“It came at a time where we knew it was the end of her life. I knew I wanted it documented even though it was such a painful time. In and out of knowing what was going on in her life, she had stopped constantly only showing happiness. It was sad. Leaving this world is just as hard, messy, and painful as it is coming in.”- Meikel remembering her grandmother. This photograph was taken just a few days before her death.
I have been photographing Erika for seven years. I have images of her hunched over a table, fiddling with petals in her early 20’s with old-soul fashion. She wore a striking white lace top tucked into something perfect.
Once we images of her precariously teetering on a wooden ladder while wearing woven wedges. Sweaty and determined we set a scene in an overgrown field, both of us pushing away stalky sunflowers, hoping the ladder would hold. We needed her high, we needed her caught in the late fertile light of September. Like yesterday I see her straw hat angled in picturesque style on her curl-topped head, surrounded by sunflowers.
We made photos on her wedding day, standing on a carpet of summer grass with perfect Claudia Dell contrapposto. She wore a classic cream dress, a peach in hand, wearing a bemused smile.
I have behind the scenes images from my Provo studio where she arranged flowers to top my Dotter’s tiny head and later atop Carol Lambert’s elderly one.
Mrs Lambert’s granddaughter hired me to photograph her purple-obsessed grandmother and I hired Erika to make floral crowns. We worked together to make images that captured Carol in her aged glory; crone, mother, maiden, girl- all the parts of a woman there and gone, rising to old age in the white-haired woman who sat regal, in flowers. Carol died a few days after that session of royal purple and flowers. We caught that image just in time.
As women and creatives, Erika and I have seen things, life has intersected over us and we’ve witnessed it together and apart; a confluence of witnessing and documenting, sharing and showing.
Erika has allowed me to chronicle her majestic life unfolding; here a little, there a little while mine unfolded unseen behind the camera. Totally comfortable and trusting, our relationship has always been fed by apertures and flowers. Each time we’ve worked together we basked, created and remembered while I attempted to understand the ethereal spaciousness of the archetypal woman in myself, in her, in Carol, in us all.
And so it is.
Here are some images from last Spring when we celebrated Erika. I hope to make photos like this again.
And so it shall be.