Exhibited as part of the
Ballarat International Foto Biennale
19 August to 17 September
Please come along and view my Exhibition as part of the Fringe Festival
Exhibition opening Wednesday 23 August between 6 and 7pm
The Rusty Spud
21 Peel Street North, Ballarat, Victoria, 3350, Australia
Every woman has a story, every woman is special. I have brought you a stories of every day women, each has something special about them, we all have stories to tell but get lost in the chatter of life, too often we start to feel invisible, so I thought it would be nice to celebrate a little of who we are. Not one of these women are models nor have they modelled before.
I have chosen women from different ethnic backgrounds, they are all friends or friends of friends and chosen because they said yes to my project.
I have long believed that all women have a special beauty with in, we all shine from with in. I get so much pleasure to be able to walk down the street and just smile at people, have you ever watched what happens? Before people know it they have given you a smile back, their eyes sparkled and they just shine, all be it for just a fleeting second.
Please enjoy the sparkle, the love, the beauty and warmth that these women exude.
Please meet Farah,
a beautiful Iranian lady that has come to Australia to make a new life for herself.
I must apologise for my ignorance of history , knowing so very little of the country of Iran, only associating it with war, oppression and oil. This could have not been further from the truth, this country holds such depth of riches in art, literature and all the wealth of civilisations that date back over 2,500 years bring. Farah has chosen to share a little of her love of her country to help us understand a little better the world we live in. After reading a little more about her beautiful country it has definitely gone on my list of places to visit.
In Farah's words.
Iran is a quite vast country. 1/5 the size of Australia, it has a large variety of climates, from desert to humid.
North is quite humid, always raining and full of beautiful jungle, the South is close to the Persian Gulf, humid and warm. In the middle its all desert, this is where people spent a lot of time gazing at the stars. West is mountainous with snow capped mountains and east is almost warm and dry, most cities in Iran have all 4 seasons.
About culture dress and food. Although we all speak Persian and this is the language books are written in for school, most of the cities have their own language or dialect and accordingly their own customs and food.
Dance, music and literature is quite rich and vast. Dance and music is the most important part of every single party.
About history: one of the most ancient and glorious civilisation that goes back 2,500 years, and there are heaps of signs of civilisation that may even be older.
Iran used to be governed by Kings and Queens up until 38 years ago. Since then the revolution happened and now its Islamic Republic.
We have a beautiful rich culture, history, art and music that we, Iranians are very proud of. Unfortunately the new government has ruined many nice aspects of Iranian culture and put a lot of emphasis on Islam and religion. We are still hoping Iran can see good and glorious days again.
If you wish to read an academic version,
Thank you Farah for saying yes to be part of my The Beautiful Woman Project, you have opened my eyes and enriched my life, as I am sure you do to many you meet. You have a beautiful soul that shines so brightly. Xxx
Ashleigh is from South Africa, a beautiful soul felt young woman who came to Australia to spend time with her Mum who now lives in Australia. She has just gone back to South Africa her home country. I know very little of Ashleigh’s story so I will share with youa testimonial that her mum Tatiana, shared with me after their photo shoot. The photo is one from a photo shoot that I did when photographing both mother and Daughter. No one never knows what the future will hold, grasp life with two hands and make wonderful memories that you can hold dear for ever.
I would like to thank you for the wonder experience you gave us when my daughter Ashley and I came for our photo shoot. You understood and captured exactly the essence of mother and daughter in a warm and loving way. From the minute we set foot in your studio we felt welcome.
You have a wonderful nature that makes one feel comfortable and at ease. The entire day was fun, full of laughter and excitement. I loved the makeover with Anastasia, the entire experience brought out something special in my relationship with my daughter.
Thank you once again, I would recommend you to every single women or man who wants to bring out the queen or king within. I loved the experience and the moments you captured with my daughter lives on.
Loads of hugs
Mobile: 04555 449 88 Tatiana@redpencil.consulting Leve1, 77 Yarra Street, Geelong, 3220
Ann is a woman of a very gentle kind warm spirit as I know many Kenyan woman to be. She came to Australia from Kenya and brought with her a wonderful fun loving spirit. Kenyan woman love to sing and dance, gather together as girls and prepare food, it is nothing short of the most wonderful feeling when you hear their beautiful voices coming out of the kitchen, you always know great food will be prepared for all. Ugali is always on the menu of a traditional meal, it is a sticky dish made from maze flour, best eaten with your fingers used to soak up the juices of a stew.
