Behind the Lens: Fabulous Fiona! / by Jules Holdsworth


In November 2017, I met Fiona’s parents at a tiny, local film festival a mutual friend of ours was hosting. I remember bonding with her mom over our shared love of sterling silver bracelets. Some time later, Fiona’s dad contacted me and asked me to photograph his daughter, who’d lost all of her hair due to chemo.

When I met Fiona, she was wearing a beanie that she’d knitted herself and we immediately bonded over our fondness for knitting. I spent the next few hours photographing Fiona in downtown Santa Cruz and on West Cliff. We had a great time.

This photograph was unexpected. We were leaving Abbott Square when Fiona walked passed the mirrored entrance to the MAH. I stopped her and shot this. We all loved it.

The MAH announced they were accepting entries for their See, Be Seen exhibit of portraits by local artists. I asked Fiona and her family if they would mind if I entered this portrait. They did not and my portrait was chosen to be part of the exhibit which ran from May – September 2018.

Fiona accompanied me to opening night at which time she shared with me that she was cancer free. I couldn’t have been happier.

It was such an honor to have one of my photographs hanging in the MAH. I went to see it several times during the exhibit. This is the first time it really hit me that my photographs might be good.