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Be True to Who You Are

By Nick_w      
This is an image I thought long and hard about uploading. Not because I don't like it, far from it, but its very personal to my family and I, in particular my daughter.

A while ago I met K-T Allen on a workshop, and went for a drink with my wife & daughgter. K-T showed some of her images she did of her daughter, and Heather (my daughter) instantly got them. On the way home she has asked me to do a series for her, and this is the first one.

My daughter has a genetic condition called Ectodermal Dysplacia , which has a number of symptoms associated with it, including hair growing very sparsly. She used to wear a wig, and still does when the mood takes, but she took a very brave decision some time ago, to just wear nothing or a headscarf (to keep warm - temperature control is also associated with ED) she feels she's not herself with the wig - not an easy decision when you are going through your teens.

The image is to show how she feels constrained with the wig, and the picture is the "real" her trying to get out. The cards are there to show, every decision in life is a gamble, some like this one are more important than others as it affects how others interact with her....and she picked up a pack of cards part way through the shoot as she was getting a bit bored.

The title, is that of a Jessie J track, that has special meaning to Heather.

Tags: Specialist and abstract Digitally manipulated Digital art Portraits and people

Voters: Richsr, MalcolmM, AnnaBanana and 64 more

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Richsr 12 91 223 England
24 Dec 2013 11:37AM
hard to get the feelings of the condition but this works well in trying to convey then Nick.
all the best for Xmas and 2014.


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AnnaBanana 13 119 1 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2013 11:44AM
Well done to your daughter for being true to herself. Admirable in anyone, and particularly in a teenager who may be searching to "fit in". I really like the image, as well. I think, having read your description, that it works very well.

Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas.

Anna Smile
senn 8 5 1 Belgium
24 Dec 2013 11:49AM
great work here ..

best wishes
bluesandtwos 10 409 1 England
24 Dec 2013 11:50AM
Thats very courageous of her, brave of you to try to show those feelings in someone so close to you and a bloody well conceived and produced picture.

A remarkable picture in every aspect, you should be very proud, also in every aspect.

Wishing you and yours the very best Christmas.

Nick_w Plus
12 4.3k 99 England
24 Dec 2013 12:29PM
Thanks everyone Smile - thanks Dave for the UA its really appreciated.
phil99 13 45 6 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2013 12:46PM
Superb work. Love the ideas behind it, All the best to your family for Christmas and New Year....Phil
SlowSong Plus
11 8.4k 30 England
24 Dec 2013 12:57PM
I've so much admiration for your daughter to come to terms with her condition and to open up like this, and to be so brave to get on with her life. I also admire you, as a father, in that you have such a wonderful relationship with her that she allows and trusts you to record her innermost feelings. And you do it in a sympathetic, contemporary and quirky way, as is your style. One of your best; your heart is in it.
mrswoolybill Plus
13 1.7k 2099 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2013 1:34PM
It's wonderful, in so many ways. It takes courage to be oneself, and true to oneself.
Wishing you a very Happy Christmas.
24 Dec 2013 1:58PM
Great image - thanks so much for sharing
User_Removed 6 10 4 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2013 2:18PM
Good to see you trying something different. this type of image is very on trend at the moment.

It's always good to have a willing volunteer to :O)Looking forward to the next one.

DaveU 13 1.4k 125 England
24 Dec 2013 2:29PM
Expertly assembled and a really enjoyable image Nick ...... just love your daughter's dress.

If I had to change one thing then I'd get rid of that small group of cards above her head in the picture on the wall, they just don't look "right" to me.

And bravo to your daughter for "commissioning" this pic and laying her condition and emotions on the line ..... such a brave thing for any woman to do, let alone a young teenage woman.

Best wishes to you and yours this Christmas time.
AnnChown Plus
10 207 1 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2013 2:43PM
A very moving image - and well done to your daughter for her courage.
Nick_w Plus
12 4.3k 99 England
24 Dec 2013 3:29PM
Big thanks everyone - thanks for the User Award Chris and the HC - Pete.

Dave I can see what you mean about the cards, I could have removed or moved them. Although they were actually in that position. I had Heather throw some cards in the air, and that was where they were when the flash went off. The ones coming out of the frame on on the main floor were from separate outtakes.

