As an aspiring professional photographer, just out of college with a degree in graphic arts, I wanted to direct my career toward portrait and family photography.
My studio was small, but because I lived in a mild climate, I persuaded many clients to use the luster of their property, public parks and other such outdoor areas as a studio.
Business was good and thankfully uneventful, until I was asked by a younger couple, Phil and Maria, to record a joint family reunion at their family farm, a celebration of their first wedding anniversary. I enjoyed several hours of family fun on this assignment.
After editing my work, I gave Phil and Maria a computer disc with more than 500 photo proofs for their evaluation.
A week later, Maria, a very shapely brunette whose eye-catching five foot-four-inch body was accented that day by mid-thigh shorts and a colorful form-hugging blouse, visited my studio with a list of selections in hand.
As we completed her order, she asked, "Would you do a series of photos of me, au natural, at our farm? I want an album as a gift for my husband?"
I had to restrain myself from leaping at the opportunity, but then said, "I haven't done such photography since college on the recommendation of the owners of two professional studios where I had worked."
But then I added, "If you promise not to give me any 'free advertising,' I'll break my promise to my former bosses." She found humor in my comment.
I had hoped I wasn't sounding too anxious. She seemed to be the model every photography dreamed about hiring.
The appointed day was absolutely perfect. Maria greeted me wearing a loose robe, as I recommended, so there would be no marks on her body caused by belts, straps or elastic.
She suggested pictures outside the house, in the orchard, by the pond and river on their property, and in the barn where some freshly cut hay was stored.
She shed the robe in the small orchard alongside the house, obviously comfortable exposing her petite, perfectly proportioned body, firm buttocks and round 34B breasts unmarred by tan lines. Being nude outdoors was not new to her.
I think I was more nervous than she was.
Maria's angelic face accented her body as she leaned against a tree, moved to prone and sitting positions on the grass, used the two swings, and nestled down in the full-blooming flower bed. She needed very little prompting from me as I circled her, savoring the sight of this beautiful damsel from every possible angle. I was enjoying her posing as much as she was enjoying the freedom.
"Have you modeled," I asked, surprised at her confident movements and trying to keep up a conversation in order not to show my anxieties.
"Never," she said. "I just love to be outdoors ... like this. Have you ever shot photos like this?"
"Yes and no," I said. "Yes, but only in a studio; no, never outdoors or with a model who was so photogenic."
In the barn, she rolled on the hay, in the hay, moved easily during the few minutes in the rather warm building, then suggested going to the pond which was some 50 yards from the barn, a place obviously cooler and more refreshing.
Maria called the pond their family swimming pool. She posed seated on the bench, standing, sitting, volunteered various profiles, then rolled on the soft sand of the small beach before moving into the water, diving like a dolphin when it got waist-deep and coming up with a splash which, fortunately, I was prepared for. She performed several great swirls, giving me the opportunity for a couple dozen shots, including the traditional hair and water flying through the air.
When Maria returned to the beach, she rolled her wet body on the sand, covering herself with the golden dust, then rolled on her stomach, raised her body, looked right into the camera and grinned. Delightful. I recorded every move.
After several other poses, she returned to the water to rid herself of the sand.
In all, I spent more than three hours shooting photos of this confident beautiful young woman who continued to deny previous modeling experience, but moved with the grace of an experienced professional.
I don't know if she intentionally left her robe in the garden, but this gave me an opportunity to shoot many more photos of her glistening wet body walking toward me as she emerged from the pond and away from me as she walked ahead before the sun evaporated the droplets.
In the kitchen, still nude, she prepared some lemonade. I shot more photos of her toiling at the counter, then downloaded the day's work into my laptop computer.
Maria pulled up a chair and sat along side me, still in the buff, looking at the photos, offering positive comments as we sipped the tart drinks.
She selected the photos she wanted, then walked back to my car with me, still forsaking the robe.
It was an afternoon I won't soon forget, not only because of her beauty, but also because she broke her promise by showing her album to a couple of friends who invited me to shoot similar portraits at Maria's residence.
Happily, this unadvertised segment of my business did not curtail my advertised family photography efforts.
"I have been out of commision for a number of days. I had a not-so-minor surgery and spent 6 days in the hospital, followed by 3 days recuperating at my sister's house. I received very gentle, loving care at both places. Neither of them had any internet access. When I returned home this evening to my own environment and sat down to catch up on e-mail and such, I was surprised, even shocked (thought I should not have been) that the boost of energy I received from catching up on all the daily entries from DOMAI was probably as good as therapy and TLC can get. It is good to be alive and able to enjoy simple pleasures. Than you so very much for my daily dose." - Nick G
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