Fairytale Poitraiture: Nandi's Escape

When I’m not standing in a field photographing beautiful people, or sitting in front of my computer editing said beautiful people — I can be found doing mundane things, like grocery shopping at Publix or hitting up my local hardware store in search of items for my latest home renovation. And sometimes, I actually meet said beautiful clients doing those mundane things — such is the case with Miss Nandi and her lovely mother, Sherri.

What got my attention first was Nandi’s hair — her glorious mane of wild, curly hair. Then I saw how sweet her face was and how sparkling her eyes were. Trying not to act the part of a total creeper, I overcame my shyness and introduced myself. To my delight, both Sherri and Nandi were willing to participate in a model call I’d put out, to introduce a brand new portrait experience I’m adding to my 2019 line up: Fairytale Fine Art Conceptual Portraiture, a portrait line especially for our littlest princesses and princes!

Getting to know my clients is not only crucial to the fine art creation process, it’s a delight and a blessing. Learning more about Sherri and her daughter Nandi was no exception. Nandi, as it turns out, is a beautiful combination of her Florida-native mama and her South African-native father, fluent in Zulu and very much a product of his up-bringing in Johannesburg, South Africa. I also learned of Nandi’s vivid imagination, her love of best-fur-friend Maxi, and her sense of inward adventure! I adored these finer details of Nandi’s story, and as I spoke more and more to mom Sherri, a very strong visual began to form in my head, of an African princess, loosely based on the fairytale “Rapunzel”. In my mind’s eye, I saw flowing locks, a gorgeous gown, and a tower, from which our daring princess had escaped — with her devoted fur-friend Maxi by her side.

Of course this image needed to convey the vast beauty of the South African landscape, replete with a skyline of Johannesburg, but I also wanted elements of Sherri’s Florida heritage represented as well. I did a little digging (as heavy research is almost always needed when I craft an individual fine art portrait), and —

Enter the Banyan tree.

Native to many parts of the world, this species of fig tree can be found in many coastal parts of the world, in Africa as well as Florida. These thick-trunk’d trees have magical proportions, with mysterious branches that finger toward the earth to form roots that dig deep and provide a source of water and nourishment. Of course this tree, in my own mind, symbolized everything Nandi was made of: the deep roots of family as well as adventurous wings to fly! The Banyan tree was the perfect representation of this Rapunzel’s tower and voila!

“Nandi’s Escape” was born.

Nandi Mkhwane PROOF.jpg

As always, it was a delight to get to know my clients, to stretch further into the world of making unique art for others, art that speaks to their souls as well as mine. I’m so grateful I braved conversation with a stranger, and that they were receptive to the mad imaginings of l’il ole me.

Enjoy this video showcasing the detailed process of final visual creation — in speed edit form.

Edited in Adobe Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CC by Lauren Bee: located in Citrus Hills, FL; now serving Orlando, Tampa Bay area, and Central Florida; custom commissions available worldwide

Model: Miss Nandi

Styling: Lauren Bee

Wardrobe: Century Garments

Actions and Overlays: Jessica Drossin

SONG: "Streamline" by Eveningland

Additional element(s): Elegant Elements Fine Art Photography and Design by Leslie Dye


Now booking for 2019: a brand new portrait experience, the Fairytale Fine Art collection of conceptual portraiture! Contact Lauren Bee today to secure your child’s coveted spot.

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