Like all parents we are very proud of her, how she has embraces her problems. When little there were a lot of tears (well not tears, as that's another side condition) but crying. But about a year ago she said to me, "Dad in some ways I'm glad I don't have much hair, its made me, me" that made me want to cry.
geffers7 Plus
9 52 1 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2013 3:44PM
Love the shot - love the thoughts and ideas behind it - well done Nick! Oh and well done Heather tooGrinGrinGrin
Buffalo_Tom Plus
13 2.3k 9 Wales
24 Dec 2013 5:28PM
Very moving Nick..superbly put together.

Merry Christmas to you and yours..see you in the New Year.
LesF 13 182 9
24 Dec 2013 6:10PM

Quote:I've so much admiration for your daughter to come to terms with her condition and to open up like this, and to be so brave to get on with her life. I also admire you, as a father, in that you have such a wonderful relationship with her that she allows and trusts you to record her innermost feelings. And you do it in a sympathetic, contemporary and quirky way, as is your style. One of your best; your heart is in it.

Chris has put it so well, says it all really, congrats to Heather and you

24 Dec 2013 6:26PM
Heartwarming story which the image conveys so strongly.
derekhansen 11 210 24 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2013 6:35PM
Superb work here Nick both conceptually and in execution. All credit to your daughter for taking part.
tonyng 9 11 3 United Kingdom
24 Dec 2013 7:06PM
So well put together and it relates the story well. Bravo to both of you.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
EddieAC 14 2.5k 2 United Kingdom
25 Dec 2013 9:54AM
Brave girl. The world needs more like her!!
Daisymaye 11 23 16 Canada
25 Dec 2013 2:17PM
Can you imagine what a strong woman this young girl will be one day. She is already braver than most. An excellent image, so well done. Merry Christmas and all the best for you and your family in the New Year.
26 Dec 2013 2:32AM
very powerful image. thank you very much sharing it and the story behind it.
Nick_w Plus
12 4.3k 99 England
26 Dec 2013 11:41AM
Big thanks for all the great comments, and very big thanks Christine for the User Award Smile

One thing Heather doesn't see herself is brave. She just wants to be treated like all her peers, with no favours, the schools she has been at are excellent, very supportive and any problems with kids nipped in the bud.
chase Plus
14 1.3k 274 England
27 Dec 2013 6:15PM
Heather is a beautiful young Lady..a very strong image.
I have to agree with Dave the Brummie though ref the cards above the head of the picture on the wall.
The 'real' her is there,she just can't see her yet.
dudler Plus
16 986 1537 England
29 Dec 2013 12:30PM
This works wonderfully - thanks to you and your daughter for sharing this.

I've recently seen a shot that has one or two similarities - very "constructed", involving a model and birdcage. I won't be specific here, but am happy to share by message, if you want. This succeeds far better, and maybe has more to say.

Part of the strength is in the careful, detailed and specific caption. The picture engages both the eye and the emotions, and the text takes the viewer further, and completes the picture (so to speak!)
Nick_w Plus
12 4.3k 99 England
30 Dec 2013 10:45AM
Thank you John. I think I know the image you are talking about. It was on another site recently. It was strange, I had been thinking over this idea for a while before I saw that. It normally takes about 3-6 months for me to realise an idea, buy the props etc. it's why I only have a few of these type of images. Please drop me a PM. For this image it was the song title that came first, as it summed up the message I was trying to convey of Heather. I was originally going to put them the other way round (and may still do a version that way but different fg pose)
K_T 7 United Kingdom
30 Dec 2013 6:58PM
It's brilliant Nik, not only the story behind the image, but it is technically awesome as well.

Heather must be so made up, it will make a beautiful print.

You must continue and speak to the hospital about publishing your work to raise awareness for the physiological effect illness and desease has on children.
Nick_w Plus
12 4.3k 99 England
30 Dec 2013 7:03PM
I've never thought of contacting the Hospital (or Charity) - I will do that, thanks. I'm awaiting a new printer and can't wait to get this printed, I really appreciate your inspiration for this, we have several images planned - which I will be working on over the next few months.
27 Jun 2014 12:47PM
They say every picture paints a story. Without your words we could have imagined many things left to our own devices.
Andrew_Hurley 13 71 73 United Kingdom
25 Jul 2014 1:33PM
Quite often the best piece of work comes from the most personal of experiences.

The detailed description certainly brings the image to life. Thank you very much for sharing.


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