Being you on your wedding day

I saw a beautiful image of a bride on Instagram this morning. She had vibrant red hair and a delicate, vintage dress. And I felt like she had stayed true to herself, and was being who she wanted to be.

It reminded me about how important it is to be yourself when you get married, because if your wedding could talk, it should say everything about you and your partner that it could possibly say. 

I think it's easy to get carried away with Pinterest boards and magazine inpiration, that sometimes you forget about the real reason of your wedding. And you might end up getting a dress that isn't really you, or spending money on favours and decorations that you never really needed or even wanted. 

When I was planning my own wedding, I'd seen so many photos of weddings with amazing decorations and details. And I thought I wanted all that. But the nearer I came to my wedding, the more I realised that I didn't want those things at all, because they weren't a symbol of my husband and I, and in the end, it isn't those things that really matter.  

As a photographer, I want to spend the day taking photos of everyone's faces and expressions. Touches of hands. Hugging of arms and waists. Kisses of lips and cheeks. 

And when I take the bride and groom away for their intimate photos, I want them to soak up the hugeness of what has happened. I just want them to take a moment to enjoy each other. And I want it to be like I am not even there. So that when you see those moments in the photographs, you feel like they are genuine and capture the emotions you were feeling there in that time and that place.  

This is a photo of my brother and sister in-law - taken in 2013! 

This is a photo of my brother and sister in-law - taken in 2013! 

Social Media and Me.

I have a bit of a love hate relationship with social media. On one hand, I'm pretty sure I need it for my business, but on the other hand, I want to run to the hills and forget its very existence. 

I gave up on my personal Facebook page a while ago, but I seemed to have replaced it with Instagram, and can waste hours just scrolling through images. Sometimes I feel inspired by the images I see, but sometimes I just feel annoyed and a bit lost in a vast sea of photographers, who are all trying to be authentic and stand out from the crowd. 

My mind is so heavy with all of the information I soak up on a daily basis, just from going online. Whether its social media feeds, emails, news, blogs... it's just non stop. And I fantasise about going cold turkey and having a long sabbatical from it all. 

I just feel like my creativity is not even mine anymore, because I don't have the space in my head for my own thoughts to distinguish themselves. How am I supposed to think and do with so much swimming around up there, not to mention being a full time mum, and also trying to make time for my music and fitness, the latter of which I sadly do very little.  

And so, with the knowledge that I need social media for my business, I just need to find a way to make peace with it, and find a healthy balance that I can maintain. But I don't know what that is yet. 

First stop though, is to do more offline, real world things. I recently discovered a magazine called Breath, which is all about wellbeing and creativity and natural living. And in it, it suggests creating an inspirational mood board - a collage of images and/or writing, that can be on a set subject, such as photography or wellbeing, or just random things that make you feel uplifted and inspired.

I will explore this further in my next blog! 

The image below is from my Women Wild and Free session with Manon, a mother and yoga teacher. I love this photo - it really is wild and free. 

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Amongst the Trees - Moments that Matter

What a lovely family. So genuine and natural and so many smiles. We went on a little woodland adventure for a couple of hours, and I just sort of blended in with the trees and leaves, letting this gorgeous little family lead my photography. This is what I do best. And it is what makes for the most honest, raw and natural family photos you could hope for. 

Being a stay at home mum + photographer

Sometimes I wish I had just wanted to be a nurse or a teacher or something stable and permanent and useful. 

Being a photographer is hard work. And that's not to say I am opposed to hard work, quite the contrary. But I am a now person. I want things to happen now. I want a hundred people to make a booking with me now. I want a thriving photography business now. I want a kitten now. 

Of course I have to put in a lot of time and energy to achieve that. And with two small people to look after, it leaves me feeling a little exhausted and downhearted. And sometimes I wonder if it's all worth it. If I am worth it. 

But I just have this innate creative passion inside me. I am a dreamer. A romantic. An idealist. I have a vision in my head of the photographer I want to be. And because I'm a perfectionist, I start doubting it all because it's taking me so bloody long to get there! 

