Never let a camera salesman tell you any different: Changing the lens of a single-lens-reflex camera in the dark in a small closet is not easy. I fumbled around for what felt like minutes for the tiny knobs on both the camera and the lens that showed you how they were supposed to align, trying at the same time not to put fingerprints on the lens surfaces or the very sensitive mirror in the camera (which you cannot clean since the mirroring is actually on the surface of it, rather than under glass).
Then I started worrying about how to pre-focus the thing. The problem was that I used two different systems, and one of them turned clockwise to focus to infinity, and the other went the opposite, and for the life of me I could not remember which was which at the moment. Then I remembered that the lens got longer as you focused closer, and by feel I soon had it solved.
The whole thing had started two days earlier. This was '55 or '56, and I really should be too mature to be involved in something this ridiculous and embarrasing, but following the Stockholm fire in '53 I was penniless and generally desperate, so I turned down basically nothing. I was sitting on a bench in the city, enjoying the sun and trying not to think of how to make my food last the week, when this young blonde walked up to me. She looked like a teenager, but turned out later to be older. She had a classic straight nose and big blue penetrating eyes. She looked at me, and then she stood right in front of me and started taking off her clothes.
This is of course something I support under most circumstances, but I admit that I was a bit surprised at the abruptness of it. She didn't look like it was a mistake at all, though. Off it came. After she was down to her shoes and a finger ring, she turned a bit as if to say; "aren't I fine?" And fine she was.
I was just about to ask her what was the purpose of this exclusive show, when a young, but big man turned up, said to her, "that's enough, darling," and picked up her clothes under one arm and herself under another, and walked off. She looked at me undisturbed and in a soft voice told me a phone number and to call her the next day, about a job.
I don't know about you, but when a nude beauty being carried away by a large man tells me to call her, I always do. I phoned her, and she couldn't come to me (not that I had anything much to come to) so I came to her workplace. It was a high-toned and very light and modern attorney's office in the posh end of town, and in her work-clothes she looked like one of the most classy parts of the office. She was the head secretary for a top-shot lawyer, and only could spare 10 minutes to talk to me. I was sitting there in my old clothes hoping that I did not smell or anything like that as she explained the situation. It seemed that she had recently married a young man who was the son of a very wealthy man, and he had turned out to have a rather broad sadistic streak. He forced her into weird games with other girls in their bedroom, and his father was easily capable of ending her career, so she had trouble doing anything about it. She had heard about me and the Dirty Old Men's Association International, seen me with a camera, and somehow formed the idea that I had a detective agency. The little strip show on the street was part of a failing plan to convince her husband that she was mentally unstable, and so try to get him to wish for a divorce, which might be easier on her. She wished me to photograph one of the seances in their bedroom to be able to put some pressure back at her husband if he became hostile.
Now the lights came on in the bedroom where I was sitting in the closet. The doors of the closet were like horizontal blinds, and since the lens does not register something so close to it, I was actually able to photograph out through them. My client came in, closely followed by a well-shaped redhead, and then by the husband. The girls undressed, the games started, and I started photographing. She had not been exaggerating. Those were really kinky games, all kinds of strap-on tools, and chains and leather and whips. I photographed away, trying to breathe evenly. The husband was directing, but he was clearly drunk, and after a while he simply fell asleep in the chair.
The odd part of it was that this did not stop our female lovebirds. If anything they went at it with even greater enthusiasm after he passed out, and I had to say it looked and sounded like they got something out of it, and like this was not the first time ever.
As per the agreement, I did never reveal myself, and after the husband had dragged himself to the bathroom, and the redhead had left, I also left, through the window, passing my client sleeping sprawled over the huge bed in all her splendor.
So, next week when I came by the office of my client, of course she was very thankful of a job well done, and technically fine images, yes? Nope. She apparently did not recognize me, and was about to call the building security, when I showed her the images. She became paler than her hair. Then she wrote me a check for thrice the amount we had talked about, and then she did call security, and told me she never wanted to see me again. I guess her little pretense mental instability was not so pretense after all.
And me, I had long had plans elsewhere that I had not had the cash to carry out, so what better time to pursue them? Off I went.