The Adorned series looks at the idea of adornment - its purpose and its effect. This is an ancient topic, adornment has been around since pre-biblical times. The portraits seen here contain a variety of adornments, in the form of makeup, headpieces and jewellery. We see the physical transformation of the subject into an elaborated and stylised form of beauty - often powerful and haunting. Alluring, sensual, proud, mysterious, powerful and in control.
These photographs also show the human, the woman who is adorned. Their eyes and gaze providing a window into these women. The humanity in a person is undeniably beautiful. Does the physical transformation of adornment make that person more beautiful, more powerful, more sensual?
These photographs provide the viewer with the opportunity to connect. The women in the photographs are sometimes heavily adorned, you couldn't really say they've "dropped their guard" and yet, the viewer can see something deeper, through the eyes.
I hope these images allow the viewer to experience a sense of intimacy - which is that beautiful moment when you connect with another person. In real life this happens not too often, sometimes only for a fraction of a second, sometimes during intimate conversations, sometimes from across a room. Hopefully these photographs allow that experience of another person to exist a little longer, providing time to reflect on the human inside the adornment.
About the photographs
All images were shot on large format 4 x 5" and 8 x 10" film. The film was hand processed in small and large drums in the laundry. Film processing was followed by scanning into a digital file, which was then edited in a minimal way on a computer and output for print (many prints have dust spots and scratches that were deliberately left in tact). Shooting portraits this way is challenging for both photographer and model. A single shot takes time and there is little room for error. Shutter speeds were often very slow, requiring complete stillness from the model for extended periods of time.
Most, but not all, subjects are professional models. All women brought something of themselves to the shoot; from the shed skin of one of their pet pythons to items of jewellery or hand made head pieces. The makeup for one of the shoots was made by the model (Bianca Wolff) and myself from local ochre and ash from the fireplace. Some of the headpieces were handmade by Gina Ananiadis who also assisted with some of the shoots themselves and with the selection of pieces of jewellery. These aspects of the photographs are what makes them so very dear to my heart. They represent a beautiful collaboration - there was not only one artist involved in the production of these artworks, but many.