A man and woman stand blindfolded in a paddock

“Maybe the best love story of 2022. Who knows?” Photographer pairs blindfolded models for Stranger Sessions

Francesca Mazzara’s heart raced with excitement as she stood blindfolded in a paddock in the Glass House Mountains, about to stare into a stranger’s eyes for an intimate photo shoot.

The single mom from Buderim on the Sunshine Coast had already done a few professional photo shoots, but nothing quite like this one.

“I just thought it was the most amazing idea,” said Ms. Mazzara.

Ms. Mazzara says neither model found the session uncomfortable.Delivered: Nicola Brander

A strange session captured

Ms. Mazzarra was about to see single dad Dale Billsborough for the first time, a match-up shot by Sunshine Coast photographer Nicola Brander, who wanted to capture the moment for a creative concept she called the Stranger Session.

“I thought it was really interesting to see how two people bonded together like strangers, and to see if there’s any chemistry,” Ms. Brander said, having previously put out the call for interested models.

“When I organized it, I got a little bit of information about each of them and I passed it on to the other person.

A woman holding a camera
Photographer Nicola Brander wants to see if strangers can directly show chemistry.Delivered: Nicola Brander

“So they knew a little bit about their lifestyle, whether they had kids, what they were interested in, things like that.

She said that once the blindfolds came off there were a few nerves, but the couple quickly opened their eyes to a new adventure and embraced the concept.

“I think there was quite a bit of nerves, but honestly, it went like a normal couples photo shoot,” said Ms. Brander.

“You wouldn’t even know they were strangers.

“I thought two strangers in a couple’s photo shoot would cause a lot of awkwardness, but the opposite was the case.”

A very ‘natural, organic’ photo shoot

Ms. Mazzara said the couple clicked right away the moment the shoot started.

“We talked and we laughed so much and yes, I think it was just very natural and organic,” she said.

A woman in a red coat smiling for the camera with a man nudging her forehead
Ms. Mazzara prefers to connect with someone in person rather than through a dating app.Delivered: Nicola Brander

“He [Dale] was really nice, sincere, the conversation flew, he was really funny.

“And of course Nicola, she made it so funny.”

Ms. Mazzara said it was great to connect with someone in person rather than through a dating app.

“The dating world is more like everything is online these days, so I absolutely love an idea like this.

“Meeting Dale, getting to know him, even if it turns into a friendship, was a great experience.”

A few piggybacks and laughs
Ms. Brander said the next shoot will be a waterfall location in July.Delivered: Nicola Brander

Ms Brander said the shoot was purely about creativity, but if it were a match she wouldn’t be disappointed.

“But I mean, if I ended up being matchmaking, that’s pretty cool.”

Is there love outside the lens?

Ms. Brander received so much positive feedback when she shared the photos online that she decided to do another Stranger Session.

“I’ve actually had a lot of guys interested in the next one and I probably have about 30 women interested in doing another one.”

She said the next shoot will include a waterfall location in July.

“So a little more sexy, so that’s going to be interesting,” Ms. Brander said.

A man kissing a woman on the cheek
Mrs. Mazzara and Mr. Billsborough share a kiss during the photo shoot.Delivered: Nicola Brander

She said her followers still had one question they wanted answered: Was there love off the lens with Ms. Mazzara and Mr. Billsborough?

“The audience is saying, ‘Please keep us posted on their next date, or if they’re getting married eventually,'” Ms Brander said.

“I think if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen.

“I think people like it because it takes them out of their comfort zone and starts doing something different.”

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