I love telling stories because I simply love stories. One of my favorites is One Thousand and One Nights; however, we most often know it by the title Arabian Nights. It comes to us in the west from texts translated from the Arabic, and to them from ancient Persia. While the stories told within the different versions vary across cultures, the frame story of Shahryar and Scheherazade remains the same. From the Archives, here is a shoot with Mary Susan Sinclair-Kuenning as Scheherazade, the queen of stories.
Scheherazade has to captivate her new husband, the ruler Shahryar, with stories to keep him from executing her. Some wedding present, huh? This unique situation arose after Shahryar became aware that his wife and the wife of his brother were both unfaithful in their marriages. He proceeded to execute both women without ever hearing their side of the story. To ensure that he would not be betrayed again, he married a series of virgins to only slay them the next morning. However, Scheherazade was up to the challenge. Scheherazade knew how to spin a tale, often times, interrupting one story to chase a rabbit of another. By layering stories within stories, she was able to create an “Inception”-like web of fables. She had mastered how to tell a bedtime story and keep him coming back for more.
The author Danielle Pink said, “The future belongs to a different kind of person with a different kind of mind: artists, inventors, storytellers-creative and holistic ‘right-brain’ thinkers.” Scheherazade’s future continued because of her ability to tell creative, bewitching stories. Her story lives on because of the rich storytelling culture of the east. And it continues now because of my devotion to telling stories through beautiful pictures that capture the essence of a woman on a mission.