The phrase “photo shoot” elicits glamour in the mind of anyone who has flipped through a glossy fashion magazine and admired the poised models, stunning jewelry, and unaffordable clothes. So it was with a fast-beating heart and visions of celebrity that I left the Workman office one afternoon to go to a SoHo loft for a photo shoot for 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer. I am not a model and did not know what to expect, but my fantasies of beautiful people, groupies, and free sample designer clothes seemed at hand as I entered the refurbished living room with lights, cameras, hangers, free food and…trash?
But it wasn’t trash that I put on my wrist and carefully positioned to be centered in the shot. It was a “rocking remote cuff”, made out of the plastic that covers buttons in an old T.V. remote. And it looked just as chic as a Rolex watch. With a bit of effort we got through the first shoot—please stop moving!—and went on to the second shot, for which I had to take off my clothes and get in the bath. The shoot was heading in a risqué direction, but fortunately for the audience I was not the focus of the shot: the scene-stealer was an old Walkman recycled into a soap dish (page 9 of the excerpt below). And later a towel rack made out of an old phone headset.
I was disappointed not to be discovered and shipped to the runways of Paris; but I did learn what makes a successful shot: props. And the best props are often not the expensive, latest-craze, name-branded types; but accessories and necessities that you can make from everyday items, like remote controls and Walkmen. And don’t worry if you can’t think of any good ideas: there are plenty in 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer that will make you look like a superstar.