Where have you been?

What a wonderful, wonderful year. So much exploration and discovery. Heart and soul. Laughter, tears, and everything in between.

My training has come to an end - but really, this is just the beginning. I may have a certificate that says that I have qualified. But my learning will never stop, with a curiosity and desire to unearth so much more.

So now, five things.
+ New: Yoga Teacher.
+ Always: Mother
+ Promising: Photographer
+ Stable: Copywriter and social media guru
+ Rekindle: Music

My daughter starts school in September. And it hurts, but also it opens new possibilities. It gives new time and promises to be interesting. I will cry big tears when she goes in for her first day. I remember only yesterday those big blue eyes looking up at me when I fed her. She’ll only be four. We won’t add to the population by having any more. So it’s kittens from here on out - speaking of which, we adopted another one! I’ll include a photo of him (Colin) in this set of recent images.

Until next time - and it won’t be as long this time!










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. 

Swinging through Autumn

What a wonderful way to spend a Sunday, and my Dad's 64th birthday, swinging through the Autumn trees. I really do relish these family moments - moments that matter, to me, more than anything else in my life.

I wanted to be a singer. I wanted to be famous. And we can make excuses for everything, but when I say that I would prefer this life, a life with my wonderful, loving family, over another life I could have had, I mean it.

I can dream of that other life, about touring on the road, living in the studio, spending my days and nights writing music. But what would I have to forfeit to have that life? 

When I imagine the end of my days. I imagine feeling content because I made time to be a mother and a wife and a daughter and a sister, an auntie and a cousin and a granddaughter and grandmother. If I didn't have those things, I would regret it more than anything. I would wish I had chosen a family over a career in the music industry. How could it possibly compare? 

I do ask myself if I could have had both? And maybe I could have. But not in the way that I have it now. There would have been days and weeks and months I would have missed of my children growing up. And that is not the mother I wanted to be. No. Being a mother - the mother I am, is something I could never, ever regret. 

Monday Musings

It is my daughters nap time. Cup of tea. Biscuit. And time to catch up on stuff in peace and quiet. BLISS. 

So, the first news is that we are moving! We decided to bite the bullet and move to the countryside. We wanted to do it now, (slightly last minute) so that we can apply for schools for our son, who will start next September. 

The village we are moving to is about 40 minutes commute from Bristol. It has a pub, a bakery, dentist, doctors, charity shop, wine shop, and a little library, too! And, we will be closer to my family. 

We may well be in by Christmas, which is, unbelievably, only six weeks away! So, we are making the most of the lovely woods behind our house, with its falling orange and yellow leaves. We will miss these woods a lot, and have so enjoyed walking in them almost every day for three years. But, it really is time to escape the city. It just feels right for our family. 

With all the stress and chaos of the move preparation, I've lost my mojo a little bit. And I haven't picked up my guitar since our last gig in September. I've been going to bed as early as 8pm! But I have managed to finish my book (This Must Be The Place, by Maggie O'Farrel - a gripping read). And I WILL get back to my guitar and our plans to record an EP. 

Photography wise, I have my first wedding booked for next May. So that's really encouraging! I am also investing in a new camera - I borrowed my friends Canon 5d iii and fell in love with it. My 60d just doesn't cut the mustard any more. So, I'm really excited about getting that. 

I'll leave you with a few photos from my adventure in the woods with the children last week... using trusty Canon 60d. 

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. 

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.