I hate getting myself shot with a camera, especially for those dumb passport size photographs. Realizing I couldn’t go on using my photograph shot when I was a cheeky 12 year old forever, I drove myself to the photographer’s studio this week to get myself a new set of photographs.
“60 photographs in 60 rupees”, the banner in his studio screamed. With a portrait of a lady smiling sheepishly at the camera. Heck, I thought, cheap! Well, apparently no. He tried to convince me to go in for 4 “instant” photographs that would cost me 40 bucks. I said no. And I pointed to the banner.
He then put forth the option of me having my portfolio shot for 2000 bucks because, apparently, “I was so cute”(which has loosely been translated from kannada) and was a potential super-model. Nice marketing, I thought, but I said no again. And I pointed to the banner again.
Unrelenting, he gave me another option. This time, he said he would deliver 20 photographs by this evening and throw in a CD of my photographs all for 100 bucks. I sighed. And pointed to the banner.
Peeved, and having failed at all attempts to convince me to go in for anything but that offer, his hitherto smooth, silky voice suddenly became gruffy. He told me that I wouldn’t get the photographs until a whole day later. I wouldn’t mind that, I told him.
He then invited me to a dimly lit room, with a camera on his rather plump figure. He pointed to what apparently looked like a ruler. It was a comb, I later found out, with most of its tooth missing and shards of hair sticking obnoxiously. Some gel too was offered. I declined to both. The cheeky brat that the fellow was, he simply refused to shoot a photograph of mine before I combed my hair.
I hate combing my hair, it just pisses me off. I disobeyed, and told him, just shoot. He gave a growl, and out of nowhere flicked on a switch. Suddenly, the room was flooded with light. I noticed strange umbrellas that covered the spotlights. He asked me to go sit on the lone seat at the centre. He asked me what background would I like. I asked him what choices I had.
Then, he asked me to smile. I tried hard. Really hard. The tension on my face was evidently visible because the photographer immediately started laughing himself. I stared at him, and he replied, “Smile, not frown”. I sighed. And I gave up. It’s just impossible to smile at nothing. But he didn’t understand.
I ordered, “Just shoot”. He said “Smile”. I said “Shoot, or I leave”.
And click. I went blind.
Or so I thought. Stupid flashes. He said, come tomorrow.
The next day, I went to collect my photograph. And with the first look, I immediately burst out laughing loud. It was as if someone had punched me in my face. I told the photographer, show someone this the next time they are unable to smile.
Happy with my new photographs (60 of them!), I sailed home singing.
Edit:: I haven’t changed much since I was twelve. Not bad.