Week 6 – Finding Beauty SHOOT: Kimberella. Photographer Heather Binns, AD Kristen Arnett

Week 6 – Finding Beauty Photo Shoot

“KimberellaLoses Her Hair, Not Her Glass Slipper”

8/23/13 Photographer:  Heather Binns, Art Director and 1st Makeup Artist Kristen Arnett, Gown Designer Sophie Chang. See more credit at the bottom of post.


Blog post by NYC/Milan Art Director and makeup artist, Kristen Arnett

We all know the story of Cinderella, how her kind-hearted, beauty threatened her jealous family so much that they made her a servant and attempted to mask her radiance in ragged clothes. However, true beauty can never be hidden by conditions or circumstance, no matter how unfairly or awfully they have been put upon someone.

When Kimberli approached me about creatively collaborating to show a side of beauty in her cancer journey, I asked one question: “When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?”  She was very clear that it was Cinderella. In fact, she made people call her that for many years during her childhood. As I explored the story more deeply, I realized Kimberli and Cinderella weren’t that different.

Cinderella was given the opportunity by a fairy godmother to transform her ragged conditions to reflect the princess-like elegance she truly was in order to have just one evening of ecstatic bliss, dancing and falling in love, but with one condition…

At the stroke of midnight Cinderella had to flee as her carriage and beautiful clothes would all return to their prior conditions. As Kimberli describes chemotherapy, there is a time where she too slips into a “mind fog”, when her brain no longer functions as sharply, and her condition feels deteriorated. Just like the ringing of the clock tower, she too can tell exactly when she will “switch over” and plans much of her life now around that clock.

In this photo story we transform Kimberli into Cinderella, just on her way home from a night of blissful dancing, right before the “switch over”. Her pink ball gown subtly reminds us of the breast cancer ribbon. Her bald head strongly reminds us of cancer’s affect on the conditions of beauty. Kimberli’s inner light and her outer beauty simply cannot be hidden, no matter what the condition – just as it was for Cinderella.

As Kimberli is running home from her fantasy night, in her hand she holds a blond wig, which I like to think of as her version of Cinderella’s glass slipper. Though Prince Charming searched the land with one unique memento he carried with him – a shoe that just didn’t seem to fit anyone no matter how hard they tried to squeeze in– he simply couldn’t find the right match. It wasn’t really about finding someone to fit the shoe, it was a quest to find the woman who ignited the intense feeling of love in his heart.

Eventually he found her again – his true love, a woman worthy of being a queen regardless of her conditions. When love reunited with love, Cinderella was given her beautiful clothing back to wear forever.

Here’s my twist: I think Prince Charming is a metaphor for our higher Selves; he’s a catalyst to help us see our inherent beauty, even within of conditions that seem ugly.  Once we can see and accept our truly magnificent nature, we will be restored despite of the conditions that were placed up on us.

I believe that when Kimberli has completed her journey through cancer, the love she already embodies and radiates to those around her will restore her health, beauty and radiance in an even more profound way.

Notes from Kimberli

This day I worked with my dream team!  Talented, hilarious & ready to roll at 7:30AM.  I was belly laughing 5 minutes into the session.  I had had a very, very difficult 10 days after the last chemo treatment and focusing on how much fun this shoot would be kept me going. It was all worth it for those 3 hours. I adore these creatives. Check out their websites!

NYC/Milan Art Director and green make up artist (featured in ELLE Mag 2013): Kristen Arnett KristenArnett.com

Master of the outdoors session, 1st Photographer: Heather Binns http://www.heatherbinns.com

Portland Fashion week boss and cowboy: Tod Foulk semperfashion.net

Filmaker & 20 year friend: Dan Ackerman http://ackermanfilms.com

1st Assistant and gown shlepper, Photographer of the Bald Bride session: Colleen Sparks http://www.colleensparks.com/

2nd Make up artist Jessica Belknap http://jessicabelknap.com/

Gown Designer and Portland Fashion Week Goddess:  Sophie Chang http://www.sophiebridals.com/

All the way up in Alaska, Post production editor Vanessa Powell http://www.vanessapowellphotography.com/index2.php#/home/

Fabulous skin care products, Britta Aragon, CV Skinlabs www.cvskinlabs.com

Fabulous wig designer & stylist:  Brenda Kay http://www.bkhair.com/

Thank you Spartacus for the sexy Cinderella slipper contribution!


Want to join a future shoot?  Contact me directly at info@kimberliransom.net  

KIMBERLI RANSOM PHOTOGRAPHY www.kimberliransom.net info@kimberliransom.net 503-234-8111 17 SE 3rd Ave, Studio #306 Portland, OR 97214

Week 6- Poem 3 by Ken Arnold

Poem 3 by Ken Arnold

Note:  since this poem was written Ken found out that his own cancer has spread and he has begun chemotherapy, for the first time, as well.  He is in his first round as of today, August 24, 2013.  Please send your thoughts his way.  I think we will see much more poetry on chemo once he’s has experience it personally.  What a treasure to have a poet interpret it for  us.  This poem is exactly what I feel.


The poison goes in

here. It’s called a port.

It docks here like a ship


unloading the exotic,

but it’s toxic,

not what you’d want on your


walls, like art or damask.

The poison goes round

and round and you are


the merry-go-round,

the camel or the ostrich,

and it rides you,


oh, yes, like little children

who know not what they do.



body. What rides you

is indifferent to you.

It only cares


about itself. But the ride

is worth the ticket:

think of what you’ve learned,


that you are not your

body, not your hair,

nor even your perfect boobs.


Like a cat stalking

a sparrow, the poison

pounces. You fly away.





