Her mom’s gift was a portrait experience from us.
Rachael is a very unique kid, only partly because she is one of the growing legions of women who have beaten cancer. It amazed me that at 16 she was celebrating her 10th year as the vanquisher of the C.
Monday was the milestone.
What, you might wonder, kind of photographs could mark such a milestone? Well, ones that celebrate her, her energy, her fun, her big smile and her soft reflections… essentially, all her whims.
We had just installed a new white rope swing; no one can resist playing on that, especially with a white puffy cloud background. The sets stayed simple, though, empty of props, just filled with her energy and personality, very much in the moment, enjoying the spotlight. It was easy to tell that she was having a good time. She would retreat into the washroom to text friends, her giggles echoed out of the room, even though in front of the camera she tried to project the unaffected coolness of the teenager.
Shortly after the hair and makeup was done, Mom was ushered out. This was Rachael’s shoot, all hers. The joy of photographing teenagers is they have no filter in expressing what they like and don’t like. You know real quick if what you are doing is working for them or not, so it’s easy to get rapidly into their zone.
We both had a blast in the four hour session.
The viewing of the images was fun. She could pick any of the images she liked, with no override from mom. At the end they had an equal sized collection of very different images. Rachael was grinning ear to ear, making plans for her next session.
These sessions are not about getting their likeness on film, so to speak. They have a bigger purpose.
Through parental request we developed it. Moms who we had photographed felt such a boost in their self-confidence, sense of beauty, and self-esteem, that they thought their daughters could benefit from it too. It’s a great right of passage. It helps them to get a visual definition of who they are and how they really look.
Moms have all shared stories of amazing effects from the sessions, which is really exciting for us. For Rachael, it’s some really cool images to mark an impressive achievement.