Ann works extremely hard to provide for her family, and to establish her self in a new country, working day and nigh as a nurse and a trainer in the nursing industry. Ann told me a little story, when she walks into a room of students she is often not recognised by the students as a trainer, they are very surprised that a lady with black skin would be training them. Mmmm, how great is the diversity in our country.
Thank you Ann for agreeing to be part of The Beautiful Women Project, for believing that all women are beautiful.
I met Hadassa when on one of my trips to Thailand, this particular trip i put out a call for people to model for me, I wanted to practice some new photographic techniques I had been learning. Hadassa being a professional performer was always in need of photos. For me this was very special, I had never photographed a belly dancer before, and I was pretty excited by the idea. She brought along her suitcase full of costumes, and OMG how beautiful were they, I was mesmerised by them, the beautiful beads, the colours, fabrics and jewellery that went with them. Yes I had seen photos before but these were just amazing, I was like a kid in a candy store. As with most things there are stories that go behind them. She brought two types of costumes, the style we typically know that has a bra and skirt and a bare midriff, worn when dancing Turkish and Egyptian styles of belly dance. Hadassa dances the Egyptian style of belly dance.
The other costume was an outfit that fully covered your body known as a Pharyah, It is a style worn in the Arabian Gulf countries especially Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. This costume consists of a very large shapeless dress made from several colours of fabric, it was highly decorated with beautiful gold embroidery. The sleeves were so large that you could drape them over your head to keep them from getting in the way. Her head needed to be fully covered, first with a cap to hide her hair, then a head dress was put on top that was gold and made up of strands of pressed metal beads the size of a 10cent pieces, this covered her head, then there are strings of metal beads that hung down that represented long flowing hair. I asked with confusion, how does one belly dance is this costume? Me thinking it is all about seeing your body and its movement. We'll sort of……, the focus is on jewellery worn on your hands and hand movements, twirling so your gold hair fly's in the air. Where did you learn this style of dance I ask, as I had never seen nor heard of it before. It is a style of dance that is only taught by the women in the tribes and is not taught in schools and the like, so l am very privileged to have learnt how to dance this way.
Originally from Finland Hadassa has lived, worked and trained in many parts of the word, like Egypt, the Middle East and North Africa. You could not ask to meet a nicer more helpful lady, I thank you for sharing some of your time with me and sharing, you have enhanced my life with the beautiful woman you are. Thank you.
Louise, Grace, Rose and Pearl
Gorgeous country Girls of Irish decent, I can only adore these girls. In preparation for their photo shoot I asked them if they could send me a photo of themselves, as I had never met them and would like to get some idea of what they looked like, all I knew was that 2 of the girls had red hair. I was sent a photo with one of them sitting beside a huge pumpkin, it had to be a prize pumpkin. Xx
As part of their makeover I curled the girls hair, and the two younger girls were running around fascinated with how their curls jumped up an down when they moved, ha ha so funny. I then needed to be quick with the camera before the curls fell out. My wardrobe was open and it was not long before Rose came out dressed in one of my big fluffy dresses, dressup’s are such fun no matter your age.
Chatting to the girls I was saddened to hear that they were still teased because of their beautiful red hair, I know what it feels like having had deep auburn colored hair when I was younger, I had hoped children did not do this anymore. I hope you will enjoy seeing the essence of these beautiful women, but then again I am biased….. I asked the girls what they like doing? That pulled up a blank response, basically like most young people they are never home, they love just hanging out with friends, they all loved school, yes really loved school and did not like missing any days.
Irene’s Story and Australia starts as a backpacker who came to Australia from Taiwan on a working holiday. It is known throughout the backpacker community that Darwin was the place to come to for work in the tourist season; the hospitality industry providing the majority of the work. Perfect match! Irene ended up finding her way to a share house that was filled with other like minded travelers. It was here that she met her now husband, he was renting out the rooms in his house to backpackers on working holidays. At first Irene was not fully aware of his intentions, he was away travelling and he would send her these lengthy letters that went for pages and pages, and Irene was looking wondering why? Her reply would be very short. As things went along the romance blossomed, then it was time to win the parents approval. Her family is in Taiwan where there are other siblings and her parents, her dad being a Chinese Medicine Doctor. Her now husband got approval and now they are very happily married living in Geelong for the moment. I look forward to the stories attached to the next chapter of their lives.