So I must remember that I have made leaps and bounds of progress in the last couple of years. Aside from being a full time mum, I've created a new Women Wild and Free project (a few of which I have shared below), which will soon be featured in a family mag. I've had some lovely family photo shoots, and I've improved massively with my technique and with my artistic vision. 

I have really enjoyed this journey, and found a huge sense of achievement along the way. And really, it's all about that. I mean, yes, it would be lovely to be earning a decent wage too! But... perhaps good things really do come to those who wait. 

Photographing Joni Fuller

Music is my special thing. From the age of seven I knew I loved singing and performing. And when I was in secondary school I got my first guitar and wrote my first song at 14. And I'm still going now.

This was my first venture into mixing photography with music. I got to shoot Joni Fuller - a lovely, young woman, who happens to be a multi instrumentalist and songwriter. She's just about to move to Bristol (welcome to the Bristol music scene, Joni!). 

For me, photographing musicians is like a cat finding a sunny spot in which to snooze. It just feels right and cosy and warm and lovely. And I have a lot of heart and understanding to give it. 

Women Wild and Free Sessions: Mother + Superwoman

I take my hat off to this lovely woman. She is a mother, wife, part time employee, and she is starting up her own business as a Makeup Artist. She also happens to be my sister in law. 

Her husband works pretty long hours, so she keeps her house (and daughter) in order, as well as working her job and putting in the hours to learn her trade. 

I jumped at the chance to photograph Lauren. She is such a fabulous example of Women Wild and Free. She has made the time to follow her heart and her passion for beauty, to learn something new, something that gives her a sense of identity and achievement. Something that gives her space away from all the other demands. And that's not an easy feat. 

And that is why I feel so strongly that mothers flipping RULE. Seriously. I feel it in my heart and in my bones. What marvellous humans we are. We are strong. We keep everything together. We are the backbones of the family. Of life. We love fiercely, we nurture gently, we organise chaos. And we sacrifice our bodies and our minds. 

So, Lauren - mother, sister, friend and fellow business woman. I love you. And I think you are absolutely wonderful and brilliant. Keep going. Keep rocking. Keep ruling. And keep loving. xxx

 

 

 

Women Wild and Free Sessions: Mother + Silversmith

Meet Ellie. Mother and Silversmith. And my first session for my project, Women Wild and Free. I went to hang out with her at the Bristol studio where she spends time away from her family, bashing and beautifying silver to turn it into a unique and heartfelt piece of jewellery. 

This summer's Women Wild and Free sessions are all about mothers. But we're leaving the children at home this time, and focusing on the interest, hobby or work that drives these women forward. That gives them something to own. That creates purpose away from the demands of being a parent. That offers identity, a little bit of you. The you that was there before the nappies and the endless heaps of washing.

Below are some words from Ellie, and of course, the photos to accompany her inspiring story of strength, independence, desire and determination. A round of applause, please. 

"I love jewellery. I love diamond sparkles but was equally excited by the £1 silver studs my ma used to buy at Paddington station on her way home from meetings in London."

"Making jewellery is honest and creative but it requires huge levels of concentration. If you are wondering about the kids tea you will bugger your soldering. If your mind wanders to the weekend you will make a hammer mark in the wrong place and have to spend 15 minutes cleaning it up."

"It feels good to have something that I am praised for that isn't my children. Or how well I have nursed someone."

You can check out Ellie's sparkly creations at: www.gildedmagpie.com

Women Wild and Free is a project owned by Jemima Rose Brash of Fur and Gold Photography. Images and any relating material cannot be published or replicated anywhere else online, or in print, without the authors consent. 

Moments That Matter

As a photographer, one of my favourite things to do, is to hang out amongst a family, and document their time together.

For me, it is these every day moments that really matter. These moments that can be taken for granted, and are soon gone in the blur of growing up, going to school, and work, and what many people call, 'the grind'. 

But sometimes, if we just stood back and slowed down. We would see how beautiful these moments are. The gorgeous smiles. The laughter. The noise. The tears and tantrums, which may not be exactly gorgeous, but they are all part of the journey. The every-day rituals of brushing teeth, breakfast, bathing, sleeping. And all the quiet and chaotic moments in between. 

