If you have read my last few blogs (links at the bottom of the page) you will know that we have a new baby called Lunar, who was born with Gastroschisis, a condition that means she had part of her intestine on the outside of her body and she needed an operation soon after birth. I’ve shared quite a few blogs about this. We are now home! We already have many follow up appointments booked in. We may be back home but our hospital visits are not over yet, however she’s doing great. I'm not even sure what kind of blog this is now, photography, baby, mental health awareness or all of the above... I guess it's just me waffling on about my artwork and oversharing my feelings, but it's now apart of my creative process, I really like the work I’ve produced in the past few weeks also!
Being back home is amazing, we are settling in well to our new family dynamic. Having a new baby and a new routine is always a wild one! Of course we are tired, even in all the happiness there is stress, lack of sleep and jobs to be done. However I’m actually getting some rest finally, I get a lot of sofa time. Sofa time cuddling a baby is amazing after everything we went through to get here and it’s a great from of stress relief, as all mums know babies pick up on vibes so the more relaxed the environment is the more relaxed the baby is. Relaxed baby’s are easier to handle. This isn’t an exact science, but being chilled out around a baby from my experience just makes life easier. However yes all the night time feeds are exhausting, I had way more energy with Deryn for sure but I was 25 at the time! 6 years on and I’m feeling my age I guess. Even with all the tiredness this is the most relaxed I’ve been in the past year for sure!… I love being a mum and I’m good at it. It’s actually been fairly calm in the sense that I haven’t really left the house much or seen many people, it’s quite nice though. We were so busy up in Cardiff I’m finally getting my family to myself. Lunar has met a few people and at some point my life will get more back to normal, although I don’t really know what that means at the moment.
I can be creative again! Having access to my studio and equipment is great! Managing to get some newborn photos done was fun! I wanted Lunars photos to tell her story and to be an extension of my maternity images, I like connection between my work so if I can I like to add elements that link them up. For example the feathers, paint, scan images, flowers and colour scheme have both been used in my maternity images and then in Lunar's photos linking them, telling her story.
I used my Nikon D750 for these images, I use this camera the most. My Nikon is like an old friend or a comfy jumper, it’s effortless. It doesn't make me work hard to achieve what I want. Technically it’s not the best camera I own, but it just feels so good to use, It feels right. Hard one to explain I guess, I’m very attached to it! I imagine writers have a favourite pen and musicians have a favourite instrument. I love them all, my favourite is Lunar with her scan image, that’s only a few of them we have loads. We were in hospital leading up to her birth so often and I wanted to show that. The last three images of Deryn and Lunar together where taken in my bedroom, I wanted them natural and to be honest I knew it would be easier to use my bed.
Getting some nice positive photos was great! They don’t really follow a theme in the sense that the concept and lighting isn’t consistent between all the images, they do jump around a little but I’m ok with that! I had fun and I’m not a newborn photographer, I would class myself as a better editor then a photographer (only just mind!) but perhaps this is because I aways assumed I would go into digital art as a career. I started using photoshop and other editing programs way back in art college before I even owned a camera, to me the perfect images is one I can play around with! Of course I try and get certain things right in camera lighting etc. But I like a process and I love that with editing there’s always something new to learn… much like parenting and well much like life in general. I feel like I’ve learnt more in the last two years than ever before in every aspect of my life!
There is an outtake in there! So here is a funny story. Lunar was awake for one of her shoots which is not ideal for a new born shoot but I only wanted the one photo so thought I could shoot it quickly. I should have known something would go wrong. I of course got Deryn ready first, I then set up, simple lighting, self timer… everything was perfect as soon as the first flash went off it when to shit quite literally. First lunar had a wee in my hands, which was funny and happens, then she shit EVERYWHERE, which of course made us all laugh until Deryn was sick everywhere. I didn’t get a image either, I wanted it to look as if Deryn had painting Lunar so it matches up with a previous image of Deryn painting my bump, but it’s still a great memory. I don’t really like my smile, I was always told I looked smug and to stop smirking so I don’t really have many images of me smiling naturally because I’m self conscious about it. This is a great example of how sometimes in life we get given something unexpected but it works out well!
