When I was a kid, my parents documented every five years of my life with a studio family portrait. I remember that first sitting; I was dreadfully uncomfortable in a plaid Burberry dress and stiff patent leather mary-janes that my mum had insisted on, because they were “made in Italy”. My dad had freshly shorn my hair into a timeless bowl cut and attached some sort of bow to the side of me head. It was not a good look. I felt like one of those awkwardly posed Victorian children immortalised on oil and canvas; I think a petticoat may have even been involved.
By the time I was fifteen, I was miraculously allowed to choose my own outfit for Family Photo Fun Day, as long as it was “neutral, not too bright, and we’re serious about this Lucie”. My parents hadn’t aged in that whole decade, thanks to a wee painting hidden in the attic and some sort of deal with the devil. They were even wearing the same outfits. Same stiff poses, awkward smiles and superfluous hands on each other’s shoulders like some half-arsed conga line.
The rise of social media has made everyday photography ordinary. We no longer only document special occasions; in the last 24 hours alone, I’ve immortalised my shoes, my lunch, a smoothie, my dog’s tail, an event poster, and my face – seventeen times. If we see a cute cat, we photograph it. A funny sign? Photograph. A brightly coloured door, a pair of socks, or a lighter with a mildly offensive slogan? Click, click, and click. Every moment of our lives is snapped on our phones, some which will never see the light of day until we get an alert that tells us our storage is full. Whilst social media and smartphones have made photography accessible, it may have also made us all take it for granted. When was the last time you held a beautiful photograph in your hand, or saw it in real life, rather than through a screen?
A few weeks ago, the lovely Jasmin (and Victor), aka A Couple of Photos, invited Edinburgh-based bloggers Emily, Talor, Charlotte, and moi to their new studio on London Street (in Carolyn Baxter) for an evening of photo shoot fun, with prosecco and nibbles, great conversation, and more than a little goofiness. Imagine a group of lassies getting ready for a night out, having makeup and hair done, and trying to decide which outfit to wear. This was nothing like the studio portraits my parents subjected me to as a child.
I’m not used to being photographed; I only recently started posting OOTDs on my Instagram, and I usually try to edge out of group photos on the sly. I stand at odd angles. I pull funny faces. I just don’t know what to do with my arms, other than flap them like a bird. Do not do this. This does not look good.
Jasmine is great at putting folk at ease, which is invaluable in a portrait photographer. She knew exactly which poses and postures would work for the best results, and we chatted and giggled through the whole shoot.
I loved the way the photos came out! She even managed to coax me out of that weird thing I do with my chin. Whether you’re a photoshoot newbie like me, or someone used to being in front of the camera, Jasmine make you look – and feel – fabulous.
A Couple of Photos can be found at 44 London Street in the New Town.