Rinat Halon

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Archive for 'Photo Art Exhibit'

I hate labels. They irritate my skin and make me itch all day. First thing I do when I buy a new piece of clothing is cut the label off. Here is a question for you: when is the last time you actually read what a label said? I can tell you for me I think it was the first time I learned how to do laundry – about 30 years ago.

Seeing this is March, which is my birthday month, I was going to write about being an Aries woman. Until I read what an Aries woman IS – according to astrology. The labels were less than flattering, and included words like “dominant”, “pushy”, impatient” and “trouble”. Wow. That sent me into a deep meditation about the subject, and when I was done meditating – I remembered.

I remembered how much I dislike labels. In clothing, as well as in life. Let me tell you what it means to be an “Alpha female” (another Aries women label). To me it does not mean being dominant and pushy, it means leading by positive example, being proactive and assertive.

“Pushy” is another label I have heard many times before. Who defines what is the right amount of time something is suppose to take until it happens? I believe there are people who are change makers, people who help create the new and the better in this world. And no, these people don’t wait.  I mean – why wait? When you know something can happen, why wait and not just make it happen? Can you imagine Ford got the idea about creating this new thing called “A car” – and said to himself: “Na, I’m gonna sit on it, I’m not going to do it right now. I mean – who really needs it?”

Right?

Another label Aries women, including me – hear – is that we are impatient. Well, we may be because the rest of the world is moving SO SLOOOWWWW.

But all joking aside, again, who is to say what is the right amount of time something should happen? And who is to say it is wrong to want something to happen faster – rather than wait for it to maybe happen one day. Time, after all – is an illusion.

By the way, in the dictionary the opposite for impatience is – apathy. For all the very patient people out there – how would you like to be labeled that? I am guessing not so much…

Here is my new definition for an Aries woman:

An Aries woman is a strong, brave, independent woman. She is willing to make mistakes because she knows that is the only way to grow, and so she takes chances and tries new things. She is also the first one to admit her mistake and will be the first one to apologize if she hurt you.  She cares and she is smart and fun and optimistic, and she accepts different people because she understands there is more than one way to have a human experience in this world.

She creates changes in a swift movement that seems effortless but truly has a lot of hard work behind it. And she moves so fast it catches most of the world by surprise. So she needs people around her who inspire her, communicate clearly and can handle movement forward through fear without backing down. “If you can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen” describes life with her best. Then again, a heated kitchen means there is cooking involved – and yes, she enjoys cooking good, healthy, delicious food she loves to share with family and friends.

Even though she can do pretty much anything a man can do – she can be a very feminine woman. She knows what she wants and she goes out to get it, and she is always honest, bringing her truth in a humble, loving way. She is passionate and funny. And she defines the word Optimism. 

FYI here are some of my fellow Aries awesome women, recognize any of them?

Aretha Franklin (Respect!)

Billy Holiday (Apparently we Aries women love to sing Jazz)

Robin Wright (“As you wish!”)

Reese Witherspoon

Kate Hudson

Maya Angelou

This month of March I ask to throw out the labels and instead look at them from another perspective. What are some labels you were labeled before? Instead of accepting them, how can you look at them differently?

Here is my birthday gift to you if you choose to accept it: write to me in the comments for this blog post one label you were given you do not like – I will write you back a different perspective of that label – and email  you a birthday present “The Gift Of Portrait” $50 gift card to go along with it.

 

Happy No Label March!

 To see more of Rinat’s work go to rinathalon.com 

 

 

 

Like any other young girl growing up, I looked up to Marilyn Monroe as the idol of beauty. Her perfect hair, her perfect smile, her soft voice, that sense of mystery her eyes reflected. She was the essence of what being a woman meant, all bottled up into one perfect looking model of femininity.

