She smelled the scent of incense burning in the room. She felt nervous. She had never been with a photographer of distinction or fame.
A small Italian man of about forty-five greeted her. He wore a long brown silk oriental robe. He smiled at her with a mouth too full of big fake-looking white teeth. He took her hands and then stood back and looked her over.
“My darling, how beautiful you are,” he said in a raspy cigarette voice as he breathed laboriously. She tried to relax with him, but it was difficult. He took a cigarette from his pack of Camels and lit it. His fingers were stained yellow from smoking. She hated the smell of smoke but tried not to let him know.
“Have you ever had your portrait taken before?” he asked.
“An artist painted me, but the only portrait was for my high school year book,” she answered.
“You’re almost a virgin then, aren’t you?” he said and smiled. “Come over and sit down on the divan so I can see you through the lens.”
He grabbed Georgia’s hand and walked her in front of a view camera. “Sit down, my pet.” Georgia felt self-conscious but tried to disguise it by smiling at him.
“You’re an angel in the lens, my darling. Now let’s see what you brought with you for wardrobe. Georgia got up from the divan and took her tote bag and pulled out a blue sheath dress with spaghetti straps and showed it to him.
“I like that. We’ll use it. What else do you have in there?” he asked.
Georgia showed him a red sweater and a pair of white short shorts, and a blonde mink stole she had borrowed from her aunt.
“Here, put this on,” he said handing her a leopard two-piece bathing suit. Georgia looked at it.
“The dressing room is over there,” he said pointing to a door. As she walked from the studio for the dressing room, she noticed wetness under her arms and on the dress she wore. This man bothered her. She put on the bathing suit and came out into the studio.
“It looks marvelous on you. You could star in a jungle epic. Come!
Get in front of the camera.” Georgia sat on the divan.
“Now do some poses for me,” he said.
Georgia started to pose. She stretched out the divan. She flirted with the camera. She smiled at it. She mocked it. Nick kept clicking away.
“Wonderful, lovely, I like that. Lift your head up. Some more. I like that. Hold it!” he said. Georgia started to enjoy herself. She felt good.
She was having fun and felt the camera loved her. Nick breathed harder now.
A clatter of air came from his lungs as he worked.
“You’re a natural, my pet. Playboy asked me to submit some photos to them for an issue. You could make three thousand dollars if they used them. With me as the photographer, it’s money in the bank.
Would you be interested?”
“Isn’t Playboy a nude magazine? My father is a minister. I couldn’t do that to him. He wouldn’t understand.”
“I only do class photos. Let me tell you how I’ll shoot you. I’ll build a long box like a coffin and line it with mirrors.” He animated the story with his hands. “Holes will be made at the top for the lights and a hole in the center for my camera. You will be nude in the box. I will shoot you as if you were a jewel in a mirrored sitting. It will give the illusion of three dimensions,” he gasped. “It’ll be sensational, and so will you.
It could do wonders for your career. How about it?”
“The three thousand dollars sounds interesting,” said Georgia.
“Well then. Let’s do it.”
“I don’t know if I should. I’ll embarrass my family.”
“Clint told me you’ve been doing beauty contests for years.”
“Yes, they’re with a bathing suit. I’ve never taken my clothes off for anyone.”
“Times are changing. It’s getting to be accepted. Believe me. If the right photo was taken of the right girl, that girl would be a star overnight. Look at the past, at some of the great nudes in history.
Goya painted the Duchess of Alba nude. It made her immortal. The nude calendar picture of Marilyn Monroe. Look what that did for her.
You’re in the same category. Believe me. I know. It’s my business,” said Nick.
“And I could approve of the photos?” asked Georgia.
“You’d have complete approval.”
“Okay, I’ll let you, but under another name. Will you agree to that?”
“Of course. Now let me see your body. Take off the bathing suit.”
“Why not? You’re here. I can measure you for the box.”
Georgia was skeptical. She got up from the divan and removed her bra. She stepped out of the bottom part of the bathing suit and was naked. She felt strange and wanted to get back in her clothes. Nick observed her nakedness. “I like it, but there’s too much hair around your crotch,” he said as he stared down.
Georgia blushed, but said nothing. She started to feel dirty and uneasy. She reached for a cloth drape that covered the divan. “Can I get back into my clothes? It’s cold in here,” she said.
“I want to take a picture of your pussy so I can show you what I mean when it’s developed. Stay there for a minute.” Nick picked up his Nikon and clicked away. Georgia started to get up from the divan. “Wait a minute.
I want to measure you.” He ran to a desk a pulled out a tape measure.
“Hold this,” he said. He pulled the tape down across her body getting a feel as his hand moved to her toes. Georgia gave him a look. “I’ll make the box six feet,” he said rolling up the tape. “You can get into the blue dress you brought. I’ll take your portrait now,” he said.