“Our Brenda” in Suffragette City.

Last year my portraits exhibited at the Getty Images Gallery and Lloyds of London. One short listed for Portrait of Britain. Magnum Photography called my work, “Highly Rated.” I love to explore gender diversity and authenticity, but I also photograph for individuals, families and do corporate work. So if you need head shots that reveal the true person, web photos that build the humanity in your brand, I am your woman!

I am a feminist, so imagine my excitement when award winning barrister Sally Penni  (centre) asked me to shoot an event for her on International Woman’s Day. She founded Women in the Law, a networking group that promotes career progression through personal development.  I adore Sally, she is a very impressive woman. So brilliant, in fact, that she had convinced Baroness Hale to speak at the Women in the Law Annual Dinner. The first ever female President of the Supreme Court  was in Manchester at the splendid Midland Hotel  to join  Northern lawyers celebrating in suffragette city!

A whole team of women were preparing for the event whilst I tested my lighting, trainers and flats were exchanged for heels ( except me – photographers shun heels when working!) and the drinks reception began. I took this calm moment to shoot a lot of the younger lawyers as they are the future and I knew that when Lady Hale arrived I would be following her instead. It was important to me to represent a diverse group of women and capture them networking.

I was introduced to Lady Hale by Sally and we had a quick chat before I stepped back to photograph her with guests. This is the part of my job I love. I study people’s faces, linger over their expressions, read their eyes. Shall I tell you what I saw? Lady Hale has a face that divides into two halves. She has ethereal beauty. She may smile warmly, yet her eyes may tell a very different story of piercing intelligence. She sees into people. I am sure that if you have stood in front of her in court you will have realised that she reads you very perceptively. I found her fascinating. An empowered woman, rather like meeting an ancient Goddess and experiencing awe and a touch of fear! Her keynote speech was powerful and she makes no apologies for wanting a fairer world where women have the same opportunities as men. If you want more details check out her recent 2018 Christabel Pankhurst Lecture.

I was invited to dinner, my companions were great people, the food was excellent and the live music fabulous. Which brings me to the title of the story. Lady Hale was as, “Our Brenda” and I realised that to the women in that room Brenda Hale is a person to embrace as our own. She campaigns for women, inspires women, mentors lawyers and proves that women can defeat all barriers. I hope that my dinner companions work together to make the judiciary more diverse and equal and I am pretty sure “Our Brenda” would tell them to get on with it!


Be true to you.

Allie x

The Getty Images Gallery Exhibited 2017.
The Lloyds of London Exhibited 2017.
“Intimate Portraits” Published in America by Joyce Tenneson.
British Photography Awards 2017, Short List.
Magnum Photography Awards 2017 “Highly Rated.”

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