Haitien Glamour Shots
There is nothing in the world like them.
Hang up a green sheet, provide the tackiest props available, hire some not-so-professional photographers, and use Paint to cut and paste your clients onto highly modern background images that you upload via floppy-disk onto your vintage MS-DOS, and voila- you can open up your own photography studio in down town Cap Haitien.
For no more than $2.50 a photo, you can be transformed from looking like an exhausted and unstylish missionary into a sophisticated and fashionable celebrity. Granted, the “studio” in which the photos are taken aren’t anything close to Hollywood. Actually, they are very smelly, musky, and quite questionable to say the least. Take for example the studio on 18th & A Street. The changing room is a bathroom which contains a constantly flooding toilet and mysterious packages on overhead shelving. The photographers use stingy rags they find on the floor to wipe off your sweaty brow between shots. And if you are lucky, you will only get hit on once by the head photographer and his entourage of faithful assistants.
Now you may be wondering why I know so much about Haitien Glamour Shots. With a husband who is a pretty decent photographer himself, why would I venture out onto the streets of Haiti and pay for “professional” photos of myself? And you know what? That is a good question. One that can only be answered by quoting Cyndi Lauper’s famous song, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!”
But really now, the first time I stepped foot into the Haitien studio I was attempting to bond with a few of my teenage girls. Whenever one of our older girls has a birthday it is customary for them get a special photo taken down at the local studio. They put on their best clothes, their best hair extension, and walk to the studio in their highest pair of heels. And if I am lucky, I will receive a copy of their photo to add to my refrigerator collection so that I can brag to all our visits about how beautiful my girls are!
So last year when Tabitha and I told our girls we too wanted glamorous Haitien photos, they freaked out! Full of excitement, all the girls got together one night and made Tabitha and I play dress up to find the perfect studio attire. After trying on at least a dozen or so outfits they finally chose a few items of ours that they deemed “cool enough”. Then the next morning they gave us makeovers. After our faces where plastered with makeup and our hair drenched in hairspray we made our way to the studio. And let me just tell you- we modeled like we were pros.
After receiving tons of compliments and having our self-esteems built up to an all-time high, Tabitha and I decided that we needed to have a second go around with our modeling careers. And what better time than this past week when my best friend Julia and her sister Laura were in for a visit? So earlier this week, while the boys were busy doing manly construction things, the four of us girls went to the studio and made Haitien Glamour Shot history. Not only did the photographers profess their love for us over and over again, but one of them actually compared me to the ever-so-beautiful Celine Dion. (I am trying not to take offense to the fact that she is a few decades older than me).
And now, since I bet none of you will make it down to this particular studio in Haiti to see our photos on display in the front lobby any time soon (and yes, they actually are on display), I’d thought I’d share them with you on the blog.
Feel free to laugh at us all you want and enjoy!
|Windows 1995 Paintbrush: Want to know how we know they used the paint program to edit their pictures? Well, if you look closely at Tabitha, they didn't like her ponytail, so they decided to paint her an extra little hair on the left side of her head.|
|Haitien Geishas:We saw these beautiful umbrella props in the studio and knew we had to get a photo with them. Notice the very inspiring Chinese writing in the top left-hand corner.|
|Just Look Away: We were trying to look really serious in this shot. Although we think we accomplished that, we still can't figure out why the shaved so much of Tabitha's head off.|
|Golden Girls: The sisters Laura and Julia posed together for their mom.|
|Enchanted Garden: I don't have a clue why they thought the backyard of what appears to be an old person's apartment would be a great background for this photo. Regardless, I think it is one of my all time favorites.|
|Red, White, and Blue: This is one of our originals from last year. We look like professionals don't we?|
|City Slickers: Between the shag carpet, the fancy couch, and the view outisde the window, looking at this picture, you would never know that the two of us are actually missionaries in Haiti and not high rollin' city gals!|
|Take Two: The deep thinking pose I mastered on the left is a favorite among Haitiens and a must have to any studio session.|