MANY FACES

Model: Brenna

Brenna is my next door neighbour. I guess for Brenna, having a photographer living next door and for myself always on the lookout for portrait subjects, it was only a matter of time before opportunity brought her into my studio. One sleepy afternoon as she relaxed on the veranda I approached Brenna asking if she'd allow me to photograph her and like most girls her age she was only too willing having seen snippets of my work.

This series of portraits evolved intuitively. Right up until the day before the shoot I wasn't clear on a theme. When in doubt I leave the house looking for inspiration and I did just that on the day before our scheduled sitting. As chance would have it I was browsing a local shop that sells collectables looking for a prop or an idea or just something to jump out and suggest itself to me as a theme. At times falling over the array of collectable objects, a lace dress caught my eye.

Upon my inquiring the lovely shop owner pulled out an even older dress under a pile of other garments. Wrapped in protective plastic was this 90 to 100 year old wedding dress. Too fragile to place onto a hanger the lace literally broke apart in one's hands. I instantly knew that Brenna and this fragile relic were a beautiful match. Knowing the importance that this dress once had to another young lady generations before, I acquired it respectfully hoping it's original owner would approve of my use for it.

At 2pm on our scheduled Sunday Brenna arrived, her nervousness matched by my own. I had set up a glass screen through which I intended to photograph her like looking through a blurry haze into another time. I chose two flowers from my garden which were nearing the end of their lives. Feeling that there was something symbolic in their aging, the passing of time and the number two representing the coming together of two hearts.

Photography over the years has provided me a rare pleasure. The opportunity to come together with individuals I know little about for the purpose of creating something beautiful. In modern suburbia even our closest neighbours are distant strangers and for me Brenna would have continued to be so if not for my photography, two dried flowers and an old lace dress.

 

Graeme Wienand

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