Her first job in 1956 in Australia was as a "Ground Hostie" with QANTAS and then relocated to Darwin during the Olympic Games. As part of her job, Alison headed to Singapore and with it the Raffles Hotel and the notorious Boogie (Bugis) Street. It was the 1950's, and this area was a haven for Transvestites who would rendezvous with tourists and Sailors. Alison stared in fascination as she had no idea what a Transvestite was up until that point.
Back to Australia and then onto Fiji where she met her Welsh husband, Selwyn. He was a Pilot for QANTAS after flying Mitchell Bombers over Europe during World War II. They fell in love and travelled onto San Francisco before heading back to Sydney.
Wedding bells rang for them in Taumarunui, on NZ's North Island. The travel bug hit again and they headed back to Sydney to build a home on the Northern Beaches. Two children followed. The first, Ross, in 1963 and Katrina in 1967. In between births, they lived in San Francisco and New York with a few months in Europe before heading back to Sydney via Tehran. The Shah was still on the throne and it was a pretty dangerous place to be.
Eventually, Selwyn retired and Alison took a job at the Royal North Shore Hospital - working for the Diabetes Education Programme. Regardless of all the incredible travel with her work and husband, her greatest achievement was the birth of her two children. Life was good.
Then along came 1985. Selwyn passed away suddenly and with that, came the inevitable shock and confusion when your life changes in a heart beat. 1986 was no kinder as Alison's mother also died. As we all know, it comes in threes. Her father died a year later in 1987.
That's tough, but life was about to get tougher with her own battle.
In 2007, Alison was diagnosed with cancer in her left breast and after a lumpectomy and radiation, all appeared to be fine. Then in 2010, it all came back. This time, behind the right nipple. She made the decision to have both breasts removed as, in her own words, "she no longer needed them".
What I noticed about Alison was that she is a very beautiful and elegant woman. When I photograph people and animals, I talk of capturing their beauty through my lens. Beauty is not about being pretty as pretty is a fickle thing, often with little substance or lasting qualities. I've noticed that pretty doesn't even show up well in photographs. However, beauty is the light that shines from within all living beings and the natural world. It is eternal and indestructible. Sometimes it's hard to see but if you take the time to observe and be still then you will see it in everything around you.
Alison's light is very apparent. Her energy is fun and strong. She reminded me very much of my late mother-in-law, also a New Zealander.