I’ve known Therese for many years. She was one of my earliest supporters in my photography, and we’d been toying with the idea of my doing a pet portrait. One day while out together, this image of her just popped into my head, and I blurted out “I’d love to do a shoot with you done up as the Queen Latifah character in Chicago”. She got terribly quiet for a few moments, and I thought I might have insulted her somehow. Instead, she answered, “ok, let’s do it”.
“Mama” is a tremendously voluptuous and devastatingly sexy character, and I know this combination pushed some buttons in Therese. But she was ready to step out of her comfort zone. I had a VERY specific mood in mind, but her home looked nothing like it. So I “built” the set.
It was the first time I’d ever completely transformed a space from what it was to what I wanted it to be. I moved all the furniture out of the way, and covered the sofa with a bedspread (and the pillow) I bought for the shoot. We fashioned the outfit from a blouse Therese found in her closet, and a curtain panel I brought with me. The glass was also purchased for the occasion. The head piece was a broken necklace. And finally, there is no “window” to camera right – I set up a frame and hung some drapes, with a fan blowing them from the right. Sugano – my make-up and hair wizard – provided the final touches which brought Therese’s delicate beauty to light.
Riley could not have cared less.