Anyone who meets me for the first time quickly recognises just how important photography is to me. My camera is very rarely out of my hands – it’s pretty much an extension of me and I take it almost everywhere I go. I’ve been this way for as long as I can remember, though the intensity of my desire to become a visual storyteller definitely got stronger when I became a mother. Since losing my Dad in 2015, it’s turned into even more of an urgent obsession.
It’s so much more than just a hobby or interest. It’s an all-consuming passion; a deeply-rooted need to document our daily lives; to record the moments (both big and small); to preserve our story. I see my photos as a legacy, something for my girls (and potentially even my grandchildren and beyond) to keep once I’m gone – a little piece of our family history forever frozen in time.
I love documenting other people’s stories too: watching their interactions with each other; seeing all of those intricate details that give clues to who they are; showing the bigger picture of the family dynamic; being invited in to witness and capture the intimate, deeply personal and unique idiosyncrasies that illustrate their ways of being in the world…it’s magical. Family photography for others (in all it’s forms – from outdoor adventure sessions to in-home lifestyle sessions, maternity photoshoots to newborn sessions, and anything & everything in between) is something I want to do a whole lot more of in 2019.
For the last five years I’ve committed to taking a photo a day of a moment of joy and I love this little ritual. It would seem weird to NOT do it now, it’s become that ingrained in my ordinary everyday. I call it Project Happy and whilst not without it’s challenges, through it I’ve learnt to look for the light on even the darkest of days.
At the start of 2018 a photographer I hugely admire – Sarah Cornish of My Four Hens Photography, who I had the honour of learning from directly on a photography retreat/workshop I attended in Colorado back in 2017 and am thrilled to be able to call my friend – set up a photography project called Life in 52. Feeling the need to push myself with a new challenge, I decided to take part. The objective was to take one photo a week that documented a moment out of our lives. A community of almost 4,000 people grew as the months went by and if we chose to we could submit our images to Sarah in the hope of them being featured on the Life In 52 blog. This wasn’t a requirement and many people took part in the project purely for themselves, to learn and develop as photographers, to share their stories and to be inspired by others.
I decided that I wanted to submit a single image every week and I’m incredibly proud to be able to say that I had nine photos featured in total over the course of the fifty-two week project (the ones that are scattered throughout this blog post). Some of the images that other participants submitted & had featured were absolutely phenomenal and the stories they shared were heartbreaking, uplifting and astonishing in equal measure. I feel incredibly honoured to be included amongst them.
It wasn’t about getting featured or recognised though – that was an extra special bonus. It was about committing to documenting the ordinary moments of our lives, capturing ‘us’ exactly as we are in 2018 – the joy, the tears, the sickness, the holidays – and all of the other ups and downs of our fairly standard family life. Somehow I stuck to my commitment, managed to complete the project AND I submitted an image every single week – all fifty two of them – without fail.
I knew that at the end of the project I would want to collate the images in one place but I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to put them all together. Initially I was thinking maybe a photobook. It was only a week or so ago that I decided on a video slideshow and I worked on creating it for an entire day. Videography doesn’t come naturally to me and it’s something I for sure want to learn more about.
It’s probably not the best quality video/slideshow in the world but I don’t care – it’s a record of our year that I can keep forever and that means everything to me.
Here it is: all 52 photos in order, from week one in January right up to week fifty-two at the end of December.
This is us in 2018.
Artist: Nicolai Heidlas
Track: Wherever you Go
Source: HookSounds.com (via Soundcloud)