I can’t wait to get these up on the walls, my house is obviously full of photos perks of being a photographer.
Feels and what's next...
My work over the last year few years has been particularly dark, but so has my mindset! I’ve really struggled with a couple of things particularly sleep which I’ve been very open with in my other blogs and then of course the stress of the pregnancy and birth! I definitely had plenty of inspiration for content that’s for sure. I’ll keep exploring this however I also want to get back to some positive images as well and collaborations, I just have to find a balance. Finding a balance is something I've always found difficult. Which leads me to more questions, (so.many.questions) Why do creative people pour so much of ourselves into our art, sharing our words and images when we are hurt or angry? I would love to talk to an artist who also produces dark and dramatic work but who has no background in any trauma, or had any kind of hardship, do they exist? Or is it all butterflies, landscapes and rainbows for them? Where does their inspirations come from, I have many questions… i'm genuinely interested because so much of my process is pushed by my emotions and experience. Is it possible to make dark images from a deep place without digging up memories and feelings that are uncomfortable, I’ve always been very open in my blogs about my artwork (some would say to open) my new worry because I didn't have enough of them already... is it possible to carry on with my dark work without 'trigging' myself.
Genuinely It’s really hard to make and share work that comes from such a raw and emotional places anyway, it’s made even harder when you know that people will interpret it in different ways. Most people will look at it briefly, a fleeting moment of their day and think very little of it, it will evoke no emotions or impact them in anyway, then some people will look at it and fail to get the point. Art is subjective, and mine will make very little change, I spend a lot of time looking at other artists work. I just love art, all types, not just photography and digital art I really appreciate all genres I really like to take in what i'm looking at find meaning to it and let myself have an emotional response, it's unrealistic to think that everyone does this, but sharing work even knowing that a very small percentage of people will view it and judge it in anyway is still hard.
When I’m not feeling well i'm very impulsive and I become exhausted. I overshare more than normal… why? Because I get so frustrated, I hold a lot of creative energy inside. I can feeling it, it's almost like it bubbles and it just needs to get out, this then adds to my feeling of anxiety. I’m aware of it but it doesn’t stop the process. It’s the stigma also, “here we go again” I’m just another person kicking off on social media about feeling mentally stressed and unwell… when I come out of a bad phase and I’m less frustrated I do think back on my behaviour there’s the slight cringe and then the “fuck, I shared that” but art work is better out than in right? I try not to regret any of my past images because they are my feelings. Of course now we are all home some of my feelings of anxiety surrounding Lunar have gone now I know she is safe.
I guess I'll never be completely comfortable with myself, and my images will always show this in some way or another. I’m now navigating my new normal trying to keep myself well, both mind and body while staying true to my artistic intentions, being a good mum, wife, and I will eventually also go back to working. It's all intense, of course extending our family was a decision that was planned. I’m still sometimes feeling slightly frozen with all the pressure of life and motherhood, however I’m feeling much more confident about the future, I have no idea what it holds but I’ll be around to find out!
When it comes to creating my own new work I’ll guess maybe I will just have to go for it and see what the outcome is…
I really like blogging, It feels very 'me' and it's great to do something we love right!? I've wanted to do this style of work for years but I really wasn't ready to open up about my art work as I am now.
I'm really finding my voice and this has given me a deeper reason for creating! However having my own voice doesn't feel like enough. We all have stories and struggles that are all different. Art for me is about connection, awareness and story telling, and I believe that together there is so much awareness to be spread.
Sound like something you may be interested in? Great! Let’s tell some stories together!
Email me: email@example.com
Other pregnancy related blog's Home
Creation loading in 3...2...1
To sleep or not to sleep, that is the question...
Positive vibes, corridors, gastroschisis and art!
One day at a time... unless time stops
What to expect, when expecting the unexpected
Creation is hard work...
Creation after loss
Creation and loss
Thanks for reading! Sorry for all the typos!
Helpful link for PAPP-A information click here
Helpful link for Gastroschisis information click here
Helpful link for miscarriage information click here
Helpful link for ECV information click here
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