I like to think that I’m not vain about my looks. My make-up case is a sandwich bag, and I use its contents rarely. For my lips my favorite brand is Chapstick.
But fifteen years ago, I did dye my hair and kept on doing it. Over time, I began to be curious about what my real hair color was.
As I wrote a book proposal this summer, I was also preparing to create a website to gather this blog and the memoir-in-progress book community as it forms, which meant doing a photoshoot and hiring a media company.
Luckily, I didn’t have to go far to find either one. My niece Joy Derner takes wonderful photos at Portrait of Hope Photography, and my daughter Kate and her husband Nik Stoltzfus are a great team to call on at Plumb Media in Pittsburgh. Let’s hear it for small businesses and nepotism, er, networking.
The first photoshoot took place in May 2011 near Lititz, PA, at the farmhouse I called “Grandpa’s house” in childhood and “home” when I was a teenager. Since my name “Shirley” means literally “of the bright meadow,” I wanted some pictures taken in that meadow, which is now a public park. The jogging path in the park follows the route I took as a barefoot teenager to call the cows home to be milked in the evening. Joy asked me to sit on a rock in the creek for this photo. The delight you see on my face may be that the shoot is almost over and I can get out of the cold creek.
Then, at the old farmhouse now Forgotten Seasons Bed & Breakfast, she brought out a basket of kitties and an old hymnal and asked me to sing to the kitties. A great idea. We had much fun in the process.
There was only one problem. I had decided, after moving to Brooklyn, NY, to take care of grandson Owen, that I would see what color was under that auburn I had been getting updated at the hairdresser’s every five weeks.
Turns out the colors are quite different.
I’m fine with being called “Grandma” and with my silver hair. Really, I am. I’m even more fine with my job as “granny nanny,” which I’ve been documenting weekly here.
However, as the time approached to select the website photos, it was clear we had a problem. If there was going to be truth in advertising, I couldn’t use those old photos. Or could I?
Joy Derner to the rescue! I hired her a second time on Nov. 3, 2011. Again we enjoyed being together and she had creative ideas for locations in downtown Lancaster, the place where my mother and Hess grandparents sold their farm products twice a week for decades. Here’s a slide show of the seven photos I like best from the second shoot. And below are two of the seven just to give you a preview.
Which ones do you like best? Do you think I could find a way to use both sets of photos (use the older ones in sepiatone, date the photos)?
Also, many writers look pensive in their photos. Do you like a serious pose or a smiling pose on a book cover and/or author website? Which of the photos seems to tell, or suggest, the best story?