These photos owe their existence to my dear friend Alex, who has been my “online” friend for about seven years, but crossed over into “real life” friend when he traveled to Wichita to be my Man of Honor at my wedding! Hi, Alex!!
Alex’s email signature for a while was the following quote, which I found intriguing:
Lo, there do I see my father/ Lo, there do I see my mother and my brothers and my sisters/ Lo, there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning/ Lo, they do call to me they bid me take my place among them in the halls of Valhalla/ Where the brave shall live forever/ Nor shall we mourn but rejoice for those that have died the glorious death.
I learned that it was a Norse prayer, most famously used in the movie 13th Warrior, but very closely based on a real, historic prayer. Every time I got an email from Alex, I would see a vision of a beautiful, strong Norse girl standing with her dog and staff, their backs to the camera, radiating fearlessness. It was quite a while before I was able to bring the concept to life with Katie Johnson, and my neighbors’ dog Gus, an extremely handsome Australian Kelpie.
As much as I love using Calantha in my photos, Gus felt like a better portrayal of a Norse dog; something more muscular, with a thicker coat, more suited for guarding and herding.
That staff… I found that huge branch in my yard one day, back when I lived at my previous place. I stored it in the garage there for well over a year without using it (but knowing it would be perfect for this photo). And when Geoff and I moved to this house, we actually went to the trouble of bringing the stick with us.
The braids were something I just quickly threw together, but apparently they were greatly enjoyed all day :) Enjoy some detailed shots below!
*I will announce the print giveaway winner as soon as I hear who won it from the people running the giveaway!*