Lubna, Lubna, Lubna…

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I love photography. I often fantasize about opening a modeling agency and scouting for beautiful people. But not the clichéd version of beautiful people that you see photoshopped in magazines. I would find people that photograph well in all shapes and sizes. I love the challenge of it. Everyone has a story. Everyone is beautiful. It’s just up to me to find that angle and tell their story. That is fun to me.

It happens to me all the time. I’ll be out at a coffee shop and the woman next to me will have the most interesting eyes with wizened smile crinkles at the corners. She’ll be wearing a bright gold coat and her blouse underneath is vibrant purple. I can’t help but stare and think about what a cool photo she would make. I just want to stop her and say, Can I take your picture for my collection? But that’s tacky. Of course, I rarely ever do ask people because that’s just weird and they’ll want to know what I’m going to do with the pictures and they might not have time for such a conversation, etc etc…  Some people do like their pictures taken though. I love those people.

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One of those people is my drop-dead gorgeous neighbor, Lubna.  She always wants me to take her picture.  She wants to be a model so that helps of course. I don’t know how I feel about that though. It’s such a harsh industry to be in. But if I can help her put together a portfolio I’m happy to do that. She’s a lot of fun to shoot.

Her face could sell a million products. But what makes her interesting is that she’s Muslim and she can’t show off her body. She has to be covered from head to toe. (Though sometimes she sneaks in some shoulder and when her shirt accidentally falls when she’s doing a cartwheel she really doesn’t want me to throw out those pictures.) She wants to be American and wear tank tops and bathing suits but she’s only 16 and she has to respect her parents rules. So it’s an interesting push and pull between her desire for attention and her good heart that just wants to be a good kid

lubna-4We had fun splashing around in the waves. The water was surprisingly warm.  And dangerous! Well, not really. But the waves have a way of sneaking up on you and getting everything wet. Thankfully, the camera did not get wet.

Since they only have one car in Lubna’s family and they have strict rules about always going places chaperoned, Lubna never gets to go to the beach. She’s a California girl at heart and she loves the water but she doesn’t get to see it much. I always want to throw her in my car and take her places but it’s tricky getting around the entourage that has to go with her. (Believe me, they take forever and it totally cramps my style. I’ve tried.)

Her mom came with us and watched from the shore. I did manage to get one photo of them together but her mom is really camera shy. But I think this photo is my favorite one.

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You can see where Lubna gets her beauty. I’m sure Raffa will not like this photo and she’d rather be made up with a lot of make-up but I think it shows so much more of who she really is. That patient worried mother who comes along on her daughter’s crazy whims to be photographed. There’s a lot going on here…

That’s the story I want to tell.