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. 

There's something about Carmen

I took these when I was living in Australia. I think Carmen and Archie were the first Mother and baby I photographed. I'm not sure if it's just me, but there's something about these images that really gets me. And I think it's Carmen.  

Perhaps it's because I witnessed what a gentle and strong Mother she was. Carmen had Archie at home in a birthing pool. It was a really long and intense labour - if she was in hospital, they would have intervened - there's no doubt - but she listened to her body and her instinct and gave birth to Archie naturally. 

Her husband worked the mines - what the Aussie's called FIFO (fly in fly out). Many partners choose this way of life, because it pays so well, so they work 12 hour days, then eat, then go to bed, then get up, work, eat, bed.

There are different work variables, some work one week on, then have one week at home - others work two on two off etc. Carmen's husband was there for two weeks after Archie was born, but then he worked for nine weeks, so that they could go on holiday to see Carmen's sister, who had recently moved much further away with her three children. 

Archie needed to wear these boots for 23 hours a day (shown in the photo) - to help correct his club foot.  And it just really struck me how she was doing this all on her own. 

Just her and her baby. And the never ending washing, feeding, rocking, shushing... you don't see much daylight in those early days. And it can get really lonely. But you do it. And you love this little person so much, it hurts, it stings... it weighs you down. But this small person is your warmth, your light and your life. 

I am here.

My eyes are open and I am all at once awake. For a moment I want to lie my head back on the pillow, but I am needed elsewhere. I am needed now. So I go. Wrapping my shawl around my shoulders on my way. In the dark I know this off by heart. I know where he is, where his little body lies in blindness waiting for me, with arms reaching out. He knows I am coming. I can hear the change in his cries when he hears my footsteps, when he hears my whispers. My darling, I am here. I bring you to the warmth of my skin. Close and safe, my beautiful boy.  As if in urgency feeding and calm. You are there. And I am here.