Rachel’s Photoshoot – Women’s Expressions 2013 Calendar

Behind the Scene

We were waiting for the best moment to have the perfect seance for Rachel’s photo shoot. When would it take place?

Nobody knew! It would probably be done on the spur of the moment, on a perfect winter day. The temperature would not be too cold, yet not too hot…just perfect to photograph her with the least amount of clothing on, that is, without a coat. Rachel wanted to be photographed with a horse.

It was Saturday; I received a call early in the morning from Rachel, and she stated that it was time; Rachel is a very organized person and, therefore, had carefully planned her photo shoot in advance. Following her phone call, the technical team members, including the photographer, were informed of the photo shoot and were ready to go. Although the whole team contributed to Rachel’s photo shoot preparation, we limited the number of team members present at the actual shoot, to prevent the horse from being nervous. Only Marc (the photographer) and Jo-Anne (founder of Women’s Expressions) would accompany Rachel at the shoot set.

Since she was a little girl, Rachel had always expressed her love for horses. At eight years old, she had a pony, named Sandra, which she rode for many years. She had many horses thereafter, and she continued to ride them until her late teenage years, for her father owned a ranch with horses. She thought that it would be interesting if we carried out the photo shoot in the winter, with white snow contrasting a dark-coloured horse. Rachel also wanted to find that perfect horse. She knew exactly where to find it. Her colleague Jaime and his partner Marilyn have a big ranch, and Rachel knew that it would be no problem to schedule a photo shoot at their ranch at the last minute. That morning, Rachel confirmed that the shoot was officially taking place on her friend’s beautiful property. With 65 acres of land, a beautiful view of the Laurentian Mountains (refer to the video) and many horses, there was no doubt that it was the perfect place for the shoot.

Marilyn recommended one particular horse named Quinn; short for Quinnevere. The horse is a 5-year-old female and is 87% Canadian breed with a characterized large flat forehead, shiny brown fur, and wide chest. Quinn is considered a big horse; she measures approximately 16.6 Hands compared to 15 Hands, the standard for this breed. Her temperament is laid back, very mellow, non-excitable and very easy to handle. Her specific trait is manana, a Spanish word for “tomorrow”. This horse would add significance to Rachel’s photo.

Before we started the shoot, the horse had to be introduced to Rachel. Rachel went into the barn prior to the shoot to get acquainted with the horse. She talked to the horse just as she would talk to an old friend. She also tamed it with carrots, a horse’s favourite treat, as well as with apples. Marilyn, the owner of the horse, had to perform a few tests to evaluate the horse’s mood and behaviour. Horses have their own personality and temper, just like humans. It was very interesting to see how Marilyn and her partner Jaime communicated with them. It seemed like these animals understood every word that was uttered to them. Marilyn pointed out that each of the horses has a name and its own personality. Before the shoot, the horse had to be ridden to allow it to warm up and get accustomed to having a person on its back. Then Rachel mounted the horse and started to ride it bareback (no saddle). So far so good!

Throughout the shoot, Marilyn and Jaime assisted us when required, and applied every trick in their bag to get the horse to stand still and keep the perfect pose for long periods of time. Convincing the horse to stand still was an art, for the horse wanted to shake her head left and right, as well as up and down, and it wanted to eat the hay from the bale Rachel was sitting on. There was an instance when the horse’s nose got caught in Rachel’s sweater and pulled it up (see video). After all, you can only ask for so much from an animal! Nevertheless, the horse was really great. The owners’ two dogs couldn’t stay away from us. They especially liked the photographer and followed him wherever he went.

The shoot was conducted in silence. The atmosphere that reigned reflected country life, where peace and quiet reside, and where there is no sound of a busy street in the background. We were impressed by the nice weather, taking into account it was winter. The beautiful sun brightened the snow, blinding us all along the way. Sunglasses would have helped, but we didn’t carry them with us this time of year. The sun made the temperature bearable for Rachel, who was dressed according to plan: in a skirt and a thin layered jacket. However, she kept her boots and wore warm wool socks. Rachel never complained about the cold. She seemed so happy, just TO BE in a natural environment, reminiscing similar moments on her father’s ranch. Rachel was glad to be part of this experience. At 3:30 p.m., the sun was starting to come down. The humidity and the cold had gotten to Rachel. Therefore, we decided to stop the photo shoot. After approximately 1.5 hours, we had taken a sufficient amount of great photos that we could choose from for the calendar.

After rejoicing in the house over hot chocolate that Marilyn had carefully prepared, we were satisfied with the outcome of this photo shoot. We thanked Marilyn and Jaime, two beautiful people who devoted their afternoon to a good cause: the Women’s Expressions calendar, of which the proceeds will help women and children in need.

Article by Joanne
Edited by Zoé G.

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