Daughter Days

Here is my gorgeous and wonderful daughter, Arabella. She’s funny and cheeky and fierce and sometimes shouty and other times sweet and smart and talkative and lovely.

She starts school next year - I can’t believe it. She’ll only be four! And we get two days a week where we can hang out. So those days, I make sure I am spending quality one on one time with her. Because in only a short a year, that will be gone. It’s already gone with my son, who started school in September. And part of that makes me feel a bit sad. Because it’s out of my control, and I can’t change it. And because it makes me realise how fast this time has gone, and yes, everyone says it, and sometimes it’s annoying to hear, but… the time really does fly by, and will be gone before you know it. And school and friends will take over.

As a family, we stay at home a lot. Weekends are mostly spent in the house or garden, possibly out for a walk, or to extended family’s houses. But both my husband and I, (mostly) cherish this time together. And love to take it slowly, to live slowly, to just do nothing sometimes, but talk and hang out and listen to music and play with our children.

Here are a collection of photos of my daughter at one of our favourite National Trust hang outs - Tyntesfiled.

Slow the heck down

Sometimes we need to slow the heck down. Not just in our work, but our home lives, our social life, when we talk to others, when we do the food shop, when we're getting ready for the school run, when we're eating, thinking, sleeping... 

For me, slowing down when I am behind the lens is also important. Sometimes the pressure of the shoot makes me race, but when I've done that, I always wish I had taken more time. 

Going slower means better photos. I love to chat while I'm taking photos, but really, my favourite, and best thing to do, is to be quiet in my thoughts and my movements. Then I can find perspectives I may not have otherwise found. I see more expressions, frames, and textures. 

So when you're next rushing your children out the door for school, gulping your lunch down, hurrying conversation with someone because you don't have time, racing to walk the dog... Instead, take a breath and realise that rushing and stressing doesn't do anything to help anyone. Let alone you. And that slowing down is a better, more peaceful way to live. 

This photo was taken while I was waiting to cheer on my husband in his Man vs Mountain race. I was captivated by the parting of the mountains, surrounded in clouds, and supported by water. Such beauty.

This photo was taken while I was waiting to cheer on my husband in his Man vs Mountain race. I was captivated by the parting of the mountains, surrounded in clouds, and supported by water. Such beauty.


How I use light in photography composition

I love playing with light in my photo composition. It can change the mood of an image in an instant. And I love that. If I could take these kinds of photos all day long, I would! But of course, broad daylight, mid day sun and poorly lit conditions don't always allow me to do it this way, so I have to get creative!

If I am doing a photography session in someone's home, one of the first things I do is walk around the house looking for good lighting. And by good, I don't always mean bright. Sometimes, a tiny slither of light escaping through curtains that are just a little bit open, will create a beautiful halo of light - like in the first image of my son, and also the fourth image of a bride getting her makeup done - where you can just see legs! 

A portrait taken with the subject facing the window can give the most soft and natural lighting - like the last image of the bride looking out pensively. And it helps because the rest of the room is dark, with the only source of light coming from the window. 

The image of Denise with her beautiful bump was backlit by the window instead. And this cast interesting but soft shadows over her skin. 

In broad sun light, like mid day sun, I find it best - where possible - to find some sort of shade. Sometimes it is unavoidable, but the shade will help to create a much kinder light. The image of the dad holding his daughter was taken in Australia on a sunny day, at about 3pm. Dad and daughter were standing under the verandah, but towards the front of it, so they were just out of the direct light. 

Another way to add a different feel to a photo is to use the sun to create a feeling - like the photo of my daughter standing in the veggie patch. I positioned the sun partly obscured by her head, which added to the summer time feel and produced a lovely, gentle haze. 

Real life and a witches hat

This is my favourite type of photography. Natural, honest and candid. Where I just hang out with someone (my daughter, in this instance), and I take photos of the person or people, in their own environment. I don't take things out of the frame, I leave everything as it is. It is not contrived, instead it is completely imperfect, as it should be. 

Photos without a story are just that. They're photos, art, but there's no context. A model posing for the camera is positioned, and although the model has her or his own story, you don't know it. Sometimes, you can see it through their eyes, or feel it through the portrayal of the portrait. But often, it is nothing more than just a photo. And it serves its purpose. 

But if I am photographing in a home, why should I remove things from the frame? Why should I photoshop the radiator, or the toys in the background? Why should I lighten someone's eyes, or smooth their skin? Just as a model may be made to look thinner in a magazine. Or made to have whiter teeth, or larger breasts. 

Because that is not real life. And I want real life. I see it. And I love to photograph it the way it is. It shouldn't be hidden. It should be embraced. It should be imperfect. Because that is life. And it is beautiful. (Just like my daughter). 

 

 

 

Let the Forest Grow

I always wanted to be a singer or an actress. I did Performing Arts in College, and Commercial Music at University. I started songwriting at 14. I played in bands. I acted in plays. And I had boyfriends. I always wanted to be a wife. And then later, a mother. Oh, the desire to be a mother. It hit me hard when I met my husband. And it took over everything else.

All my existent desires were put out, like a forest on fire. Every tree alight was extinguished. But an aftermath of burnt earth lingered. And one day, what life remained would find a way to grow and prosper, and once more stand tall and bright with life and dreams. 

And that is where I find myself. Sitting in a cosy corner of a city cafe, with desire bubbling away in my blood. Stubborn and firm in my bones. Wanting to find a way out into the world. To do something special. To make a mark. But there's one thing that imprisons it in my body. 

FEAR.

I am afraid. Afraid to do what my heart yearns for. To hike in the hills alone, to swim in the deep sea, to run in the dark, to make a record, to write a book, to cut my hair, to be a photographer. I am afraid that I cannot do it. I am afraid that I won't be good enough. I am afraid that I'll have to sacrifice my life as a wife and a mother.  Because I cannot do that. I need to be the best mother. And I want to be. I am. I know that motherhood is actually something that I am not afraid of. 

But it's time I took a leap of faith. It's time I start to extinguish the fear. Every time I say no to fear, I let myself grow. I let life grow. I let the forest grow. 

Below image from Women Wild and Free, (c) Fur and Gold Photography. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

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 + 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. 

Secret Garden

I love getting outside into our little paradise garden. OK, so it hasn't got a permanent sunshine hanging over it, nor does it have an infinity pool, or a luxurious outdoor lounge area. But, it does back straight onto woodland, and we adore our little woodland friends - the Blue and Great Tits and Robins are my favourite. And Wilfie loves being amongst it all. Getting muddy, unearthing worms, and catching newts and frogs from the pond. It's our little city secret, because it doesn't feel like it's only ten minutes from the centre. We mostly just hear bird song... Lucky us.