I met Teri at the New Moon Circles that are regularly held at the Red Tent and are lead by the radiant Elaina Beam. I admired this woman from afar - her statuesque posture, huge smile, eyes radiating kindness, and a sparkle of tinsel strands in her blond hair. I remember one time "the homework assignment" for the circle was to bring a poem and Teri and I happened to bring the same poem, The Guest House, by Rumi. When I was eight months pregnant and revisited the women's circle after a long break, Teri, who was sitting next to me, asked, "Do you have a pediatrician?" That's how my daughter and I got ourselves an amazing doctor :)
Goddess Photoshoot was Teri's gift from her boyfriend, who had heard about it through the grapevine. (What a fabulous and unique present for your beloved friend or partner... hint, hint!) The goddess consultation revealed that Teri embodied Goddess Oonagh (pronounced OO-NAH), the queen of fairies. Now that this first step of Goddess Photoshoot was done, several things had to be carefully planned in order to bring the Goddess through in images.
Oonagh is said to have golden sparkly hair (just like Teri's, but longer), she is the goddess of love and is considered a protectress of young animals (have you seen Teri's Facebook page? It is all filled with photos of dogs!) Oonagh is also the Queen of Fairies, which perfectly matches Teri's life's devotion to being a pediatrician - caring for children with her magic touch (as well as guiding new moms through the first months of motherhood!). "Oonagh arrives in your life to bless your relationships, bring happiness and joy, awaken your inner child and help you reach your dreams. Your strong resonances with Oonagh suggest that you also serve the role of blessing, bringer of dreams and mentor to others. Oonagh is also a goddess of exercise and sacred dance, so every time you dance you are invoking her in your life!" (from the Personal Goddess Archetype Map, prepared by Mary Reid Bogue).
Oonagh is the goddess that is associated with nature, so from the very beginning I knew that the perfect spot for this shoot would be the Yamato Natural Scrubs area, which has my favorite Spanish moss, and offers much versatility in terms of vegetation and places to shoot.
Teri didn't have clothes that matched the theme of our shoot, so I set out to either create the perfect dress, or find it. Having watched Sue Bryce (love her!) make beautiful dresses with big tulle skirts, I decided to make one myself. I bought dark green tulle and beautiful emerald stretch knit fabric with a vision of a grandiose dress that I would make, until I got home and started playing with the fabric to discover that I hadn't bought enough of it. So instead of the huge dress, I made a small dress, which you can see in the images below - I simply wrapped Teri in the two layers of fabric, and adorned her head with a flower crown, which I also made myself. The headdress idea came to me when I was playing around on Pinterest. I bought a bunch of artificial flowers at Michael's and gun-glued all the pieces together. It turned out pretty amazing, in my opinion. The green "dress" and floral headpiece were more along the lines of nature/forest nymph, but I thought that it fit our theme. I also made a small crown out of yellow/gold flowers.
Since the epic green dress didn't quite work out as I planned, I continued my quest for the perfect dress, especially since the original vision was for a sparkly gold or silver dress, something very fairy-like. My favorite place to do treasure hunting is thrift stores, so I headed to the local shop and after having searched through a bunch of dresses (many of which would have been perfect for other goddess or simply dress up shoots - that's why I must pace myself when I go thrift shopping!), I found THE DRESS. The golden dress with sparkly beads was the perfect match for our shoot! It was size 4 and I sent Teri a photo of it, asking her opinion. She loved it and the only concern that remained was whether we would be able to squeeze Teri into it the day of the shoot. Guess what? It fit like a glove! It was the "meant to be dress" so, of course, it fit! The dress was beautifully complemented by Teri's own jewelry, which she had carefully picked out for the occasion.
In post processing, to give the photos that golden hue, I ran an Alien Skin filter on the photos, as well as added a texture, which was a photo of the dress that I took, shooting wide open for bokeh effect. The texture lent its golden tint and dreamy bokeh circles to the final images, adding more magic.
Another trick that I used in this photoshoot was something that I learned from Lara Jade and her Creative Live (LOVE them!) workshop with Sue Bryce titled "Experimental Portraits". To get that whimsical dreamy accent to photos, Lara shoots through a crystal. I was holding the crystal off to the side of the lens (the second photo in the gallery below) and focused on Teri's face, and the crystal added this rainbow-like reflection/cast, that I really like. I thought that it was a pretty neat trick, and I shall employ it in my further photography experiments.
I am VERY HAPPY with how Teri's fairy goddess photos came out! I couldn't have done it alone, of course. Special thanks to Mary Reid Bogue, who did Teri's Goddess Reading, and to my wonderful friend Inna, who was my lighting/wardrobe assistant the day of the shoot! And to Teri, for her beautiful and radiant self and for allowing us a glimpse of her magic side.