The quiet warriors.
Inspiration comes when you least expect it and when it hits, it hits hard sometimes. I had been watching a television series about the tough competition in professional ballet and the opening credits were a video montage of dancers expressing themselves with coloured powders against a black backdrop. Not a new idea, I’d seen it before, it’s been done. And then done again. But something in that moment stuck. I watched those opening credits repeatedly. Coming back to it sometimes months later. I wanted to produce something that beautiful and inspiring. That was years ago and it’s never left me.
Then, whilst photographing a family, one of the young girls was having fun tumbling, doing back walk overs or anything else her flexible self could manage. I had done gymnastics as a young girl (I loved it until I shot up 2 inches in one summer and was like a new-born giraffe, but less graceful) so knew she was a gymnast. She was a gorgeous little pixie of a girl with a quiet confidence. I was inspired by her poise, grace and quiet confidence.
As it happens she attends the same school as my sons. Some days I would see her and she’d give me a little smile and wave of recognition. Always with her head held high, quietly walking out of school like all the other kids. But I knew on some weekends she was out performing in front of judges and crowds. I knew that she was training most days of the week. Maybe giving up time with friends and not being able to just lounge around like other kids. I’m sure she doesn’t realise that she’s not like most kids her age in that regard. Dedication and hard work are sometimes learned but I can see it is a natural state for this young woman. I was inspired by her. I wanted to photograph her in a way that would showcase all the strengths she possessed, the determination, the quiet warrior that she housed. I knew she’d be perfect for the ‘Powder Session’ I’d been conceptualizing in my mind.
After months of stewing on it I decided to take the leap and approached her Mum and herself and we got the plans in place. Luckily she had a fellow gymnast who was willing and free and suddenly I had two warrior girls happy to help me see through a concept!
I couldn’t have been more excited for this. A personal project is always inspiring; it takes away the pressure to ‘produce’ and you are truly only pleasing yourself and your own creative intuition.
The girls were Rebecca and Layla and Wow! were they amazing! They took direction like pros and were happy to improvise when giving the choice. They stood in a big hall under lights and performed! It was incredible to watch. I could see why Layla and Rebecca were friends and team mates. They shared the same traits I admired initially in Rebecca and it was quick for me to see she had her own way but no less talented.
Exuding confidence, strength, poise, talent and grace they rocked this session!
I wanted to capture all those traits and show that within all young girls is a warrior…sometimes quiet, sometimes loud but always there.
They represent what I want all people to see in these images. That strong is beautiful. That beauty doesn’t mean lack of substance and that sometimes just being yourself is being a warrior in your own world.