AWARD-WINNING photographer Frances Andrijich met Stormie Mills 20 years ago when she was asked to snap “this street kid-emerging artist” for a magazine.
Expecting a “rough diamond,” Andrijich was shocked when greeted by a reserved young gentleman – who remains a friend two decades on.
“Stormie really surprised me, as a lot of people do when you take their photo,” Andrijich said.
“He was, and is, so sweet. You look at him and he has those teeth that are all silver and yet he’s so gentle and quite shy.
“He’s a force to be reckoned with and has an amazing reputation.”
Melding their creative crafts, the duo has collaborated on a new exhibition with tattoos at the fore.
Their Heart on Their Sleeve – capturing a series of unguarded moments – showcases 10 Perth people, including a university lecturer, FIFO worker and mixologist, each sporting Mills’s artwork on their bodies.
Famous for his curious little characters, dotted across Perth’s inner-city streetscapes, Mills has taken Andrijich’s images and painted over them, capturing the subjects’ internal portrait.
“Some of the people were so freaked out by the experience and others said: ‘Oh, I do this every day,’” the Croatian-born photographer said.
“We asked them, especially the shy ones: ‘What’s your favourite music?’ and we played it to relax them and get some movement.
“They could wear what they felt represented them and they could choose to smile or not smile.”
Andrijich has travelled extensively for her work, revisiting her birthplace to snap the Croatian countryside, as well as Indonesia to shoot the slums.
“I have a job where a huge part of my life is spent working. I do love it but the hours are full-on, so I tend to work with people I form friendships with and I’m privileged to have a friendship with Stormie,” Andrijich said.
What: Their Heart on Their Sleeve
Where: There Is creative space, 49 Stuart St, Northbridge
When: November 1-17