The door was unlocked—Diana said there was no cause for worry in the middle of nowhere. We gently eased the cherry red door open and were greeted by a rush of icy, stagnant air. The cabin was staged and solemnly waiting for visitors—magazines perfectly slanted at the end of a canoe being used as a coffee table, bedding tucked tightly under three twin mattresses. The checkered duvets and down pillows of the three beds were probably tested by Goldilocks at one point. Which bed was too hard, which too soft?
The cabin was Diana’s son’s childhood playground; it was a few hundred meters off the main home and, now coated with dust from disuse, must have once been scattered with the hand-carved wooden toys and storybooks that are now neatly stacked along its shelves. Sophia was wearing a wedding dress we found buried in a trunk, still glowing a brilliant white after its one use, decades ago. Two silvery pearls beneath crushed diamonds in her ears, a vision. We had to shoot fast; Sophia had little resistance to cold being clothed in nothing but an enormous mass of tulle and the snow was falling fast, already two feet deep outside.
She let the dress drop to her waist, her muscles tensing against the bitterly cold air. She was nakedly exposed, her eyes and body showing how much she was investing to tolerate the chill. It was in this mere 20 minutes that I got the shot I had been waiting for. As Sophia's physical endurance wore thin, she entered a candidly raw place that reflected in her movements and tension. I hadn’t seen this sort of vulnerability from her before.
And with that, the 20 minutes were up and we left the quiet of the lonely cabin. Sophia was desperately in need of piping hot dandelion tea and cinnamon rolls.