Last week I opened the front door to a rather handsome newspaper photographer on assignment to our house to get a picture of me for an article about Miscellaneous Mum’s inclusion as a Best Australian Blog finalist.
I should say up front that this house has not fared well in the appraising eyes of other professional photographers whenever they have been sent here on assignment. I remember the last time, for example: the guy walked through, testing the light, looking at the furniture, all the while nursing a camera with a lens the length of an elephant’s trunk, tsk-ing through his lips to himself.
Finally he turned around to me and said, ‘This just isn’t going to work.’
‘What?’ I said, taken aback. ‘Why?’
‘It’s…’ He searched for the words. ‘It’s… never mind. Get in your car and follow me.’
So this was the sum of it: we had to drive up to the back hills of the suburb where I live, late in the afternoon, just as the mosquitos were coming out, to get a shot among some trees because, as near as I can figure, our home just wasn’t pretty enough. I hummed Kasey Chambers all the way home before coming in to stare hard at our ancient yellow leather couches for a few minutes before shrugging and realizing, ‘Oh, hang on. That’s right. I don’t really give a crap about this kind of thing.’
And life went on.
This time we stayed here and that was an automatic plus in my book. What spiced up this occasion was that a member of our house was called up for picture duty.
I questioned – politely – the photographer once the request came out of his mouth. ‘Uh, really? You sure?’
‘Yes, you lie on the carpet and type on your laptop and I’ll get the cat to walk past the monitor and it’ll look nice and natural. The kids aren’t here, are they?’
‘No, they’re at school.’
‘Okay, we’ll stick with the cat.’
There was just one question mark over the idea: I just couldn’t see how we would get the cat to cooperate.
Whiskers has a default mode which is SLEEP. She’s generally pretty laid back and curious, especially around babies, but usually leaves you alone. This is when she’s happy.
When she’s not happy …. let me paint you a picture:
Turns out she was in this second mood on this particular day. We chased her all over the house; she even went and hid behind the back of our bed – something she’s not done since she was a kitten.
Eventually I had to tackle her like she was a loose ball at the footy to keep her still. The photographer, bless him, kept his blithe good humour.
‘Great! You’ve got her! Now, let me line up the shot … and on my word … let her go. Wait … okay … now!’
She was gone.
‘Hang on, I didn’t quite get it. Try again.’
What follows was a repeat situation of what I’ve just described. We had to shut doors, synchronise our movements, endlessly shake a food bag to get her. Finally I had her in my arms, hair all over me, and waited for the release order.
I let her go … and this time she stayed still. She hopped up and walked past just as she was supposed to, flicking her tail, exposing her butt to my face in that “I’ll do it in my own way and time, thanks” way cats have mastered.
Job done, the photographer left, and Whiskers slept for the rest of the day.
The things we do for our art, eh?
My thanks to Jason, Julie and the Diamond Valley Leader for being featured. The cat has received many compliments - and I guess she earned them!