I never thought much about the influence Marilyn Monroe had on my definition of femininity until I had a photography job at a Marilyn Monroe spa. I was there to photograph the opening of this new spa location, and between the guests, the food, the drinks and the music just like in Susan Vega’s song, Marilyn’s face watched us from the walls. I was drawn into her photographs, all beautiful, perfectly depicting this ideal symbol of femininity. As oppose to my childhood when I only saw her outer beauty, now the mystery in her eyes pulled me in. It was almost like she was asking me to come in behind the perfect façade and meet the real Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe Spa Oviedo

Click here for the Marilyn Monroe Spa web site

Just as I was thinking that, Marilyn in the flesh came walking out into the spa, working the crowds, her presence so strong everyone stopped what they were doing to follow her outside and watch her perform “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” to the delight of the audience.

Singing Diamonds are a girl's best friends

Kelley Thomas Singing Diamonds are a girl’s best friends as Marilyn, click on the photo to see Kelley’s FB artis page

I have seen a few Marilyn impersonators over my career, but nothing like the quality Kelley, this Marilyn, brought to the most famous sex symbol in the world. It was as if she was channeling the real Marilyn. Right then and there I knew I wanted to get her into my photography studio for a photo shoot.

Having no idea of what I was going to do or what I wanted to photograph, when Kelley agreed to come to the studio I started researching Marilyn Monroe.

Knowing that before she was Marilyn Monroe she was Norma Jean. I searched to see what Norma Jean looked like. Coming across one of her earlier photographs, there she was: young, happy – and with a head full of brown curls, a cute smile revealing teeth that are not so perfect and playfully holding a camera. She looked nothing like Marilyn Monroe. She looked like, well, many cute Jewish girls next door, and could easily be mistaken for one of them. In fact, she reminded me of someone. Me. She reminded me of myself when I was 15. Before my TV show at 16. Before I became known. It was unbelievable, and made me even more curious about the mystery behind those eyes of the iconic Marilyn – how did she go from Norma Jean to being the world’s most known sex symbol?

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Norma Jean as photographed by her friend and photographer Andre de Dienes

First thing I learned is that the name Marilyn Monroe was given to her by the studios. In fact, when she first took on the name she had to ask how to spell it when she had to sign autographs. That tidbit of knowledge made me smile. Amusing enough as it is, it’s even funnier as I cannot seem to be able to spell the name Marilyn Monroe either. Every time I type it into this blog article the red spell check lines appear. On the other hand the name Norma Jean comes out naturally.

While researching online I came across a series of black and white photographs that stood out from the rest of the glamorized Marilyn Monroe photos. It was a black and white series shot by Alfred Eisenstaedt – the legendary life magazine photographers. Captured in 1953 at Marilyn’s back yard. As only good photographers can do in these photographs Alfred created portraits of her soul. Marilyn, wearing a black turtle neck, seems comfortable in her own skin. These are the only photos I ever seen of her looking real. Vulnerable. And a little sad. These are the only photos I ever seen of Marilyn where I could see Norma Jean’s soul reflected through her eyes.

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Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt

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Photographed by Alfred Eisenstaedt

I knew that is what I wanted to capture in my studio. I called Kelley and asked her to bring nothing but a black turtle neck.

When Kelley sat in front of my camera, Marilyn wig on and the black turtle neck, we started talking about Marilyn.

It was incredible to watch how our conversation was bringing Marilyn to life through Kelley right in front of my camera. Being the committed professional that she is, and such a sensitive soul, Kelley was able to follow my directions and at one point of the shoot I felt like it was Marilyn herself sitting in front of me, reminiscing on her days as Norma Jean.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

She told me that despite her world fame she was always very lonely. She told me about people she trusted manipulating and using her to their benefit. She told me how she had no idea she was going to become so famous, as no other actress before her ever got to be sp famous, and she felt she was not truly prepared for the pressures that came with the fame.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

That venerability, that sadness in her eyes that Alfred caught so many years ago – there it was in her eyes reflecting through my lens. We did it Kelley and me – we brought Norma Jean back to life.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

