Where have I been Part 2: I’m back with a new shoot, “Caravan Girl”

So hey! I’m back, with a new shoot! I suppose that’s the short version of the story, but if you’re here, you’re a glutton for punishment, and you probably enjoy my long-winded rambling stream-of-conciousness type of writing, right?  But until I jump into that, let’s just sit back and take in a few shots from my new shoot, “Caravan Girl”.


Remember my rash I keep speaking of, and that everyone says they can’t see in my pictures (I’ve been sparing you all the worse shots, because to me, showing them is “career suicide”), well, I finally GOT a solution to that.

So I get back from Montreal- in one piece- and the rash is clearly not going away.  And I have to say, it’s hurting my career.  Sure, I can try to wear things in camshows that cover it (or just hope no one is recording any camshows), or do a ton of photoshop to fix it in shoots, but the overall feeling it gave me was just a general undermining of my confidence.  I even dated less, and one date I had, the guy asked if I freckled pretty bad in the sun (which I sorta just went “uh huh” without really going into detail about what was really going on.

Anyway, this all meant that maybe it was time to go into hibernation for a little bit, and concentrate on other projects.  As some of you might know, I have quite a few project cars, and well, as much as people think that my “bimbo persona” should leave all that stuff up to guys, turns out I’m pretty knowledgeable when it comes to old VWs, Saabs and other particular kinds of cars.  Let’s just say that this comes from my sort of inescapable redneck past growing up on what was essentially a junkyard.  But it was a junkyard of interesting car junk, so I do have some taste in what I enjoy working on.  I probably know more about air cooled VWs than half the people who go to these shows, my interest in them dating back way before they became a thing in California (so I’m not even the type who uses silly words like “Dubs” and all that.  I enjoy them, to a certain level, and I’ve certainly inherited a ton, (well, let’s say many many tens of tons) of VW stuff from my dad, and that’s not even going into the other stuff I grew up around, like MG/Triumph/Austin Healey stuff.  Like I said, it’s a long long long story, which if I ever write  my memoirs, will be a huge part of it.

So of all the cool cars i had, I had a couple of VW busses.  One red one, that’s a camper, and a blue one that’s not, but was lightly wrecked.  I put the red camper together about 10 years ago and used it occasionally, but it was pretty rough.  Really rusty but it was mechanically OK.  I had to take it off the road this year because the rust was weakening the frame under the rear suspension.  The plan was to get it indoors and at some later date, go to town with a welder on it.   But the blue one I have – apart from the body damage, is actually a very solid body.  It’s a 1970 that was wrecked in 1972, and my dad owned it since 1973-ish, and just stashed it indoors at least since the early 80s.  So the thing only saw like one year of salt.

I can tolerate a lot of rust on an old car, but I just decided  “fuck this crap, why am I screwing around on the shit end of the classic car hobby, when I actually have a solid project bus that I just need to get off my ass and do?” (and yes, there was likely that much swearing when I had this epiphany.)

This wasn’t actually going to cost me much to do, since I have boxes and boxes of parts, and garages full of parts back home as well. It was really more a matter of time.  And seeing that I was kind of down on my body image and stuff, I thought now was as good a time as any to just work on that project instead.


So the end of September I really concentrated on this other bus, and of course everything took longer and much more effort than I wanted it to.  And I also got this idea that it would be pretty cool to do a shoot outdoors in my old camper bus while it was still nice out, and while it was still running.   I also started laser treatments on my face too in mid September, so I had to wait for that to grow out by the end of the month anyway.  As it turned out, everything happened pretty quickly the weekend of September 30th..  On the 29th, I had an appointment I made with a dermatologist about my rash.  Well, guess what? It turned out not to even be the thing I thought it was, pityriasis rosea. Instead it was psoriasis, and they prescribed with tub of greasy stuff for me.

I got home a little early from the dermatologist appointment and as it was, I really needed to get the camper indoors soon if I was going to hit my target for getting the blue bus done. I was aiming to have it ready for a car show on Columbus Day weekend, so that I could vend parts at the swap meet there (so yes, its actually part of a money-making scheme somewhat).  So I had a few hours to shoot  that afternnoon, but as it always is, natural light can  be a fleeting thing, and I didn’t get enough pictures for a whole set.

