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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

An Extraordinary Light...

I often struggle with what to write here as I feel that my strength is in making images. Luckily, Claire writes beautifully, so I will let her tell you her story...
"How about next week?" I pause, suddenly ridged with terror...
Amanda Temple, friend, beautiful artist and photographer, is on the phone and has asked if I'd like to experience one of her stunning Lumiere sessions.
Conscious of my waistband slightly pinching my middle, the clever use of layers to camouflage the love handles heightened following a week of indulging in the sugary kind of fuel, no morning walk, quinoa or drinking anywhere near enough water.
Can you imagine the sinking feeling to be asked if next week would work? Then, suddenly, it was incredibly liberating. "Yes, I can do that," I told her. "Yes, let's do it!"
No waiting for the day that I can finally say I did it. That I am at my target something; some mystical number that I was at for most of my life as a dancer. But now, in my 30's and fast approaching the next decade, appeared a whopping pair of double Ds and the hips to balance!
Every morning I awake to the gentle touch of my best friend, reaching out to check I am there. And then he, my husband, sighs and whispers "hello beautiful".
Every little girl has dreams, fantasies, a place they escape to - in dance, the parts they play, the music. Mine was skipping through a field of flowers, fabrics, shadows, dreams, other worldly. Just play the music and I was, and still am, transported. This is the person inside the marketing professional, hard-working step-mum, wife, lover and friend. 
And so, I will drink my water and go for a few walks. But then, next week, I will let Amanda play with me and have fun on an afternoon of the fantasies of my mind. Not to make me look unlike myself, but to let the inside out. Now, today, to capture what I see in my husband's eyes as he says, "Good morning Beautiful."
The week before, I asked Claire to tell me what she was hoping to capture, who her favourite artist is and if there are any particular images that inspire her. These details enabled me to create a mood board for her shoot. She said that she was drawn to dramatic eyes, Mucha's paintings of women, and that she had a collection of antique brooches and jewellery that were meaningful to her. This brooch belonged to her grandmother.

Claire came by beforehand so that we could plan exactly what she would wear and how the shoot would go. Then, she headed to Strands in Hamilton to let the pampering begin. She had the mood board with her so that Fannan could see how she wanted her hair and make-up. Fannan did an amazing job and Claire was beaming as she left the salon.

"I wanted to write whilst still flying high from the day of the shoot - floating on the excitement, joy, anticipation and euphoria of playing dress-up and being pampered. But as is the way with a fast-paced life, once you had declared "that's a wrap" I hurriedly changed into my normal clothes and dashed to an evening of work - still with my full make-up and coiffed hair. Little did I know that a day 'all about me' would leave me with such a glow and even lead to a marriage proposal from a stranger, a bouquet of flowers from my husband and lots of compliments. It was a wonderful end a very special day!

"This is the third time since that day that I have tried to sit down and recapture the highlights of a day when Amanda would drape me in what looked like liquid silver and wrap me in miles of tulle, as deadlines, dinners and teenage redirection took over my time. In all honesty, at this point, just a few days after my Lumiere session, I am more than a little bit nervous. I can only liken it to that feeling when you wake up after a night out and wonder why you thought you could sing... I was quite drunk on the energy surrounding us on the beautiful day of my shoot!
So, I am taking a breath and remembering why I started this journey and who with... I trust you and the way you gently guided and adjusted me. And your collaborators, Fannan and Keith were kind, encouraging and are true professionals. 
I could let my imagination be free, feeling safe and inspired at your home with the sound of the ocean in the background, soft light twinkling through the trees and the magical grotto. If you were to happen upon this little group you would think we were quite mad with you and Keith laying on the grass with your cameras and I up on a small table, looking wistfully at the stick I was holding. But we knew that the magic would happen later with your post production."

"It was a comfort to hear that you were happy with the images from the shoot so now my nervousness has started to change to eager anticipation of the final result."

This beautiful film was created by Keith Steede. I think it captures the essence of what these sessions mean to me, and what I hope to give to each woman that comes to me to have her portrait taken.

Thank you Claire, for your trust and your openness. You are a truly beautiful person.
And to Fannan at Strands for giving Claire the smokey eyes she had envisioned...
And to Keith for your talent and incredible patience... and allowing me to watch you edit and make change after change after change. This film is really wonderful and even though I have seen it countless times, it still makes me smile!
These sessions mean so much to me and I am so happy to have been able to create something magical with all of your help... xoxo

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