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.
I got to spend two beautifully sunny Spring days in Barnes with Danielle and Chris.
The first was one of those quiet, tentative days when you are just two humans waiting on the newest addition to your tribe, a little unsure and crazily excited.
The second was just as peaceful (which is no mean feat with a newborn in the house) but was sprinkled with that little dose of magic that a tiny human brings...
The long stares, the tiny fingers wrapped around yours, and general dazed and milky haze that seeps in to every waking hour.
It was, and always is, such a pleasure to share in these special moments, and capture them so they can be treasured for years to come.
The thing is; I am never just coming to take photographs of your kids.
Yes, your kids are adorable and joyous and hold centre stage in your life right now -
but you are the one running the whole.damn.show.
You are there, everyday, performing the same acts of love over and over.
I come to put that evidence in your history books.
As adults we have such vulnerabilities when it comes to being seen; afraid of being in front of a camera and letting things unfold.
I know how this feels, the discomfort of standing in the light when all we really want to do is watch admiringly as our small people shine like little beacons.
As women it’s especially hard, it can feel that we need to be or look or act a certain way.
Know this: I don’t want or need you to be anything but who you are right now.
Because that is everything.
Your kid thinks so too.
This afternoon with Clare and Jude was everything that I love about at home family photography sessions.
It was chubby little fists doing puzzles, crazyily jumping on the bed and Mama, followed by quiet tenderness.
We had football on the beach, a few tears, mittens by Grandma, moments of being hypnotized by the sea and each other.
These two humans showed up exactly as they are and let me document their days. It was awesome and beautiful and real.
Thank you for inviting me in for a while <3
Hanging out at Alys's shop Between Two Thorns might have been my most chilled out session to date.
I got to spend a heavenly morning with the sun streaming in, chatting all things business and plants and life with Alys, having a few cuddles with Fred the dog and photographing this little oasis in all it's glory.
I love this kind of creative work, showing the heart and personal side of a business and I'm super keen to shoot more during 2018.
If you'd like some cool, creative photography for your website/Instagram etc to show the heart of who you are and what you do - drop me an email!