Recently I had the pleasure of photographing Meera Syal for a profile piece. She was doing a day of interviews and photos as part of the publicity for a new movie. The uber-smart london hotel hosting the event had set aside two rooms, sans beds, in which photographers could set up their equipment in turn. Meera rotated between photos, interviews and filming for TV.
Many years ago I had worked at the same publication with Meera's brother Rajiv who is a journalist. It was nice to have something more as a conversational ice-breaker than the standard chit-chat about the weather and it seemed that Meera was very relaxed in front of the camera.
While Meera was patiently waiting for me to re-set the lights for the second shot, I noticed her looking at her feet, turning them one way and another.
"Nice boots!" I said, in appreciation of the beautifully stitched high-heeled ankle boots she was wearing.
There was a pause.
"I beg your pardon?" she said, sharply.
"Nice boots," I repeated, "are they new? It's just you looked like you were studying them."
"Ohhhhh, BOOOTS," she laughed. "I thought you were getting a bit personal for a moment there!"
We both laughed, partly out of relief I suspect and then I apologised profusely for mumbling behind the camera. Maybe elocution lessons should be in my immediate future.