I was a little embarrassed, but share with Kelley that the night before the shoot I dreamed about Marilyn. I don’t remember my dreams often, but this one was clear and concise. Marilyn said to me: “You and I have more In common than you think”. In my dream I looked at her puzzled, “Really?” I asked. She just smiled her mysterious smile and shook her head yes. “You’ll find out” she said.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Kelley and I looked at each other shaking our heads; we didn’t know what it could be. We laughed it off and kept photographing. Only later, when we were almost done with the shoot Kelley said: “You know, she really just wanted to be a mother. She had to get abortions 6 times. All the other actresses did as well back then, because they were considered to be owned by the studios. When she was finally ready to get pregnant her body couldn’t hold the pregnancy.” I was tearing up behind the camera. There it was. The answer to my dream, Marilyn was right, I did find out what we had in common. I never imagined her wanting to be mother, as many people who meet me can’t imagine I never became a mother because I could not, not because I didn’t want to.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

 

As we were wrapping up Kelley told me how when Marilyn died she still owed money on her house. It seemed everyone was making money on the iconic Marilyn – except her. “But she was just starting to take control of her own life” said Kelley “right before she died she started making changes, she started planning her future and deciding what to do next that would benefit her first. And then she was found dead.”

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

I named this blog post “I Am Norma Jean” in honor of this strong, uncompromising woman. This woman who until recently, like the rest of the world, I could only see her outer beauty. Thinking forward, my wish is that every young woman who finds out about the iconic Marilyn Monroe – is also taught about Norma Jean. Norma Jean, the face behind the façade. The lonely soul that just wanted to be loved. The woman who came from nothing, took her destiny in her own hands and despite her fears – kept bettering herself. Learning from her mistakes and making changes as she was walking life’s path. Because without Norma Jean – who she was, her personality, and the actions she took – Marilyn Monroe would not exist.

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

Photo by Rinat Halon, All Rights Reserved

 

  • We are currently looking for a space to exhibit these portraits seen here and more from the photo project “I Am Norma Jean. If you are interested in sponsoring the exhibit please contact Rinat at rinat@rinathalon.com.

The photo art project “Mothers & Daughters” happened as many other good things in my life do – thanks to my mother.

My mother was visiting me after a year we have not seen each other. A year which turned out to be one of the worst years of my life. Having my mother around after enduring all kinds of hardships alone was to say the least refreshing. During her visit she was just being my mom, as she always has been. I always loved my mother, and appreciated her, but this time her motherhood touched me deeply. For the first time in my 43 years on this earth I thought about what it meant to me to have a mother. How significant that love relationship between us is, and how no one else in the world loves me as my mother does. One word kept coming back to me as I was thinking how to describe that love connection, and that word was: Unconditional. My mother’s love to me is unconditional.

That made me wonder what words other daughters would choose to describe the love relationship they have with their mother – and the Mother’s & Daughter’s Photo Art Project came to life.

After an overwhelming response to a shout out I sent requesting mothers & daughters to come be part of this art project, I chose 11 to be photographed in the studio. My request was simple: The daughter has to be old enough to come up with a word by herself to describe her relationship with her mother, and write that word on the backdrop. I asked them to come in their everyday clothing. No makeup needed.

And all these wonderful, beautiful, inspiring mothers & daughters came into my studio one after the other, adding their word to the backdrop and letting the story of their individual love relationship unfold in front of my camera.

The final result was a backdrop filled with single words of individual daughters. But when changing perspective, looking at it as a whole, one can see how these words blend together smoothly and become a delicate texture of feelings. These individual words blend together, and now create a complete, universal definition of what a mother’s love means to a daughter.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Sharon & Roni

Sharon & Roni

16 year old Roni chose the word INDESTRUCTIBLE to describe her love connection with her mother Sharon. When asked to explain why, she said nothing can ruin it.

