Happy Pride Month

FAMILY, LGBTQ, motherhood, PERSONAL, Self Portraits

Teaching my daughter all about PRIDE and identity this month, it’s so important that she feels safe when it comes to talking about sexuality and that she is comfortable in herself despite the different environments she will be in. It got me thinking about my own experiences growing up, I have always been fairly open about my sexuality but only to those I’m most comfortable with. Most people don’t know the first person I ever fancied was actually a girl…but the environments I was brought up in was that you went off and got married to a man and anything else was weird. I went to an all girls school, I never knew of a single lesbian in that school in the time I was there….well that felt safe to come out. I feel like I had the privilege and option of boys to distract me from my feelings towards girls so that’s the way I went. I can’t even imagine what my lesbian peers were going through at the time and each time I see another girl from my school being open with her female partner on social media, it makes me smile. I still feel like my sexuality is nobody else’s business, but it’s important to share the fluidity of sexuality and the importance of this platform and having a voice so that our children will never have to grow up feeling like they’re weird because of feelings. I sure as hell will not let my daughters suppress theirs 🏳️‍🌈


Happy Pride Month 🌈

With Love Zephy 🌈

Motherhood and Postpartum Acne – One Simple Act Of Self Love

motherhood, PERSONAL

‘Drink more water’

‘You wear too much make up’

‘You need to wash more’

‘There’s medication for that’

Here are just a few of the things people have said to me when they see my face. Growing up I had a few spots like most teenagers, but what I didn’t know is that when I got pregnant I would suffer with postpartum acne so severe that my face itches, it hurts to put make up on and i’m so embarrassed by my skin to the point I don’t even want to go outside. My closest family and friends know about this, it goes away once I stop breastfeeding although scars remain but otherwise I really hate talking about it let alone sharing pictures of it. My daughter is always telling me to get in the photos without my make up she says I’m beautiful the way I am, half the time I don’t because I know how bad I feel looking at them. I started a project called Mums Get In The Photograph last year which encourages mums to get in the photographs even though at times we don’t want to, and I realised that this was the start of me opening up to being a more honest version of myself in front of the camera. Watching my daughter be so brave recently made me realise I want to be brave now… I’m always honest in my photography and this is the most vulnerable thing I have ever shared and have wanted to share for such a long time but I was too scared until now…. but if I don’t show how normal this is to love myself like this, taking beautiful portraiture in my natural skin how can I teach my daughters to? This is an act of self love….and I’m selfishly loving myself right now…

A self portrait of Zephyre Rose her side profile displaying her postpartum acne

‘We have to be women we want our daughters to be.’

Brené Brown

After sharing the above image recently, I have started to embrace my natural skin and share images with minimal retouching. Recently after sharing the image on social media below in cherry blossoms, I had an uneccessary comment that brought up a whole lot of issues I feel are in the industry. I don’t often get angry let alone share about it on social media but what happened to me was part of a bigger problem within this industry and I am angry about it and so should you be. Some of the comments on my post sharing my views really shocked me trying to tell me I was in the wrong, telling me it was my lack of technical knowledge and that I was too sensitive to understand what they meant. Do you think this is the only comment that has ever been said to me or that I have witnessed within photography? No….if you think for one second that this isn’t a problem, then you are part of the problem. Despite the negativity, it hasn’t come close to the amount of support I have received. I hate being centre of attention and I hate drama but the day I shared an image of me with my postpartum acne was the day everything changed with me for my photography….for my daughter’s sake I will continue to share minimally retouched images of our skin and them to watch me educate and teach other people that it’s beautiful. For whatever reason, the original commenter felt the need to reach out and apologise to me, and it’s a start. Let’s be in a world where we can make mistakes and then we grow from them. I will be part of the change…

Self portrait of Zephyre Rose in white cherry blossom

I still feel like there aren’t enough images out there that represent faces like mine, especially around adolescence as this is something I am particuarly passionate about within my photography work. My daughter returned to school this week and was anxious as she has started to get a few spots and was worried about what others might think. Even though I tell her otherwise, encouraging her to love herself, it shows that I can only do so much….but I will show her how empowering it is to love yourself and to continue documenting it within my images. Since posting these images, I have had so many women come forward sharing their own thoughts and journey’s of living with acne and a lot of them feeling like they were the only one! I will do everything in my power now to use my camera and my face as a tool of helping other women to show that they are not the only one and that we are all simply beautiful. This is for my daughters.

With Love From Zephy x

Self portrait of Zephyre Rose in her bare skin

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An Ode to Motherhood

PERSONAL

An Ode to Motherhood

I’ve not slept longer than three hours since the day you were born, and my house is always a mess. Don’t even get my started on what I’m wearing today, let’s just call my old nightie a dress…

You whinge when you want something, you whinge when you don’t, you whinge all hours day and the night. You follow me around like you haven’t seen me all day, but I’m pretty sure I’ve not left your sight.

