If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently. —Bill Watterson
In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the valley of fear
To a river so deep
And I’ve been searching for something
Taken out of my soul
Something I would never lose
Something somebody stole
The lyrics from Billy Joel’s River of Dreams seemed appropriate as I was editing this set of pictures with model Rachel Williamson. It’s been several years since I’ve had someone willing to get up so very early in the morning to take pictures like this. To find someone who was not only willing but able to pull it off without looking completely worn out is something of a dream.
Not that any of this was easy. Knowing that we would need to be downtown on Mass Ave. no later than 5:00 AM, Rachel and her boyfriend Jake came over the previous evening and spent the night, with poor Jake sleeping on the floor, so we could be sure to get everyone up on time. There would be no missing the shoot due to oversleeping. At 3:00 I was up making coffee and by 3:30 Kat Franson was applying makeup to Rachel’s face and brushing at her hair.
We don’t normally play so rough when shooting a model for the first time, but Rachel came highly recommended by a respected colleague and she had plenty of warning of what to expect from members of Jake’s family, which include model Tiffany Beckett and Sweet F. A.’s J.T. Thorpe. She didn’t back away from any of our suggestions, washed the sleep from her eyes, and brought everything she had before most people were having their first cup of coffee.
After running around the nearly barren streets of Nap Town for about an hour, we still didn’t let Rachel off the hook. We pushed through four additional looks once we returned and she kept going through them all. She didn’t complain a single time. Her poses were just as strong in the last set as they were the first.
I’m always a bit anxious when working with someone for the first time. Just because a model says she’s down for whatever we throw at her doesn’t mean she’s going to handle the situation well. Shooting in the middle of the night is rather extreme, but Rachel did it quite beautifully. We’re looking forward to working with her again very soon. Here’s a sample of the results: