Michaela Steele - Yogi/Dancer
"Everyone else is so creative and interesting and I'm just pulling shapes.."
I had that conversation with Michaela when we were on our way down to Lunderstone bay to take these photos. Which kind of rammed home why I was so keen to have her a part of his project.
Inspiration and creativity is often a struggle at the best of times. Even on the best of days it can be hard to motivate yourself. Michaela's been suffering from a pretty intense injury for sometime and yet has somehow maintained her drive and discipline.
She continues to push at her boundaries in pretty stunning ways. Whether that's in response to her yoga, her dance or her excellent paintings. All in the face of pain. Whether that's an inspiration in someway to her, I couldn't say but that sort of focus is what defines genuinely passionate artists.
Which is why she is a part of this project. She ties it all together with her dedication. There's no better metaphor for that than the control over her mind and body that she displays so acutely with her yoga practice.
To maintain her level of skill, even if she can't practice as much as she'd like, in the face of injury is totally inspiring to me. The kind of physical, and mental resilience needed to face down something like that, when it gets in the way of almost all your passions, is pretty incredible.
When we were out on a November afternoon shooting this she lit up collaborating with me on ideas and showed an interest in what I was trying to do which really warmed my heart. Her injury was more something I was conscious of than she was.
There was a real sincere hunger there to deliver the best she could. As you can see from these photos, she went above and beyond. Quite literally.
When I shot my first wedding earlier on this year Michaela was my second shooter (a photographer too. Is there no end to her talents?) and getting to discuss photography with her, she was insatiably curious about it, really helped me explicitly lock in on a lot of my unconscious habits.
There's nothing like being asked questions to make you realise you don't know the answers. That's another key component that Michaela brings to this project: a thirst for knowledge and new experiences. Something all artists should try and keep a hold of.
Staying in your comfort zone only leads to creative stagnation. I know. I did that for a lot of the early part of 2016 and it was a real waste of my time.
Meeting someone like this can be important reminder not to waste your time. You don't have a whole lot of it.
You can follow more of Michaela on instagram @michaelasteele_