accelerated, I became more and more comfortable in less and less clothing. I just didn't have time to let myself worry about being spotted or even watched by that guy, or anyone else for that matter...I was getting in "the zone", man - and I couldn't afford to break stride.

The whole time I was snapping self-portraits in the shady graffiti corner - I was salivating at the thought of posing in front of a partially destroyed wall across the way, which appeared to have been part of a bathroom or kitchen during the clubhouse's heyday. The sun was shining brightly on that section of the semi-demolished structure, and knowing full-well that the exquisite natural lighting would soon be history, I decided to relocate from the graffiti walls to that sunny patch with the sparkly plumbing pipes and the mound of broken concrete blocks and tile. 

It was admittedly a bit unsettling to get fully naked in an area of the building where I was even more exposed to potential onlookers than I had been in the graffiti corner, but I had brought nothing extra to wear, and I was not about to pass on photographing myself amid such scrumptious wreckage, simply because I didn't have a costume. 

The synthesis of near terror brought about by the thought of getting caught posing nude, and my oftentimes unapologetic defiance of quitting, especially whenever the threat of danger lurks - courses through me like a damn drug, I tell you. I can't think of anything else in the whole wide world that affects me quite the same way...and I love it!

All righty, up, was the swimming pool shoot, right? Negatory. I had made the mistake of assuming that gaining access to the fenced-in pool area, would be no problem. It was only after I'd eaten up a bunch of precious time getting dressed and tweaking my hair and makeup, that I went over to actually scope out the situation. At which time I realized that all of the gates were securely locked and to climb over the 8 foot fence with my stuff in tow would be nearly impossible without a ladder. I was forced to abort the mission. But! There was still one more shoot on the schedule, and there was just enough time left to do it.

Costume change was a snap, I got naked (uh-gin), put on some tacky jewelry, a wig and even more black eye-liner, and proceeded to proudly parade around the place as if I'd claimed ownership of it or was somehow invisible to the sudden influx of car traffic - neighborhood residents who were returning in droves, presumably back to their homes after work...   

When I heard a large truck screech wheels as it sped into (or past?) the clubhouse parking lot, something queer happened. It was almost as if Cocksure Cleopatra, self-appointed Queen of the Clubhouse - had suddenly been cast out of my body, and what was left was the real Lauralyn - alone, naked and far more vulnerable than my most recent character incarnation had been. I raced over to where I'd left my street clothes inside-out and in a heap, and I spastically tried to get dressed and collect my things before being accosted by whoever was driving that truck...

Turned out it was a false alarm. There was no truck in the parking lot, thus - no irate neighbor coming to do bad things to me, and judging by the absence of irritated shouting - I deduced that man and his dog had reunited and left to go home. 

At first I was perturbed that I'd packed up to go prematurely, but I decided that it was just as well...the sun was setting, I was much colder than I'd realized, and it was probably time for me to head on home, myself.

Overall, I was pleased with my afternoon at the clubhouse ruins. I drove towards my house, hypnotized by the most divine sunset. And you know? I would say that I even felt content...that is - if I hadn't already started conspiring. I simply could not get my mind off of the failed swimming pool shoot...I knew that I had to see it come to fruition, some way...


  1. You did get some great shots in the time you had, and while the light was still with you, and as far as I'm concerned, you nailed the picture from your car on the way home. It has the look of a water painting, and brings back many great memories of across country road trips from my past. Thank you!

  2. And another great one.
    This story made me realise you (normaly) don't feel naked without your clothes on, posing for a picture.
    That's awesome.

  3. No one who has portrayed Cleopatra has ever looked that fit, or that regal!

  4. Reminds me of a shoot several years ago where I was just the photographer, not the model. It was in an old fort, not so far from you, across the water from Virginia Beach. Don't remember the fort's name, but it had some awesome old big gun emplacements that practically glowed golden in the late afternoon light. The guns had been pulled out after WWII, but their onetime resting places made a stunningly rugged backdrop to the softness and elegance of the female human form. If you know the fort I'm talking about, you should check it out... you'd love it!

  5. Once again your pictures suggest stories. I love that last one especially, where you look like some ancient goddess awoken in a new time, surveying the new world with the proud confidence and wicked intent ...