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Warning: Not Pretty Pictures

'Men Before 10 A.M.'--A Peek Into the Scary World of the Just Awakened

September 29, 1996

For eight years Veronique Vial has sweet-talked her way into the boudoirs of celebrated men. A enage a deux? Au contraire! "I didn't want their body, I wanted their soul,' the Parisian-born photographer says of her book, "Men Before 10 A.M.' For "Men,' which will be out this month from Beyond Words Publishing Inc., Vial received permission to photograph her subjects in the earlier-morning hours, when they're "not trying to play a role, when they are who they are.'

Some, she quickly found, were not at their best. Others proved sweeter in private than in public. She "fell in love' with more than one, then found the one, whose identity she refuses to divulge. While she met many on her own--the book gave her "a way to talk to any man I wanted to meet'--friends quickly got into the act, vying to get her ever-more-notable subjects.

How did the men find the invasion? "Veronique is like a cat that slips itself into your lap,' says state Sen. Tom Hayden, whose wife is a friend of Vial's. "I would not normally submit to the humiliation.' For ex-husband Robert Maclean, a film producer, it was a matter of again playing the guinea pig, although he concedes the photos show "the way you behave before putting on the mask.' "I try not to wear a mask,' says Hayden, "but it's certainly the time before men comb their hair.'

A fashion photographer who moved to Los Angeles in 1989, Vial is now turning her lens on "Women Before 10 A.M.' Can we expect the women to be more anxious subjects? A myth, Vial reports. "The women have been much more willing. They are much more comfortable with themselves.'

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