Christmas season is hectic, and each year I promise myself that I will not be dragged into the rush and commercialism. So far I have managed to trim down and cut a lot of corners, but have nevertheless ended up on the receiving end of other people’s hectic schedules. This is not always a bad thing, especially when I believe in blessings in disguise.
A few months ago I had scheduled an editorial portrait photoshoot with the brilliant and talented Guido Schwarz, photographer extraordinaire of Berlin, Hamburg, and Capetown. Of all the photographers in the world, destiny led me to Guido, and I knew in my soul that I had found the one photographer who would help me overcome my demons of facing the camera and self-consciousness. It is not just a case of stage fright, but also carrying all the demons of my past with a cleft lip and palate, hiding behind the camera all the time and masking my face with shadows or a hat.
By the time we finished our coffee, discussed themes, perspectives, and concepts, we were basically ready to go in August with the theme of Celebration of Scars and Flaws. I wanted a powerful portrait, affirming the independent, strong woman who is not ashamed of the flaws and wears the scars with pride.
One thing led to another and we ended up postponing the photoshoot to October and then indefinitely. Then out of the blues last week, Guido called to say that someone had cancelled a booking and the studio was available, would I be available. Needless to say I was floored but excited because this time my daughter was with me and would be my make-up artist.
The five hours in the studio were gruelling, and I was grateful not to be a model by profession. But when the photographer is also a brilliant director, with the experience and knowledge of the lights and flattering angles emanating from every pore, it was a loads of fun as well. The biggest revelation of the day, however, was that my daughter turned out to be a natural model and (no secret to me) incredibly photogenic.
The bonus mother-daughter photoshoot speaks for itself, with an homage to Simon and Garfunkel. We have so much to celebrate, having overcome so many obstacles this year, and facing the deepest, and darkest demons along the way. This is also one of the very rare moments that we, mother and daughter, are photographed together, so thank you Guido, for the encouragement, the support, and the insight.
On this Christmas Eve, my soul is filled with gratitude for having my daughter with me, sharing the serenity and lighting each others paths on a cold winter night. We celebrate the strength, flaws and scars.