I have always been drawn to strong women, perhaps because my mother was a strong woman who was not strong enough to live the life she wanted and deserved. She felt undercut at every important turn in her life by men, mostly my remote and self-absorbed father.
My mother fought hard all of her life for her creativity and her self-respect and independence, she lost every battle she ever fought and was turned bitter and defeated. She knew what she wanted but could never quite muster the strength to go get it. She surrendered at every turn.
Kelly is, I think, a very strong woman, and she just returned from a vacation with her friends to New Hampshire and the ocean. They rented an apartment with a kitchen, shopped for groceries and holed up by the ocean. She came back tanned and relaxed, and we missed her.
I brought my new Achromat lens to try out on Kelley, one of my favorite portrait subjects, and it didn't fail me, although we had to get under the pool table light to make it work.
I like this shot very much. Kelly has a lot of attitude, it shows up in this photo, in all of her photos. She has many of the things my mother wanted but never had – a job she likes, a child she adores, a husband she loves, deep friendships she trusts. I do not know four people on the earth that I could share an apartment at the shore with for a week.
Kelly projects comfort with who she is, and warmth.
That smile is very real. She knows who she is, she knows where she is. That's what the Kelly photos say to me: "This is me, I'm find with that."