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
Click here to edit.
"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.
The Website for women with a fun but not frivolous feel