A sweater for all its worth

I was interested in the history of photography as far as I can remember. I don’t mean history and evolvement of photography per se, also a subject worth exploring nonetheless, but the history of individual images, both the ones that have become a part of photographic history as well as the ones that haven’t. This consumed me right from the beginning at the time I entered this line of business. That is I really believe that literally, every photograph has its history, be it the famous image of Avedon or an ordinary snapshot made when celebrating grandpa’s 60th birthday.As it goes with my photographs, I see their stories interesting thanks to the initial concepts and ideas that make them possible. The thing is, I am usually not the one to invent them, someone from production or even the model herself sometimes comes up with an idea for me. I listen in to what people have to say and what they are discussing – I take a little from there and a little from elsewhere and an idea is born, needed to be realized in the scope of the next few seconds before it fades away. In the case of this photograph, it all started with a sweater, yes, a fairly common (not in my opinion anyway) sweater from Benetton. The day before the photo shoot we were sitting at the local bar of Jandia Princess hotel on Fuerteventure Island with the whole production team. When getting dressed for the evening, I put on this unusually grey sweater thinking that it really looked good on me. At least that was the intention when I bought it for quite a large amount of money. Already at dinner, I admit to feeling rather stuck-up and bigheaded, just like the sisters of Beauty in the Beauty and the Beast fairytale. Everyone was looking at me and so I thought that my charisma built-up from the confidence derived from wearing the sweater was well in place. Throughout the course of the evening, I was rather funny and kept everyone laughing and well entertained. I got into bed with a feeling of total satisfaction, since that night couldn’t have gone better, as I was witty, social and looked good in that slim fit Benetton sweater of mine. Well, what can I say; David Bowie was no match for me.

We got into the production cars in the morning and set out for the windmills in the desert. I drove the car with an all male crew, so I expected openness and sincerity would be in order. On the way to our destination, I learned some facts from the previous night, not really placing me in the state to do something, let alone take important photographs. Namely the female part of our crew allegedly enjoyed their evening at my account, solely due to the fact that the sweater did not suit me whatsoever.

svetr za všechny prachy

We reached our destination and I was completely useless. I couldn’t make proper shots and ideas were inexistent. I wasn’t the usual sovereign and energetic me all of a sudden. The model in the photograph was the last one to be photographed that day. We tried several shots but I knew that everything was out of place. She noticed my current mood and perhaps because she knew that I like black and deadpan humor remarked the following: ‘Well, should I put on that saucy-looking sweater of yours?’ The grin that followed spoke for itself. Before I lost my patience, I looked daggers at her without saying anything. She continued: ‘I’ll at least wear it as if it were pants.’ We looked at each other and exchanged opinions. Suddenly, it was a matter of a few instants. She jumped into the sweater in the nude and went crazy with it. She rolled on the floor, did all sorts of acrobatic postures, jumped around, and at one moment, raised one leg and stood on the other, just like sumo fighters when they enter the ring. I took the last remaining images and the film was over! It was the last black and white film I had on set that day. How typical of me! But I immediately knew I had the one image I needed. Next time, I’ll take my whole wardrobe with me! Thanks

Adolf Zika

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