These images are some of the only quality pictures I have of my adult self amongst the 25,000+ photos I keep lovingly stored here on my trusty Mac. To be honest they are a little spooky and I often find myself looking at them intently, wondering who that person is looking back at me. It also gives me a big fat dose of the creeps posting SO many pics of just ME here on my blog, however this is more about the experience and pushing myself out of the creeps so here I go!!
This is an email that I wrote to Renee Bell the day after she took these pictures, the day after I experienced one of her [indulge] sessions...
'Renee you are fast becoming my very own personal photographer and I am loving it!
Mostly because it is not just about the camera, not just about the photo, not just about whether my crazy hair is sitting in just the right place.
As I am sure most women feel at times, placing ourselves firmly behind the camera becomes a safe place from which to capture the world around us. Life experience, a little wisdom and a lot of self love has allowed me to venture out from behind the camera lately.
I knew that I would only want to venture out in front of the big scary lens with the right person, with the photographer whose style and depth of talent I felt a sense of connection.
Renee your style has always 'spoken to me' and the world of social media, blogging and connecting online (where I spend most of my nights whilst my toddler is tucked in and dreaming) is where I first came across your work.
As a bit of a fuss pot with most things in life, including champagne, music and photography - there are only a handful of photographers who I took the steps to make contact with when I first decided to be brave and get in front of the camera with my little man.
After taking that first leap into our beautiful Mother/Son Beloved shoot and spending the weeks following in awe of our images I was SO excited when you offered the solo shoot.
(Excited plus slightly scared, thoughts running through my mind included 'how on earth was I going to cope on my own in front of the camera with nobody to distract me from my nerves!)
But then there was the thought of having my 38 year old self frozen in time, in a way that I knew would truly show ME, and that was quite serendipitous, and a little bit spooky as well.
Losing my Mother when she was only 48, and in fact actually only 38 when she had the car accident that changed my life forever, has been on my mind a lot lately.
On my mind because I am that exact age that she was when the accident took her from us for the first time through her brain injury.
On my mind because the accident happened in the month of December.
On my mind because her 60th birthday would have been this Boxing Day.
On my mind because she died in the month of January.
Spending the hours that we did together in our beautiful city last night was a little bit surreal. When you asked me to describe myself with words that started with each letter of the alphabet I instantly knew that this shoot was meant to happen at this exact moment in time, in my life.
One of the ways that I have always dealt with anxiety and in particular at night, is to do just that, think of a word to describe myself using each letter of the alphabet, it was as though I had been practicing for your question all this time...
A is for authentic
B is for brave
C is for compassionate
D is for driven...
There were moments as your questions lifted the edges off my firmly guarded thoughts when I instinctively prepared a response in my usual orderly style. I loved the chance to sit, stare and speak when prompted - of course my nerves and discomfort with the lens took a little while to fade away...
Afterwards I felt a real sense of exhausted peace, as though I had indulged in some therapy of a different kind. A soft, reflective kind of therapy with no boundaries, no expectations and no fear.
The story of my life is usually written in my own words, carefully crafted with accompanying images mostly of others. Thanks to you I now feel much more at peace with including pictures of myself in the story!'