In all the excitement of having had the photos taken, I forgot to tell the best part of the shoot: the stories.
Here’s the thing. Diane Wah is a fine art photographer. She went to Lang at The New School for undergrad and Columbia for her MFA in photography. This is no small feat. So when she offers to shoot you as a gift, you take it. You take it and run with it so fast your feet turn into rubber and definitely before she can change her mind.
“Central Park” I kept on saying. “Let’s go into Central Park. I know this great spot where I think it would be really cool to take photos. It’s kind of like a cave-tunnel situation with water.”
She just looked at me with a small smile playing on her lips “Ok, ok. You’re really into Central Park. We can go to Central Park.”
I live a block and a half away from Central Park. Do I make it a point to go everyday as I should? Absolutely not. I take it for granted. I know that it’s there, waiting for me to show up. What I really wanted to do in photo-ing in Central Park was give homage to the park.
Lucky Diane was with me. Lucky she was there. We began the shoot indoors with a makeshift studio – white sheets that my wonderful roommate Paul would hold up while she snapped away. The occassional direction: “Look at me, now look away. Look at Gaius…. Nadia, looking at me doesn’t mean you have to turn your head toward me. Just look at me.”
Once those were done, I slipped into the skirt I had been so excited to wear. I mean it’s a poofy black skirt! It makes me want to twirl. Who would want anything more than that out of a skirt?
Diane looks around. “Nadia, you still hellbent on going to Central Park? How about we take some photos out on your fire escape?”
I can smell good ideas.
I go with it.
I had thought of the “computer love” overall theme – Gaius and me with our macbooks. Of course, true to my obsession I had mentally placed the possible photo on a bench in Central Park. Possibly near the Strawberry Fields monument. Just saying.
But after seeing this photo Diane took of her mother for her wedding, I mentioned the stoop of my building. See, my building is awesome. There are two lion heads at the doorway. Anyway, I digress.
Finally. A smart thing. Diane combined the two and told us to grab our computers and take them down to the stoop.
Now I was into it. I was having fun. Photo shoots are fun? What? Yes, this was fun. I was hanging out with my friend Diane and the love of my life Gaius. And every moment she turned, she was inspired by my block.
“Ooo this doorway is beautiful”
“Oh man, grey negative space! Let’s go there”
Not to mention her interest in having us all run back and forth avoiding traffic on 106 St.
When all was said and done, we decided to head into the bodega across the street from my building solely with the intention of buying some celebratory beer and/or ice cream.
As soon as we walked in, Diane saw photos.
She turned to the owners as I peered into the freezer debating on whether or not Ben or Jerry should run away to save their lives, “Is it ok if I take some photos in here?”
And the most wonderful thing about all this? Homage to 106 St. Do you know how many times Gaius and I have walked along these sidewalks holding hands? So many. Can you count how often I’ve picked up last minute staples for my kitchen and the occasional craving from that very bodega? No.
Diane immortalized love on 106 St with these engagement photos. She didn’t listen to me and my incessant “Central Park”-edness.