The photo for the cover of All Unquiet Things was shot in Berkeley, CA (very close to where AUT actually takes place, I might add) by the very brilliant Eva Kolenko. The cover model’s name is Lauren, and she graciously agreed to write a little essay about what her experience was like. Take it away, Lauren!
The Dead Girl
Who would have imagined I would be hanging off the side of a hill with my hand dangling in cold, mucky water? Well, I definitely did not!
It all started with an email from a casting agency asking me if I was interested in a photo shoot for the cover of a book. (I have had an agent in the past, had a few print jobs, but I’m mostly a performer in musicals and plays in various theaters.) Random House (Delacorte) was publishing the book, so I thought this would be great! I pictured myself – hair blowing from the oversized fan behind the photographer, fake eyelashes, colorful wardrobe – I would be like a celebrity. I always saw the behind the scenes from the Cover Girl photo shoots and whatnot, and I thought I would be just like them, except on a book cover rather than a magazine. However, when my mom received an email from the photographer that said “Lauren will be playing dead, and will probably be getting a little muddy. Just wanted to give you a heads up on that,” my celebrity hopes vanished.
Once I arrived at the location, I took a good look around. It looked like some deserted park with over-grown brown grass, shrubs, and a creek running through the middle. Not the green, clean park I was picturing at all! The photographer, Eva, and her assistant who was the wardrobe designer, greeted me warmly and thanked me for coming. The assistant pulled out her rack stuffed with clothes. Out came every white, cream, and off-white tank top style shirt ever made. No cute blouses. No colorful jackets. Not that I was disappointed or stuck up or anything, it is just that I was mentally prepared for glamour. Next, they asked me to try on one of the tank tops and said, “Can you please remove your bra from under your tank top?” (My guess is they did not want extra straps hanging around.) That caught me by surprise. But, I thought, why not? It is not like my chest has grown since I was nine anyway, no one would even notice.
There I stood, in the freezing cold, in jeans and a teeny spaghetti strap tank top just attempting to breathe, but not too much because I was trying to appear dead.
First they had me lay down on a hill of prickly grass. I was a tough girl, I could handle it. It was wet and scratchy, but I tried to focus on appearing dead. The next spot was on top of some thick roots near a tree. This time it was muddy, and the designer dirtied my shirt with grass and dirt beforehand for effect. The roots dug into my back, but I had to appear relaxed, you know, being dead and all. It was still freezing cold, but, of course, perfect timing, the glare from the sun was in my eyes while I had to stare directly into the camera. Eva was great, always encouraging me and trying to get the best shot possible.
The next location was a bit farther away. We made our way down a sloped embankment towards the water. Eva put on some heavy-duty fishing boots and I thought, “What are we doing now?” She proceeded to gingerly step into the muddy water while I laid down near the bank with one hand dipped in the water. The water was ice cold! I can only imagine how she felt. The mud on the creek floor was like quick sand. Eva had to keep moving her feet in order to stay standing or she would slowly get pulled down. Near the end of the shoot as Eva tried to exit the creek, she needed her assistant to help pull her out. When we were done shooting, Eva showed me some of the pictures on her laptop. When I saw them, I was so excited. It was worth being uncomfortable for an hour. I had one of those moments where I thought I would love to be a photographer later on in life.
So, I didn’t have a day of glamour at a studio. I didn’t wear designer clothes. But, I gained something even more valuable. I learned to work through uncomfortable situations. I have had a little prejudice against models because I thought their job was so easy, but I learned that modeling is really hard work.
I also thought a lot about Anna Jarzab. Poor thing, she writes this book, but Random House selects the cover. Personally, if I wrote a book I would love to design the cover too! I know sometimes when you read a book and then you watch the movie you can be disappointed because it wasn’t how you pictured it. I hoped Anna would not be disappointed in my photo because I wasn’t how she pictured Carly. I wondered if she even knew about me. I thought it would be so cool to meet her and say, “I was a tiny little part of your amazing project.”
This experience was amazing! I would not trade it for anything. It was so cool to go to Borders and see my face (actually half of it) on the shelf. I felt so honored. I couldn’t help but tell the good news to an employee there. He surprisingly was quite impressed. Believe it or not, I have yet to tell my boyfriend. I can’t wait to take him to the book store and show him! And yes, I did purchase a few copies of the book. I just finished reading it; I could not put it down. The characters were so vibrant. I honestly was completely consumed in the story. At points while I was reading it at night, I became so scared I hid under the covers.
Thank you Anna Jarzab for writing this great book!