The inspiring story of an internationally acclaimed photographer.
Introducing Raina Stinson.
I have rarely seen such stunning fine art portrait photography as the work produced by Raina Stinson. Not surprisingly her work has been exhibited internationally and she is the winner of several prestigious awards including the “Julia Margaret Cameron International award for Women” and the highly acclaimed “LensCulture exposure Award” won in 2014, where Raina was selected from over 10,000 entries from 130 different countries.
She won this prize aged fifty three with a single image, "Alluring" which is a truly amazing achievement and was described by jury member Sarah Leen, who was the director of photography at the National Geographic magazine at the time as “A highly polished image, technically very accomplished yet evocative of a time that is enhanced by the bit of mystery it contains.” She went on to win awards in 2015 and 2016 and has become known for her beautifully polished, thought provoking images that challenge the culture norms of femininity, gender and family.
"Alluring" Winner of the "LensCulture Exposure Award." 2014
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"The perfect wife" winner of the "Julia Margaret Cameron Award for International Women."
"Eye Candy" Winner of the "Julia Margaret Cameron Award for International Women." 2014
However, this talented lady has not always worked as a full time photographer.
Raina grew up in Portland Oregon in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and although photography was her hobby since her teenage years, she felt she should follow a more traditional career path so decided to train as a registered nurse.
After successfully completing her training she worked for thirty-four years in numerous different nursing roles. The first seven years were spent in medical and surgical nursing, then for four years she specialized in inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.
She then moved on to work in a hospice for five years and then changed clinic to become a case manager, finally transitioning to working as a home health psychiatric nurse for the rest of her nursing career.
Meanwhile Raina’s friend Carol, who had been her best friend since she was fourteen years old, had moved to live and work as a freelance hairdresser and make-up artist in the South of France. When Raina visited Carol for holidays each year she always experienced the same feeling, the artistic pull of the Provencal countryside tugging at the creative side of her nature.
Best friends Carol & Raina
."Chloe" Awarded honourable mention for children's portraits in the "Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for Women photographers." 2016
This feeling became so powerful, Raina was motivated to follow her instincts and she decided to take the daring step to leave her life in American behind. She moved to a beautiful stone cottage in the heart of rural Provence, not far from where Carol was living. Here she has established a photographic studio, specializing in fine art portraits and vintage photo shoots using genuine props that she sources in the French “Brocantes” and flea markets. She collaborates with Carol who does the hair and make-up and together they offer a unique opportunity for a truly authentic experience.
"Secrets" awarded honourable mention for children's portraits in the "International Julia Margaret Cameron Awards for women photographers." 2016
It is not unusual to find Raina and Carol out on location in the French Countryside standing in the middle of the grape vines, a poppy or lavender field with a couple of enormous photographic lights. Raina specializes in the use of light, both artificial and natural, and she uses her extensive knowledge in this particular area of photography to produce her highly stylized images.
"Princess Zoe" the French Bulldog.
To complete her transition, Raina adopted a French bulldog puppy “Zoe” that she has trained to pose for the camera and is now featuring in some of her artistic work; with Zoe around she is never short of a photographic model and this little dog has her very own Instagram account!
Recent portrait session in the poppy fields of provence!
Raina has completely turned her world around from years of dedicated nursing, gallantly serving the community in the highly commendable vocation of nursing to becoming an internationally recognized photographer living and working in France. She was brave enough to risk following her instincts and has created an entirely different, artistic life that she loves, demonstrating that anything is possible in life and fifty plus can be the start of truly wonderful adventures
Recent conceptual shoot at Raina's farmhouse!
When I asked Raina what she enjoyed about portrait photography she replied, “I like to help people feel good about themselves.” A sentiment that this website is all about!
Recent portrait session in Raina's home studio.
You can follow Raina on Instagram @Raina Stinson Photography
On Facebook at: Raina Stinson Photography
Or check out her website at https://www.rainastinsonphotography.com
Zoe has her own Instagram account @ princess_zoe_of_provence
Feel good after fifty would like to thank Raina for sharing her incredible story and wonderful photographs and hope you enjoy reading about her inspirational journey.
