Recently I was commissioned to photograph a portrait of an author for her upcoming novel The White Mary (due to be released summer ’08). The author, Kira Salak opened her door and welcomed me into her world for a few hours of time. Within that time I sensed a depth that is uncommon. She is a creative, quiet, and kind spirit who is living her dream. As a writer/adventurer who does freelance work for National Geographic, she has accomplished many amazing things in her life like being “the first documented person to kayak solo 600 miles (966 kilometers) down West Africa’s Niger River. She was also the first woman to traverse Papua New Guinea. And a 700-mile (1,127-kilometer) cycling trip carried her across Alaska to the Arctic Ocean” (excerpt taken from National Geographic online). After reading more about her, I am amazed at her accomplishments, writings, and solo travels as a women and artist alike. It is both refreshing and sobering to realize how fearless she has been in the face of challenges and goals along her journey and in contrast how many times I’ve been stopped dead in my tracks for fear of failure and just plain old fear itself.
Her photo session consisted of in-home studio portraiture as well as on-site natural light portraiture. The weather in Missouri is often unpredictable and that day was no different. We shot some studio portraiture in her home in hopes that the snow would slow or stop so that we could capture some portraits of her in her natural environment. She lead me down a long wooded path to a small stream and slightly crooked bridge surrounded with the beautifully bare trees of winter and the fresh smell of a spring rain. What a perfect place to capture who Kira is…thoughtful, adventurous, creative. At times like that, I feel like my camera and I are one. One thought. One body creating one beautiful portrait of an amazingly talented and interesting woman like Kira Salak.