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A printmaker's progress

More Than A Portrait – Or how one photo shoot spawned an ‘out of comfort zone’ stampede.


Dream Lover

Fear is a wonderful sparring partner. If you tackle it head on and pin it to the ground it will give up the hidden gifts in its back pocket.

This summer the opportunity to shoot a naked male came my way. While I struggled with why I would want to include an etching of a male nude in my January show, I finally decided that the challenge of doing the shoot was reason enough, for this show is all about transparency and stepping out of my comfort zone.  I had already photographed a young woman in the spring. It was an easy shoot with a lovely but hesitant model who, over the course of the shoot, relaxed into it and grew to enjoy having her picture taken. With this shoot I was the hesitant one but Michael’s ease in front of the camera put me at ease and gave me the courage to go for the shot I was aiming for. Dream Lover, above, is what came out of it.

About the same time my good friend, Terri, was desiring to do some stepping out of her own so she asked me to take some ‘figurative’ photos of her. We headed for what we thought was a secluded outdoor location only to find that it was a thoroughfare for hikers. After her umpteenth scramble to cover up, Terri threw clothing to the wind and decided to just go with the flow. My favorite picture of that shoot is one of her perched precariously on a tree limb with head thrown back in laughter while a hiker walks away in the background. It perfectly encapsulates the fun and empowering experience that I was privileged to share with Terri that day. Below is a small etching from that shoot, entitled Make Me Warm Or Take Me Home

Make Me Warm Or Take Me Home

After this I became a woman on a mission. The fear and trepidation of shooting others gave way to a heady excitement as I decided to create portraits of people who were important in my life and/or represented important ideals and to include these in my show. I thrilled in the bonding experiences and in the pleasure of being able to give something beautiful to those who meant so much to me. My sister, Fi, gloriously happy in her seventh month of her first pregnancy became one subject. My dear friend, Jane, with her exuberant laughter and joy, became another, as did her daughter, Jaime, who was the subject of that first shoot back in the springtime. My own children both agreed to sit for me and gave me portraits full of their promise, strength and beauty. My good friend Jonathan, whose pictures of me were the catalyst for my show, let me into his private world, and Jon, the young soldier with a big heart and wicked sense of humour, allowed me to glimpse his competitive and disciplined nature. Finally, Angelica, my beautiful mother-in-law, gave me a poignant portrait of herself on the eve of her departure back East. The following etching is the one of my sister, titled Come Alive.

Come Alive

Altogether, twenty portraits have been created of ten amazing people, all of whom I am deeply grateful to for helping me wrestle the gifts out of fear’s pocket.


Author: chiaink

World travelled yet never weary, eloquent and evocative, Chiarina's artworks sing with a sensitive and sensuous spirit.

15 thoughts on “More Than A Portrait – Or how one photo shoot spawned an ‘out of comfort zone’ stampede.

  1. Lovely … just lovely.

  2. You’ve done an excellent job of capturing what this summer was all about in a couple of paragraphs – well done!

  3. Thank you both. Definitely a summer to remember, Terri!

  4. good to read about your move from ‘out of the comfort zone’-

    not as easy as it sounds-

    your prints here are wonderful-

    linked to this thru michael on facebook-

    • Thank you, George, for your kind words.
      Definitely not easy to step out of your comfort zone but so rewarding in the end.
      Has Michael modelled for you? I’ve checked your work on SmugMug, love the variety of moods and the panache portrayed.

  5. Hey Chiarina:

    I’ve finally read your “More Than a Portrait ” blog and am very impressed with it. It’s well written, personal, inviting and flows naturally. It also becomes the narrative that explains your series of photo etchings to be showcased in Jan. I wouldn’t change a thing.


  6. This a wonderful read Chiarina. I love how you succeed in engaging my anticipation right out of departure with, “Fear is a wonderful sparring partner. If you tackle it head on and pin it to the ground it will give up the hidden gifts in its back pocket.”… like riding a rollercoaster up its first initial climb readying me for the ride. And of course, the relationships, along the way, speak volumes; the thrill of the glide. Bringing me to rest at the beginning again with, “for helping me wrestle the gifts out of fear’s pocket.” A very nice way of bookending an exhilarating; yet, beautifully written piece. You should be proud. Good job!

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  9. Excellent post. I definitely appreciate this website.
    Keep writing!

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