Friday, May 19, 2006


So yesterday (Thursday) I had to art direct a day of photoshooting. Which sounds way more glamorous than it really is. Everyone always thinks that being a photo shoot is super fun, but really it's a lot of waiting around and watching. Unless you are a model posing or having your makeup/wardrobe done, or a photographer, or his assistant, photoshoots are pretty boring for the rest of us.

So mostly I either stood behind the photographer, and occasionally looked at what he had shot on his digital screen to make sure they were what we were looking for - or I was busy either holding the silver light reflector, or picking lint off the models clothing. All things that usually a photo assistant would be doing, but alas, my boss is too cheap to hire a photo assistant. Instead we had a large posse of people from the office, but no one seemed to really want to do much (other than the photographer who worked his ass off, and the project manager who spent equal amounts of time holding said silver light reflector when I wasn't).

I had actually met one of the four models the day before at the office. The project manager had set up meetings but through happenstance, I was either out of the office at lunch or couldn't meet up with them because of other meetings. When I arrived back from lunch I ended up meeting the final model, COSGROVE.

All four models were suppose to fill a certain demographic for the campaign (a syphilis awareness campaign). There was the older African American model. The young hipster indie kid. The Asian pretty boy (who ended up a big queen). And the older white man (who was suppose to fill the demographic of either the SOMA crowd, or the older professional crowd - we're not sure).

Cosgrove was the older white man. He was 43, and was also a former Crystal Meth user. Something we were looking for. He was attractive, with salt and pepper receeding hair, and stubble (which we had actually requested that he grow in, to give him a bit of an edge). What we weren't expecting was his personality. The man could TALK.

And talk he did. In the short span of when he came by (about 15 minutes or so) we learned that he was in a long term relationship with his VERY first boyfriend for 16 years, which is even more remarkable since he's been "raised gay" since he was 10 (not sure what that means - "raised gay" does that mean his parents made him play with barbies and forced him to watch wonder woman growing up?), that he was in an open relationship, had contracted HIV (which apparently he got from oral sex, since he only had safe sex otherwise) and then passed it on to his boyfriend, that he's a recovering meth user but that doesn't necessarily mean that he's completely sober as he drinks and also does pot (though he doesn't smoke it - he actually uses a vaporizer which allows for the extraction of the THC without any of the tar or other nasty by products), that he's slept with quite a number of men, that he recently underwent surgery for a pinched nerve because of whiplash which is good because now he can start building up his right side of his body as it had atrophied because of the pinch nerve, and that he owned a pewter colored latex shirt that he could bring in if we wanted to really attract the SOMA leather crowd.

God bless him. Cosgrove has spunk and sass. And of course he was going to be our first model of the day - a day that started at 6:45am (not an issue for Cosgrove, as he actually work up at 5am every day).

The following day arrived, and I rolled into work around 6:50am (okay, maybe it was more like 6:55am but it DEFINITELY was not 7am). I was running late, and was rather grumpy from having to wake up at 5:30am, with only about 5 hours of sleep. When I walked into the office (sans caffeine as I had forgotten to drink any coffee or mate - my new caffeine-laden beverage of choice) I was greeted with both an EXTREMELY perky model (Cosgrove) a super stressed out project manager (distraught at my tardiness) and an explosion of clothes on the floor. Apparently Cosgrove had decided to bring his entire wardrobe to the office for our inspection. Not only was there clothing strewn across the office, but he had quite the selection of shoes (he later stated that he was a shoe whore - something I can relate to, having to work right across the street from DSW).

After having Cosgrove change into several outfits that we had picked ("Oh no, I don't need to use the other room to change I can just change here if no one minds...Good think I wore underwear today though! I usually don't.") and having the final touches of his make up done ("Thank goodness you guys have a make up artist here I needed someone to cover up my cold sore!") we were off and running to the SOMA for some shots.

We picked out two outfits for him, a plain black pants, black tshirt shirt with pink sleeves casual wear, and then a camouflage fatigue pants with tank top and camo hat. the later ensemble was for the SOMA leather crowd but in truth after a few shots it just felt to costume-y. The casual wear looked decent, but then the project manager remember that my boss wanted him also in a suit looking respectable (after all he OVERCAME crystal meth, he wasn't still ON crystal meth) so she ran back to the office to get that outfit.

During the shoot, I mostly held the silver reflector on Cosgrove. Cosgrove the chatty model proceeded to chat me up.

"So how come YOU aren't modeling for this shot? You're so cute..."

I tried to explain to him that I already had a syphilis in LOS ANGELES (and that I didn't really want to have it here in SF as well. Plus we already had an Asian model for the shoot.

Cosgrove then proceeded to ask me what my boyfriend did (he's a professor at a community college). And then he asked me if I like jacuzzis.

How does one answer a question like that? Do I like jacuzzis. The REAL question is do I like the PEOPLE in the jacuzzis?

So I answered that yeah, they were okay, and he told me that my boyfriend and I should come over sometime. The jacuzzi is a communal jacuzzi in their apartment complex but we could all come over sometime and have a party.

And then he asked me if I smoked pot.


"Oh no, I understand if you can't answer that question, as you're at work and everything..."

No. No. it's not really that. I reply back. (I just didn't really know where to go with THAT question either.)

So I told him that I didn't really smoke. And his response back was "well I'll be smoking in the jacuzzi!"

At which point my project manager came over and asked me if I needed relief from holding up the silver reflector.

So I handed it over, and Cosgrove proceeded to joke about how he can now flirt with her (the project manager) instead of me and really it's not a big deal either way, because he knew that neither of us were going home with him tonight....


Well Cosgrove definitely made the morning interesting. His session finished up - though not before he insinuated more than once that he wanted a kiss from me - and we sent him off.

Cosgrove never did get that kiss. Especially not with the coldsore sitting on top of his lips. :)

But not to worry. Adobe Photoshop can do wonders....

The rest of the photo shoot went well. Look for the campaign hopefully by San Franciso Gay Pride. And I'll let you know if I get to go to any jacuzzi parties....


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