Studio for a Day

Another testimony to how necessity can drive one to make things happen. A few years ago, I was introduced to a website called, This Open Space. It’s a networking platform allowing people to rent out commercial spaces temporarily. For those on the other end you can find spaces for all your needs; a desk space for office use, an art gallery, a retail pop-up store, a yoga studio. The options are endless. I hadn’t thought about the website for a while and forgot about it until I desperately needed it. Not recalling what the heck it was called, I tried many key word searches until I finally stumbled upon it.

September past, I found a space at Greenwood and Gerrard. Walking distance from where I live. A space that is primarily retail, but was able to rent for a 10 hour period as a photography studio at a really great price I may add. When I went to see the space, I said yes, but afterwards had misgivings. I actually didn’t think the ceiling was high enough with its fancy lighting fixture. I needn’t have worried. Everything about the space worked out really well. I couldn’t have asked for better and would absolutely shoot there again.

What a great crew. Pierrette was on board as an assistant for the morning helping to steam the wrinkles out of the costumes and set up my new background frame. She was the voice of reason. The calming factor that day when things all of a sudden would get over whelming. No fuss, no muss. Practical to the core. Her professionalism from co-organizing the show carried over to organizing me. Thanks Pierrette!

Charlotte’s shirtwaist, thus her entire costume was complete. Kai, as always, did an amazing job on her hair. At one point Kai held up the long mass of hair and exclaimed, “What am I going to do with all this hair!!” In the end she made a hair pocket at the nape of Charlotte’s neck and packed away the excess within it. belissimos!

When Kai arrived, Pierrette had left, my set was ready except for one thing missing. I had planned to put some kind of floral arrangement on the plinth. After lugging a carload from the storage than another from my apartment to the premises, I lost the drive and the physical space to bring the roses I bought the previous day especially for this shoot. In passing, I had laughed about seeing a lush fern at the corner store (to which we [Charlotte] had already made umpteen visits to) and buying it just for the day. “Just ask if you can use it for the day.” Kai perked up. I heard numerous stories of Ryerson photography students doing such a thing, or buying a product for their shoot, then returning it the next day. But still I hesitated until both Charlotte and Kai chirped their encouragement. So I went next door and showed the owner my set and explained what I was doing. She was very nice about the whole thing allowing me to borrow the fern for the day. It was just the thing!

As Kai was doing her own hair, I popped off a few dozen single shots of Charlotte. Now she 100% fitted the vision I had in mind for her. With Her hair styled more sophisticated, she looked more mature. I love how she can be a chameleon that way.

Again Kai was donned in the same costume for the first shoot at Sarah Ashbridge Estate. But I vowed her costume would be the next one I’d complete. I found a painting by Julius LeBlanc Stewart, “Elegante au sofa”, that fit the bill and designed my own rendition of the outfit the woman is wearing. The skirt is almost done. Her shirtwaist not even started. I would prefer to do a fitting before I start it. I have a shoot with Pierrette in the coming weeks. Kai will be styling a wig for her, so I’ll get her to try it on then. Wait a minute…. I broke my vow. Kai’s was NOT the next costume I completed. It was Pierrette’s.

Watching Kai style her own hair seems just as effortless as when she styles someone else’s. When she was finished, Charlotte had a break, munching on the little feast we had as a potluck. I had asked everyone to contribute something to save money. I was going to order sandwiches and snacks from a website called Platerz. Another networking, website were one can order from multiple choices of restaurants and catering business throughout Toronto. The premise being all food would be ordered 24 hr in advance and delivered to your door. I was already adding up the costs in my mind of what the day would be, so I opted out in the end. Maybe some other time, because I really do think the website is a great concept.

I thought 10 hours would have been too much time. In the end it was just enough. We were out of there at 7pm on the dot. Kai was kind enough to drive me around the corner back to my apartment, albeit in 2 carloads. I was ever so thankful. Poor Charlotte was buried under the last carload.

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