When I first met Irene she had just got back from Italy where she had been studying Jewelry design in Florence, very creative lady. My thanks go to her for helping me with this Exhibition.
Kerry and Sam
A long long time ago in a country far far away from Australia, there was an Aussie Traveller called Kerry, she loved to travel the word, travel to new and exciting places. She would work hard and save hard so she could travel and see the world. It was while travelling in Mauritius that a very special man captured her lovely heart. They soon married and came to Australia, Kerry not only gained a husband but a beautiful daughter Sam. Sam was only six years old when Kerry first met her.
Sam is a very lucky young girl, she was born premature and only weighted 1kg, the doctors did not expect her to live. Her birth mother died when she was only 3 of a heart condition. Don't worry she is a strong healthy beautiful young woman now.
Once in Australia there was the task of learning English, her parents put her in school at a lower grade than the Mauritius equivalent to allow her to learn English. Being the shy young girl she would use a puppet to communicate, this being her way of saying if the puppet makes a mistake that is ok, I did not make the mistake the puppet did. The puppet would appear around corners and one morning it appeared around the corner of the bedroom and said ‘Good morning, How are you?’. An other time Kerry was singing Old Mc Donald had a farm and it was not until she got to E-I-E-I-O that Sam Responded with the glee of recognition, then she tried to teach Kerry the Creole version. Now Sam’s next big challenge is learning to drive, not with out incident I am told, but thankfully only in the paddock bom.
I had to ask, how was the experience of the photo shoot? It was so much fun, we laughed a lot and had the best time and felt very relaxed. The photos are amazing, I can not believe they are me!
Coco and Jessica
Coco Brooks is originally from Southern China. A beautiful young Chinese girl falls in love with the tall dark handsome Aussie English teacher. What a gorgeous tale of romance. He brought her to Australia where they married and now have the cutest young daughter. I met Coco in the little Chinese grocers shop in Belmont where she works part time, explained to her that I was looking for women to photograph for my Beautiful Woman Project, I am so glad she agreed and brought along her daughter too.
In China it is very common to be photographed when you are young and people often have their photo taken several times over between their late teenage years to early twenties, it is said to capture their young beauty before it fades.
Now Coco has settled into Aussie life with her new family and friends, she has her own little business making celebration cakes, please take a look, they are to dye for cute. Kids Cakes Geelong on Facebook
Oma and her 2nd GREAT GREAT Grand Child
Tinne de Boer came to Australia on a Ship from Holland, landing in Geelong Victoria in 1951 with her husband and her first 2 children John and Bob aged 6 and 2. The family came to Australia after the War looking to establish a new life in Australia as they saw there were better opportunities. When asked why they chose Australia? America you could not get in, South Africa had Lions and Crocodiles, Canada was too cold and they could not find anything out about New Zealand so that left Australia. Had she known that Australia had crocodiles although they were 3000km away that would not have mattered, it would have been New Zealand.
It was not long and some of her other siblings followed with their families, Tinne being one of 13 children we think, she can not quite remember how many siblings she had, it is just a bit like that when there are a lot of you.
Adjusting to life in Australia was fraught with challenges as you would expect but I so love and admire her attitude of how she will make the most of any situation. When they landed in Australia they lived on a farm near Inverleigh, apparently some of the floor was missing in the kitchen of the house, some how she still managed to feed the family. The family soon moved to an other farm and eventually settled in Dandenong which at the time was very rural. Her husband was a carpenter by trade and could read plans, which gave him an advantage over other men, so he was able to get work fairly easily. To bring in extra income she would look after boarders that stayed in their house, supplying room, doing their washing and supplying their meals. By now there were an other 2 children Alida and Ron.
So to jump forward a bit, well actually a lot, her husband passed away about 10 years ago so she now lives in a nursing home. At her 90th birthday Tinne was sitting there just admiring the family and in a moment of pride said ‘I created this’ referring to her family. Tinni is the last remaining of her and Jacob’s generation and she has just turned 91.
Tinne and Jacob have,
10 Grand children
14 Great Great grand children
2 Great Great Great Grand Children