Under the Photographer’s Lens – my experience

Curiosities and fears

The experience of being photographed professionally for the first time, in a photo studio full of pulleys, cameras, and paper in an environment unknown to most of us, can be an interesting experience to be later be told.

That’s what happened to me, when I started this project to launch my website. When building it, it became necessary, and more than pertinent, to use a professional photo of myself, that could show others my true essence. It is never an easy job, this one of subjecting ourselves to this exposure of our image (I speak for myself), and above all, to invite naturalness, and our true self, for a session like this.

The failures and mistakes behind a beautiful photograph

I was lucky enough to be photographed by Rui Bessa, an excellent photographer living in Coimbra, with vast national and international recognition.

After a car journey between Lisbon and Coimbra, which took about an hour and a half, I arrived at Rui’s studio, a little nervous but curious about the whole process. In preparation, I had to put on make-up. For many, this may seem a very simple event, but for me, who isn’t a routine to put on make-up in my daily life, it was literally confronting something that I, as a woman, could be more used to, but which I’m not.

Already in the bathroom, where I changed clothes (I chose a baby blue jumpsuit, to match my brand colours), I then went through this process, for me a little unknown. Knowing where to apply eye powder and blush, to enhance the luminosity of the face, is something that for me, is still part of the mysteries of life.

So I decided to start with the foundation, and tried to spread it evenly over my face and neck. But, like beginner’s luck, a drop fell right on my blue jumpsuit, which was supposed to be the star of the party! Already demonizing the slide of “perfection”, Cátia appeared immediately afterwards, to guide me – and give moral support – to the moment. With skills gained in theater, in functions of managing clothes, he used two pins I had with me (to adjust the hems of the jumpsuit), to mask the situation, putting the stain on the base just behind the fabric, making it invisible! Thanks to this yes, perfect improvisation, I could breathe a sigh of relief, and win my salvation.

Of course, those who look at these beautiful and professional photographs on my website, can’t imagine the bad night’s sleep I had that day, because of anxiety or a knee injury, due to a fall a week ago, which made me arrive in Coimbra limping. In the same way, you cannot guess that there is a very skilful patch on that overalls, because there was some bad luck when applying the base, which stained my clothes. My air is, on the contrary, clean and salutary and it hides well the small difficulties, the mistakes and the failures that allowed us to reach this final result. I tell you all this because we are all human, because the accident is around the corner, imperfection in every gesture, and bad luck is our shadow…simply because we exist.

The recipe for success is naturalness

To the sound of the fado music that Rui played, to extract more introspective expressions from me, and after the conversation with Cátia, where I told her several stories of my life, it was possible to capture a part of me that I didn’t know.

When I saw the final photographs, I was amazed by the fact that I had never known, or realised, some expressions that are mine. There was, therefore, a place far away from my existence, from which I was totally unaware. And that is why I say it is worthwhile – at least once in your life – to participate in a photographic session, where you can feel at ease. What you may discover afterwards can be a real surprise.