Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Most Certainly a Queen

Erica was inspired to do a glamour session after a few recent changes in her life made her realise if she didn't do something like this now, then when would she do it. Once the thought formed in her mind, it became etched in stone and she knew she wanted to capture herself in a unique way that would make her feel liberated and empowered. She wanted to shatter some of her comfort zones within. At the same tim, she wanted to not only feel beautiful but also radiate from the inside out. The certainly was not a skin deep journey for Erica, but rather the first step into the person she'd always been but was too scared to let out. Erica told me the fabulous story of how she had made a tutu for her three year old God daughter, just to try a new DIY project. Memories of her not so graceful ballerina days flooded back and in the midst of the production, the little girl was shown a photo of the "work in progress" and she blurted out that "Aunty Erie looks like a princess!". To which Erica's precarious retort was "Oh no, Auntie Erie may look like a princess, but she most certainly is a QUEEN!" And thus sparked an idea. Although Erica knows she couldn't recreate the glimmer in her god daughter's eyes that day, it was that majestic twinkle that inspired the making of the dress.

We decided to do the shoot at Tom Moore's jungle but when we arrived, there was only the last of the sun just disappearing behind the hilltops beyond. Poor Erica was so nervous at the idea of making real all her ideas that she had slipped into the Swizzle Inn for a few cocktails on her way to the shoot with her friend Shayla for support and constant jokes. But we chased to the highest point we could to capture the last glimpse of sun and in that particular spot, the wind was howling a gale off the south shore. We'd had visions of peaceful draped fabric but instead the material clung to Erica in the powerful breeze.

Next, Erica put on her fabulous creation which she had stayed up making late into the night before. It was layer upon layer of peachy flowy tulle and looked so fabulous as a skirt as she wandered through the tunnels of cherry trees.

Erica had wanted something really different for her shoot and not just a simple beauty session so she had her eye make up done in a very dramatic way for effect. We had so much fun on the shoot. Erica was trying desperately to not make what she called the "pouty fish face" which became especially difficult later as it grew colder and she was wet and her teeth were chattering.

Erica was such a trooper in the itchy grass they I insisted she lie down in for the perfect shot. The little bugs were apparently relentless, but Erica made it look like the softest sweetest experience of her life.

The darkness was falling fast, but lastly, we knew we wanted to have a few shots in the lagoon. I think the lack of light adds to the mood of the images in the water, but the poor girl was frozen.

It was officially dark when Erica emerged from the lagoon when she suddenly remembered she had brought glitter! Her friend Shayla came to the rescue and put on her cell phone light and we took a few last shots of Erica covered in glitter which worked a charm since she was soaking wet so they stuck as if with glue. I love the eerie effect of the weak phone light and think these last images are so hauntingly beautiful.

Thank you Erica for being such a star on the shoot. From the howling winds, scratchy grasses, biting bugs, freezing waters, and crazy amounts of glitter that you later had to get out of your hair, car and house, it was all worth it for the final images are glorious. Aside from all that you had to overcome, you were also insanely brave by simply getting over your own fears and shyness to make some truly beautiful images of yourself that I know you will look back on one day many years from now and be so so happy you took that risk. Congratulations. xxxx

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Oslo is bald for Charity

Last night Oslo did a very brave thing. He went up on stage in front of hundreds of people with lights shining on him and a man with a mic interviewing the shavees on why they were going bald for charity. I sort of wish we had showed up at the event site a little earlier so Oslo could have seen others before him be interviewed and get shaved, but we were in such a rush that we were ushered straight to the photo booth to do the before photo, given a St Baldrick's shirt to wear, and next thing he knew, he was on stage with two others being buzzed. It was an intense atmosphere and he couldn't seem to hear the questions through the speakers so kept saying "pardon" (thank goodness it wasn't "what") so finally the poor mc moved on to the next shavee, who happened to have raised over $40,000 for children with cancer! But I filmed the whole thing on my little snappy happy camera and will never forget his little face during it all and then when he saw his image in the mirror. He has always had a mop of hair and it sort of defined him so this is a huge huge change. As soon as it was over, he had his "after" photo taken and wanted to head straight home. He was a little overwhelmed by all the attention and intensity of scene. Not that being home was any more relaxing as Indigo and I can't keep our hands off his head. We keep trying to barter things in exchange for open ended head stroking. I am ashamed to admit that I even sneaked into his bedroom last night after he was fast asleep and lied there for a while just circling the incredible perfect roundness with that amazing smoothness and then resistance of his buzzed hair.

Today, I keep forgetting that he is bald now and he will suddenly appear and I do a double take. His completely shaven head is so humbling, not only for him, but also for the rest of us, in so many ways. It keeps reminding us of how lucky we are and keeps us aware that there are so many kids, and indeed adults, who are suffering with cancer, fighting it with chemo, and losing their hair as a result. But Oslo's baldness also haunts me with other atrocities, as I think he resembles those poor poor souls in the death camps of Nazi Germany and it further reminds us of how blessed we are with not only our health, but also our freedom. Oslo shaving his head is bringing awareness to our whole family in more ways that we realised.

Aside from all this awareness and thankfulness that the act of Oslo going bald has brought our family, we are also filled with pride. Oslo had set his target fund raising goal at $500, for he had never done anything like this before and so had no idea how generous people would be. He donated $50 of his own hard earned money, and I matched his donation, so he started off with 20% of his goal already met, but he never imagined he would raise over $2500! And apparently, the foundation is still accepting donations for shavees for another week so it is not too late for him to raise more!

So thank you so much to all of those who have already supported the cause - every donation has an impact and Oslo is so honoured by each individual and family I tell him contributed. And if you would still like to donate, here is Oslo's St Baldrick's page. All you have to do is mention Oslo in the comments section! And most of all, thank you Oslo for being such a sweet soul and doing something larger than yourself and out of your comfort zone on many levels - you made us all so proud. Love love love you too many oodles to mention. xxx

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Baby Drew Kensington

Sweet baby Drew was born a month early but this little angel was perfect in every way. She came over to my home studio with her mama and brother for her first photo session. Sadly, her daddy was off the island that day, but her mummy says that it just gives them an excuse to have the whole family photographed together in six months!

Big brother David was such a love on the shoot. Apparently he was feeling under the weather and for a normal session, I would definitely want to have cancelled, for he was very clingy with his mummy. But it worked out wonderfully, for although we didn't end up doing most of our plans for the shoot, the end result was better than anything I could have planned with a typical high energy toddler. David just lied on the bed the entire time and was happy to snuggle his sister and mother. My heart was breaking it was all so beautiful and tender. I touched him and he was actually burning hot and I know he was fighting a fever but what a magical intimate family time was captured as a result!

David reached out and held his hand on Baby Drew's head and I could have cried it was so cute!

Thank you Tammy, David and Drew for coming over and although you were under the weather David, you were a super star, as were you darling little Drew. Such a lovely family xxx