I enjoy photographing people to ‘use’ in my manipulated images, but capturing them as they are is, I find, more of a challenge, and more surprising.
This wonderful, bright woman is my partner Nigel's mum. We were out for a walk on the Otago Peninsula. I trotted ahead to photograph them as they walked towards me through a dark, tree-lined path. Nancy has to spend a lot of time watching her feet when the ground is rough, but I caught her as she glanced up at the big lens pointed her way. She getting used to that!
It was a bright, sunny day but the trees were so high and thick that only the occasional shafts of light made it through. You can see the end of the 'tunnel' of trees reflected in Nancy's eyes. I like the way the wind is blowing her hair back too – it helps me think of her as fresh and sprightly and bright, which is what she is mentally – unfortunately her 88 year old body is no longer able to keep up.
This is my second version of this image (the first can be seen on my Facebook page). Scott suggested a touch of HDR, which I have done, and I like. But I’m not sure which I like best. They’re different.
I think it takes a special artist to successfully pose a ‘subject’ and create an image that is an accurate representation of that person. For me it’s easier to create an image that portrays what I want it to portray! For example, if I had sat Nancy down and asked to take her portrait I don’t believe it would have been possible for me to create an image as honest and meaningful as this one, but if I’d asked her to make a scary face I would probably have got it – and we’d both have a lot of laughs!
I like this image and I’d like to create more like it. It was a bit of a fluke but it has taught me that while I know it’s usually essential for me to have fun creating images, there are times when I can create something that’s also, somehow, important. ‘Important’ is not quite the right word – meaningful, honest, special? I’ll let you know if I work it out!