Give me sexy.
Give me pouty.
Give me angry.
Abbie Palmer was in control here. This was her domain. Her photography studio was a modest space, but what it lacked in size it more than made up for with the quality photos taken.
Give me contempt.
Give me hatred.
Give me entitlement.
Abbie had set up Snap Shot Studios in the middle of her teenage years after dropping out of high school with a few scraps of money and a dream. She had set up her photography studio and for the first few years she had really struggled to keep afloat. Every time she scored big money, it just about kept her head above the water – financially speaking.
Give me desperation.
Give me sleepless nights.
Give me bankruptcy.
It is said that fortune favours the bold and fortune had certainly smiled on Abbie, because while she still worked in the same property as she had fourteen years ago, she had been able to pull together ever-increasing sums of money to make Snap Shot Studios something extraordinary. Now, every A-C list model wanted their photos to be taken at Snap Shot Studios and they wanted them taken by Abbie Palmer herself.
Give me reputation.
Give me prestige.
Give me clients.
Abbie and the subjects she photographed could not be more different – they were both from very different worlds. Her subjects were unpleasant parodies of humanity – they looked as if they had been sculpted by a madman. Their features were sharp and pointed – cheekbones that could draw blood, fingers filed into spikes. Abbie looked at these people with a certain detachment – she didn’t like what she could see, but she found them fascinating. What would possess so many women and indeed men to bludgeon their bodies into such inhuman shapes. It wasn’t a question that would mystify Abbie for very long. On her way home she would see vast billboards bearing a large Abbie Palmer photo of a model’s bare midriff with a caption such as:
“Is your body ready for a bikini?”
In terms of subtlety, there was none. When Abbie looked at the image and the insipid DayGlo pink slogan, she didn’t see the words printed, she saw what the billboard was really saying:
“GO DIE IN A DITCH YOU FAT CUNTS!”
Abbie didn’t like seeing such awful advertisements and she hated being complicit in their creation, but photography was her passion and she did need to make a living somehow. It was her photos of these women that were routinely used to make women like herself feel worthless and the end result was always a dark one. Abbie knew this as she had found herself in such a dark place a few years prior, but she was still here thanks to a few good Samaritans who had found her prone body and of course, a powerful stomach pump.
Give me a dark past.
Give me regrets.
Give me shame.
Abbie wasn’t one of the emaciated women or the misshapen men who paid vast amounts of money to have their “essence” and “beauty” captured and preserved forever, Abbie was one of the women who were routinely told to hate themselves and be ashamed of their bodies. Almost every inch of her form violated some meaningless taboo that was enforced by magazine after magazine after magazine.
Her hair was dyed blue.
She wasn’t a size zero.
Her body was a canvas for tattoos.
She had a double chin.
She had a large tummy.
She had cellulite on the larger parts of her body.
EW! EW! EW!
Abbie had travelled many miles of a long road since she had been a chubby teen pushed to suicide by her own self-hatred. Now she was a considerably larger full-bodied woman with total control over her life – she had autonomy. She was proud of who she was and what she had achieved and she had still managed to achieve it all despite the limitations that had been heaved upon her by society.
“Okay, we’re all done.” Abbie said brightly, lowering her camera removing the SD card and inserting it into her computer. “I can send these in a zip over to your manager if you like. It’ll save you waiting around for ages.” The model with platinum blonde hair, flat stomach and chin height boobs walked past Abbie and didn’t make eye contact.
“Sure thing, that would be great.” She said in a sing-song voice as she sauntered away. Abbie rolled her eyes as she tapped away at the computer. As the model slipped into her coat her phone rang and she answered it just as she was heading for the exit and Abbie was able to hear some of the model’s remarks.
“Yeah, just finished. Snap Shot Studios. Y’know, the one that the fat bitch runs. Look, there’s a reason she works behind the camera, know what I’m saying?” the model said, but as the doors shut behind her the only thing Abbie could hear was the muffled sound of shrill and spiteful laughter. Abbie’s assistant walked back into the main are of the photography studio, poring over a work diary.
“A lady named Gemma Stone has booked in an appointment next Wednesday.”
“You know how to use the camera, right?” Abbie asked as her plan formed in her mind.
“Yeah sure, I’m quite good at photography. I learned from the best.” He said, gesturing at Abbie. He set the work diary down as Abbie passed him the camera. She stepped into the area of the room where the models struck their poses.
“Excellent.” she said, her back to Chester. “You can shoot the last model of the day then.” Chester looked at the work diary in confusion, he hadn’t seen another entry.
“Who’s that?” he asked. Abbie unbuttoned her blouse and shrugged until it slipped off and fell onto the floor with a barely audible flutter. She turned around, her hands and arms obscuring her breasts from view in a pose that she knew was teasing and alluring. The rest of her body was on display for the camera to capture and for the world to see.
“It’s me.” She said, with a defiant and dazzling smile. Chester grinned and raised the camera.
“It’s about time.” He said.
Give me confidence.
Give me triumph.
Give me the goddamn world.
F I N