Photographer: Patrick "KH" Woodruff and Daniel P. Bronson
Concept: Julia C. Tenney
Nails: Marie & Lilly of Lilly's Nail Spa
|Inevitable, really. |
The story begins last fall. My computer crashed. Perhaps for the fifth or sixth time that afternoon.
I stormed out of the office. I needed to do something that had no connection to my job or computers. Something pointless, trivial, yet therapeutic.
I decided to get my nails done.
Not having ever quite gotten the hang of all that girly-girl stuff, I didn't realize entirely what I was committing to when I agreed to have "acrylic".
At least I think I agreed. Not entirely certain. Their English left much to be desired. It was some fantastically cheap nail place in the mall manned by immigrants. My sisters refer to it as the Nail Sweat Shop.
Eventually the suspected health code violations and what I presume were otherwise rotten work conditions, considering the high turnover, got to me. I decided to "Buy American" and go to someone who likely took home more than my tip.
One of things I'd missed with the immigrants, none of whom ever told me their name, was the stereotypical manicurist chit-chat. "So what do you do?" "Monsters are the most Interesting People" etc.
At the Nail Spa, it didn't take long before I found myself describing my little postcard hobby, how everyone initially responds as if I'm an obsessed weirdo and then joins in at the first chance. When Marie inferred those would be the acrylic tips from hell, and I realized I had to explain that Nine Inch Nails was the name of a musical act, well, the inevitable happened.
Marie and Lilly spent over a month trying to figure out how to make the damned things. Acrylic tips tend to have a natural curve to them. As would the real thing, by nine inches, they curl into a full circle (not quite enough to be a spiral), and also don't look cool on film. Marie and Lilly did their beauty parlor voodoo... and produced four straight nails - the minimum I needed to do the shoot. (Yes, the final image is a montage... unless I can convince you I have 5 hands...)
The 9" fingernails, of course, were painted the traditonal Goth black. I still have them - although, no longer attached. (Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to type this). They were pretty heavy, and they felt weird the whole time. They reminded me of a nail flicking shot from some 80s video, by... Dead or Alive? Also around then, somewhere on cable, Mick Jagger appeared on Faerietale Theater (?) as an Asian Emperor who sported 10" nails, on all of his fingers, who also had to use chopsticks at the same time. My heart goes out to ya, Mick.
I don't understand how historical figures reconciled a vanity that took away one's ability to, um... wipe. Then again, once the nails sufficiently dried (not entirely and removing acrylic nails before they've thoroughly dried is a venture in masochism, make no mistake), there wasn't an itch I couldn't stratch.
We ran around the place looking for cool backgrounds. It's the sort of full-service salon that hired a swank interior designer (and charges for it, Marie claimed, although her "fills" cost less than the Sweatshop). And, it's located in a renovated mill, with exposed brick and other "industrial" decor. We had a vast selection of appropriate backdrops.
We wrapped up with a Chinese feast. Both fortune cookies offered the same advice: "A Inch of Time is an Inch of Gold".
Enjoy this latest Inch "for Trent".
Once the nails dried, there wasn't an itch I couldn't stratch.
Marie had nightmares
|Updated: Septemer 19, 1999||tenney.org|