It was such a pleasure to photograph two special women in the portrait studio recently. Marie called to book herself and her mother Anastasia for a portrait session. She described their tradition of sitting for studio portraits over the years, usually to celebrate a milestone birthday or special occasion. This occasion was Anastasia’s 90th birthday and Marie was keen for her mum to be the star of the show! When I arrived at their home for the pre-shoot consultation, it was wonderful to be shown their portrait album, and marvel at the changing hair and clothing fashions through the decades!
At first she was unsure Anastasia would enjoy the experience, given her mobility challenges and arthritis. They arrived with their chosen outfits, a few items of jewellery, and sat for hair styling with Alyce’s Fringes, and Becki Palfreyman for makeup. We stopped mid way through for a high-tea style lunch, after beginning the session with individual portraits and capping off the day with a few portraits of mother and daughter together.
On their way home in the car, Anastasia related how much she’d enjoyed the experience and was looking forward to seeing her images. We met one last time at the viewing session. I felt honoured to hear from Anastasia about the challenges of her childhood, being raised in the Ukraine, then at the tender age of 16 being taken from her homeland to work on a farm in Germany as a forced-labour worker in the Second World War before migrating to Australia in the late 1940’s. She had been separated from her parents and 10 siblings for decades until they eventually met again for a brief reunion.
Anastasia prefers the images of herself with her lips-closed smile, while Marie goes for the open smiles of her mother! I love the way we perceive ourselves differently from our loved ones. Either way, these printed artworks will be cherished for years to come.
Photography: Deb Smith
Hair: Alyce’s Fringes
Makeup: Becki Belfreyman