Staying modern at a photo shoot

“We’ll use the vintage Corona typewriter. Grab that lace curtain off Grandma’s bedroom window. Take the sage green desk to the river and we’ll use that black wire chair with the red seat for Grandma to sit on.” Tiffany, our granddaughter gave orders and staged the photo shoot in the open air of Colorado with four props and me.

It all started when I finished writing a novella and was ready to market it. I signed a contract with a publisher for four books in a series called “Sangre de Cristo Mountains.” They will be about romance and international art crime. I’m putting all my art knowledge to good use.

The books will be set in Santa Fe (New Mexico), northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. These stories will also include France, Spain and Sweden.

Our family is here in Pagosa on vacation and I’ve put everyone to work. Remember, I live among artists. The trick is to extract the talent from these creative family members as painlessly as possible. It’s like a trip to the dentist and pulling teeth. Afterwards, everyone is happy, especially me.

“Heart Bender” is the title on the cover of my first book. If you remember, our son, Stephen, almost had a nervous meltdown working with me on the book cover. I told him what I wanted and then I had to get out of his way. He worked in his own mind, space and time and not mine. It turned out absolutely beautiful and hopefully it sells the book. It should. It has the art feeling, with a sculptured heart with the southwest sky over the red mountains in the background.

Our daughter Cricket and her husband arrived on vacation. I had lists of things for them to do. She is updating my website and linking my new book to social media. She is the quiet, workable child. She has an inner drive and will get the job done. Just a request and she moves forward with diligence and expertise.

She has been working nonstop with this Internet stuff and putting a new facelift on my site. Oh the perils of passing time and getting older and looking dated. Already, my 4-year-old website needs a current look. I realized this week, that even if we are old, whether we want to or not, we have to present ourselves as young and introduce our work to a current market of younger people.

I can’t imagine my grandmother with her blue hair, Mary Jane 2-inch black heels, wearing an apron over a floral housedress, doing a photo shoot. Her big thing was going to the cemetery, taking flowers on a Sunday afternoon and visiting the dead.

My Sunday afternoon was about a photo shoot, staying alive and young. Our photographer and artist granddaughter traipsed the grounds and found the perfect place at the river to take pictures. Oh, the eye of an artist. I stood back and watched our granddaughter work.

The Sunday afternoon was delightful. We were under a shady tree next to the river with a backlight, which framed a field of tall grass and white daisies. We were ready to snap photos for my new website.

It was time to move into the new day, but we had a slight problem. My Sweet Al wanted to be helpful. Out of the blue, roaring through the grass on his ATV with his weed whacker on front and his dog, Whiskey, on the back, he pulled up to our serene movie set.

He started weed whacking the daisies and the tall grass. The noise drowned out the peace and serenity we were enjoying.

I yelled over the loud noise, “Al, you’re ruining the scene where we are shooting. You’ve cut the heads off the daisies. We wanted a natural look. Stop.”

Our granddaughter tugged at him, “Granddad, sit over here until we are finished.” She looked at me and gave me a half smile, knowing her granddad.

He sat on the chair where we were shooting. “Not that chair, Granddad, sit over there out of the way. Take Whiskey with you; she’s in the picture.”

“I don’t want your dog in my picture.” I glared at Al.

“I just came to help. I wanted everything to look nice.”

Our granddaughter sat me down on the chair in front of the desk and said, “Smile, Grandma.”

I forced a twisted smile after a moment of angry adrenaline pushed through my veins and not-so-pleasant thoughts racing through my mind. The young, free, having fun and full of romance went out the window with the weed whacker. Well, so much for that notion. Remember, these photos are supposed to sell my book and website and show me as a current romance author.

After sitting still for 10 minutes, my Sweet Al said, “I’m leaving. I need to get to work.”

“Al, we were going for the natural look. Plus, it’s Sunday and you shouldn’t work today.”

“I just wanted everything to look nice for you. I know how important this book is to you.”

His words bent my heart once again. After the shoot, and looking at the finished photos, I realized it wasn’t about the book, the perfect setting or the final photos. It was about bonding with this man I have loved for 57 years and my 25-year-old granddaughter.

Seeing the gentleness she displayed toward her granddad, with that knowing smile, and sitting her granddad down in the shade, we all understood where we were in life. That is when the afternoon became a bonding moment. Generations came together.

Final brushstroke: Two years of writing on a book. Jumping through all the hoops of rewriting, editing and re-editing. Making it ready for the world to see. Honoring my commitment to a publisher. Pushing through with the artistry with our son. Spending our daughter’s vacation time on a new current website. A photo shoot with our granddaughter and a gentle smile that said, “I love you, Granddad and Grandma.” That’s what this book represents.

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This story was posted on July 13, 2017.