Mall Photography

The Easter Bunny


 Above:   My first attempt at "Blue Steel."  It may be more accurately described as "Le Tigre."

The Noerrs Program recently employed me as a photographer on the Easter Bunny set in Seattle.  It was my first professional gig since moving to the big city.   I figured if David Sedaris could be an elf on a Santa set, I could photograph EB.    I cannot share any of the images, as they are the property of the company and the individual families who purchased them, but I thought I would share a few candid stories.  I don’t know how many portraits I took in the 17 days I worked, but I did photograph 102 sittings on Saturday alone.    Say Cheese!

A child was walking down the hall of the mall, completely unaware that his world would soon be turned upside down.   He stared off in the distance, his small shoes double-timing to keep up with his mothers heels.   As the child turned, his eyes met that of the Easter Bunny.    A large, 6 foot furry rabbit with cute glasses and a blue overcoat.   However, the child was not prepared for this encounter and without missing a beat, turned to flee, screaming at the top of his little lungs and ran right into his mother’s legs, fell flat, helplessly crying on the floor just wishing for life to be normal again.   Sans bunny.  

Each step is precise, slow and calculated.   An inch closer, still safe, a foot closer, nothing has happened.   His movements pause after each step as his small statue like figure evaluates the safety of further advancement.    His fear begins to subside until, at about three feet, the looming size of the rabbit becomes too much and the promise of a blue sucker no longer holds value as a bargaining chip.   This is when all the weight shifts to one orange pivoting tennis shoe, as he makes an escape through the white picked fence.  Maybe next year. 

In general, little girls had no problem with the bunny.   They would run with their pink, purple or sea foam green dresses flowing and bear-hug the bunny, big smiles. 

I had an elderly man, in his late 80’s at least, approach me and ask if I saw “him” too.  I looked at the bunny and said “why yes, I do see him.”   The man raised his eyebrow and gave me a wry smile and said, “oh that is great, I thought it was Harvey paying me a visit.”   He made my day!   Harvey is a 1950’s James Stewart movie about a 6’ 3 1/2” tall rabbit.

I found one of our Styrofoam carrots from the set garden with a perfect bite mark, rows of top and bottom teeth.   I wonder how shocked the kid was after he/she chomped the prop and realized the carrot was not as tasty as imagined.

My favorite photo of the week was a couple in their early thirties who posed with the bunny.   The girl leaned in with her feet together, heels popped to kiss the bunny.   Her boyfriend, in a western shirt and cowboy boots had his hands on his hips and a “bunny you are in deep, deep trouble,” look on his face.    

All in all, it was a great experience, if anything it taught me how to get a good image in less than one minute and also sharpened my reflexes for catching quick smiles and fleeting expressions.   Also, if you are having a hard time getting a kid to smile I find having them say “cheese and macaroni” works better than just plain old “cheese.”   Honestly, who doesn’t love macaroni?