When someone submits a request via my website for more information regarding portraits, it shows up in my inbox with the subject line “New Client Inquiry.” They all follow the same generic format, answering pretty basic questions. But they’re not always as entertaining as the one I opened the day after Christmas:
where did you hear about us?:
I have always shunned pictures for a number of reasons, but my octogenarian mother has made a special request for for a portrait. I would like to talk w/ you about how to take advantage of your talents, as evidenced by the photos in your gallery, in light of my apprehensions. Thank you so much.
Challenges: bald / big schnauz / soldier / old / cheezy smile
“Challenges” was a field he’d added.
This was going to be fun. I called him immediately and our telephone consultation resulted in a session the very next week. In the meantime, I was anxious to meet this old bald man with the big schnauz, soldier by trade, sporting a cheezy smile and I was equally curious to see if his view of reality resembled mine. So I gave him an assignment to share with me:
1) a photo of himself that he likes looking at;
2) a photo of himself that makes him laugh;
3) and a photo of himself that could easily pass as a snapshot of a great or famous person.
The photographs he sent told me much about the kind of man who had just commissioned me to make his portrait:
1) a father of seven, the kind of father a son would choose as best man for his wedding;
2) fun-loving enough to walk through Italy impersonating a walrus with the help of some bananas;
3) and an Army JAG, standing in the company of Supreme Court Justices one moment and unafraid to don a Navy sweatshirt the next (it was a gift from his daughter.)
This is what I saw: