Steve – Forest Ranger, Captains Flat

Steve – Forest Ranger, Captains Flat

This picture came to mind after listening to a proverb from a friend: How you see yourself shapes how you see the world and informs how the world sees you

The portrait was taken for a Federal Government image library assignment in a remote Pine forest in Captains Flat, a former mining town in NSW. With the rendezvous arranged, together with my loyal assistant and a nervous young art director, we approached a gate on the outskirts of the forest.

Steve greeted us with only the words “Follow me” and we drove deep into the Pines. We eventually stopped at a clearing with nothing around other than silence and trees– and a large shovel embedded in the dirt.

After an awkward exchange we proceeded to unload gear while Steve broke the ice by reciting a Shakespeare sonnet in his native Welsh tongue and continuing to dig out small rocks.

While being photographed he eased our dread by telling what we all wanted to know. Several years ago he awoke up to a pillow strewn with his own hair. It took less than a week for all of it to disappear in a rare bout of alopecia universalis.

In a wonderful example of resilience and self-preservation, Steve soon came around to liking what we saw in the mirror. In no time at all, he engaged an acting agent and reawakened his love for the theater.