Thursday, October 22, 2009
We like them as they are
Frankly, for a while now, I can't say that I still get starry-eyed over what most people consider thrilling, like sightings of -- or encounters with -- actors and other such celebrities. Seeing tennis player Roger Federer would probably send me to cloud nine; being in the same room as the Pope would also give me a certain high -- but of course that's on an entirely different plane altogether. Broadcast journalist Anderson Cooper is admirable, so hats off to him, too, and I'd certainly get a thrill out of even just seeing him in person or listening to him talk. Boxer Manny Pacquiao, too, though I am no boxing fan, is one person I would love to shake hands with and even get a picture with! Maybe it's his way of uniting the country, maybe it's his apparent simplicity in responding to questions despite the iconic status he has reached. I really don't know why I regard him so favorably and even anticipate his next match even though I can't tell schoolyard punching apart from what happens on a professional boxing ring (bottom line, in my eyes, both are demonstrations of violence).
But I can get somewhat starry-eyed when it comes to babies and young children. Which is why coming face-to-face with this 7-month-old from the South got me all excited before, during and even after the photo shoot. Needless to say, she didn't feel the same way about me, refusing to break into a smile during those moments I held her *sniff* -- still, she held my heart in her tiny hand :-) Even the way she let out little grunts as we struggled to put her in the first cherry kimono (it was a size too small) I found charming.
This is Queen Elizabeth ("Queenie") Pacquiao, the latest addition to the boxer's brood of four, whom we photographed in the family's home in General Santos City in August. I jetted off to Davao, where photographer Eugene Lara is from, and together with his assistant Ferjan we took the two-hour drive to General Santos for the 10am pictorial. How did the shoot go? You'll just have to get a copy of Baby magazine's October issue to find out :-)
See that small photo of another kid on the cover? That's Princess, Queenie's 3-year-old Ate, who makes an appearance in the same issue via a fashion feature. As with the last kiddie fashion feature we did, I'm feeling very contented about the outcome of this shoot, handled by photographer Ralph Alejandrino, even though it ended up happening in a hotel -- not exactly a child-friendly environment, and not brimming with spots that will bring out the natural glee in children at play.
Well, it turned out quite nicely -- with the help of board games, hand puppets, funny glasses, a pair of colorful maracas and even a little umbrella that Princess decided to twirl and wave around. And of course, though a bit of (ehem) "fashionista-wannabe kind of posing" happened for a few moments upon the urging of the little girl's companions, it became clear that when we let innocence and a wholesome atmosphere prevail, the charm of childhood really does come out. None of the come-hither looks that characterize kiddie images nowadays, nothing like the hands-on-hips supermodel stance and attitude taking over the styling. Just natural, happy, free-spirited, child-like fun. Because our "model" was a child. And it was plain to see that she was having a delightful time; I almost felt like reinforcing her genuine demeanor by telling her, as Ringo would have sung to her, "all [you] gotta do is act naturally." :-)