Thursday, 29 December 2011


I hope you have all enjoyed a wonderful Christmas, and are still revelling in the festive season! I did intend to upload some Christmassy images and an accompanying blog entry to wish you season's greetings, but time got the better of me. I do still have more images to sort through and share, though, so hopefully in the meantime my earlier Wintry blog entry will have sufficed for getting in the spirit!

These images are from a very recent shoot with John Tisbury. I mentioned in my previous blog entry that I was initially disappointed with the reaction I received to my pregnancy, in that so many photographers shared the view that 'all maternity shoots were clichéd.' I have done my best to challenge that perception while shooting maternity images, and I hope that this series is no exception.
But the notion that pregnancy images are clichéd is not the only challenge I came up against. Amongst other comments, were some other ideas that caused me to question my own perceptions of my body and the place of pregnancy within art nude, and even (at times) the place of art nude itself.

Before I share some of these ideas with you, I have to say that although the initial response to my castings was disappointing, the reaction I've received to the photos I have since produced throughout my pregnancy has been overwhelmingly positive, and I have, at times, been blown away by the amazing comments, messages and notes I've received. I'm so grateful that I got over my initial disappointment and carried on regardless, because the response I've had has definitely outweighed any discouragement I felt at first, and I would like to thank everyone who has worked with me, encouraged me, or simply appreciated my work.

The following are some comments I encountered in response to my pregnancy. Some are quoted verbatim and were aimed at me specifically, others are more generalised comments I came across online in relation to pregnancy shoots or other pregnant models. I am absolutely sure that none were intended to offend me directly. However, they did provide my initial motivation to challenge some of these perceptions:

"Pregnancy shoots are so clichéd. They all look the same."

"There is no commercial value in maternity images." 

"Maternity shoots are only valuable to the model. They are worthless to the photographer, so are only worth shooting TFP." 

"Pregnant women are not aesthetically pleasing."

"These things do happen, and models do get pregnant."

"I have no idea how to shoot pregnant women to make them look attractive."

"Another internet model 'pupped.' That's original."

"Was it deliberate?"

"Motherhood will be the end of your career."

Some of these comments may have a point (I'm not commenting on each statement, as I'd rather you draw your own conclusions). I'm not saying whether I entirely agree or disagree with some of them, but some of the photos I have produced have been a direct response to some of these notions, and I would like to think that I have challenged some of these perceptions in some small way. And if not, then at the very least, I have enjoyed producing these photos for my own benefit (maybe I'm inadvertently making the point that maternity shoots are only valuable to the model!).

Again I would like to thank everyone for the wonderful response I've received to my pregnancy photos, and for the well-wishes and good luck messages! The responses have certainly outweighed any negatives, and I really appreciate the support.
I have had a lot of enquiries recently for shoots, which sadly, may have come too late! I will continue to shoot pregnancy images as long as I am able, but I will be limiting shoots until the baby arrives to two hour slots, and will only be shooting locally (near Chesterfield). For anyone who wishes to travel to me to shoot, I suggest you contact me to make arrangements sooner rather than later. I can arrange local studios, or shoot from home within reason. However, I have no control over when the baby will decide to arrive, so please bear that in mind if you would like to book! But do drop me an email ( and we can discuss.

I'll try to update again before new year. If time gets the better of me again, then I wish you all season's greetings and a prosperous 2012.

All images by and copyright of John Tisbury.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Fun, Fun, Fun!

These space hopper images are a concept I had in mind to shoot with Greg Brown, ever since I first learned I was pregnant! I have wanted to create this set of 'silly' maternity photos since I discovered I was expecting, and they totally live up to the image I had in my head when I mentioned the idea to Greg. I painted the space hopper face on my own bump (not an easy task, upside down in a mirror) and I had so much fun shooting this set! 

