Last summer I was asked to photograph Mary Speakman, the retiring head teacher of Altrincham Girls Grammar School. The framed portrait was to be hung in the school hall with the portrait photographs and paintings of other retired head teachers going back over fifty years or more. I thought it was going to be a bit of a daunting task because these types of portrait photographs tend of have a particular style and it’s not one that I’m fond of.
Fortunately Mary wanted something different to the traditional head teacher’s portrait. She had seen my work and asked me to take her portraits my way. I brought makeup artistVicky Spencer with me to do Mary’s makeup and then we set off around school and took a series of photographs for her. My favourite, and the one that was finally chosen was of Mary in her gown while she was sat on the platform that had been built for the sixth form art show in the main hall. I wanted to make a photograph that summed up the academic and creative achievement that goes with a school like Altrincham Girls Grammar School. In the chosen photo Mary is sat amongst the mannequins in the fashion display.
The final framed photograph is 43″ high and hangs in the school hall.