“Heavenly bodies” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Shanan Fairborn by © Aaron McCullough

Shanan is a unique one! She is a fourth generation Calgarian! It is hard enough to run into someone who was originally born in Calgary let alone someone who has been here for four generations. Come to think of it, it hard to find a fourth generation Canadian! She grew up in Midnapore, which at that time, was its own town. It has long since been engulfed by the city limits and is now just one of many suburbs in Calgary’s south west. I photographed her in the plus 15, just above my studio as the natural light is always doing something interesting up there.  She was a little nervous at first, as most people are, but was interested in having a new photograph of her taken as she has lost 185lbs over the last two years!

Just after I finished writing this I was checking my emails and received this from Shanan. It made my week.

“Good morning Aaron,

I just wanted to drop you a note to say THANKS for giving me the experience of feeling beautiful on Saturday.  I had a lot of anxiety going into it but your warmth and kindness made the process something I will never forget.

Thank you also for telling me about The Secret Language.  I spent some time reading through it yesterday and was blown away with what I learned.  I think I can fire my psychiatrist now lol.

All the best to you Aaron,


Image by © Aaron McCullough

An Interview with Erika

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

A. For my 40th birthday my parents gifted me with the Calgary Stampede Poster from my birth year. The significance of this is huge because I have volunteered with the Calgary Stampede for 15 years and I collect every poster for each of the years I’ve volunteered.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. Having a birthday right before the August long weekend means that there aren’t many people around to celebrate with you. It’s actually not all that bad, just means weeks of celebrating before and after :-)

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that surprised you most?

A. See first answer. :)

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

A. Rice Crispy Squares! I’m not big on deserts. No cake, pie or pastries for me thanks.

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. Sharing it with friends and family. Taking one day to let my guard down and allow others to celebrate ME which isn’t’ always easy for someone who hates to be the center of attention.

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

A. Nothing in particular.