It just seemed so very Bishkek, that I had to take part. Such a typical thing for the chic, stiletto-ed girls of AUCA to get involved in. Also, because I’m a photography teacher and should never pass up a learning experience (even if it’s mostly in Russian) and I needed an excuse to get out of doing endless amounts of data entry with Farrell.
(I swear, I’m actually a really loving wife.)
That’s how I found myself at a Glamour Photograhy Workshop. At 10am on an already hazy Saturday morning, the television studio at the American University of Central Asia was packed with eager, flawless-looking co-eds. Everybody squeezing for a chance to sit close to our esteemed guest, a Dubai-based photographer who has been visiting AUCA for the past several years to give lectures and workshops on various subjects related to photography.
After an introduction about fashion photography and a discussion on the meanings and differences between style, fashion, and glamour (style is what you’re born with, fashion is what the world gives you, glamour is what you give back to the world), we were split into two groups; the indoor “retro” group and the outdoor “bridal” group.
Jana, the “retro” model, was dressed in a mismatch of black accessories, lace gloves, pearls, loose pin-curls and a tiny black hat and lace veil. Comically red lips. She seemed a bit unsure of herself while speaking, but quickly pulled herself into a pose whenever a camera was pointed toward her.
I had to strain to poke my lens through the crowd of girls and my ISO was maxed out trying to make the best of the lighting situation. A few professional photographers were assisting with the workshop, demonstrating different lighting techniques, and passing around their decked out cameras for the other students to try.
The majority of the workshop was in Russian, so I mostly hung toward the back, lent my camera to my one student who was there (pictured above), and tried to figure out who brought the point-and-shoot with the obnoxious neon-blue preview light (it should be the second default setting you change after turning off the time-stamp).
When the second model arrived (fashionably late, of course), I wandered outside for the “bridal” shoot.
Nastia was decked out in a strapless wedding gown, full hoop skirt, and an obscene amount of gold glitter and white tulle. But the lighting was absolutely gorgeous, and being outside allowed more space for all of the photographers to move around.
Another professional photographer demonstrated how to use diffusers and reflectors, all in Russian again, but it was partially useful to see all of that equipment in action. The above photo, with the other-worldly gold glow, was taken with a gold screen bigger than my bed.
Overall, it was a nice little taste of fashion photography. I don’t think it’s something I want to focus on with my photography; I decided it actually weirds me out too much when the person I’m shooting is looking at my camera, but it’s good to get a sense of what controlled photo shoots are like. And, I have to admit, being swept up among such glamour made me feel a bit more glamorous myself.