Week 5 – Poem 2 by Ken Arnold

Week 5

Poem 2  by Ken Arnold

August 14, 2013

Little sleep for me last night after 3rd chemo treatment.  The steroids keep my wired at the same time the fatigue sets in to create a tug of war pull from both directions.  No amount of sleep aid seemed to help so I simply got up and wrote for the blog.  I know my vision will blur, the fatigue and nausea worsen and possilbe pain set in over the next days so I do it when I have energy regardless of the time.  1am and 3:30AM last night.  Ken Arnolds’s 2nd poem in a series called “Finding Beauty in Kimberli’ also helped.  Yesterday we learned that my friend Ken’s prostate cancer has spread to a tumor surrounding his liver.  He goes back into chemo next week.  My other friend, Terrill Collier,  is living with cancer as well and entered in again this week.  We’ll have a little team of some sort now.  A clever name for this team I can share with them would be appreciated.  An artist, a poet and a tree guy all in chemo.  What would you call us?


Finding Beauty in Kimberli

Once when she went

out to play with her friends

on the kind of day

when it rains, as it will,

and her long red hair

began to frizz


and then was gone,

its roseate beauty fled,

such splendid hair,


and the rain carried

her hair to sea, her spangled

hair, where it became


an island and her friends

went there, to the island

of her hair, to play


in the tropical sun,

in her vermillion,

and she didn’t mind.


Her friends adored

her bald remains, if you can

say what’s gone remains.


You can. Consider

how cherry blossoms

are born to fall.

Wk 4 – Finding Beauty Shoot: Bald Bride by Colleen Sparks & Sophie Chang

Week 4 Finding Beauty in Cancer.  Bald Bride 8/10/13   I think about other people who are bald from chemotherapy.  Young kids, especially girls.  I wonder what these girls hope for, think about their future, dream about when they are bald.  The concept of being a bald bride for the first “Finding Beauty in Cancer” bald shoot came from somewhere within those questions.  I’m not getting married.  There’s no groom, no ring, no hair.  I’ve never seen a photo of a bald bride before.  I hope that little girls see these images and see themselves in it as well. See Photographer Colleen Sparks and Bridal Designer Sophie Chang info below. Sparks_Blog Collage690at72 Bridal gown designer, Sophie Chang http://www.sophiebridals.com/, is probably my favorite anywhere and she happens to live in Portland.  After registering for the Bridge Pedal on Saturday, I stopped by her shop in SW to pick up this gorgeous $3,500 gown.  When I contacted her about the project and concept for the shoot she was so excited and wanted to collaborate.  I’m so grateful!  I hope to use another one of her gowns for the Cinderella forest shoot! Photographer Colleen Sparks http://www.colleensparks.com/ and I met during a job interview at my studio.  I quickly saw that she was an amazing photographer on her own, and instead of becoming my assistant, we became fellow students and studied a month long contemporary glamor posing course by Sue Bryce http://suebryce.com/.  Not only did we learn how to make women look even more gorgeous in our studios, we became great friends.  I asked her to do this first bald shoot specifically because I trust her skills and heart.

Week 0 – Finding Beauty Shoot: “Before” Nudes by Lloyd Lemmerman

Week 0, “Before Nudes” by Photographer Lloyd Lemmermann

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Lloyd Lemmermann http://www.lloydlemmermann.com/ is always my first choice as a photo assistant on commercial shoots.  A fabulous creative photographer on his own, his easy-going personality and technical ability always make me want to work and create with him.  Lloyd didn’t hesitate when I asked him to photograph me for the “Finding Beauty – in cancer” project as a before session.  He took his time to make me feel 100% comfortable and beautiful in my own skin.   Whereas I probably would have edited the flaws and bumps for a client I wanted Lloyd to leave them for me to remember my body as it was.  I’ve enjoyed every session I’ve ever shot with Lloyd and being on the other side of the camera from him this time only made me appreciate his heart, talent and empathy that much more.  Thank you, Lloyd.


LemmermannCollage2LemmermanCollage3 LemmermanCollage4

Week 1- Poem 1 by Ken Arnold

Week 1- Poem 1 by Ken Arnold

July 30, 2013

Wow, I cried when my good friend and poet, Ken Arnold, sent me this poem today.  He was inspired by the “Finding Beauty in Cancer” project to write what may become a collection of poetry.  I can think of nothing more personally rewarding than to see my creative friends take this project and run with it in their own way!    Ken and I originally met when he selected one of my travel photos from Greece as the cover photo for his book about his journey with prostate cancer, Circle of the Way.   I also created his author photo as well as photographed several of the authors under his publishing company.  In the process we become good friends.  Ken is a deeply spiritual man, a retired minister,  and we have had more than many amazing conversations about life, love and cancer over the years.  We both went through divorces around the same time and then Ken’s cancer relapse where I promised to be there with the Tibetan book of Living and Dying if need be.   His girlfriend’s was diagnosed with breast cancer treatment recently as well.  Now it’s my turn.  Amazing how life really does bring the right people into your life at the right time.



I wrote this poem, which is the first of what I imagine will be a series of poems, in response to Finding Beauty in Cancer.

with love



Finding Beauty in Kimberli


The body is the proper

home for cancer. It covets

beauty, our


improbable perfection,


we are only light


and empty spaces,

like the universe itself,

seductively spread


before us on a summer

night, the stars so

close and glittering,


the nebula like plates

of tomatoes in oil,

the planets in their


rounds: it’s all for us,

this fabulous array

that like our cancers


multiplies outrageously

because we’re beautiful,

because we live.


Oh, look! She’s nude,

sing the stars, Oh, look!

She’s nude, mourns the night.

Ken Arnold

read a new poem every Monday at


Circle Cover Final 475