While perusing Craigslist the other day I came across a post from a local photographer who was willing to trade a fantasy photo session for a 1 hour massage. When I first read this I pictured myself dressed as a hobbit giving some overweight middle aged dude with a ponytail a finger rub in his parent’s basement.
However to be fair, after further contemplation I also pictured myself rocking a set of medieval chainsaw hands. Something like this.
I really really didn’t want to give some strange dude a massage in exchange for motorized carnage. But after weighing it out for awhile I figured the opportunity to sport a pair of chainsaw hands will always trump a creepy massage. Plus, I may never get this opportunity again. I decided to give him a call.
His name is Allan Latham and when we first chatted about the project, I explained that I would much rather trade him for a City Weekly story than a massage. He agreed, and suggested I come along for a photo shoot that he was planning on doing with Rachel McCash, Miss Salt Lake City 2010. We settled on a date and Latham picked Tanner’s Flats campground as our shoot location. The 3 of us met up last Tuesday at the base of Cottonwood Canyon to carpool up to the spot, and when I first met Latham I was shocked and relieved to discover that he wasn’t a guy in his mid-30s that loves Pokeman. To the contrary, he’s a well dressed, soft spoken older guy that resembles someone my grandpa would play golf with.
Since my expectations were a bit shattered, I asked how someone like himself get’s involved in Fantasy Photos. “Well, it all started out as a fun project I did with my grandkids,” pointed out Latham as Rachel and I rode along in his pickup truck, “I would give them swords and capes and paste in images of dragons and stuff. They really got a kick out of it, so I figured this is something I should do more of.”
Latham’s been retired from the pharmaceutical industry for 10 years and has spent the last 3 pursuing his newfound passion of taking photos of hot chicks and superimposing the images with elf ears and giant toadstools.
Believe it or not, there is a market for this. When we got to the campground, I pulled Rachel aside for a second and asked, “Sooo, are you going to give Allan a massage?” She gave me a weird look like she had no idea what I was talking about and laughed, “No, this is a trade. Meaning, I can use the photos for my portfolio and he can do the same.” Rachel went on to explain that a lot of the photographers in SLC are pretty cookie-cutter and quite often resort to copying each other’s styles. So an offbeat photographer like Latham is someone she prefers to work with.
We came to a picnic table and Latham reached into a grocery bag and pulled out a little brown loin cloth and handed it to Rachel as she stripped down to a yellow bikini. The three of us then bushwacked our way into the woods till we came to an opening with a gushing waterfall that spilled into a small pool filled boulders and ferns.
I could see why Latham picked this spot because it reminded me of that movie Fern Gully and I was already envisioning a bunch of pixies and shit flying around.
Rachel and Latham did a few shots and every once in awhile he would put down his camera, lean over to me and say something like, “Isn’t she gorgeous?! Man, she is something,” and then immediately return to shooting.
After a few minutes he decided that we should hike back up to the picnic table for some different shots and so we hoofed back up the trail. Rachel spent the next few minutes rolling around on the table while Latham said things like, “OK, now you’re a mermaid. Now you’re a cat.”
The photo shoot was wrapping up. I asked Latham, “Sooo do you think before we go you could do a shot of me and Rachel?” He said sure and suggested that Rachel lay on the picnic table looking distressed as if a massive dragon was about to rip her head off. Then I got the table and turned to Latham, “OK, you promise you can give me chainsaw arms right?” He reassured me that this was possible and snapped off a few shots.
On our way back to the truck I said to Latham, “You’re like a wizard. Can I call you Gandolf?” He laughed, “Sure, call me Gandolf Latham.”
A few days later I received this in my inbox:
And of course, there was this masterpiece…
This will probably end up as my next Christmas card.
You know despite common belief, Craigslist isn’t just for shitty jobs, casual sex and free toilets. In fact, mermaids and magical chainsaw arms can happen on Craiglist. You just have to know where to look … aaaand run the risk giving a body massage.
Allan Latham: firstname.lastname@example.org