Now you’re tugging my pants while I’m trying to go for a wee, please could you just leave me alone for a minute? I’m trying to do my teeth, attempting a shower or bath, the next thing you’ve helped yourself in it.

Finally nap time comes along, time to fit the chores in and dare I wish for a well deserved cuppa? And as I sit down for a minute, with some cake and a book, a little voice from upstairs cries out ‘Mamma!’.

Most of the days are the same, eat, poop, sleep, repeat, and you don’t know which one to do when. I spend the day cleaning up something I’ve cleaned a thousand times before, singing the same nursery rhymes again and again.

Tea times a laugh, I thought baby led weaning is great, I now realise I forgot what this means. It’s meant to help you eat, instead you use your feet, painting all over my kitchen with beans.

Now it’s time for your bath, I won’t lie it gets wet but still a second to rest, so I think. But that sweet girl in bubbles, did a big messy poop, surely by now it’s time for a drink?!

It’s time to wind down, it’s going a little too well, until your sister starts sofa jumping for fun. Have children they said, it will be fun they all said, as you dream of that spa day for one.

Bedtime comes, getting you to sleep can be good, you’ll drift off holding your blanket so tight. But then sometimes you’ll cry, I try to leave you just scream, I guess that’s me by your side for the night.

Motherhood is a mission, it’s exhausting and messy, it’s something they didn’t teach me at school. But when you’re finally asleep, my heart fills up with love, and I think ‘I’d do it all again’ mum bun and all.

Engagement Photoshoot

PERSONAL

When we first started talking, I couldn’t believe it when Alex told me his my birthday was the day after mine. This year we got to celebrate our birthday’s together and all I wanted to do was take some images to celebrate our recent engagement. I clearly had forgotten just how hard it is to capture a series of photographs with a remote trigger… and also we have kids so they were impatiently watching us do these after the school run! Then the most bizarre thing happened to me today and it just put everything into perspective about mine and Alex’s relationship. Now bear with me while I try to explain…

So I was tidying up the house today and I came across a pen top that had somehow come off of it’s other half. I thought there was very little hope of finding the pen even though I had seen it about, and I was too busy to care so I just decided to throw it in the bin. To my surprise a little while later, I typically find the pen just sat there staring up at me. I couldn’t believe my timing, I had only just chucked this pen top away! As I peered into the dirty bin bag, I really didn’t want to go digging through the dirt just to make the pen complete when I probably have plenty of pens about. I gave up on this weird scenario and chucked the pen in the bin too and thought nothing else of it. After tidying up, i’m taking the bin down the stairs and the bin bag gets caught and breaks. Out comes a few items and guess what comes out with it? This tiny bloody pen top! Now I know there’s something weird going on, I am just gobsmacked that these two little items, so desperate to find each other that I think what the hell i’ll go and get my hands dirty to make this happen! Now I’m looking through all this rubbish, you name it, it’s there, examining bit by bit, and this pen is nowhere to be bloody found. Why on earth am I going through all of this rubbish getting myself dirty just to find a pen, I have better things to do with my time?! I finally give up, laughing at myself but I keep the pen top weirdly (i’m not sure even why at this point) and I just go about my day. Later, as if I subconsciously knew, I find that ruddy pen on the floor just lying there all along! I realised I never actually chucked the pen in the bin at all. It clearly wanted me to find it again, I just chose not to see it as I was desperately looking for it, but it was patiently waiting to be found once everything else had been squared away. At last, these pen parts were reunited and I am satisfied that I had gone through all of that effort, as it’s actually a really good pen! (and I am very particular about my pens).

Now you may be thinking what on earth has a pen got to do with a relationship? I wouldn’t call myself religious and I don’t particularly believe in fate, but I can’t help feeling the universe has brought Alex and I together much the same as these pen parts. I feel I relate to this pen top so much having been through quite some journey in my lifetime. I’ve been in amongst the rubbish, looking for things that weren’t even there, waiting to find someone or someone to find me. Now Alex (who is the pen in this scenario) came in my life and just stayed where he was, even though at times he was hidden he was always there in the back of my mind. These past couple of years i’ve really had to find myself again before I was even able to think about being in another relationship. I turned a blind eye to love, I painfully embraced the chaos that my life had become and I fully accepted who I was. I finally knew what I wanted and deserved, I stopped looking for anything really and just like that…there was Alex, simply waiting for me.

The moral of the story is, no matter how hopeless something seems or how difficult the task appears to be, don’t be quick to throw something away just because you think there’s no hope. You might just discover something important that was there all along. Or, if you do carelessly throw something away and you realise you probably shouldn’t have, don’t be afraid to dig deep amongst the dirt because for me ultimately, it meant that I found my missing part…