“Abby, tell me, how do you feel about hose pictures?”
There is an open photo album sitting on my lap with the memories of Abby’s teenage years. The serious and awkward looking teenager on the pictures contrasts starkly with the woman sitting next to me. She is tall with wild black hair and piercing blue eyes. She speaks with a smokey voice, her tattooed hands dance around the music of her words.
“I don’t like the pictures of me. I wasn’t feeling good in my body back then.”
“Oh…here is David.”
David, tall, young, skinny, sitting comfortably on a fold up chair. David, the twin brother that will never grow old with Abby.
Abby lost him a few months ago. To Abby it felt like a hurricane that took away parts of her. She is now rocking in her loss, writing songs that come from pain.
Abby is a singer and song writer in a band called Bon Bon vivant. She has always been a musician and an artist and finds comfort in creating.
“Writing music is a basic need like taking a shit. That’s all”.
This self evident statement astounded me. Abby has no doubt that what she does is a complete necessity. I wish we all had Abby’s confidence.
After a while, we started shooting. I didn’t know what direction to take….Abby has sharp edges and a soft center. She is a powerful mix of strength and vulnerability. I usually love soft and painterly lights but it didn’t work for her, so for the first time in four years I took out my Fresnel light. It is a vintage Hollywood light with a yellow tint and stark shadows which are very difficult to work with. As the session went on, the light needed to be in my shots. I cannot tell you why, it just was. So I placed the light behind her.
At some point the light overwhelmed us with its glare and I apologized to Abby.
She stopped. Took a breath. “When I am on stage and I feel disconnected, I look at the (stage) light and know that my brother is somewhere on the other side of it. So I think that your light is my brother telling us he is here with us.”. We all paused. She sobbed. I believed her.
We finished the session. I renamed the Fresnel light “the twin light”. I hope that Abby finds something in the final images…something that helps her remember that her brother is watching out for her. I also hope she sees in the pictures that she is all she needs. Her whole universe is within her. She is the light.
A very special thank you to Annie for bringing her best friend to my studio.
You can find Abby and Bon Bon Vivant’s work here :
and on Spotify
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