Susan & Ariel

Susan & Ariel

Ariel and her mother Susan could not stop laughing when Ariel explained the word she chose: “I chose the word LAUGHTER because whatever drama is going on in our lives – and there is always some kind of drama – my mom and I laugh it Off”.

 

Tali & Rinat

Tali & Rinat

My mother Tali and I sharing a love moment to reflect my word: UNCONDITIONAL, as my mother has been there for me through everything with no conditions and without judgment, she always believes in me, even when I don’t believe in myself.

 

Peggy, Wendy & Abigail

Peggy, Wendy & Abigail

Peggy’s daughter Wendy chose the word PARTNER, as she feels her mother is there as a partner for her in all aspects of life, especially when it comes to assisting with granddaughter Abigail. When her turn came Abigail chose the word NICE to describe the love relationship with her mother. “My mother is so nice to me” 8.5 years old Abigail explained to me.

 

Jill & Kaitlyn

Jill & Kaitlyn

6 years old Kaitlyn was ecstatic to be at the studio with her mother. I understood her choice of the words GIRL BUSINESS after she told me she never gets to be alone with her mother Jill. It turns out Kaitlyn is part of a triplet – she has two 6 year old brothers. The code word for quality time with her mother is when Kaitlyn hears Jill say the words “girl business” – and she cherishes every second of that “girl business” time.

 

Glenna & Krista

Glenna & Krista

To reflect the relationship with her mother Glenna, daughter Krista chose the word GROWTH. “Our relationship is always growing, as does the love and compassion we have for each other”.

 

Lynn, Cassidy & Smantha

Lynn, Cassidy & Samantha

Lynn’s two daughters, Cassidy and Samantha took their time thinking of a word each. When 17 year old Cassidy wrote LOVING, 13 years old Samantha wrote PROTECTIVE. The sisters then gave each other a hard time about their choice of word, as sisters do. “She is loving!” determined Cassidy. “Well, protective is a way of loving!” Samantha replied.

 

Toby & Faye

Toby & Faye

At 77 years young Toby is the oldest mother to be part of this project. Accompanied by her daughter Faye, who chose the word COMFORTING to describe their love relationship. Toby & Faye had fun reminiscing Faye’s wild childhood. But the chosen word came from the time Faye faced her toughest battle – cancer. Toby never left her side, and Faye is now a cancer survivor.

 

Liberty & Andrea

Liberty & Andrea

Liberty & daughter Andrea love spending time together, they always have a great time. From baking cookies together in Liberty’s kitchen to planning Andrea’s wedding – BEST FRIENDS best describes their relationship – and that is why Andrea chose it.

 

Clarissa & Nyla

Clarissa & Nyla

“Because mommy and all of mommy’s friends are always fun! See -she brought me here!” 8 year old Nyla explained to me with a mouth full of my homemade chocolate why she chose the word FUN to describe the love relationship she has with her mother Clarissa.

 

Shawneequa & Chelsea

Shawneequa & Chelsea

18 year old daughter Chelsea didn’t hesitate to write her word on the backdrop: SUPPORTIVE. When Chelsea could not get into the broadcasting studies in her high school, mother Shawneequa called and called the school until they gave Chelsea a chance. Well, it turn out Chelsea is a natural in broadcasting. Today Chelsea is her school’s morning news anchor, and wants to study broadcasting in college. “After they let her in the department the school said to Chelsea: your mother knows, right? Make sure she knows…they wanted me to stop calling”, remembers Shawneequa with a big smile.

 

Emma

Emma

This is 10 months old Emma. I wonder what her word will be to describe the love relationship she has with her mother?

WHAT IS YOUR WORD? Write it down in the comments. And tell it to your mother. If your mother had passed, write your word anyway, as the love relationship with your mother never passes, it is eternal.

 

 

 

This virtual exhibit will be unveiled on Mother’s Day, May 10…Stay Tuned!

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