Strike a Pose

“Be quiet, we don’t want to be caught,” the photographer instructs me. He turns to the roof ladder, and leaps up it like a monkey firefighter.

I try not to replay the opening scene in Vertigo. I’m a nervous matchmaker, introducing my right foot to the first rung, hoping they will like one another. They do. The same with the left. Soon both feet are social climbers, leading me to the roof.

The photographer is waiting, and the wind, sunlight and temperature are behaving like his crew – submitting to the moment.

“Now, put on the first outfit,” he says, demonstrating how a whisper can be a command.

“All right,” I say, looking through the outfits. They are overpowering; they are overdone; they are just over. But he’s a friend, so I put them on. Like Ben Folds, I do the best imitation of myself.

Soon he is telling me to do things I don’t do anymore, while making it look like I do…”give me a cocky pose.” I do. “No, like this.” He does it. I do it. “Umm, not quite, here, mirror me.” He does it. I do it. “No, come stand where I’m standing.” He does it. I do it. click. “Done. Next outfit.”

Years ago I saw Paris is Burning, a documentary about vogue balls in New York City. The participants try to pass for their opposite gender or social class. All I know is they walked down that runway like they were walking away from their old selves.

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