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!
A few weeks ago I found out that some work I submitted for a thing, wasn't accepted.
I didn't win, wasn't chosen, my life was not about to change from amazing exposure and dollar dollar bills y'all.
OOF. THE BLOW OF IT. THE GUT PUNCH DISAPPOINTMENT.
My immediate thoughts were as follows:
See? You're not good enough!
Why would they want you anyway?
Did you really think they'd choose your work?
I sat with those thoughts for a little while, and worked them through. I'm not one to succumb to the little devil who occasionally spouts these thoughts, and my rational and logical side is well versed in good pep talks.
I do think I'm good enough, hence entering in the first place. If I can't believe in my work, who will?
They would want me for the same reason anyone else hires me - the way I see the world.
Did you really think they'd choose your work? Well actually, yeah. And I'll think so the next time I put myself out there too.
Still, there was disappointment, because SPOILER ALERT, I'm human.
But this process of putting myself out there and being rejected made me think -
there is such vulnerability in business, and we should really talk about that.
Being able to be vulnerable is a key skill when working for yourself.
The whole process is one of vulnerability - you put yourself out there, make your art, ask people to look, engage, buy into who you are and what you do... and you wait.
You lay it all out on the table, heart and work and thoughts exposed and hope something connects.
Is that not the most vulnerable act you can think of?
Me writing you this email, telling you how I felt like I failed, is an act of vulnerability.
But the alternative, which would be telling you that EVERYTHING IS GREAT AND THE SUCCESSES ARE RELENTLESS! wouldn't
a) be authentic, b) push anything forward, and c) would be a missed opportunity for me to connect with you.
The point of making ourselves vulnerable is to move things along.
You can't get from where you are to where you want to be without vulnerability.
Without taking risks. Without putting it out there and seeing if it flies.
Every act of vulnerability is choosing courage over comfort.
It's knowing that you might not land that client, or have your work chosen for the thing, but that you can show up, work in hand, believe in yourself and do it anyway.
So I'm here to tell you today - GO DO THE THING. That thing you've been wanting to do that scares you, makes you vulnerable, that could sink or swim. Set it free and see what happens. Be open to being vulnerable.
Think of me as your personal cheerleader, shouting from the sidelines.
Regardless of outcome, the act of courage takes you a step closer to where and who you want to be. YOU GOT THIS.
I had the absolute pleasure of photographing Tamara Colchester for some headshots to celebrate the release of her very first book, The Heart is A Burial Ground.
The Guardian profiled her book and the fascinating story of 3 generations of Tamara's family encapsulated within it, here, along with one of the photos we captured.
Many congratulations to Tamara on her first book!
When I get to shoot weddings, I'm not embarrassed to say that I get swept away in it all. The hopeless romantic in me let's loose and has no shame - I swoon, dance, and maybe, sometimes, might get something in my eye. Ok ok, both eyes.
This marriage was one of those occasions where I swooned real hard.
Becks and Joel arranged a day that had it all - an amazing venue, all the fun, excellent food, an absurd amount of love and an order of the day with emoji detail. And guys, did you see Becks in that dress?! And the love wasn't just between them - from the moment I arrived that morning to find the bridesmaids everyone wishes for tending to and keeping everything under control, to the best men holding it down and doing a quick Pret a Manger run when there was an accident with the catering - I knew that this was going to be a day where family and friends supporting this awesome couple was the main event.
It was the ultimate pleasure to capture this day - THANK YOU for inviting me in Becks & Joel x
And a special shout out to the amazing Charlotte Green who was the second shooter of dreams and some of these beautiful shots come from her!