The Portfolio

This story is true.  It happened between myself and the photographer, Dane, when I was sixteen.  When I wrote it, I wasn’t sure how comfortable I was going to be putting something that was so personal out on display for others to criticize and comment on.  Strangely enough, it has become one of the more popular stories I’ve written and I’m glad I took the risk.  And before you ask, no, I don’t have the photographs…in fact, I never even saw them…


They worked at the photography studio together.  He took the pictures and she sold his work.  The studio was old, the lighting dim.  They had dusty, velvet, raspberry coloured drapes as a backdrop, and covered wooden blocks for seats, but they made do.  Time after time their customers came back to them because they loved to see them work together.  Like an extension of one another, they worked side-by-side, she anticipating his needs, and he, hers.  She would have his tools prepared for him, ready to load a film, set up a flash, swap out a camera, and then sell his best shots from the session.  He was strangely protective of her, always close by when they worked together.

She had just turned sixteen when they started working together.  He was in his mid-thirties, with red hair like a flame, green eyes, and freckles that looked so out of place on a grown man.  He wasn’t much taller than her, maybe just a head or so higher, but solid, like he had played football in college.

She would come to the studio after school, still in her uniform and knee socks, book bag over one shoulder.  The best days were the ones when she didn’t change out of her school uniform right away.  She’d sit on his desk, swinging her legs, while they went over the appointments for the night.  He loved the bare skin between her kilt and her socks.  Sometimes his hand would accidentally graze her knee and she would modestly tug her hem down a little lower on her thigh.

Often, he would practice by taking pictures of them.  The two of them in front of the velvet drapes, while the flash went off and the film whirred past, frame by frame.  Photo after photo of the two of them posed together, filling his portfolio.

When there was time between sittings they would spend it the little room behind the studio.  There was an old couch and a beat up coffee table, along with a crackly AM radio.  He always kept it on for her, listening to her sing old songs off key.  She would spread out her school books and do her homework, while he talked to her.  He told her about places he’d traveled to for photo shoots, what they would do if they had their own studio.  And she listened to him.  He knew because of the questions she asked.  She always wanted to know more about his thoughts and dreams.

Sometimes, she’d fall asleep reading her lecture notes and wake up with a blanket he’d place over her.  Other times she’d just pretend to sleep and know that he was watching her.  She’d feel his fingers tracing delicate circles on her hip, trailing the curve of her thigh, all the way down her leg.

And soon enough, he realized that she wasn’t always sleeping when he thought she was.  But he’d let her pretend and grew bolder with his touches.  Rubbing her back, his hand would slip below the waist of her panties, and for an instant, skim the curve of her ass.  She would pretend to be dreaming and moan with satisfaction, deep in her throat, just to hear his breath catch.  She’d roll over in her pretend sleep and smell the tobacco on his fingers as he traced the outline of her face.  His hands gently cupped her breasts through her shirt, his thumbs lightly slipping over her nipples, until she sighed again.

Her body was holy to him, he treated it with reverence.  She was pure; there were no piercings, no tattoos, nothing to mar the innocence of her skin.  He’d invested hours memorizing everything about her, the way her hair caught the light, the bump in her nose that she hated.  He needed to capture those things for himself, for his portfolio.

All throughout their back and forth flirtations, she trusted him completely.  Instinctively, she knew he would never push her too far, that it was she who set the limits they played within.  So she agreed to meet at his house so he could take her picture.   She was to come right after school and he would have everything she’d need ready for her.

When she arrived, he took her up to a bedroom to change.  She took off her shoes and socks, let her kilt drop to the floor and slipped out of her school blouse.  She thought for a moment and then slowly undid her bra and stepped out of her panties.

Naked, she turned to the bed where he had a sundress laid out for her.  It was white cotton, fitted throughout the bodice, and fell almost to the floor.  She pulled it over her head and snugged it around herself.  Tiny pearl buttons ran up the back and she went out into the hall where he was waiting so he could help her finish dressing.  While his big hands worked at buttoning up the back of the dress for her, she briefly wondered how he was able to find something that fit so perfectly, as if it was custom made for her.

They went outside so he could take pictures in the remaining sunlight.  He wanted to photograph her on an old wooden swing hanging from a tree.  She sat on the rough wood seat, holding onto the thick ropes, while he snapped shot after shot.  As the sun sunk lower in the sky, he had her swing back and forth, higher and higher.  He watched her through the lens of the camera while her bare toes peaked out from under her dress and she tilted her head back so her dark hair streamed out behind her.

Back inside, she moved her hair to the side of her neck so he could undo the buttons of the dress.  She pulled it off over her head and turned back to face him, the dress held up in front to cover her nakedness.  He handed her a shirt to wear.  As soon as she slipped it on, she knew it was his.  Not because the cuffs of the sleeves fell way past the tips of her fingers, or because it was so big she was lost in it.  No, it was the familiar smell on the fabric, smoke and cologne, mixed with the scent of him, that identified it as his.

Looking up at him, she rolled back the sleeves and buttoned the shirt.  But he reached back down and undid the last button, so the smooth flesh between her breasts was exposed.  Then he took out a black necktie and knotted it loosely around her collar.

He had her sit at the edge of the bed, bare legs crossed at the ankles while he set up the tripod.  It was unnerving for her to be on her own in front of his camera; usually it was the two of them.  She watched as he moved around the room, careful not to disturb his concentration as he went through his equipment.

The natural light coming in through the window was dimming, so he lit some candles by the bedside.  He took a few test shots with her just sitting on the edge of the bed like that, the candlelight making her pale skin glow against the white of the shirt.  He had her move up to the top of the bed, kneeling in front of the wrought iron headboard.  His shirt ending halfway down her thighs, her hair falling part way down her back.  She half-turned to face him while he took picture after picture.

He had her sit with her back against the headboard, knees tucked under, then on all fours while she crawled across the bed towards him.  Between each pose he came to her and carefully rearranged her clothes, making sure she wasn’t giving too much away for the camera.

He had her laughing while she kneeled in the middle of the bed, telling her to blow kisses to the camera.  He wanted to capture her smiling and laughing, the way he saw her everyday at the studio.

Now that she was more at ease, the shots came easier for both of them.  He circled her on the bed, zooming in and out with his camera.  They more playful they were, the braver she became.  Another button came undone, and her poses came freer.  She took off the necktie and handed it to him with a raised eyebrow.  He gently turned her away from him, pulled her hands behind her back and tied her wrists together.  Not too tight, but taut enough that her shoulders were pulled back, her breasts pushing the shirt open.  He snapped off another roll, before bringing out another black tie.  He wasn’t sure if this was too far, but he new she would stop him if it was.

Kneeling up behind her, he brought the tie up her neck and waited for her response.  She looked back at him and smiled her agreement.  He brought the necktie up a little further and gagged her with it.   She was completely restrained, but willing, as he took photos from every angle.

He had one more request before they finished.  After untying her, he asked her to slip her panties back on and remove his shirt.  He stayed behind the camera while she complied.  He had her kneel on the bed, facing away from him, while he focused on catching the play of candlelight on her smooth back.  The soft curves of her hips and shoulders created shadows that made his imagination wander.

Once he’d finished, he helped her back into her school uniform, dressing her slowly, with care.  He was loath to let her leave him, knowing they would never talk about this night again.  But they would always be connected by his secret need for her.



  1. Brenda Said:

    Brilliant. Lucky girl.

  2. il Gordo Said:

    That was so, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing that. What an amazing memory to have.

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