If two women are going to take a Sinful Sunday photograph in a library then it’d really help if they’re those softly-spoken, discreet kind of women who do a sort of silent glide. Exuberance, laughter, kicking off shoes, and running up and down the stairs would definitely not be the way to behave…
“I’d like to try and get a Sinful Sunday photo while we’re in here,” I said to F Leonora Solomon as we wandered around New York Public Library.
I was thinking back to a shot from some 18 months back, taken at the Saison Poetry Library in London. Only intended for an audience of one, it was my first photo in a public place and it was snapped furtively and nervously. While taking that photo I had looked up to see the beady eye of a security camera right above my head! That image has long since been deleted, but I would love to recreate it with more confidence and with consideration for the composition. What better location than the beautiful and elegant Rose Reading Room? Except it’s closed for refurbishment…
We’re mooching around a couple of photography exhibitions, keeping an eye out for alternative locations; I am listening to F’s enthusiasm for this art form tumble from her tongue. “Would you ever take part in Sinful Sunday?” I’d asked over brunch. “No!” had come the very decisive response. I mention it again now. “NO, really, even my family struggle to get a snap!” “Shall I stop going on about this?” I laugh, not wanting to spoil a new friendship…
I sit down on a grand staircase, willing the security guard who’s in my eye line not to look up and beckoning forward tourists who hesitate to walk through the shot, styling it out nonchalantly as if sitting barefoot with my dress hitched up round my arse is a completely normal thing to do. F runs up and down the stairs showing me the shots, making suggestions about the position of my hands, my legs. “I am having so much fun!” she exclaims.
“I think this is the shot we want,” she says.
“I like it,” I say, “but look at the hideous scabs on my knees, I look like a three-year-old!”
“WHAT? I really don’t think people will notice.”
She runs up the stairs, plonks herself down and takes a picture of her legs.
“Look at the scars on my legs, they’re shouting through my tights!”
“I can’t see anything,” I say, astonished.
And there you have it. We always see in ourselves the faults that others don’t, even when we point them out.
F’s staring at the photo of her legs. “I’m going to do Sinful Sunday!”
“Yes!” I am delighted.
She leaps up, runs back down the steps to her handbag and grabs the necklace she bought half an hour earlier and drapes it over her thighs.
PS: F, I will be back and when I come we’ll get the reading room shot and I will do a better job of flashing my knickers!