Today I felt like hiding out in my studio. It’s a warm, cozy place to go on Winterish day. And it was a perfect day for brushing up on lighting technique, but I wasn’t in a mood to impose on friends to sit for me. I just wanted to be slow and clumsy without witnesses. I set up my lights and grabbed a stuffed cat (a toy, not a stuffed real cat) for a model. A few pictures in I thought I’d search around flea markets and antique shops for alternatives. The staff at Poehler’s Antique Mall didn’t want to part with their mannequins but said they had a pile of body parts on the second floor. A few moments later we were on a dark freight elevator ascending to storage area in search of heads, legs, arms, and torsos. Behind a cluster of dusty furniture they pulled out the upper half of a female figure. It was quite striking, even in the dark and also quite…… anatomically accurate – except for missing legs, arms, hair and having a large hole in the back of the head. But nobody’s perfect so I bought it on the spot. It was awkward, carrying this naked female torso toward the exit. Though I knew they were curious they didn’t ask. Still, I could feel the questions hanging in the air. “I’m just using it for practice” I said. Right away I knew that didn’t help. “… for photography lighting” I added, then tried to get it out of the store and into my truck as stealth-fully as possible. I cleaned it up, and tried to touch up some missing paint spots. I wasn’t able to find a wig so a bear-skin hat was popped onto her head. As a human stand-in it’s working out better than the cat. As a model she shows pretty limited emotional range but I do appreciate the patience and lack of self-consciousness.