James Dodd photographs Ana Lucia Cuevas for the FT

I was recently commissioned to produce a portrait of Ana Lucia Cuevas for the Financial Times Weekend Magazine.

Ana’s story is an incredible one (follow the link to read it in full on the FT’s website) and it was always going to be a tough task to come up with an image to do her justice.

I set off from Sheffield early in the morning, it was a bright pleasant day but as I crossed the Pennines and arrived into Manchester it was becoming quite dreary and miserable. What was supposed to be a summery Tuesday morning in August was now feeling more like a winters eve. All I could think about was how the picture editor had mentioned she’d like an outdoor image, which obviously seemed less likely as every minute passed.

Scouting out locations and planning ahead is something I’m always do before I meet my subjects, but on this assignment I was to photograph Ana at her home, so it was all going to be alien territory. She gave me a tour, we chatted and I photographed her in a various rooms but in all honesty I always felt something was missing.
As I was about to pack up for the day and head back home I noticed some tomato plants on a windowsill. I’d recently been growing some myself and we started to chat about the fruit, growing techniques and how it’s not exactly easy to grow them when there’s such little warmth and light in the north of England.

It was almost at that very moment when light began to break through the clouds. I watched it beaming through the window and fall onto a small brightly painted wall which couldn’t have been much wider than a metre at most. It was almost like everything just fell into place and wasn’t something I could never have planned for.

Read Ana’s story on the FT website

By: James Dodd