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VIKTORIA XI: FACE TO FACE

     When I first do photos of a woman, I like to concentrate on the face. Viktoria's face, I quickly saw, was both very expressive—and very secretive. That is, she was very clever at displaying whatever I asked of her—to lift an eyebrow, to give a quiet smile, to throw her head back—but they were all poses, carefully controlled. It would take time, I realized, to delve beneath her surface.
     She reminded me that she wanted to look younger. "You must cater," she told me, "to the vanity of an older woman. Besides, the stories I will tell you all occured some years ago—some of them many years ago. I was younger then. We must be accurate to the period, mustnt we?"
     Before meeting her for these pictures I had already practiced the manipulations that I thought would please her. I brought the photos into my computer programs, did a few quick tricks, and showed her the results. She made some criticisms, I made some more changes. I did not mind this work: although I liked the signs of age in her face—they deepened, I told her, her beauty—I also was fascinated by the idea of recovering her past. The photos became highly stylized, and soon I didnt think of them as photos at all—they became pictures, illustrations, creations. I could still see her in these illustrations, but I had a secret of my own: I felt these changes were revealing more, more of her, more of her soul, than the raw photographs...

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