I have just returned back to the States and am spending some weeks in Chicago as I drive cross country to my final destination of Santa Barbara, California. Bill (Houston) is an old bowling buddy of mine. Both him and Irene work for Time Inc., my previous employers. We are having lunch near Time & Life building in near north side of Chicago. Catching up.  Bill is Irene’s second husband and we are talking about Irene’s daughter.

About future plans, I’m telling them that even though I may eventually look for another job, for the time being I was enjoying my freedom and intended to concentrate on my writing – something I had always wanted but never had enough time to do. And continue pursuing the nude photography for a while, especially since I had eyes and ears of the people at Playboy.  And I tell them about the test shootings I have done so far and how two of them had already made it to the pages of Playboy in Germany. And who knows? I might just be able replicate the same in the US.

Irene calls me a couple of days later to tell me that she had spoken to Terry and invited me over for lunch at their home on Saturday. She sounded quite enthusiastic and thrilled at the prospect of her daughter becoming a photo model, pretty as she was.

On Saturday, I get into my Buick and drive down to their home in Park Forest, a thirty miles ride (48 kilometers) south of downtown Chicago. Its your typical ranch style three bedroom family house, with the living areas down below and the bedrooms several steps up above.  Sitting at the kitchen table are Bill and Irene and Irene’s mother, having coffee. They call Terry down from her room. She is pretty for sure in an all American way. Straight dark hair hanging down below her shoulders, parted in the middle to frame her face like that of Joni Mitchell. She doesn’t wear any makeup that I can detect.  Looking unpretentious and simple, down home un-intimidating  beauty that one would have seen walking the isles of a local supermarket. She is probably nineteen or twenty and lacks that sparkle and the spunk that would make her sexy and desirable. Basically, she is Eliza of My Fair Lady, who can be transformed into a sophisticated and sexy young woman. We talk as I munch on my sandwich. She is soft spoken and probably a bit intimidated in my presence. Her smiles come easy, but shy – precisely what I find quite seductive as much as her hesitant and sparse eye contacts. Nothing to be concerned about, she would perk up once we are alone.  I know, there is a forest preserve not far from where they live and even though its mid-October, its warm enough for us to do the shoot outdoors in the nature. And she is  up for it.

‘You can use our bedroom upstairs. There is plenty of light in there.’ Offers Irene.

I am not so sure, with her parents and grandma around how she would feel about prancing around in the nude.  Even I myself feel a bit ambivalent. But seeing that none of her family in the room seem to have any reservations; why not?

‘You’re not inhibited because I am here, are you?’ Grandma chides her granddaughter. To which Terry goes, grandma!!  And that breaks the ice.

I tell Terry to go upstairs and undress and call me when she’s ready. When I walk up and enter the bedroom, she is lying on the bed, in a pose similar to the famous Modigliani reclining nude. The expressions on her face passive and somewhat timid.  Seen through my lens, there is no denying that she is a real beauty. Her figure is near perfect and as alluring as is her pretty face. Her skin is smooth as silk devoid of any blemishes. She has followed my instructions to Irene about making sure to remove her bras and panties hours before so that the elastic marks from the either wouldn’t show on her body – something I had learned from Pompeo Posar, while assisting him in Munich.

There is enough light coming through the bay windows. The room is furnished with a king size bed and a couch against the wall and ample space on the carpeted floor. The couch has large plaid and the rug irregular patterns on them, not the most ideal backdrops. But the first session is normally meant for the model and the photographer to get acquainted and comfortable with each other, build a certain rapport and let the resulting photos later show what poses and camera angles work better than others. She relaxes after a few sips of wine and the session goes well. I still want to shoot outdoors and she too is up for it. One of my strengths as a photographer is the head shots and this is something better done with a longer lens and in an open space that gives you shallow depth of field. So we get out of the house. I don’t remember on that very afternoon or a few days later – and go to the forest preserve. Terry and I are happy with the results.

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