Waiting for Spring

I had the loveliest day last week with my children. It felt like Spring had finally arrived, after what has been a rather long and dreary winter.

We went to Tyntesfield and took our time wandering and exploring. We ate ice cream. We had a picnic. We walked around the gardens, and visited the greenhouses, which were alive with colour, summery scent and beautiful bumble bees! We relished in the sunshine all day. 

And then over the weekend it snowed again. And it was not welcome! Yet it still sits firmly in my garden, keeping Spring at bay. 

And so, we are waiting for Spring once more. 

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. 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

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. 

Little Love.

What a wonderful sight. A mother to be, with her precious cargo safely wrapped under winter warmers, and her man by her side.

This was my first venture out with my camera since we welcomed our second baby, Arabella. Who is now four months.

I've chosen a handful of images to show from the maternity session - I did two locations - the woods and home. 

It was awesome to do this again. And I remembered how much I love it. I hope I get to do many more. 


 

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. 


My man and my boy

I think I always imagined myself having a girl. I'm not sure why, because actually, I've always had a bit of a connection with boys. Through school they were always so much less complicated. And I just really liked that. 

I've always been a relationship kind of girl too. Pretty much since I was 11 or 12, I've gone straight from one to the next - and mostly they all lasted at least a year! In fact, when I was 15 I got together with a guy I'd dreamt of going out with for ages! And we stayed together for six years! A little too long in hindsight, but I've learnt so much from all my Mr Wrongs'.  And I'm a big believer that the ones that weren't right, lead you to the one who is right. 

So when I finally met my now husband - I just knew. I really, really knew. Pretty much from day one. And he says the same about me. Even though we are from opposite ends of the world, I still feel we were just meant to find each other. 

Then we had Wilfie - our beautiful boy. And sometimes I look at my man and my boy and think that surely I must be the luckiest girl in the world. 


Winter

I love winter. I always look forward to it after the summer (OK, only if we have a good one), but I do love dressing in cosy jumpers and big boots. Wearing hats and taking walks in the fresh air. 

This time last year I was preparing to move from the sunniest place in the world - Perth in Western Australia - back here to Bristol. We were really lucky and found an awesome little home for ourselves, backing right onto a wood... close to the city but you wouldn't know it... 

And as we're in the midst of winter... all my friends back in Perth are sharing all their amazingly blue and sunshine filled photos of the aqua water and white sand... and I must admit, I have a bit of a pang to be there myself. Any warm beach actually, somewhere where I can feel the sun on my skin, and then take a dip in the ocean. 

But it's just this time of year... January/February, where you already start to look forward to the summer again! Bring on the Spring... we have plans to redo our garden a bit, add a BBQ area and my husband is going to make a wood fired pizza oven! 

And look at the woods... still beautiful in the Winter, on what was a beautiful, clear day today. 


Mouse

I thought I'd officially introduce our cat. She's a good, funny sort, is Mouse. She doesn't say much. And her expression rarely changes. When she's awake she's wide eyed and bushy tailed, and when she's asleep she makes you want to cosy up to her. Her fur is super soft, but it's thick and fluffy - and she hardly malts! 

We got her as a six week old kitten out in 'whoop whoop', as they say in Australia - which means in the middle of nowhere, out in the bush. She was in a litter of six kittens, and was the only one left... we soon discovered why... 

She was a ridiculous and insane kitten, to the point of my husband and I actually feeling like we'd made a mistake in getting her. She used to just run wild, up the curtains, up anything she could pin her tiny claws in. With her tail always perfectly upright.  

She made what we called a devil growl - a sort of growly gargle as she'd hurtle around. And she's never really meowed. Maybe a squeak here and there, but it's very rare to hear an actual meow. 

We nicked named her Colin Feral as a kitten. She was really rather horrid! But as soon as she was allowed to go outside, she got much better.

We lived in Perth with her for three and a bit years, and then made the decision to bring her home with us to Bristol. We did consider rehoming her, but as I'd worked with cat rescue organisations, I knew there were far too many cats needing homes, and I just didn't want to abandon her. 

So... a long flight and a two hour car ride, a three month stint in a flat we didn't let her out of because we were going to move again. And now she is superbly content and happy.

We bought a little house at the end of a quiet culdesac, with a towering wood as our back garden for her to explore, climb trees, and come blackberry picking with us. She follows us down the path every time we go. Dogs or not. 

She's an Aussie through and through. She's hardy and very, very casual. And if she could, she'd wear a flannel shirt, with a beer in one paw and a steak in the other.

She's a good, funny sort, is Mouse.