The one on the right.
If you’ve known me for a while you’ll know that I’ve been lucky enough not to change too much with the passage of time.
The hair grows slightly thinner. The hairline eases further back. The few grey hairs multiply, but only slowly.
My skin is losing its elasticity. There are more lines around my eyes. My muscle tone jumped ship a while ago (though I keep promising myself that I’ll track it down again).
The length of my hair fluctuates in between visits to the stylist, and as it does so does the volume of curls, but it’s not really noticeable. My weight (and waist measurement) wax and wane throughout the year, but there’s never more than a few pounds in it.
In the two and a half years that I’ve known J she has also changed very little; with one notable exception. Her hair.
As our first encounters were online I was reliant upon her sharing pictures and the most recent ones showed her with shoulder length blond hair, a feature accentuated by the yellow tint of the pictures caused by tungsten lighting.
I knew however that her natural colour was a redder hue and by the time we met this was already reasserting itself and so the last couple of years have seen subtle oscillations between copper and caramel, but her style has been largely unchanged except for the occasional appearance of extensions on special occasions.
Last weekend she opted for something darker, a rich mahogany but still with striking red overtones.
Now I love to photograph red hair. Red hair and good light are a match made in heaven, so last weekend I shot hundreds of images of her. The luscious greenery along the banks of the Tees provided a strong colour contrast. The windows of her car provided backlighting. The pebbles on Seaham beach gave a more neutral canvas.
She hated them. The change had been just too dramatic. A change of style with the inclusion of a fringe, as well as the much darker colour was a look that she didn’t identify with and it seems others felt the same way. I was banned from publishing any of them! Oh, what the hell…
It’s strange that one feature of our appearance can be so dominant. Her smile was just as engaging, her blue eyes just as striking. She was still tall and slim yet giving her face a different frame was too much.
Luckily at Seaham I still had the sea to photograph and share with you. It even obliged me with some coppery highlights!