There are some people who you just have chemistry with.
Confession: sometimes, as a photographer, picking up my camera for myself feels like a gargantuan task.
If I've been shooting a lot for work, or my head has been crowded with day to day stuff like packed lunches and school runs and the 30,000 loads of washing (seriously, howwwwww???) then moving myself to think creatively about my everyday can feel like A Lot.
Other peoples dirty pants don't necessarily breed creativity, ya feel me? (Although Tracey Emin would probably win the Turner Prize with that.)
But a few weeks ago I realised it was time to just push through and make the damn work. We're in the middle of winter over here in the UK (despite the freak heatwave we just had - RIP earth) so the light is er, interesting, which in a way gave me an excuse not to seek it all the time.
Let's not look for the big moments or the amazing light or the picture perfect stuff, I said to myself, just pick up the damn camera when you can.
I came up with the hashtag #weekofmoments and that's what I shot, every day.
I liked doing it so much, it turned in to two weeks without me even noticing.
Sometimes the light was there, and sometimes it wasn't.
Sometimes my kids were the focus, and sometimes they weren't.
Sometimes I was feeling it, other times I shot 8 frames and put the thing down again.
But for two weeks I concentrated on those every day moments, even making the space to put myself in the frame so my kids remember who I am, and like all stuff that takes a bit of effort, it felt good.
In case you're feeling slumpy, or you just want some ideas of what to look for when the washing bin is overflowing and the winter light is at it's dullest, here's what I shot:
Home from school
Getting out the bath
Sitting on the sofa
Husband working in pj's (admittedly mostly for the light, not because I'm a total perv)
Walking around the city (London and Brighton)
Bits of home life - eg drawing in the kitchen, chatting over the table
Slow Saturday morning
This list is pretty usual for a few weeks in our house.
Shooting my kid as she walked in though the door from school is one of my favourites - it's her "I'm home" face! And the one of my son getting out the bath, face obscured and tiredness still there for all to see feels like him. Like home.
And same goes for my husband and daughter sat on the sofa at 7pm, him on his phone and her on his head. No great light, nothing particularly special happening except that everyday love and family rhythm which HELLO is totally special.
Welcome to my life.
It's pretty damn special, dirty pants and all.
In the last 6 months I've had the pleasure of shooting a handful of families who are visiting the UK for their vacations.
Jenna and her family were the first to ask me to capture this for them, and I can't tell you how excited I was to type scream
when she asked me.
I've known Jenna via the wonder that is the internet for a while now - she's a fellow photographer, creative, artsy soul, who is generous and kind and just a massive list of all the good things.
Whenever we hang out or chat it's quick to get to the stuff that matters - the heart of everything.
Those kinds of people are my truly my favourite.
Shooting photographers is the both the best and scariest of sessions-
BEST, because they encourage you to push and grow and make something new. Basically, you really wanna wow them.
But also SCARY, because these are people with their own camera skills and visual talent
and so, you really wanna wow them.
But I'll tell you a secret about female photographers - they are the hardest done by.
They are running around creating art of their own children and partners, and other peoples loves on the regular...
but not often does someone do it for them.
And so it was a gift to be able to hand these over to Jenna after our time together. her, at the centre of it all.
I hope that when her children look back on these they'll remember that summer in London, running amok through a city ablaze with the most beautiful September light.
The feeling of their mothers gaze and hands holding on to the only thing that matters, whilst the red of the telephone boxes
lit everything up behind them.
Guys, you made London look even more beautiful than it already is. Thank you for sharing that time with me x
If you're about to head to London or Brighton for a vacation and would like me to come and capture your family exploring the city, let's chat!
Oh 2018, What to say about you, hey?
On the personal side, it was a year of extremes. There were big changes and life shifts and unexpected surprises around too many corners for my liking.
On the work side, the personal side made me shift gears. You know when you're running at capacity and the only thing for it is to buckle down and focus on the real, important, non-negotioable bits? That's what work gave me this year, the clarity to focus on the only thing that matters - my clients.
Looking back over the images I made this year with the people who invited me in is a JOY.
2018 gave me new life and birthdays and weddings and a baptism and anniversaries, along with the extraordinary ordinary of so many wonderful families.
I shot wake ups and meal times and cake making and museum trips and cafe hangs and story time and bath times and bedtimes.
The whole gamut of human emotion, everyone pulling and holding on to the things they love the most.
It gave and kept my hope alive.
Knowing I can walk down an street, knock on a door and find behind it a family who are just living their lives, carrying out everyday acts of love and tenderness over and over (in a myriad of unsexy ways, as David Foster Wallace would say) - that is hopeful.
Hope for humans and society and hope for the wider world.
