The bravest heart..
Firstly, thank you to Anne for letting me into your world and having the courage to share some of your amazing a moving story with me as part of this series. I love the results, and this portrait has been a small marathon, with two studio photo shoots, plus another home shoot with some of Anne's most precious memories.
I first met Anne back in 2010 when my daughter and I began our taekwondo martial arts three year journey. Anne is married to Master Ron who was our teacher. I was especially drawn to Anne, who was very involved in teaching and mentoring students, and with her years of experience and a mere 3rd dan black belt at that stage, (she is now 4th dan) it was clear she was a great asset to the club. Through Anne's tough exterior, I could plainly see a woman with a huge heart with lots to give. And right from the start, I knew she had an amazing story to tell, so I was really excited when she agreed to be a part of this series.
Anne has gone through more than her fair share of heart ache, pain and tragedy in her life, but this is what has shaped who she is today. Wearing her heart on her sleeve, you couldn't meet a more generous, kind and warm-hearted woman than Anne.
Here is the finished portrait called "Not flesh nor bone". This is derived from a beautiful saying that Anne's mother used to say her to “Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone but still miraculously my own.” Anne was adopted. You will be able to read more of her moving story in the "Unearthly" series next year.
For Anne's costume ideas, we went from medieval to Xena, to Bond girl and back to medieval again. The day after photographing Anne holding the bow and arrow, she emailed me to say that perhaps she should have chosen a different style, as well as pointing out very small concerns about the colour of the arrows - ever the perfectionist!
OMG! The gorgeous dogs! What an experience that was. Jane Earle kindly allowed us to photograph the four huskies at her studio. We had to capture each one separately, with both Anne and Ron there to keep things slightly manageable. If you look further down, you will see a sequence of images that show what happened as things slowly went downhill while trying to capture all four dogs together. It was quite hilarious watching the chaos unfold, and these dogs were actually well behaved!
Above - the initial fitting at The Wardrobe. Anne kept her clothes on for extra protection..
Above - This is the face that Anne uses to mentally prepare for her physical training workouts, and of course for our gruelling photo-shoot.
Above - Eloise applying the magic makeup.
Above - gorgeous smouldering smokey eyes!!
Above - Anne insisted that the trainers were an authentic match with the medieval gown, as she put the bow together by twisting her body into impossible knots.
Above - this is, of course, the famous traditional Mongolian bow holding technique as demonstrated here.
Above - trying to get the dress just right, after pulling up Anne's socks to keep her legs warm.
Above -we captured a series of different poses during the photo-shoot so that I had options to work with.
Above - Before and after a little Photoshop magic....
Above - looking for the wind blown hair look... We had a large fan that we used, but it was freezing in the studio, which is why Anne was laughing. Very strange how we sometimes laugh when we are cold...
Above are some of Anne's most precious memories of her parents and other family members. As I photographed these and some of Anne's old photos, I was overwhelmed with emotion, thinking of the story behind them. I was actually crying throughout the entire process. Lucky there was no-one there to see me!
Above, the day of the photo-shoot - dog day afternoon with Ron and Anne at Jane Earles studio. Things very quickly descended into chaos as the masters tried very hard to position all of the dogs together. Such beautiful and lovely natured dogs - a pleasure to work with in spite of the madness. Jane was compelled to stay and photograph the dogs as well.
Above - the first completed version without the dogs and the memories.
Looks a little lonely at this point.
And the rest is now, as they say, history...