This simple, but effective, portrait was shot with minimum preparation and the absolute minimum of equipment. I used natural light and a camera in a most surprising location. During a business fair I was ‘Networking’ (chatting) with a Freelance Business owner about web-presence and the need for good, up to date head-shots. It transpired that Carol had not updated her on-line image for a while. Grabbing the opportunity with both hands we decided to get a shot immediately.
The Business Fair was held in the ground-floor room of a beautiful Georgian Guildhall. The building has high ceilings, light walls and a sweeping staircase to the first floor. The stairwell has a huge, bright, north-facing window that gathers the soft light reflected from the exterior walls of a modern, concrete and glass shopping centre.
We took up positions on the stairs with the light flooding in from behind and to my right. Carol was seated on the steps above where I crouched. A couple of position changes and it was done.
I have driven through the village of Montagnac-la-Crempse on a number of occasions, up through the narrow, steep, streets and past the church which has been carved into the crest of the slope. The church being the highest point of the village has sweeping views over the village and the wooded Crempsie valley.
By the standards of most churches in this Region this church is quite small. It has been slotted into the slope giving the steps up to the arched front door a disorientating asymmetry that is both disturbing and beautiful.
On this particular, golden, Saturday the church had been prepared for a wedding. From inside came the sounds of the choir rehearsing. A few family and guests flitted in and out of the cool interior. Outside there were cut fir trees on either side of the door, decorated with family photos.
A flowing carpet of evergreen leaves cascaded down the steps. I looked in detail at the photographs hanging in the trees. These consisted of individuals, groups and portraits taken during wedding celebrations, of what appeared to be, a single family over a very, very long period of time. Some even showed this church decorated as it now was.
It was delightful to see traditions like this being so unselfconsciously continued.