I've worked with Duchess many times. One of my best models. She has graced the cover of "Magret de Canard de la Table Ronde" and posed a provocative centre spread for "Duck Times". I have high hopes of this latest photo of mine hitting it big somewhere, perhaps even - I should be so lucky - "Crème de la crème of Water Fowl". When you get a good model you treat her well. Models are your bread and butter. Just look at how she presents and those beautiful brown eyes with eyelashes some chicks would die for. No wonder all the drakes are after her.
"Decent," she snapped back sharply, "decent. Look at these." She spread out some photographs on the bank. "It was Shylock who started this fight yesterday at the bridge. He went straight for the jugular of that young swimmer and just because the poor thing looked at me. All the young drakes look at me, and that's all he was doing, looking."
© Duchess StudioI could see she was right but to tell the truth I was rather more concerned about the quality of her photo. When your models start taking photos almost as good as your own it makes you think seriously about your future. When I get these negative thoughts I tend to console myself in the comforting knowledge that it is impossible to take professional-grade photos of yourself. My distraction was soon interrupted when the Duchess continued with her tale. "The fight moved round from the bridge onto the edge of Trittiford millpond." Her photo showed that Shylock was now attacking the young pretender from the other side.
© Duchess Studio"And then his mate joined in." Shylock was going for that pound of flesh nearest the heart. Her photos confirmed her account. He was attacking the young drakeling without mercy. You can see he's only a kid. The poor thing has not yet even developed his full magret plumage. Duchess felt sorry for the juvenile. "To begin with," she said, "I thought Shylock's mate, Antonio, was just as bad as he was until I could get a better angle with my built-in camera. Then I was able to see that he was actually trying to pull Shylock off."
© Duchess StudioDuchess told me she thought the fight was getting a bit out of hand. "Pack it in boys" she shouted at them "and grow up." As long as I've known her she has never stood for any nonsense and instructed the three of them to take take a dip and cool off. As we went along the mill-race, which is always a good place for a photo-shoot, she in the water, me on the bank, Duchess slipped me another photo. This one was stunning, so stunning. I thought it better even than my 'study in green', the first, and probably last one I will ever take of him. It crossed my mind that Duchess ought to open a studio. Perhaps I might invest in it.
© Duchess StudioShylock has a certain something. Not money perhaps. But the cut of his cloth speaks volumes. I had to speak the truth. "What a photo, Duchess. You've captured everything. He's a very impressive drake indeed." I awaited her acknowledgment of my compliment. Instead she lifted those big brown eyes of hers. "John, John, what is it with you males?" Mentally I was not prepared for this. "Just a great photo, that's all. I used to work with male models and I never captured anything quite this good." I thought that would settle her down. "You're missing something." My mind worked overtime to try and deduce what I was missing. I looked at her imploringly. "Can't you see the feathers," she said, "those feathers Antonio nearly plucked out of his wings." Although a bit embarrassed that I had missed this important detail, it was still a good photo in my book. I took a few snaps of Duchess then we turned round and started home.
Helen doing her nails in the middle of a shoot. As we trundled along I had failed to notice just how close Shylock had got to her. Duchess had though. "Watch him, he's just behind and he's got a bit of a reputation." I dropped back. Would you believe it?
© Duchess StudioShe was probably as taken aback as me and I think her photo is ever so slightly out of focus. Having said that nobody can discount it is clearly Shylock exhibiting himself. It would stand up in any court of law. So, I thought to myself, you have exposed yourself for what you are. You were after a pound of flesh nearest to the heart earlier, then Antonio, the merchant of Venice, plucked at some of your quills. Now you will be appearing before the beak. And the evidence goes strongly against you.
Unfortunately, just when I started to think a case was cut and dried . . . "Why Duchess? You had all the evidence."
"I don't care" she said.
Justice Archibald Drake, QCKnowing Drake they will probably both get tagged. I've seen quite a few birds with these electronic gadgets round their ankles. Not to worry. All's well that ends well and I met Duchess yesterday. We have agreed to go into business together. We're opening a photographic studio: Duchess Studio. Guess what though. Even better for her. She's only gone and got herself engaged to Antonio.