Barbara Holgate is a sculptress based in South West France. She creates small scale, finely detailed figures of both people and animals. I photographed her during the opening of her recent exhibition at the ‘4seasons’ gallery in St Aulaye, Dordogne, France
The gallery is compact, busy and was tight with friends and visitors for the opening night. After a couple of preliminary shots I decided that I wanted Barbara and an example of her work isolated from the busy background. It was important to show that the image had been made in the gallery but essential that the other works on the display stands and walls (including two of my own prints) did not pull the viewer away from Barbara and her mother and child group. The solution was simple. I blasted them with a burst of flash bounced from a small reflector. This cleanly lit them at the same time ensuring that the falloff of light kept the background dark.
The couple, Holly and Joffy, travelled across to south western France a few days prior to their wedding from their home in the west of England. They stayed in the lovely setting of Sacgites, in Sac St Romain. Charente, which would also be the venue for the wedding ceremony. I arranged to meet them as soon after their arrival as possible so that I could discuss their preferences, their photographic likes and dislikes and to identify a number of alternative weather dependent locations for shooting. In addition I planned to carry out a short engagement shoot so that we could get to know each other with the camera between us. Although this was July the weather had been very stormy and unpredictable so the alternative locations were absolutely essential.
When I arrived for the meeting, on a dull and sunless afternoon, the details of the wedding ceremony location and the probable position of the sun and therefore of shade (if the weather changed) was still in a state of flux. The couple had yet to decide where to seat the guests (family members) and place the humanist wedding celebrant so that all would be out of the sun (if by then it condescended to shine). They were pleased to take a break from the preparations and talk with me for a few minutes. This was definitely time well spent.
Just before I left them and they returned to their hectic preparations I sat them quietly on a set of flower fringed stone steps and we created some intimate images. The pictures show the relief that a few minutes calm, when the pressure is on, can make.