Strong Women

Ziggy comes alive in front of the camera. A model with confidence and a dancer's background is a photographer's dream. Think of the stuff American supermodel Karlie Kloss is made of and you have Ziggy, a professional from the moment you meet her.

 Makeup Artist Rachel Westergaard ( IMDB )

Makeup Artist Rachel Westergaard (IMDB)

Makeup artist Rachel Westergaard painted on fierce long cat-eye liner, a contoured cheek, a deep red lip and defined brows.

The inspiration for this shoot was a strong woman, possibly a warrior; someone who is stronger on the inside than we glimpse from standard interaction in the world. I wanted to convey the fire of the soul, and the tenacity of the female. In an era of female empowerment by public figures such as Taylor Swift, and a greater acceptance and promotion of feminism, we also live in a world where women in many corners of the earth remain suppressed. Yet despite this, they raise children, they work, they often provide food, shelter, care, love, advice, and forget the self to aid others.

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Many years ago as a child, I saw a commercial for a charity where a woman in a third world country was interviewed. This interview has stayed with me. She spoke of how she could go days without food so her children could eat, and had devised a method to do so by tying a rope around her waist, compressing the stomach and thus suppressing hunger pains. This is strength and this is the trek of some, seemingly the "unlucky" ones who did not get a life of shopping malls, soccer games, Pinterest luxuries, and an suv.

We are accustomed to our immediate world and it can be easy to forget that we share a part of a tapestry of fortunes in various people's lives, good and bad, easy and difficult, some not so far from our own and others unimaginably different. To be female is not to say that we have a duty to cheerlead our gender nor should be declare it better than any other gender, however, we are a part of a whole and it is important to recognize that belonging.

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Who do you know who exemplifies strength others may not see? Can you feel her story in these photos with Ziggy?

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Feeling is what I strive for and I know a photo is right when I feel the emotion of an image. Often I will have an idea for posing, and much of the time the best shots are when I see something in a moment of rest during the shoot. She will be standing there, looking at her shoes off her shoulder or pulling her hair off her face. She might be staring off into the distance, waiting...models do a lot of waiting. I see that unplanned moment and it comes alive before my eyes. I will excitedly tell the model "Stop! Don't move!" and take the shot.

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Photography isn't static, much as it might seem. It doesn't go to plan. It is an art form that involves the heart more than anything else. The camera is simply what I use to record what it is all about. It's like hunting for a treasure, that little flutter in your chest when you see that moment and you see the feeling of the image before your eyes, that's what photography is for me. It's the hunt, the catch, the feeling, and seeking it all over again. Meanwhile, all of that can be combined into an image that communicates to others, enabling them feel it too. Perhaps that is why photography is so intoxicating and for many photographers, addicting. It's a drug, absorbing life and telling it's universal story. We are feeling beings, complex, intelligent, confronted with obstacles, living this journey we didn't ask for and for the first time. We don't get to be 10 or 20 twice. We don't get to learn to drive twice or get married for the first time more than once. Our trials always happen for the first time, and then subsequently of the same or a slightly altered type. Humans are strong. Females are strong and live a unique life. That was what this shoot was all about and I am so thankful to have had Ziggy and Rachel Westergaard as a part of this storytelling.