"If you want to change the world, go home and love your family"
And to all the wonderful people who invited me in to capture them doing just that this year, THANK YOU.
Here's a little bit of what that looked like....
If 2019 is the year you want these moments captured for yourself, then drop me a line and let's make it happen!
My job allows me to be a part of some very cool things.
Getting to photograph amazing young women (the Downton Abbey Actress Catherine Steadman, in this instance) at the launch of her debut book launch, is definitely one of them!
How inspiring that Catherine wrote this book in the notes section of her phone (see? phone time pays off!) in between scenes at her day job. She makes me want to work harder.
Huge congratulations to Catherine on a brilliant book, which was also chosen as one of Reese Witherspoons book choices of the month. Go get your own copy now!
If you have an event which you'd like some intimate, cool and authentic visuals for, drop me an email!
I posted a video over on Instagram and FB, all about motherhood and body image and what it means to put ourselves in front of a camera.
It’s something that’s been coming for a while, a subject I think about often in a professional capacity, and everyday in a human one.
This soft unease in my gut at how the discomfort and anxiety around what we look like and how we feel in our bodies is leading us to a place that, whenever I think about it, I get sad.
When we purposefully avoid putting ourselves in the frame, we are erased from our own history books.
In my working life, I encounter women’s feelings of discomfort at being seen, a lot.
Being able to witness and hold space for other women who are pushing themselves out of their comfort zone, who are willing to trust me and let me in, is an amazing privilege. I feel so lucky that it’s a conversation I’ve had with many women, who have decided that even though it feels tricksy/weird/straight up alien to have a short, blonde woman prone to hugging, point a camera at them, that the pay off will be worth it.
It’s something I never take lightly, and always want to deliver on.
At home, I feel those massive feelings of discomfort in own my body too. As the photographer in life and in the family, it’s easy for me to hide.
To get in the frame I have to either 1) self portrait, 2) ask my husband to take my photo (which makes me feel like a bit of a tit) or 3) hire someone.
Luckily, I know a lot of excellent photographers. Last summer, my friend Jenna came and took some amazing photographs of us, of me.
Putting myself in the position of client was a brilliant reminder for me of how truly vulnerable making it is.
I worried about things I remind my clients over and over not to worry about. At first, I felt like a clumsy oaf - putting my arm in the wrong place or making weird facial expressions (story of my life, that one). But Jenna did for me what I hope I do for my clients (and this is why a good photographer is worth their weight in gold). She reminded me to be me, to let her worry about the light and the expressions and the placement of bodies. She reminded me to be in the moment as much as possible, and let her worry about the rest.
It is not your job as a client to make a good photograph, it’s the job of your photographer.
This is why if you feel uneasy, or nervous, about being in front of the lens, the right photographer is worth their weight in gold.
After a while, the camera was secondary to everything else wonderful. And now I have amazing photographs that bring me joy when I see them.
My children have their own treasure, with me as the jewel.
This is what I hope I can give you, too.
Take a look at the video for more chat around this - and if you want to be brave and work through some issues you have by letting me make some magical images of you, get in touch!
If you want to win my heart at a family session:
1) Bake a cake with pure abandon
2) Lick EVERYTHING
3) Jump in to bed to read stories, even though you worry it might look a little weird
4) Let me revel in the gloriousness that is your Saturday afternoon - feeding, tears, laughter, all of it.
This is the second time I've had the absolute pleasure of hanging with Alexa and her family (an amazing photographer in her own right, no pressure!) but this time I got to meet the newest addition to the team. With the big sparkly eyes and most welcoming smile I've ever seen on a kid, meeting J was special - Alexa was in the very, very early days of pregnancy the last time I captured them.
The story and love within the walls of this little unit is one I'm so, so privileged to tell. And this is only the first part!
But for now, let's revel in the mess of baking with 3 year olds, and reading stories in the afternoon light...
Before I photograph a family, I ask them what they like to do together, how they spend their days.
Usually when you hire a photographer it's because of a BIG MOMENT. Like a wedding, or a birth, or just a tonne of family getting together once in a blue moon.
But for me, and hopefully you, the real magic lies in the little moments. Because life is made up of the little moments, right?
It's the mornings spent drinking coffee on the sofa, reading Dear Zoo on the floor, taking your slow, sweet time getting ready for the day. And if you live where we do, then it might also include a stroll to the beach for the very first 'toes in the sea' dip of your life.
There's an openess and trust that you have to have to let a stranger (hi! it's me!) in at times like this, To let an outsider witness the intimacy of you being you. Georgia and Dave had both by the truckload, and hanging out with them on this sunny Saturday was a little bit of a dream.
I mean, look at them! Love, connection, joy... and an ease with each other that makes me ache in the best way.