When photographer Liezel Barrow approached the organisers of the Nashua Largest Ever Bikini Photo Shoot about becoming the official image taker, it was more than a professional decision ¬– it was a deeply personal one.
As event photographer, Barrow will be there to capture the world record attempt at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Saturday, October 23, of which the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) is the beneficiary.
Barrow was motivated to get involved by the loss of close friend Antoinette van Mazijk to breast cancer and her own brush with cervical cancer.
Her business, Pro-Design Photographers, was dreamed up by herself and Van Mazijk during their student days at PE Technikon (now NMMU). Although Van Mazijk never formally joined the business, Barrow decided to keep the name for sentimental reasons.
“We always had a lot of fun and shared good times and lots of laughter,” smiled Barrow. “I miss that.”
In 2003, Van Mazijk discovered a lump in her breast while working on a cruise ship to raise money for their fledgling business.
She returned home, received chemotherapy and was in remission for six months before it was discovered in October 2004 that the cancer had spread to her bones. Van Mazijk passed away peacefully during a chemotherapy session in 2005, aged 25.
“She was feisty till the end,” noted their mutual friend and recent addition to the team, Tracey Anderson. Barrow agreed, saying, “We never treated her like she was ill.”
When Van Mazijk decided to shave her head before starting chemotherapy, the friends turned it into a party and took photographs to record the event.
After the cancer returned, she asked Barrow, Anderson and make-up artist Marika de Groot to use their combined skills to capture her essence with a glamorous photo shoot.
“Antoinette wanted to say: ‘There’s more to me than this disease’,” commented Barrow.
Relating this to the Largest Ever Bikini Photo Shoot, Barrow encouraged women of all ages, shapes and sizes to enter.
The organisers, Club 100 For Ladies, are hoping to assemble 2 000 participants to break the current world record of 1 923, which was set in the Russian seaside resort of Sochi two years ago.
“I think it would be great if some ladies who have had cancer would come forward and be a part of it.
“It would also be fantastic if under-18s get involved (with parental consent) – it’s important for younger girls to be aware of cancer and to get themselves checked.”
Barrow specialises in studio and pageant photography and is fully equipped to cover larger events, but admits photographing a crowd of 2 000 bikini-clad women will be an unusual challenge.
“Because it’s early in the morning (8am), I will have to check the weather and lighting conditions closer to the time.”
To stand a better chance of getting a good photo, Barrow may have to climb up high into the stadium and shoot from above with a powerful zoom lens or position the participants in the stands and shoot from below.
As a woman, she is also less likely to be distracted by the subject matter than her male counterparts. “This is not about being sexy – this is about doing it for a good cause,” she remarked.
Barrow has done photographic shoots for a variety of charitable organisations, including MTR Smit Children’s Haven and Reach for a Dream, but this particular cause lies very close to her heart.
Alternatively, join the Facebook group ‘Bikini PhotoShoot (World Record Attempt)…For CANSA’.
Full Stop Communications
On behalf of:
Club 100 For Ladies