- Bonnie Garmus, Letters in Chemistry
I am re-launching a Personal Project that I started in 2015, and here's why:
I recently read the book Letters in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus and this part really stood out to me:
“Whenever you feel afraid, just remember. Courage is the root of change - and change is what we're chemically designed to do.
So when you wake up tomorrow, make this pledge. No more holding yourself back. No more subscribing to others' opinions of what you can and cannot achieve. And no more allowing anyone to pigeonhole you into useless categories of sex, race, economic status, and religion.
Do not allow your talents to lie dormant, ladies. Design your own future. When you go home today, ask yourself what YOU will change. And then get started.”
Elizabeth Zott, the main character, said this to the audience of house-wives on her 1960's TV cooking show.
I was surprised to find that it really reminded me of my Final Major Project when I was studying Photography at University.
Back in 2015 I started 'Notice Before Action', a huge undertaking looking back! I interviewed and photographed activists, campaigners and protestors across the country who were investing monumental time and energy into creating positive change.
They were designing their own future by refusing to accept the one handed to them.
Topics were wide ranging and included:
Better sex education in schools
NHS Junior Doctors strike
Saving a women's refuge centre from closure
Bringing an end to the Conservatives 'austerity' policies
I was incredibly committed to telling these stories and honouring them by creating a book full of their portraits and interviews. I achieved a First, which I am still very proud of, but it doesn't feel like enough any more.
I have always aimed high, wanting to get the best grade or acknowledgement from teachers and bosses that 'I got it right', but now I'm self employed, I gain that sense of achievement from myself.
What do I want to achieve now?
Alongside working with incredible business owners who are courageous enough to design their own future by turning their passion and expertise into an amazing brand that I'm privileged to help grow, I want to pursue my other passions too.
At University, I specialised in Documentary Portraiture so that I could create work that is important to both me and others. Work that can have an impact on a large number of people and bring their attention to matters that should not be skimmed over.
So, I've decided to listen to my gut and re-launch this project.
It was never as finished as I assumed it to be. Only paused until I had gained much more experience in the real world and skills within photography so that I can come back to it stronger and more capable.
There is always change to be made.
So, this is an open call to any individual or group who would like to take part in this project by being interviewed and photographed by me.
It does not matter if your cause is well-known or not, or if your campaign is in it's early stages or already making an impact.
Please email me with the subject line of courage for more information.
You may remember that in 2021 I launched the 'Shaved Heads' project which is still on-going.
I actually have a shoot next month relating to it! You can view a selection of the images I and my sitters have made so far using the button below.
You can see a selection of these images that I made for the project when I was at University below.
Looking back on work that I made 7 or 8 years ago is pretty strange! This was the first body of work I was ever truly proud of. All the kit I used was hired from the university and I scrimped on the fun stuff so I could afford to travel to places like London and Carlisle from Birmingham. I loved every second.
I don't think my style of photography has changed much since 2015/16. I still prefer to use a true-to-colour edit and record people very much 'as they are' but my communication and technical skills have improved immensely. This leads to images that are so much more authentic and real, and I'm excited about how this can progress.
I'm also now incredibly proud to be able to afford food and good shampoo purely through my Photography businesses. I designed my future too.
Here's a little peek into the book I made too.
Want to get involved?