Out and about.........
I've been away all week, just got back from doing yet more art direction .…"Sorry, can we just try that again with a more genuine expression – oh, and can we please try to be less wooden, is that grin fixed?. "……
I’m totally knackered, massaging bruised photographer’s ego, liasing with client, general glad-handing and pushing cows around (we did some countryside shots)…
Don’t get me wrong, I really like this part of the job, it’s just so tiring – like Christmas shopping without the bags.
A few years ago we were doing a calendar for a bloody massive PetroChem Company. They had recently put down a gas pipeline running from Scotland to the North of England. In order to preserve the landscape, they built, then buried the pipe and re-instated the flora and fauna on top.
Our task was to show what a great job ‘OilyCo’ had done – and to be fair to them, they had! It was a really fab jolly, we stayed in some of the finest pubs in some of the finest countryside on offer. On one particularly fantastically ‘Turneresque’ day we found ourselves slap-bang on top of Shap Fell in the Lake District. Apparently, our brief was to meet up with a Professor of Botany and his assistant. They were conducting a survey on some reinstated moorland, making sure that everything was as it should have been. We were also told that they would be joined by a couple of students that were walking the route.
I met up with the photographer, a miserable, moaning rotund man, dressed head to foot in M & S beige casual gear. Pretty soon I find out he also has a ‘tact’ bypass and as his jaunty flat cap gets blown off and jauntily disappears over hill and dale, I notice a six inch wide centre parting on his head. "Ohhh ‘kin hell – me cap, that cost 15 quid!"
We espy the Prof’ & assistant in the distance and amble over to them. Bloody hell, what a great day, blue sky, fluffy clouds, wheeling scudding screaming skyborne birds – and us. We’re in God’s own photo’ studio – and he’s got the floods full on. The light is truly, truly amazing.
Dave, our photographer can be heard gently moaning…. "Bloody hell that Sun is bright ….moan, moan, moan … Christ, this heather’s soaking …. moan, moan, moan …. Jeeezzzusss – this sheep shit is everywhere! …. moan, moan …. God, I’ve got grass marks on me slacks …. moan, moan, moan."
Just then, on the far horizon, 2 figures can be seen striding towards us amongst the heather. Well, even at that distance, I can see that they are the young students. They are wearing tight T-shirts, jeans and wellies – and they both have clip-boards and a small shoulder bag.
In no time at all, they are almost upon us – they are both magnificent specimens of womanhood. I look over to Dave - photography is definitely not on his mind. Prof’ says to Dave, "Do you want to shoot us inspecting this particularly fine specimen of heather?"
Dave doesn’t answer. Dave is miles and miles away, locked up in his own Valhalla, stoically trying to disguise the mile wide parting, shooing away the viscous dribble oozing out from the corner of his mouth. Desperately trying to suck in his mile out gut and positioning his camera, (which has now sprouted a good 6 inch telephoto lens) somewhere near to his groinal accoutrements.
Dave’s in love with the students– and it’s serious. I watch, fascinated as I can see him searching, desperately searching, groping for the words. The perfect Keatsian phrase that will suitably sum up his new found love. Or maybe ‘The Bard’ – Shall I compare thee to a …..
Dave’s mind leaps out of neutral, and goes straight into turbo drive. Connection is made between brain and speech centre.
Dave opens his mouth points to the generously endowed chests and shouts ….. "Kin Hell, just look. JUST LOOK at the jiggerly joggerly jugaboos’ on those babeeezzzz!!"
The trouble with flat moorland is that there is just no where to look. No cover to hide in, no holes to swallow you up, and no AK 47’s lying about to blow away a gobby snapper.