Hey you lovely people,
It seems to have been a month of reflection (still) for me. This month has been full of self discovery, history, truth, connection and gratitude. It has been a great month! Don`t get me wrong there have been black moments but I choose to forget them and reflect on the positive.
I have been asking myself this question this month, “Why do I love portrait photography so much”. It is true that I have always loved photography, all styles, landscape, nature, arty. Even before I was able to take a picture myself, as a child I would spend hours looking at my Nan`s old photographs and some of those dated back to the first world war and maybe further. They were all portraits, styled portraits that were cherished as gifts not only for a lifetime but as it seems for generations. How truly wonderful it was that I was able to look at my ancestors, in their beautiful finery, posing with their love ones. I felt a connection to these fine people who I had never met, I liked staring at their eyes, wondering what they were thinking. It was probably, “I wish this would be over!”. As they had to remain still for a while, and it seemed that smiling in earlier photography was not encouraged.
I would also spend many a rainy afternoon rummaging through my mother`s old antique sideboard which had a huge draw full of wedding pictures. They were all black and white from the late sixties of my mother and father, looking happy, in true love and as if they did not have a care in the world. The irony to that was he left when I was one, around three to four years after that wedding. However the photographs were still around to prove that there was love there once. I relished those old photos, the memories of what once was, the proof of something long since past, the evidence of the wonderful style my parents once possessed.
I seemed to always be pulled to photography, whether in books, shops, art galleries, anywhere really. I particularly like portraits. I would stare at the faces in the images for ages, trying to gage their stories, particularly the women. I felt a connection and I enjoyed that. A connection to people is something I think I lost for a time. I kind of became a loner, just concentrating on what I thought was important, my family. YES…. my family are the most precious thing to me and as a mother I need to do my job to the best of my ability. However I had lost a integral part of myself, a part that likes to connect to others, a part that likes to study others ( sounds weird, I know, but hey!)
Jumping forward a few years, rediscovering my love for photography and then my love for portrait photography. I have been able to link to others once more. However this time it is a connection with real people in my studio. I really do feel so privileged that I am able to do this. It is wonderful to hear someone's story, to be allowed to do something as wonderful as take a portrait that will be cherished for years, I am extremely blessed.
I have been lucky enough to have had many wonderful women in my life that have blessed me, guided me, set examples and taught me lessons. My Nan, the most amazing, kind, talented women that I have ever met. Close friends who have inspired, supported and cared for me. Teachers who have helped developed my love for history, art, photography, sports. Women who have taught me how to be strong, wilful, brave and ME. Women, who`s stories I have read, at present I am reading, Emmeline Pankhurst…Suffragette, how lucky we now are because of women like her. Even my mother, who was slightly unorthodox, to say the least, she taught me some great lessons and for that I am eternally grateful.
As I get to know more women through my portrait photography and learn about their strengths and their stories, I realise that there are many connections and links between us all, really. We all have beautiful, sad, happy and wonderfully entwined stories. Of course I photograph men and children too and enjoy that greatly also, however as a women it is wonderful to hear other women`s stories.
One lady, who I know class as a wonderful friend is Caroline. When she came to the studio for some photographs, she said straight away, that she was not photogenic and it was obvious that she was very self conscious in front of the camera and we had the added element of children, that day.
We soon got talking about our daily lives, as make-up was being applied, and outfits chose. As she stood in front of the camera and I started to pose her, we laughed about the children and all the funny things that they do and say, on a hourly basis. How much of our day goes into them. We joked about how even having a bath was a luxury! As we were shooting the children were coming into the studio, asking questions….that really didn`t need asking, you all know what I mean, questions that could wait, but for some reason children do not like mum's doing ANYTHING!!!
The beautiful Caroline is one of the strongest, creative and caring women I have ever met. She is driven and a total ‘Boss Mum' and I am in awe of her. She lost her husband suddenly several years ago when her children were very young. She did not crumple and become a raving looney, blaming it on this tragedy. No, she dealt with it, she worked hard, she cared for her children and she survived. She makes sure that her children do not go without, she loves and loves her children. She sets a truly inspirational example to not only her children but to all those around her and I a proud to call her a friend. This woman is phenomally beautiful and not just because of her outward appearance, ( that red hair, I am so jealous) but because inside she is a stunning example of a woman, really very stunning. She is proof that we can survive tragedy, that we don`t need to succumb to the crushing pain, that working hard and allowing oneself to feel the pain but knowing that life is still waiting for us and excepting that, is how we survive.
Caroline, I am pleased to say loved the results of her photoshoot and said she was amazed by how the images had come out. For me, it was a true blessing to work with her and create something so totally beautiful for this women, I feel very honoured. Thank you Caroline for allowing me to take your portrait.
As a photographer I see the whole beauty, inside and out. I am not caught up on any of the insecurities that people hold about themselves. Being able to capture the beauty that I see is utterly amazing and then showing what I see to my clients. Seeing their reactions is one of the best feelings.
This month, if you get time to yourself, study Emmeline Pankhurst. She was a amazingly strong women, as many were back then. Her book made me really appreciate those powerful ladies who really fought hard for what we now have, here in this country. When I listened to how hard it was then, not just for women, but children, and also poor men, I thought “Wow a hundred years ago, was actually not that long ago but certain things have changed so much.” Unfortunately we also must remember that in some places in the world there are still people being treated unjustly and cruelly. Maybe we need more great women and men to stand up and say “NO MORE.”
“I would rather be a rebel, than a slave” Emmeline Pankhurst
‘Spring is just around the corner' my mantra for February.