Hobbling at Home with Tiffani Thiessen
A few months ago, I had the great fortune to shoot Tiffani Thiessen at her home for Family Circle magazine. I was the photo stylist and I was injured. I had overworked my pulled Achilles tendon to the point of almost no return. The injury occurred when I stepped off a pool deck shooting Le Creuset six months before but it hadn’t healed. My plantar fasciitis barked at me whenever I worked for too long. I took mobility breaks when I could, but the agony persisted.
My orthopedic doctor highly recommended wearing a walking boot for the entire month I was in California and Nevada. “Really?” I thought. I’m going to walk the Kitchen and Bath Show in a boot? I’m going to prop for GOOP in that heavy boot? And I’m going to shoot Tiffani’s home in that ugly boot? “Yes, Ma’am,” I said before accepting my fate.
The boot was heavy and made the easiest of tasks a challenge, but it was the only relief during the workday. Thankfully, the wonderful Family Circle magazine photo editor, Tina Anderson, approved extra help for me. I had no idea how much I’d need it because the pain was chronic by the shoot day.
Tiffani was amazing too. She was genuinely concerned about my leg when she saw the ridiculous armor I was sporting. When I asked for permission to wear that lovely footwear into her home, Tiffani didn’t hesitate to say yes. I put a sock on so I wouldn’t mark her floors.
I felt conspicuous and frustrated. “I want to move, I want to work hard,” I thought. Though out the day, I kept thanking my assistant for carrying all the heavy pots and props. Despite the challenges I faced, some common sense inspiration came from my experience with Tiffani and Family Circle magazine:
1) Humility – we are all creatures working for something on a path to somewhere. Tiffani didn’t see me as broken, ridiculous or uncool. She treated me with compassion. Truly.
2) Camaraderie – it takes a village to shoot multiple rooms in a home for an editorial and especially with kids and dogs and all the crew. Tiffani has patience and joy of life that I will remember for the rest of my career.
3) Vulnerability – sometimes when you need a little bit more help new experiences expand your horizons. I had a new assistant and she was helped me beyond what was reasonable. Family Circle’s photo editor was so generous and kind and that was before she laid eyes on my ridiculous circumstance. I appreciated their kindness so much.
3) Little bit of Love – on the way out Tiffani gave me a big bear hug. And that’s what I take with me now as the most memorable moment from the shoot.
Thank you Tiffani and thank you to your family and to Family Circle magazine for the opportunity. And lastly – thank you to my top-secret assistant – there is no way I could have motored through without you!
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