Fairfax photojournalist Edwina Pickles spoke to Clique about how she took her award-winning image of the aspiring ballerina Stephanie Kurlow.
The image came third place in the Australian National Award for the Sony World Photography Awards.
Edwina, how did this photo come about?
It was a Sunday shift at the paper. The good thing about Sunday shifts is that generally you can spend more time with a portrait subject to engage with them, so I had a good amount of time to take Stephanie's photo. Fairfax journalist Rachel Olding was writing the story, and I wanted to capture a dynamic image that incorporated a little bit about Stephanie and her world, an image that would tell our readers something about her. On the way to her house I was trying to visualise how I would photograph her and I knew I wanted to show something quite intimate about her.
The photo is quite punchy with the lighting and pose of the subject, how did you set it up?
It was just a question of when all the elements come together in a photo. I mean you have a interesting looking subject that is visually striking and the light at around two in the afternoon was perfect for what I wanted to get. The sun came out at the right time as it had been overcast earlier that day. The actual photo was one of the last photos I took at that shoot, you will find as a photojournalist that sometimes the first photo you take at a shoot is the one that you use. But in this situation it was one of the last images because she was more relaxed by the end of the shoot after I had spent time with her.
Why photograph Stephanie in her backyard?
I wanted to show something about her so we decided to shoot out the back of her house, I wanted to show some of suburban Australia. I saw the hills hoist, which is an Australian icon, and just the colours in the sky and the grass, it all came together and so I grabbed a reflector and I got her uncle to hold it. I then got down quite low because I wanted a clean background behind her head, so I could have the sky behind her head for composition. And then I knew this was the shot.
Edwina's image of Stephanie will be exhibited at the Somerset House in London April 21 to May 7 as part of the Sony World Photo awards.