My good friend Rhiannon and I embrace my mum for an overdue hug. We natter furiously like dinner ladies whilst her and her staff are idle at work crafting origami for a fundraiser. Those who have met my mum know that her eccentric hair is a reflection of her vivacious energy and my tactless blunt persona is definitely genetic. I may be biast but she is the kindest person I have ever met, in the most altruistic form possible. I once called her to make sure she had got home ok after we had met in London to see a show. She replied she was still at the station. She then went on to explain she was having dinner with a homeless woman who she had met at Waterloo and had promised to drop some clothes off to her the following day.
She is random- but in a beautifully innocent and giving way.
She is always one to surprise me, so when she looked at Rhiannon and I intensely and said: " There 's something I want to say and I think you should seriously consider it...."
I prepared myself.
However, obviously not enough. What came next was bizarre.
" You know, I really think you should consider doing a project on me or you ll regret it when I die"
Yup, that's my mum...
Anyway, the whole reason we found ourselves having this surreal conversation with her was because for about 16 years now, I have been the official photographer for her charity http://www.straighttalking.org/.
This shoot was to highlight a new document she is producing. She wants to raise the awareness of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in light of the Rotherham and Saville cases. Her charity is adding some stuff to their programme to give pupils the tools to protect themselves. It aims to highlight how her charity can be another intervention for prevention rather than the after effects of CSE.
My brief was to get some photos of young people as if they are experiencing abuse to highlight what the document is about, i.e. take pictures of young people looking scared and vulnerable...
Armed with a team of enthusiastic and helpful teenage parents who work with my mum we headed to a delightfully grim hotel room as our base. It took a while for them to settle in but with some practice the role-playing was working. Our dominating male was the softest gent who clearly felt guilt when treading on an ant, let along strangling a women but we soon bullied him in to acting like a brute.
Here are a few pics of the shoot, a tricky one but as ever a pleasure to help out mum OAO xx