Thank you to all of the women featured here, who were open and generous with their time, and gave serious consideration to all aspects of the project. For most of us, sitting for a portrait ranks right up there alongside having a root canal drilled at the dentist. I can only hope that the experience for these women visiting with me in the studio was less painful, and the side-effects not as long-lasting.
Sitting for a portrait involves being made vulnerable. Similarly, so does sharing professional and personal experiences in which we have been made to feel shame or 'less than.' When we express viewpoints that don't sit comfortably within all elements of mainstream culture, or even amongst our peers and colleagues, it takes courage.
To all of the women featured here, thank you for your courage. Thank you for sharing.
This project would not have been possible without the support of Robert Bradshaw, owner of Photogroup Studios. Robert has been a friend to me since I became a member at Photogroup, in 2013. For this particular project, Robert has worked with me in extending my studio hours when sessions occasionally ran over, and sometimes 'forgot' to count studio hours altogether. Without his generosity, it's unlikely this project would have come this far.
Thank you to Stephen Callender for his assistance building this website. Also, to Dana Callender, who produced an initial list of people I might ask to participate. Dana is a great champion of diversity in Austin (not least through her long-time role as COO at DivInc), and she is featured in the series. Stephen and Dana were amongst the first people I spoke with about the project, and they have offered encouragement, advice and support throughout the process.
Finally, thank you to my wife, Stacy MacDiarmid. Stacy is my greatest supporter and advocate. Her fiercely held beliefs and values inform this project deeply.