The next day was  cloudy, but the Sunday after was pretty nice, so i shot the bulk of the pictures that day, then ran the camper into the garage for it’s (possibly final) resting place.
I think I managed to get a pretty good shoot out of it, and I dressed up the inside of the bus with a pretty bohemian selection of blankets, pillows and an old guitar.  Actually it makes me sad that I never got to actually go camping in this camper.  With any luck, it will be saveable and it’ll be back on the road in a few years.  Crazy thing about these busses, is that people ARE doing rust repair on some of them that you wouldn’t even consider saving 10 years ago.  But I got a shoot out of it, which was great.  And I was clever about hiding any imperfections in my skin, and of course photoshop was handy as well.
As for the new diagnosis (psoriasis) and the new treatment?  Well, it was SPOT ON, and I’m kicking myself for not seeing a proper dermatologist a decade ago.   I don’t know exactly how or why I thought I had something else, but the last doctor agreed with me and he turned out to be wrong.  Second opinions are really good things, and I have to say, I’m happy I have insurance, because $15 co pay and $12 for a tub of greasy goo I smear on myself is a cheap price to pay (well, there’s my monthly insurance payment too of course) to actually have this annoying thing FIXED, finally.

It wasn’t fixed in time for these shots, but like I said, I shot 400 raw pictures, so it was not too hard to just settle on the best 200 and just work around the imperfections.  Also like I said, the lighting kept changing and it was really tough to find that sweet spot where the reflected natural light is in perfect  balance with whatever’s coming in through the back window.

Usually when I’m doing these outdoor shoots, I get to that sweet spot and just bang off as many pictures in that position as I can.  But you’ll also get whole blocks of shots with weird shadows, or just blown out highlights that you end up having to toss.

The shoot is what it is, and I’m glad I did it.  It’s got a nice atmosphere to it though I could have pushed the 70s retro look a little further.  But hey, like every shoot, perfect is the enemy of good and enjoy it, even if it makes you think of Kool aid, Tupperware and Tang.

As for the other bus, I got it about 95% done for the show, and a brake issue kept me from going to the show.  It’s not a failure though, I just have to do a little brake work to make it much better.   And for those of you thinking that this bus is something I’m going to sell, let me just say, “not yet”.  I’ve dealt with a lot of rusty crappy stuff over decades, finally I have something solid that I want to have some fun with before I part with it.  Also, I have garages full of parts that I inherited that I’d like to get to car shows and swap meets, so it’s an instrument of that plan, and it’s needed for that purpose. It’s annoying when you have garages and garages full of crap you can’t use (but  has value – or worse- would cost money to get rid of) and everyone wants to buy that Cool Thing you have, and leave you with the 95% of the other shit you have that you can’t use.  Nuh uh! I’m keeping the Cool Thing and using it to find a market for that other 95% of the crap I’ve got.

But hey, I’m back with a shoot, I’ve got a car fixed up that I can have some fun with and my skin is looking pretty clear. And now that I don’t want to mess around with cars for a while (let me tell you, my body ached for a whole week after it, it really is painful to my muscles!), I will be jumping back on the new shoots, and the video updates, and damn, if I dont want to just sit at the computer for like a whole month now!  Anyway, here’s the other bus if you’re curious.  It’s a little rough around the edges (I didn’t have a perfect sliding door to use), but it’s completely rust free underneath, where it counts.  And it’s got patina too.
Next blog post, my BIG video update in progress!

-Tara

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One Response to Where have I been Part 2: I’m back with a new shoot, “Caravan Girl”

  1. Paul says:

    Dear tara,
    i particularly like photo 53 from “Caravan girl” quite beautiful. All it needed was a “Stop the war” placard and it could have been taken in the summer of love.
    Regarding “Porcelain victorian” thank-you for the full length shots, i have always thought your legs are a much neglected part of your photos.
    XXX
    Paul.

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