Attempting to look straight ahead is really difficult when all you can see is bright light. Apparently, I kept looking to the left and it was really important that I looked straight ahead.
Surrounded by men shining lights into my eyeball, I did my best to forcibly hold my eyelids open and prevent my eye from watering (note: I’m still not sure how you do that). Inches away, a lens closed in on my iris and the camera snapped and clicked.
All because I have ‘weird’ eyes.
A few hours before I had arrived at Rankin’s studio to have my photo taken. I was one of Hunger magazine’s selfie competition winners and this was my prize. The competition winners had been announced in January and since then I had kept close watch on my Twitter for any sign as to when the shoot would be. Just a couple of weeks before the shoot, they messaged to say the 28th was the day.
Turning up at the studio, I waited nervously. Fidgeting in my floral dress, I worried it wasn’t cool enough, that my hair was being it’s usual unruly self and a whole plethora of other typically self-deprecating niggles seeped in. I turned to the fellow winner I was sat with, hoping he could empathise. He introduced himself and told me he was a professional model. Ah crap.
The morning was spent watching shoot images from other winners flash up on the wall and studying the studio set up, mentally noting as much technique as I could before it came to my turn.
Shoulders down, jaw pulled up, try to smile. I constantly adjusted to what I thought was right, while a renowned photographer added his own adjustment instructions. Overall, it was feeling easier than expected.
I thought the comments about my interesting eyes were meant to build my confidence, to make me relax. But then they started trying to figure out what colour they were; green, brown, a bit of blue, it’s all in there. Then Rankin asked if he could take a picture of my eye for his eyescape series.
While I was surrounded by people focusing on my left eyeball, pictures of my veiny, red eye; complete with smeared eyeliner were flashing up, supersized on the studio wall. I’m glad it’s going to be edited down to just the iris.
I’ve not seen the final eyescape, but I was given a print of the portrait.