by Julian Keys
Although I’m proud of all my tales, Pretty as a Picture has a very special place in my heart. As short and sweet as it is, it is the story I may have spent the most time on. A tribute Big Beautiful Women, it’s about a fashion photographer who yearns not for the rail-thin models he photographs, but for a woman, as he says, of “three-dimensions.” Which is why, while writing it, I weighed every word, and worked to make every description poetic. I wanted the reader to understand, at a gut level, the artistic beauty this man saw in this woman. Beauty he yearned to capture for himself as he did pretty pictures with his camera.
Even though the point-of-view is only from one angle, however, both characters reflect on the theme of appearance and prejudices. There is the photographer and his views on thin vs. heavy women; and then there is the plus-sized woman and her feelings about this very handsome man. That he is trim and attractive might seem to counter the message of beauty being in the photographic lens of the beholder. What is and is not attractive, however, can run both ways. I wanted the reader and the photographer to realize that, just as there is more to this woman than her Rubenesque figure, there is also more to the photographer than his good looks. More than even he realizes.
This was what I was aiming to achieve when I framed this snap-shot of a story. So give Pretty as a Picture a look. I promise that if you do, you’ll find that there is more to it than meets the eye.
Anthologies which include this story: