The group photo shoot remains a great memory for all the women involved in the making of the calendar. Guaranteed! The group photo was used for the month of December. The women were all dressed in white, to represent winter snow, and a man was buried somewhere in the picture. He acted as the women’s Christmas present.
This shoot required considerable organization and planning. Our first step was to find an enormous bathroom that could hold 12 people, as well as the photographer. I wanted an old style bathtub with the claw feet. We had already pictured the scene… a man in the bathtub with his cowboy hat and boots. All you would see were the boots, the hat covering the man’s face and his left arm holding a red rose. The women would be around him, dressed in white, and each holding a red accessory in keeping with traditional Christmas colours. We could picture the women in many different positions: lying down and reading a red covered book, sitting and looking at the computer, on the toilet seat holding a glass of red wine, behind white drapes and expressing the ‘see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ idiom, a woman climbing a ladder with white wings and holding a red Christmas tree decoration, etc. You get the picture…
Now, where was I to find such a bathroom? I had an idea! My cousin was renovating her house and had recently upgraded her bathroom. This bathroom was marvelous and had sufficient space to include the whole crew. So, we arranged for the technical team to meet my cousin. She offered the best hospitality ever, as she usually does, and was kind enough to have us visit her Zen haven. After an incredible tour of her home, my cousin would not let us go… she invited all of us for dinner. This was unexpected and the team members were astonished. They did not want to impose, but it was a lost battle. We willingly sat down and had the greatest meal ever. We talked; we laughed. We even played a game where we matched an animal to everyone’s persona. Time went by really quickly because we were having so much fun. It was already 9 p.m. and we had to go home.
I was satisfied with my cousin’s bathroom setting, but there was one little hiccup… it did not meet the photographer’s expectations. At first, he did not want to cause disappointment, but he finally expressed his opinion on this particular setting. Marc, our photographer, wanted a classy bathroom for our classy models. The photo shoot was one week away and we were expecting 12 people to show up for the shoot. We couldn’t think of another bathroom fit for the photo shoot and we were becoming very antsy. Fortunately, Nadine came up with an idea. A very good friend of ours, Gilles, had this great bathroom. It was 10 p.m. when she made the suggestion, and we didn’t want to waste time. We decided to call Gilles and ask him to visit his superb newly-renovated $30,000 bathroom. Gilles accepted and we visited him the next day.
He was very proud to show us his bathroom. Marc was very impressed and was immediately convinced that this bathroom was the best location for the shoot. I still preferred my cousin’s bathroom, but I decided to let the photographer decide. We took pictures of the bathroom and began to plan the photo shoot.
The next step was to meet with the calendar models and explain the photo shoot. We organized a group meeting in a golf club conference room. We chose a ‘U’-shaped seating plan to allow the women to see each other and the presenters to walk freely in front of the group. The tables were covered with a white tablecloth and water was made available to all. Sandwiches, vegetables, coffee and wine were also served. A PowerPoint presentation was prepared and shown to all. The presentation was composed of information on: the website, the calendar technical team, the website experts, the calendar marketing plan, and the photo shoot arrangement (including pictures of the bathroom). A pamphlet was distributed to all models as a reminder of the photo shoot. It included information about the photo shoot, such as the date, things the models should bring with them, and important notes. The meeting was very professional and everything turned out perfectly. Even in the initial phase of development, we wanted to remain a professional organization. After all, if everything goes as well as expected, Women’s Expressions will eventually be known worldwide. According to a popular belief, if you really want something, you need to believe in your dream, visualize it, take action, and act as if you already have it. That is exactly what the Women’s Expressions team was doing.
The presentation was given by Jo-Anne, Amélie and Nadine. As we were presenting, Rachel and the photographer brought forward an idea. They suggested the models wear a white towel instead of the proposed white clothing, as this attire would be more in keeping with a bathroom setting. I noticed many models nodding in agreement with this proposition. So we voted… and to our surprise, everyone voted in favour of the bath towels! They were all willing to be photographed in nothing but a towel, with red lipstick and red nail polish. I never would have imagined my friends doing such a thing… but they all agreed! This would add a certain je ne sais quoi to the photos. Perfecto! “What an interesting calendar this will be”, I thought. Rachel and the photographer also asked for the male model to be in the bathtub filled with bubbles, but without the cowboy attire. The presentation ended with each of the models meeting Amélie and Nadine to discuss their position in the bathroom and the red accessory they should each bring for the shoot.
Unfortunately, our male model, Gill, couldn’t make it to the presentation and would not know what to expect at the time of the photo shoot. He was sick with a cold and stayed home for 4 days. The photo shoot was to take place 6 days after the presentation and we wanted him to rest and feel better for the ‘Big Day’. The next day, we announced to Gill that he was literally going to be taking a nice bubble bath amongst 10 women… a man’s dream! Was it the wine that had made my colleagues come up with this crazy idea? Were they courageous enough to go through with it all? We would see the final result at the photo shoot.
We also took this occasion to formalize our professional role within the Women’s Expressions team; we decided to assign specific job titles to each of the technical team members. After all, the team had already organized more than 7 photo shoots and had been working together for several months. The team’s devotion was apparent, and I felt they should officially feel part of the Women’s Expressions organization. The following designations were given:
- Amélie, Art Director (originally the make-up artist)
- Nadine, Public Relations and Marketing Director
- Marc, Photographer
- Ginette, Operations and Technical Assistant
- Brian, Event Coordinator
- Jo-Anne, Founder and Editor in Chief
On another note, our organization is continuously expanding and is comprised of over 30 people volunteers striving to make the Women’s Expressions dream come true. We are currently building a solid foundation for this enterprise and I believe that it will eventually start growing exponentially. I am very blessed to be working with such a great team and I wish that our relationships will last forever.
Article by Joanne
Edited by Coreen B.