Week 8 – Peacock SHOOT 9/07/13
Written by Frank DeSantis – Photographer
Having just gone through this hellish disease myself, thoughts of flying became a means of escape. It was a way for me to reach beyond the pain and anguish I was going through. It wasn’t until I was through it all that I realized my flight was as the mythological bird, the phoenix. A symbol of birth/rebirth.
My thought was that Kimberli could find a strength in that symbol. Soaring high above the dangers she faces and to fly towards a rebirthing of her spirit and sense of self.
The peacock most resembles the traditional mythological description of the phoenix. It was only fitting that we use that as our basis for this shoot. And how crazy was it that almost a year ago I had attached a bunch of peacock feathers to a very large Chinese fan. I had tried to use it but found it too big to use in my studio, but it sure seems to work for this photo shoot with Kimberli. And so does Matt’s body painting which made the whole project come to life.
And so I had her start out just kneeling there in front of the fan, but from behind the lens she actually looked like a bird. I asked her to ‘fly.’ I asked her to imagine herself flying through the air. Her sinewy figure enhanced her movements, and I believe I caught some beautiful images of her flight. Frank DeSantis
Written by Kimberli Ransom
I love that Frank and I had different interpretations of the same concept. This is what the project is about. Creative minds coming together. This shoot was complicated. I knew I wanted to work with photographer Frank DeSantis. We had become friends over the past few years when we both had studios in the Towne Storage Building. Frank had his own bout with cancer last year, moved out of the building and I miss him. I immediately said yes when he volunteered for Finding Beauty in Cancer. I knew his camera would capture more than just the image he created. I asked him about finding a body painter and he introduced me to Matt Huntley via Facebook. Matt’s website demonstrated his extraordinary talent and huge range. Knowing I had two extremely talented artists I opened up the subject matter to other creatives and asked a few people for their thoughts on a concept. The input on how I could be painted was broad and an interesting process in itself. I plan to use some of the ideas in later shoots. Ultimately, we bounced ideas around via email, but as we were getting closer to shoot date there was no final decision. Nothing seemed quite right to me. My friend and the editor of Portland Family Magazine, Janna Lopez, invited me to her first photography show around the same time. The main image from her show was a gorgeous photograph of a peacock. In it I saw beauty, grace, colors I love, but also limitation. Peacocks can only fly short distances. I felt that Matt could make me as beautiful as a peacock but I would still feel the limitation of fatigue and side effects from chemo. I was shaking by the end of the shoot. Shaking, but happy.