Inspiring stories from international ladies.
Introducing Rebecca Ronane.
Rebecca is full of energy, ideas and radiates with enthusiasm and positivity, which is rather contagious. A multi-tasking Aries who after an exciting and glamorous career as an international travel and tour director, found herself having to deal with two terrible shocks in her mid fifties. The first one was a health issue, which was a challenging experience, and the second was unexpectedly loosing her job.
These are the type of experiences that could easily throw one into a depression, but luckily after talking things over with a friend, Rebecca decided to turn her situation around and ”re-invent” herself.
After starting with an online T.E.F.L. (teaching english as a foreign language) course, a friend introduced her by a chance conversation to life coaching. Once again Rebecca studied an online course and discovered she had found a new passion. She extended her studies to gain diplomas and become a fully qualified life coach herself, meeting inspiring mentors along the way.
Rebecca chose to orientate her coaching sessions towards the fifty plus age group and her movement “Forward after fifty” was born. Ladies are offered the choice of individual coaching sessions online via Skype, group coaching sessions that take place regularly in Aix en Provence or holiday retreats where she combines her previous experience in travel and tours with her life coaching.
In Rebecca’s re-invention timeline one thing led to another and after discovering that making contacts and self promotion were far from simple in rural Provence, this enterprising lady created the website “Network Provence” which has exploded with popularity and continues to do so. It now counts over 491 members on it’s Facebook page plus 25 other members, who use the platform to self promote their businesses, make contacts and to socialize.
I have been to one of Rebecca’s life coaching sessions and I will definitely go again. I found it inspirational and refreshing, learning new coping skills that help to navigate through this complex journey we call life.
Rebecca demonstrates that life and opportunities are perhaps only just beginning in your fifties and she gives us a tremendous example of how unfortunate situations can be turned around into opportunities and if you are brave enough to try, by taking one step at a time, and you receive support and encouragement, you have the power and capabilities to change the path of your life.
Contact Rebecca for life coaching at www.rebeccaronane.com and at www.networkprovence for her network meetings.
I would like to thank Rebecca for generously sharing her inspiring story and take this opportunity to wish her all the best for the future.
The first time I saw an Easter egg tree was in 1989 in a dream house high up on the rocks above the sea in Cavalaire. The house belonged to my husband’s aunt and we were celebrating Easter with a large family get together.
Firstly on behalf of the website and the readers I'd just like to thank you for your generosity and good humour today. You've been a terrific model!
Could you outline what you consider your "assets" for us please?
I think my main asset is having a well proportioned body frame. I'm very lucky that the clothes in the shops fit me so finding the right size isn't a problem. I can shop in the sales and I manage to find some great items!
hope you don't mind my asking ...but do you have any "problem areas"?
Yes I do! The area around my décolletage has been damaged by the sun. This happened in South Africa where the sun is baking hot and unforgiving. I have to constantly protect this area with sun cream and
I often disguise it by wearing a necklace or scarf. It doesn't show so much in the summer when I have a suntan.
Do you have a particular piece of fashion or beauty advice to share with our readers?
I would advise ladies to invest in a selection of good quality coats. A 3/4 length coat is such a useful length. It can be worn with dresses, skirts, trousers and jeans. A smart coat will cover up what your wearing underneath. You can literally cover up your clothes, shrug on your coat and walk down the street looking fabulous!
Another thing I would advise is to be very careful your shoes are really clean. Before going out check them. If they are not perfect, take a damp cloth and wipe around the surrounds. It's a small detail but it makes so much difference to your finished look. If your shoes are muddy, it will destroy your image!
What's your philosophy? What concept or idea would you like to pass on to other women?
I would avoid causing suffering to anything or anyone. Live your life with integrity and honesty.
What do you think of the website?
I love the website. I think it's informative and honest. It gives a truthful representation of women which is very is important. We see far too much airbrushing and are indoctrinated by the idea of youthful beauty. Women need to be honest about their age, we're all getting older daily so it's important to enjoy life and support each other in this ageing process.
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