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.


Keep. On. Going.

Last year, I became so focussed on where I wanted to be, comparing myself to the photographers who have been doing it for far longer than I have, who get to travel the world and take these amazing photos of impossibly wondrous scenery.  Who get paid to do every single job. Who do nothing else but immerse themselves in a world of cameras and photographs and art. 

Time for a reality check! I am a mother - a full time mother of two children under five! IT IS NOT EASY. I have suffered from chronic sleep deprivation, given 150 billion percent to being the best mum I can be, which in turn has meant that I have also spent time worrying and berating myself over things; do the children watch too much TV, do they eat well enough, am I attentive enough, the list goes on. 

Then we moved house. No wait, first we moved countries. With a four month old baby. Then we moved from a flat we were renting to a house we bought. Then when my son was 14 months, I fell pregnant again. And was really sick. Then having two children was a complete shock and such a huge challenge and a strain on my mental health. And then we moved house again. 

And amongst all of that, I have consistently given myself a hard time for not having a booming photography business. What was I thinking? 

So, now that we are settled, and staying put. And finally, I have a bit more time (and sleep), I can start to absorb this wonderful and chaotic journey I have been on, both as a mother, and an aspiring photographer. 

I am starting this year gently, with photographs of the people I know and love. And then, there are a few things planned for later on, such as a wedding ceremony of a close friend, an exciting elopement story, a maternity shoot, and a few other projects. 

And I shall just go with the flow. Enjoy the adventure and the learning. Study faces and lighting, practice different environments and situations. Critique my work honestly but kindly. And just Keep. On. Going. 

Yin and Yang

I have retreated this winter. I have just felt like hibernating; seeing less of people, doing less, and just feeling quiet and reflective. 

The only time I really wanted to pick up my camera was when I did a walk on my own through the Shapwick Reserve in Somerset, where my photos reflected the sombre and bleak mood of my mind these last few months. I just didn't feel like being creative. I didn't play my guitar, I didn't sing. I didn't write, and I didn't photograph. 

I was reading about the natural yin and yang of the seasons. During the warmer months, we have more energy and spark. We smile, we socialise, and we are active. We can get up earlier, and go to bed later.

Then, when winter falls, we start to retreat. Our energy levels need preserving, and it is a time to nurture ourselves with hearty food, warmth, and the comfort of our home. We can read, watch films, take long baths, and just generally lead a quieter life. 

Only now am I starting to resurface. It helps that we have moved house and are now much more settled. There is still a scatter of boxes and unattended paperwork, but otherwise, we are all happy and content with our new surroundings. 

And the creative fire inside me is burning once more. So, hurrah!! I have been photographing my children and cat, playing my guitar, devising plans for exciting paths ahead, and generally feeling lighter and brighter. Oh, and I can't wait for those warmer months! Please be a sunny summer, South West of England. 

 

 

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. 

Young Love, We Are.

It was really pure joy doing this family photography session. Lauren, Fred and their beautiful Kitty Rose were so much fun. 

I hung around at their home for the first part, just letting them do their thing pretty much. Home sessions are quite often led by the family - or children if they're old enough! And that makes for really natural photos. 

Fred had his guitar out and was playing and singing to Kitty as she was being fed... and their cat, Pippa even joined in. Well, not with the singing, but in with the family photo. 

I also love to shoot outdoors in a surrounding like this - I always use natural light, and there was plenty of space for variety and prettiness in this little garden in Brighton.