When I started this project I had a few things in mind for the shoots and for my sort of ‘interview’ that would go with the shoot but nothing would’ve prepared me for the session I had with Wendy.
Photography can sometimes create more honesty and truthfulness than one can expect.
Wendy is an old friend of mine. We worked together years ago at a photo lab and we’ve kept in touch since. She saw the call for the 30 in 30 project on my blog and contacted me. The conversation included most of the normal banter about the shoot and her nervousness, but it included statements that you usually don’t hear when you are dealing with ‘professional models’…
“Do you think its gonna be weird seeing me naked?”
“I mean we worked together.”
“But dude, you’re like my brother.”
I found this very interesting and refreshing, and it almost felt like a challenge to see how great I could make this shoot for her. You see, Wendy is happy about her new found (regained) body image. She wanted to remember this point in her life forever, and she was choosing to do this in a way that was on the edge of her comfort zone. This was one of the situations that I was hoping to create with the project - absolutely normal, regular people, taking steps to commemorate themselves in these moments.
This project in general has made me reflect on what photography means to me. Reflect on the relationships that are created through the lens have gone on long after the cameras are put away. Consider importance to take the time to photograph the things that are important to you… everything is a fleeting moment, people will never be the same and possibly not be there in the future.
With this project specifically, I’ve revisited some of the hidden reasons as to why both the models and photographers are involved in this genre of photography (self confidence), how my own photography style has evolved over the years and considered where is going due to the perspective I now have being a father of 2 girls.
Photography and this project has brought me to some really interesting mental places, but this day of shooting would prove to be the heaviest I’ve had in a long time.
The night before photographing Wendy, Taryn and I went to a memorial service for another photographer and close friend Samatha Walker (see previous post). That night and the morning before the shoot was filled with thoughts of photos never made, the portraits of people that I’ll never have the chance to make.
This session with Wendy became extra special for me because of this.
The session started with Wendy dealing with being in front of the camera, exposed, but soon that fell away and we began to talk about the reasons behind it.
She mentioned that she had a corset and she wanted to be photographed in that, so I decided to let the session go a little long to allow her time to get into it. Again, she was excited to get photos in this outfit, and I was excited to revisit a really wide angle lens and make some killer images at the end of the shoot.
We had a great time during the session and it was amazing to catch up, but as I packed up my gear and she was dressed we started to talk more. I asked her how the shoot was for her, if it was what she had anticipated. She gave me some great feedback and made me feel great about my photography and my model rapport.
Then she asked me the same and my answers and reaction were a little unexpected. I was blown away by the amount of trust and faith that a friend put into me and my work. I told her how important it was for me to catch up with her and be able to share this important experience with her. I told her how sad I was for not being able to get photographed by Sam in a similar fashion. I told her how sad I was for missing other portraits of people that were important in my life.
And it was at that point that we hugged… hard… sharing a moment of realization and understanding as to the importance of our photography in our lives.
So thank you Wendy for the amazing day of friendship and photography!
And thanks to all of you that continued to read the whole post before scrolling to the nude photos… sometimes photography can create equally as beautiful a story as it does an image.