I had the pleasure of spending time with a lovely family last weekend. The photographs below tell their every-day story, and the magic and beauty of the moments that matter. 

Doing it my way.

I've been pondering lately... what do I really want to do? Why am I still pursuing my music? Why am I a photographer? Who am I doing it for?

Because it's bloody hard work. Both music and photography consume plenty of my energy and time, and I don't have an awful lot of that to spare, in between being a mum and a wife, (and a cat and hedgehog and bird feeder). And all of those things I want to do really well. 

And then the answer floated into my mind like a falling leaf from a tree. I am doing this for me. And I don't have to pretend otherwise. And I don't have to perform to expectations. I don't have to do it the way other people do it. I just have to do it my way. 

I say all of this like I live by these words. But there are days when I really don't. And my confidence gets sapped. And I am fragile and lost. On those days I ask myself why am I doing this? All over again. 

Art is a tough career. Whether you paint, make music, take photos, dance... you have to put your heart into it, or else it isn't genuine. And a big part of me is that I am incredibly genuine. And I want that to show in the stuff that I do. But sometimes it's hard to put it out there when so much of you has been invested. And not everyone is going to understand it the way you do. And not everyone is going to love it, either. 

Perhaps the answer, that I'm doing this for me, will help me to get go forwards, and help me to find and hold onto that wavering self belief, so I can carry on doing it my way.  

 

 

 

Women Wild and Free

Women Wild and Free will be a session I run each Spring. For my first one this year, it is for mothers exclusively. 

Since becoming a mother myself, I have an infinite respect for the strength we have and the love we give to our children. It’s been so hard at times, and no matter how much I felt prepared for motherhood, nothing could truly prepare me for how much my life was going to change. 

I want my sessions to help give identity to mothers. Because it’s so easy to let our identity recede into the nappies, sleepless nights, washing, cleaning, the school run… and perhaps it takes a long time to return. Or for some, maybe it never does.

Are you a mum? Do you have hobby that makes you feel happy and confident? Your hobby could be anything from swimming, running, yoga or riding to painting, jewellery making or playing a musical instrument.

For me, I feel wild and free when I am behind the lens, and when I am singing and writing music. I also feel alive and myself when I am walking in the hills, the woods, or lying under a marbled sky listening to the rambling stream and beautiful bird song. There, I feel at peace. I feel free to be me. Away from the demands of motherhood. 

For my sister, (featured below), her place is the open water. It’s where she reunited with her mojo after 10 years of being a stay at home mother. It’s where she feels confident and strong. It’s like swimming in the wild water made her remember that her purpose was more than just raising children. 

I will be looking for mothers who would be interested in being featured in Women Wild and Free. Wild and free doesn't have to mean being surrounded by nature - your place could be the city, your home, your yoga studio, your grandmothers house... the stables... we are all different.

If this is you, please get in touch. Free session, option to buy photographs afterwards.

As with my photographic style and nature, these sessions will be relaxed, candid, beautiful and fun. And if I can help it, they'll be therapeutic, too. 

Jemima. X

Women Wild and Free is a project owned by Jemima Rose Brash of Fur and Gold Photography. Images and any relating material cannot be published or replicated anywhere else online, or in print, without the authors consent. 

Heart matters.

Sometimes it's not about being what other people want you to be, but following your heart and your bones and being who you want to be. 

I was driving along today, and I was saying to myself, don't pretend to be this person, this photographer who acts the way I think photographers should act. Bouncy, extrovert, confident... because that's just a load of rubbish. That's not who I am. And how am I supposed to take photographs that have heart. That have meaning. That have life? How am I going to do that if I am not being me? 

I'm not the most confident or loud person. I like to quietly think and ponder. I like space and privacy. I like simplicity at a slow pace.  I'm a dork. I'm goofy. I am the most un-witty person in the world. And I am the best at spoonerisms. I'm passionate and genuine and I cannot lie. I love like nothing else. Love is my best. 

So from now on. I'm being me. I am being true to myself and my creative heart. And I hope that will show in my photographs. I'm going to photograph what I love the most. What feels right. And I'm going to push myself. And I am going to try really, really hard to believe in myself. 

