07 Jun The angel at Angel’s Billabong- Nusa Penida Bali Photography
The Angel at Angel’s Billabong
This photo of Jen Fox is a favourite not just for the image itself (which I adore) but also for the perfect moment of friendship and collaboration it captured. I’m really grateful that even after all these years, I enjoy what I do so much that this is what I do for fun!
We created this together after our retreat in Bali, on the carefree days after all the wonderful women had gone home and we were just wandering and shooting and having adventures. We went to the unpolished island of Nusa Penida specifically because I’d seen a photo of this place (Angel’s Billabong, which is a spectacular natural infinity pool) and wanted to shoot there. Nusa Penida was a bit (a lot) less luxurious and a bit (a lot) more adventurous than our time being spoiled rotten in Ubud, and it’s possible that we rescued bloody Russsians (literal) and nearly drowned on a stomach-churning snorkelling trip, but I loved it.
Anyway, this was an image Jen had had in mind for ages, ever since she captured an absolutely gorgeous image like it in Charlottesville, Virginia for a client, and she had a perfect vision of what she wanted. But actually doing it was a spur-of-the-moment decision at the end of a day of shooting and exploring and sunbathing and deep-fried bananas, when she looked past the obvious shots and realised that she could probably get me to dangle off the volcanic cliffs above. She knows me very well.
So in this photo she’s wearing her bathing suit bottom and my bra, because they were the most neutral clothing we had with us (and our sweet guide, who spoke no English, might have had heart failure if we’d taken off any more clothing) and I’m wedged into glass-sharp cliffs too far up to do more than wave guidance. Colette, our fearless assistant and dear friend, was nearby calling encouragement and praying I didn’t fall to my death (I was actually very secure, unlike Jen during the first version of this shoot).
Luckily Jen is a fantastic model as well as an inspiring photographer – the perfection of that leg position gets me every time – so she drifted beautifully back and forth beneath me, wafting her arms gracefully upward, until we achieved the vision she’d described. My only job was to nail the exposure and timing and not die, which I performed admirably.
I learned years ago that it’s the stories that make photos unforgettable, and this one will always have a special place in my heart.