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.

Ethical Hour

I went into my first Zero Waste Shopping store the other day, to buy a bar of shampoo - to not only cut out the plastic I use, but also reduce chemicals. I've been using natural skin care for yonks, but have recently stepped up my effort in lessening my carbon footprint, single use plastics, thoughtless purchases, and other things that cause a negative impact on the world - sometimes even unknowingly.

A quick click of the mouse to buy something from Amazon (click here to find out about their black marks), or a sweep down the supermarket aisle to take home a trolley full of throw-away plastic packaging. Or buying eggs that say Free Range, but actually that means that the chicken has to happen upon the tiny tunnel at the far end of the barn, that leads to outdoors... 

So when Sian Conway of Ethical Hour contacted me to do a shoot with her, I was really bloomin' thrilled! Ethical Hour is super, lovely business - it helps people to live and work more ethically every day. (Check out the portfolio of clients here). Living more ethically is such a hot topic at the moment - it has been for a while, but it seems to be really ploughing forward and it's making me feel hopeful. 

Sian wanted a collection of natural, candid photos of herself, to use on her website and for branding at events she attends. Her brief was foliage, organic and natural... so we headed out to Ashton Court to chat about her business, Hippo's laying eggs, and my witty comments to put people at ease (sweaty bananas, silly sausages, and other very dorky things that I blurt out - always gets a laugh though!). 



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).