Have you ever had one of those moments when a vision, a feeling, a certain knowledge just pops into your head out of the blue? One moment you were in the present, then, bam!
I had a really big BAM! last year. It was in the depth of a cold black winter evening. I had the opportunity to be on the receiving end of a lovely massage, at the end of a day at a doctor’s office here in town. A dear friend of over 30 years, has changed course in her life and is now doing massage. Mostly, if not exclusively on/for women…..but lucky me, she wanted me to have a massage.
I ride a bike almost everywhere. To work, every day, year around. It’s my thing. I pity all the drivers, stuck in their metal boxes, sealed away from life, as they lumber about town….nothing is as liberating as fresh air and pointing that front wheel where ever you want, when ever you want. I hear the birds, hear the waves and yes, in the winter, sometimes get a snow flake or two on my glasses, but that’s about it. I had pedaled over to this doctor’s office where she works, in the dark of January. Like, 5:45pm. It was nice to warm up, pedaling for a couple of miles. (the conventional wisdom is cyclists must just FREEZE in the winter… totally the opposite! Cycling gets you warm the first block, where as you wait 10-20 minutes to get a car warm.) It’s a secret…shhhhh! Don’t tell. Drivers have some pathetic sense of head shaking pity for a winter rider….but in reality, the rider pities the drivers!
So, I was all warmed up for my massage, fresh air in my lungs and oxygenated brain. I was lead to her “operating room” and shown what to do. As I climbed onto her table, the warmth from the heating pad was just flat-out delicious. The aroma in her room from all the massage products were an exotic elixir to this guy. Lights low, soft, ethereal music playing, this woman knows how to set the mood. After a few moments of lying face-down on her table, in she came and for some where between 15 minutes and 8 light years, she found 592 different places on my back that needed attention. O-M-G!! I was having one out-of-body experience after another!! I HAD NO IDEA! Sensations of warmth, comfort, tele-transportation, muscle relief, and just well-being filled my brain and my attitude! FLOATING, just does not describe the sensory overload…nothing I could write can convey the over-arching wonderful feeling I had.
Time-was-up, and she left me there as a puddle of humanity on her table. Slowly, I got up, dressed and levitated out of her room and down the hall to the reception area where she waited for her cross-eyed patient to land. Before I could open my mouth….B A M! I was nailed! Transported into the future, I saw what was to come, so clearly, to this moment, it’s beyond clairvoyant! Here was the ANSWER! I kept it to my self, not wanting to blather and drool too much on the front desk. In my best attempt at English diction, I thanked her profusely, pulled on my riding jacket and helmet and pedaled home. It had been snowing hard and there must have been 4-6″ of new fluff on the streets. Like George Jetson, I floated home on my bike. Al the way KNOWING the future.
For decades, as I have been making portraits for professionals and others, a near-constant remark so many customers state is, “I sure wish I could have a glass of wine or two, to relax before this picture”. But wine or any other booze, just makes people silly and their eyes look demented to me. It’s not the real deal. But a massage….OOOOOH! So, I set the wheels in motion to make it happen. And a funny thing happens on the way to making a dream or a drool-induced vision a reality. And it took longer too. But it happened. Along the way, somehow, things just came together even BETTER than my dream!
See, reality sets in pretty fast. Spend 30 minutes or more face-down on a massage table, face in the “face ring” (whatever it’s called) and skin has a super-duper version of “pillow-face”. Then there’s the HAIR thing. Oh yeah, (says the bald man) HAIR! Yeah, lying down, with the neck-a-roo getting a massage, turns hair into seaweed. So, that’s gotta get fixed, too, I thought. Sure enough, as soon as I thought it, at a social gathering at a friend’s house for the holiday’s, there across the kitchen was my answer! Debra! I’ve known her since we were in college together in the mid-’70’s. She and I chatted that evening. I called her a bit later, showed her my plan and like it was meant to be, she was almost ahead of me in her thoughts and plans. Desire is an amazing thing!
At almost the same time, a woman called me to make an appointment for a portrait of her and her son, together. The late afternoon she came in with her son, we spoke. She was a delight. Strong beyond belief, and gentle in her soul. And she is a massage therapist! O-M-G! I had the privilege of making beautiful portraits of the two of them. Her son is quite challenged. He’s sweet, beautiful/handsome and autistic. I’ve never seen a mother’s love, so patient and so caring for a child. Heidi is special. She pours her heart into everyone she touches. Her hands are her tools, and they are mighty. She makes magic. Period! Heidi is the perfect fit in the trifecta I love to call the “DreamTeam”.
The Idea of mine for the “PerfectPortrait”, born at the end of the time/space continuum at a doctor’s office reception room, has blossomed! It IS Perfect! Heidi created what she calls “the massage therapist’s wet-dream” room, in the studio. It’s flat-out beautiful! Every visitor to the studio takes a peek in there when it’s open. It’s NOTHING you’ve ever seen in a photo studio. Debra has set up a studio version of her salon, in our dressing room. Complete with salon chair, make-up lights, etc. Debra has worked for some of the most famous Hollywood still photographers. She knows that photo make-up is NOT street make-up. She makes magic. Period!
After a relaxing, healing, affirming massage and then a beautifying, confidence-empowering styling, the portrait time begins. I set the lighting to make eyes sparkle and the skin glow. Test shots are done. We see the images instantly on the monitor. make-up tweaks continue. Debra is a perfectionist. So am I. We take the styling to new levels. It’s has to be right for just one thing, how it looks on camera. The results are like nothing in this world!
We are IT! We know it. The word is out. Magazines and TV shows have covered us. People travel to have the “PerfectPortrait”. It only happens one place on the world, downtown Traverse City.
One-by-one, we are making the world a better place, capturing the absolute best of anyone, regardless of age. A beautiful legacy is being left by those portraits. Not something fake, but a stunning, perfect resemblance, captured and preserved forever.
How do you want to be known or remembered? We capture lightning in a bottle. We make magic. We make Beautiful YOU!