Attack of the 50 foot vagina

Back before I had Melanie, my Las Vegas manager, back before the Modern Time, I’d just developed the first of the “US Event Photos” web sites.  And, virtual stop number one?  Las Vegas.

No sooner had I published the site, still working the details out in my brain, than I received an email from a conference of plastic surgeons that meet annually in Vegas.  In the interest of fairness, I won’t say their name.  
I will say:  this was a fun show to work.  And, I learned a lot.  The staff that put the show on worked to welcome me in.  They delivered a bottle of wine to my room, just thanking me for being there.   They treated me really, really well.  A classy group, run by a stylish publisher and his equally handsome family, I totally looked forward to shooting the event, which I did for the next five years.
I just can’t resist my favorite story.  Well, there are two.  This is the first.
One challenge with photographing conventions is the dark rooms.  Mom calls them “caves”, and she developed a special dual flash system to deal with caves.  But sometimes the room is just CAVERNOUS.  Sometimes the pipe and drape in back of the speaker is BLACK, and sometimes the speaker themselves, lit by one single harsh light, is a dark complected African American.  Then what do you do to make everything look right?  It’s tricky. You have a lot of light to fill in.
This was the case with my very first speaker for this slick Las Vegas convention:  a dark complected man against a black background in a blackened room talking to sleeping plastic surgeons.  Oh, boy.
“No problem!” I thought optimistically, determined to do a great job on the shoot, “I’ll just put the screen in back of him.”
This is a trick I use a lot.  As I’m sure you’ve seen, conferences love big screens.  And, they love Power Point.  So, put the screen in back of speaker, you get what he’s speaking about, AND an interesting background.  Win win.
I move around, position myself so the screen is in back of him.  I zoom my lens out, framing him just perfect.
“What is that?” I whisper to myself, “What is that?”
I zoom the lens out a bit more; use the autofocus to bring the image into better view.
It’s a huge vagina.  In back of the man speaking is a huge vagina.  I mean, a vagina 20 feet long by 10 feet high, looking like it is going to eat the speaker whole.  And, there are multiple screens, all down the length of the ballroom.  All showing the same huge vagina.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do.  And, I couldn’t help but giggle.  Out loud giggle.  What in the world is this man talking about?
“Shhhhhh!” said the doctor snoozing at my elbow.
Vaginaplasty.  Now, in case you aren’t familiar with this little procedure, let’s just say what it is:  a nip and tuck for your who-who.  Apparently the rage in Hollywood, this preeminent surgeon specialized in remaking virgins.
That of course raised the next question:
Who’s is it?  
This artist / doctor  was featured on Oprah as “Doctor to the Stars”.  (You have to wonder what was taped under the seat for THAT episode?)
Am I looking at Madonna’s?  Did this man inspire the song, “Like a virgin, touched for the very first time?”
I’ll never know.  I’ll never know.  But God, you gotta love my job.
OK, so no…this isn’t the 50′ Vagina shot.  But it gets the point across.  Now shut your eyes and picture it.