Mary Jane

This is Mary Jane—easily the most delightful model I’ve ever had the privilege of working with. That’s largely because she’s a professional who can think like a photographer and seems to love the camera—she can relax and at the same time focus. Very comfortable with her own body, she knows how she looks whatever expression she assumes. As those of you who photograph people on a regular basis know—some people turn into two-by-fours when a camera is pointed at them—not unlike a deer in the headlights.

About a month ago I was invited out to a movie set by another beautiful young lady whose pictures you’ve seen before—Jessica—“The Hula-Hoop Girl.” I probably misunderstood what I was being invited to. A big crowd scene—and party—was scheduled to be shot that night around a bon-fire. That’s what I think I was invited to attend (you know how it is—old people are easily confused by sequential information.)

Instead I showed up at the set shortly after noon.

Located at the end of an obscure little dirt road—back in the woods—somewhere in central Virginia—the shooting location was on a large private estate in a magnificent rolling field under a beautiful—if hot—blue September sky.

Where the dirt road meets the field, security volunteers were satisfied I had legitimate business there when I mentioned Jessica’s name (she has clout!) and I was told where to park.

I ambled across the field to where a set was being constructed—I think it was a riser platform for a band to occupy. I noticed this striking young woman sitting in the shade of a truck watching the building. We chatted a bit—I don’t remember now about what—we introduced ourselves—this was Mary Jane. I remember being struck with how extroverted and communicative she was. I told her I was there to do still photography for personal internet use but also in the hope those I photograph can make use of the images.

She expressed interest in my avocation, explaining she was a model and always looking for ways to communicate her talent to the world. I said I was always looking for models and would be more than happy to aid her in that endeavor.

I fired off 6 or 8 frames then sat down next to her to get out of the sun and become better acquainted with this sweet-natured, generous person. She told me a little about the movie and its production as we watched a lean, muscular young guy hammer together lumber 8 or 10 feet overhead.

As we talked I noticed two large, cross-country buses parked at the east end of the field—weeds growing up around them. They fascinated me—I love old vacant buildings and abandoned vehicles. I asked if she had some down time, (she didn’t look very busy) she said she did. So I suggested we do a shoot in those buses—if it’s OK for us to go into them.” She assured me it was so we hiked over, went inside and I probably shot a hundred frames.

As I said—she was a joy to work with. I just moved her around the bus interior—putting her in various locations and she did the rest—assuming beautiful poses and expressions. With someone like Mary Jane it’s easy to do good work.

We returned to the building site and, while wandering around a little more, I stumbled across a scene being shot of two exotic young ladies in costumes performing as middle-eastern dancing girls. The dancing was captivating—I’d better not say much more—don’t want to risk being called a “dirty old man.” Trust me—it was time well spent.

Before the scene I chatted with one of the young ladies. When I first met her I took note of her costume and said something lame like, “Well—I guess you’re playing a dancing girl.” She said, “No—I’m not playing a dancing girl—I AM a dancing girl.”

She was a formally trained dance major—a graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA.

I’ve already posted many of the dancing girl images and have gotten a number of very complimentary remarks from members. These last images of Mary Jane have also elicited a number of very appreciative—very specific remarks. I was genuinely delighted when I received an email from Mary Jane expressing how much she liked her pictures.

I like compliments as much as the next person but—as much as I enjoy the praise—what can I say?—I can’t take all the credit.

I couldn’t have done it without you Mary Jane :)

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