Lisa as Beatrice, version 2
Taken during our August 2011 photoshoot. I am posting this image for two reasons, one of them serious, the other anything but serious.
First, the serious reason. A few days ago I posted this, which was taken during the same shoot. To the photo itself, I added the text of the same Dante sonnet used here. My reasons for doing so today are essentially the same as indicated in my description for the first version, except that I believe this portrait more effectively captures Lisa's warmth, kindness, and decency, as well as her inner serenity that I mentioned in the earlier post. (Additionally, I prefer this version because I used Italic script for the text, which seems more appropriate for a poem in Italian and written by Dante.) At the risk of sounding like a variation on a time-worn cliche, I believe that about 70% of female beauty comes from within, with the other 30% supplied by such externals as makeup, clothing, and so forth. With that in mind, Lisa is beautiful all the way through.
Now for the not-so-serious reason, which I here explain while wearing an impish grin on my face. Lisa might be disappointed in me for revealing this here, but she was in fact fully clothed throughout the shoot, including for this shot. It was literally at the last moment of postprocessing that I decided to crop the image as you see it here, and in fact I will probably still post the full-length version of it at some point. But today the spirit of mischief descended upon me, so I post this version to make my viewers ask themselves, "Is she, or isn't she?"
During a shoot with Lisa back in December, I took this, of which Lisa later ordered a print for her mother. I have never met her mom, but I do know that she, like Lisa herself, is religious and a regular churchgoer; and I also suspect that she, again like her daughter, has a mischievous streak in her nature. Lisa told me that her mom did a double-take when she saw the picture, wondering for a moment if Lisa was wearing any clothes. When I was told this story, I responded that I only had one regret about the photo, which is that we didn't send it to her mom anonymously, in a brown envelope with no return address. I can only imagine how she would have reacted to that!
The story doesn't quite end there, however. Not long ago, Lisa went to visit her mother in Texas. That photograph, which Lisa now refers to simply as "The Picture," is prominently displayed in her mom's living room, where her visitors can see it -- including the ladies from her Southern Baptist congregation, who apparently drop by regularly. Mother and daughter thought of putting a sign under the photo to let viewers know that, yes, Lisa was in fact wearing clothes, but they decided against it. Lisa told me she prefers to keep people guessing, which I imagine she would like to do in this case as well. (For the earlier photo, she was wearing a red evening gown, but lowered the shoulder strap while posing in front of that abstract painting. The inscrutable expression on her face adds something to the mystery as well. Man, have she and I had fun with that picture, mostly since it was taken!)
(Update: The full-length version of this image can be found here.)