Forget about perfection. I'm striving for originality. Feeling. Heart. Creating what inspires me. 

 

 

 

 

 

Rufus

How have you become such a lovely, grownup boy, Rufus? I have watched you grow from a bald baby, to a top trump playing toddler, to an awkward eight year old, to a kind, confident and clever 11 year old. You seem so close to being a young man, yet surely, so far away...

And as you finish up the last months of junior school, I feel you are ready for your next adventure. And before we know it, you will be more independent. Growing taller and further away from the boy you are now. I hope you will keep some of him right here with you. I know you will.

The first birthday milestone.

That first birthday milestone is so momentous and worthy of celebrating. And not so much for the toddler - they won't remember it! Although the photos will be a lovely keepsake. But the parents - well, you deserve a huge hug and a bottle of something you love, because you survived the first year. And that is a massive achievement. Truly it is. And I know because I've done it. Twice. 

So when my friend Lucie hired me as the photographer for her son's first birthday, I felt excited and honoured. And I wanted to capture some of those precious, special moments of a first birthday, as well as the everyday (not always) special ones too. 

Every mother deserves a medal. And Lucie is no exception. Her family live far away, and she and Mikey have been doing this alone. And that's inspiring and brave and strong. Well done, Lucie and Mikey on raising a fine, healthy, confident lad. And thank you for asking me along to share Alexei's first birthday. 

Learning from the unexpected.

When I was pregnant and dreaming about my life as a mother, I always thought about how much I could teach my children. But I didn't consider for a moment that my children would teach me - that I might learn from them. 

Three years on, with two children under three - I have happily realised that my children are teaching me, too. They are teaching me about themselves, and about myself, and about joy and magic and laughter and instinct. 

My son experienced his first giant bouncy castle and giant slide at a local fete last weekend. The first thing he did the moment his shoes were off, was to plough himself onto the slide, climbing up the steps and throwing himself down, without a moment's hesitation or worry. Then he buzzed around the bouncy castle. And oh, the happiness! Which was well matched with sorrow when it was time to leave. Although his misery was abruptly ended with an offering of a biscuit.

I am realising more than ever about about the power of simplicity. And the days go by, my desire to live a simple life is growing stronger. I am turning off my phone more. I'm restricting and lessening the amount of mindless and not-so-mindless stuff that I let seep into my skin and my bones and my heart, that pulls at me until I burn out and feel doom and gloom. I just cannot take on that amount of information! I don't have the space or the time or the energy. It's what social media and the internet have brought upon me. And I'm getting tired of it. I'm looking elsewhere. I'm seeking something else, something more, something deeper, something meaningful, something personal.

But more than anything, I am learning what it means to truly live in the moment, as children do. Without anticipation or fear or worry of what lies ahead. Not yet. Thanks goodness, not yet. 

When I went in to check my sleeping children last night, I passed and I breathed them in, and savoured their beautiful smell. their unique little beings, their innocence. Their capacity for happiness and joy and wonder. And well, my heart just about burst. 

This is us.

We took the children swimming today, and it was one of those times when you think, why did we bother? Why didn't we just stay home instead? So, in the afternoon, we did what we always do, and go off into the woods. There are two ponies and three goats up the path, who we fed apples to, then down the path and into the woods, there are conkers! I do love Autumn.  

 

 

My grandmother.

Do you know, if I could choose the face I'd most like to photograph, it would be my grandmothers. I need to do a portrait session with her. She's wonderful and strong, and her soft face tells stories of love and heartache and everything there is to feel and know and see in a lifetime.

She was an evacuee, and lived apart from her mother from the age of nine to 13. Which is actually inconceivable, right? When she was 16 she met my late grandfather. They married and she had four children. And there are 13 grandchildren, and so far, nine great grandchildren. My son adores her - we all do. Big Love to you, Larls. xxx

boy and box

Today we had a blast in the sunshine and a box! These moments are simple. And there's something about that simplicity that I absolutely love. 

I read something recently by a photographer called Zalmy Berkowitz, and he said something along the lines of documenting moments as they are, aka - showing it like it is. And I wholeheartedly agree - in fact, it's become my moto. I want to show life as it happens. Life as it is. Life like today.