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Fashion shoots leave indelible memories

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, June 11, 2012, at 6:25 a.m.
  • Updated Monday, June 11, 2012, at 6:32 a.m.

Isn’t aging an interesting concept? Not only does gravity wreak havoc with your body and the memory part of your brain decides it’s full and shuts down, but some of your interests change. And not just the change you’re thinking of.

I used to love to shop. I could shop until I would nearly faint from dehydration or low blood sugar — or both. Maybe that’s why being a fashion writer was the perfect job for me. At the age of about 6, I realized that I loved to go to stores and, even if I didn’t want to buy anything, I thought looking at all that stuff was simply divine.

A couple of years ago, I noticed that when I was choosing clothes for a fashion section, I was not doing any extra looking. I knew what I wanted to be photographed, picked it out and left the store. I found I wasn’t shopping — and not even browsing as much as I had nearly all my life. Had the “no-I’m-just-looking” chip in my brain burned out from too much activity?

I told no one, thinking one day I’d wake up and have that familiar anxious, restless feeling until I could get to a clothing, jewelry or home decor store. But it didn’t happen. So there it is. When you get older, not only does food stick to your teeth much more, but you lose interest in things you once enjoyed.

I finally mentioned this to my friend with whom I’ve shopped for 35 years in several countries. She gasped. Then she said, “Me too! I haven’t been shopping to just browse, just looking around. If I want or need something, I just get it and I’m finished!” she said.

Even with decreased interest, I must say it has been a great experience to find out seasonal trends months before that season arrives, pick a fun location for a fashion shoot, choose the models, choose the clothes and accessories, get the hair and makeup people lined up, work with the photographer and then have 12 hours of fun during the one-day shoot.

I always will be grateful to the modeling agencies, the retailers, the hair and makeup teams, the photographers, (usually The Eagle’s Fernando Salazar), the helpers and the pressmen who put up with me.

Even the loading and unloading was fun with the help of my friend Roxanne Kellogg, my fashion assistant on shoot days. We were always silly, crazy tired by the time the van was loaded and ready for returns at the end of a long day. And we have hilarious pictures to prove it.

It’s been fun to watch many of the models grow up. In a few cases, I’ve used models when they were young and later used their daughters in fashion shoots. That’s when you know you’ve been around awhile.

Looking back at photos from the ’80s and ’90s, I had fun remembering how we took everything to the “desert” in Oklahoma, a location photographer, the late Steve Harper, had found. It was February, and we were shooting spring and summer clothes, including swimsuits. I spent the night looking out the window worrying about the weather and hoping no one stole the van full of clothes, accessories and props. No one stole the van, the weather was a record high for February, and we finally got all the sand out of our shoes. It was my second or third shoot and it is still one of my favorites.

Just like it’s fun to run into students from my days of teaching, I love seeing people who modeled for The Eagle.

It’s funny how many of them remember where we shot, what they wore and other details of the shoot.

Don’t you love being part of creating a fun memory for someone?

That’s as much fun as seeing everyone’s hard work roll off the presses.

With retirement just around the corner, I know that’s one of the things I’ll miss.

Reach Bonnie Bing at 316-268-6246 or bbing@wichitaeagle.com.

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