I gave her a napkin at a restaurant. I was nervous – approaching strangers is hard. I talked about her and watched her for about 10 minutes before I got the courage to walk over. I didn’t have a card (I know business rule 101 ) “would she think I was some hack, unprofessional or some weirdo” the thoughts all went through my head. I said Hi I am a photographer my name is Sue Bryce I would love to photograph you, I am embarrassed to say I do not have a card on me right now but I have put my details on this napkin if you are interested please call me. She said she looked at my website and thought she would call me to say thank you but no thank you. She called and I answered she said “Why do you want to photograph me I’m old” I replied you are one of the most beautiful Women I have ever seen” She told me on the day why she said yes. She is the mother of Anton Yelchin a very talented young actor here in Hollywood and one day she was offered by a very famous photographer who was shooting Anton He asked can I photograph you and she said no, part of her always regretted it so this time she said yes. She also told me as we were walking into the studio “you do realize Sue I will not like ANY of these photos” I turned to her and smiled you see that single sentence is all I need I said “OH I’ve heard THAT before”
We spent a little time talking and telling stories she talks of her beautiful talented son with pride and complete joy she talks of her Husband and their beautiful story of triumph moving from Russia to America learning a new language and then her story comes forward Irina is nearly 64a famous Russian Ice Skater her journey is something that could be a movie or a great book. This woman is sitting with me telling me her beautiful story and there is so much power and light coming out of every pore. I dream about a day when I am in my 60′s and her hair cut is something I will be brave enough to do one day. She talks about growing older and changing and then she stops and says “You know I don’t really care what people say about me any more. Sometimes people say Oh look she’s got no hair maybe she has cancer or she’s too thin or look at her clothes and her makeup and I just think I dress how I want and I like it so I don’t care’ I admire her strength her charisma but mostly I love her power. She said I will let you photograph me on one condition you let me teach you how to ice skate. So I did today I skated with this incredible lady she twirls around the ice like she is dancing on air and I admire and envy every part of her. I wanted to photograph her because I wanted to talk to her, because when you photograph people you see their real truth not the sometimes truth that comes out of peoples mouths but how she feels about herself and how she holds herself in front of the camera and of course how she deals with the vulnerability of having the camera turn towards you when your soul is quite bare. I wanted to know what her secret was so when I go towards 50 and 60 I can take part of that with me. Sometimes you just see someone that you just HAVE to photograph.
I showed her her photos today she loves all of them.