November 16, 2015: The unveiling of the final photographs from the Dawn to Dusk (D2D) Photo competition, a part of the Peterborough Fashion Week 2015 (PTBO FW 2015), was hosted at Dolcé Vita and saw over 50 guests in attendance.

The D2D challenge themed “The Heterodox” is not a typical photo one is normally accustomed to seeing in Fashion Magazine spreads. Rather it is was an extraordinary photography challenge which tested the skills of each team as to how best bring out the individualism in each model, and tell their real life stories. The models are not mainstream but rather unseen or underrepresented in the industry.

“The concept is to foster relationships, creativity, and synergy among our fashion community members as well as promote the talent that we have in the area,” said Christina Abbott, Producer of PTBO FW 2015 steering committee.

She would also like to see the event attract more new audiences, as well as increase the reach of local artists, PTBO FW, and the synergy of the community to a larger audience.

Arthur talked to one of the models, Debbie Sissmore, and learned about how she was initially hesitant and anxious because she did not know what to expect from the challenge.

Sissmore thought, “I’m blind, 53 years old, and I’m certainly not a model nor have I ever modelled.”

But once the actual process began, where Sissmore had the opportunity to work with an amazing team of great people, she said, “I had a lot of fun!”

The official competition image showed her in the wine cellar at her own home, poised elegant, strong, and confident. “My husband and I enjoy wine tasting and travelling to different wineries around the world. Wine tasting is a very sensory experience and because I am blind, I am very aware of the smell and taste and even texture of the wine. It is something my husband and I can enjoy together,” shared Sissmore about the significance of her photograph.

Kristal Jones was the tattooed, petite plus size model. The photograph was inspired by Art Nouveau and Renaissance style paintings where plus size women were celebrated as the works of art we are, said Jones. Explaining the image’s significant features, she explained, “[F]lowers are symbolic of transformation” so they related well to portray the importance of learning to flourish inside her own skin.

Paisley Spence, photographer who captured the photo of Jones, said she wanted to create an image that embodied her personality, a woman feeling empowered by her body and beauty.

“My goal for the competition in general was to show that no matter your age, size, ethnicity, or disability, you are beautiful and should be celebrated,” said Spence.

Her other model for the challenge was Nimkii Osawamick, Anishnaabe dance artist. Her team’s inspiration for the image with Osawamick was to celebrate First Nations culture and “to represent that you should always be true to yourself,” she said.

Kristine Hannah, one of the other three contesting photographers, summed up her experience from the challenge by saying, “The theme of the challenge is something that I strongly believe in. I enjoyed being able to get the community involved and bring them into the world of modelling life. I am pleased to be a part of this opportunity which allowed everyone involved to have a chance at being their beautiful and unique self, and to let them shine in the spotlight.”

Photographer Marlon Hazlewood said that he enjoyed the challenge more than anything, the challenge of not knowing what to expect. Hazlewood chose his studio, having just either a black or white wall in the background as the photo’s backdrop. Because when your incorporate fancy backgrounds, they become very much a part of the photograph, he explained. But he “really wanted to get to the essence of who they were” and added, “When you strip away the background, it is all about them. There is nothing else to draw the attention away from [them],” Hazlewood explained of his photographs.

The eight featured models were Nimkii Osawamick – Aboriginal, Debbie Sissmore – Blind and Over 50, Max Price – Rheumatoid Arthritis that has left him with a physical challenge, Emma Keat – Plus Size, Red Hair, and Freckled, Michael Bell – Grey Hair and Over 50, and Kristal Jones – Petite Plus Size and Tattooed.

The winning team set to be revealed at the STRUTT 4 Kids Fashion Show was based on the maximum number of votes obtained through online social media. The images will also be judged by Peter Gray and Anthony Friend, two New York City-based world class creatives.

All funds raised from the D2D challenge, which is a part of PTBO FW 2015, will go towards the Five Counties Children’s Centre, a centre that helps children with physical, communication, and
development needs.

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Ugyen Wangmo is a self trained media personal, steadfast to ‘right to information’. She has about six years of media experience through a variety of roles as Reporter, Editor, Stringer, and Freelance writer. She graduated from Trent with a degree in Chemistry and Biology. When not nosing around for leads to write a thing or two about, she indulges in books, fashion, and dance.