When I first announced I was pregnant, I began by contacting photographers individually, updating them with my news and asking if they would be interested in shooting. I later put out general castings for maternity shoots. I have to admit, that I was initially disappointed with the response (or lack of) to my pregnancy, and that one of the obstacles I came up against, over and over, was that photographers weren't interested in shooting maternity images because they were 'too clichéd.' 

I personally didn't see any reason why maternity shoots should be any more clichéd than any other genre: A shoot is only ever what you make of it. Clichés can be done well, or they can be done badly, but they usually exist for a reason - because they can be done effectively. Most styles of photography (if you look hard enough) have been attempted before, very few images are truly original. A lot of art nude concepts appear frequently (nude in a rape seed field, nude in a derelict building... the list goes on). However, that doesn't take away from the fact that many images might be 'done to death,' but they can still be beautiful and create an impact.

I have made a conscious effort, whilst pregnant, to shoot as wide a variety of styles and concepts as I would under normal circumstances, and I certainly haven't viewed my bump as an obstacle to doing so. If anything, I have really enjoyed modelling while pregnant, because it is a genre that is attempted less frequently. I have to admit that while researching maternity shoots, I began to understand why all pregnancy shoots were viewed as clichéd... because with very few exceptions, almost all the images I came across do indeed follow the exact same format! (Floaty, romantic sideways bump, mother looking smug). There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but I wanted to produce images that were memorable and different (as well as a few 'typical' maternity shoots as well).


I had such a lot of fun creating these rather unique and off-the-wall pregnancy images, and if nothing else, they are special to me because it may be the only opportunity I have to shoot with a bump, and I really enjoyed creating them. But I also hope that I have, in some small way, challenged the notion that all pregnancy images are samey and unoriginal. Greg is renowned for his use of quirky props (I particularly enjoyed posing with a very large 'prop'(-eller - see what I did there?). I'd like to think this set isn't too 'old-hat' (and again), and that they feature a little extra something (I'm on a roll). Enough with the word play. Enjoy!

Images by and copyright of Gregory Brown.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Waiting Game

I have loads of new images and blog updates to share, but I haven't had time to sit down and upload them. There are more coming soon, but for now, here is a lovely image by Jim Gormley at True Definition Studios (Hallam Mill in Stockport - one of my favourite studios to work in because of the massive amounts of space and natural light), entitled 'The Waiting Game.' I hope you like it.

Also hope you are all feeling festive and ready for Christmas... I am so unorganised! I haven't done any Christmas shopping yet, or even got the decorations up! Oh well, next on the 'to do' list. More to come soon...

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Squaw: The totality of being female

As promised, here is the second part of my shoot with Richard Lund. These are some fairly simple art nude images, using the jewellery from an outfit we shot earlier. On the back of the camera, Richard said the jewellery reminded him of native American Indian decorations, and on reviewing the photos, I can see the similarity - but not just because of the necklaces, there's also something about the atmosphere created in these. I thought I'd better check my terminology before I posted a blog post under this title, so I looked up the word 'squaw,' and found the following definition:

"Traditionally meaning 'the totality of being female.'" (A word borrowed from the native American Indian language, and written phonetically. In recent years it appears to have taken on a derogatory connotation, but is now being reclaimed for its original intended usage.)

I like that definition, which I think possibly explains the connection between the images and the association. In many ways, these images are not 'flattering' in a typical sense. (Society is addicted to the notion that thin is beautiful, after all). But that is one of the joys of pregnancy. There is absolutely no point in vanity; it is probably one of the few times in life when a woman can be completely, unashamedly honest about appearance and body shape, without any need for excuses.

It is challenging knowing how to pose with a completely different body shape, since 99% of 'standard' art nude poses simply don't work. But it's also refreshingly liberating to be able to pose without trying to elongate myself or appear narrower in the waist.

This may possibly be the only time in my life I celebrate my body and all its curves doing what nature intended it to do... who can say? So, 'flattering' or not, I like these images.

Images by and copyright of Richard Lund