Peacefully picking the perfect red pepper seeds.
"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water.
Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup;
You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle;
You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot.
Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."
- Bruce Lee
In the spring last year, myself and a few creative souls gathered at Castle Ashby to create some magic together and now I’m so excited to be able to share this shoot as it’s finally been published in beauNU Magazine.
Ella Sadika Jackson (an incredible watercolour artist and photographer), Bella Kotak (a wonderful photographer and floral queen!) and Yinsey Wang (a beautiful fantasy model and lawyer) wore dresses by designers The Modern Love Bridal and Audrey Ashley Couture in a ‘Three Graces’ inspired shoot. Makeup and hair wizardry was done by Minaz Mawjee and Victoria Leanne. We also had help from the insanely talented Pratik Naik.
I’m so lucky I got to shoot with people who inspire me daily!
A few weeks ago I had a bad experience with calling 999 (it could have been serious but it wasn’t, and in the end it all got sorted). Since then I’ve been having vivid anxiety dreams about my lack of control in certain situations.
One of these dreams began with Jack and I moving to a new house. We were settling down for bed after moving the boxes up to our balcony on our new bedroom. As we drifted off in the smokey, drafty, old room (we had left the fires on, burning throughout the house) Ryan Gosling & David Attenborough charged through the door with swords in their hands. David scurried off to find our valuables and Ryan held the sword up to my throat. I noticed a heavy, rusty key in the door and as I pulled it out of the door it grew 5x it’s size. I lifted it above my head and brought it down on top of Ryan, it smashed into his skull and he fell back into a slump on the bed. (Baring in mind Jack was still asleep hahaha). David rushed into the room, threw Ryan over his shoulder, shuffled down the stairs and disappeared. I turned to my house phone (who even has a house phone nowadays!?) and it was a giant machine that looked like an industrial printer. I noticed it had a fax machine on the top of it so I tried to dial 999. As I pressed the number 9, it changed to a 3, I pressed it again and it changed to a 1. I tried to dial it again and it repeated the numbers again. I was getting more and more frustrated by this point. Finally I managed to get through to the police, and as I said hello, Jack woke up! I asked him our address and he said number 13 Chaudbauk (!?!). I explained to them what had happened and within moments they arrived. The police car was a tiny little car with Christmas lights on and it chugged along down our drive way at what felt like 2mph. Out popped a woman who was the size of a lamppost, and a woman the size of a shetland pony. They trotted into the house and the first thing they asked me was ‘Why did you leave your fires on?’. (Don’t ask me, why am I even having this dream?!?!) The police entered our bedroom, a choir of ghosts appeared and lined the edge of the room, they pitched in as the women questioned me about the burglary but only I could hear them. This went on for a good few moments until the police left and I was sat on my bed in disbelief as to what just happened. I stood up and walked onto my balcony, I breathed in the night air and I began to have a nostalgic memory about a place we used to live that was similar to this new house, but instead of it having stairs in the house, they were on the outside. I glanced to my left and I saw a gym with the lights glaring through the windows down onto the grass beneath the house.
I woke up. I told Jack. I thought about this dream all day and ever since. My mind is wild.
RIGHT, it’s time to get out of this funk and start creating again. 💥On the 1st December I’ll be starting a self portrait project where I’ll be creating everyday leading up to the new year. Let’s see out 2018 with a bang! If you’d like to join me in doing this project, use #31dayswithholly.
I shot this image in Central Park in NYC when I was there a few weeks ago. I sat down with my finger in the air and told Jack to grab some snaps, not really knowing what I was going to do with it. After a few weeks I decided to create an image inspired by the importance of listening to and acting upon our burning desire to create as artists.
For the past few weeks I’ve been feeling a little low about my ability, and I felt like I had lost the confidence that I needed to carry on pursuing this as my career. I’d forgotten because I hadn’t let myself do it, I kept telling myself I had more important things to do (like adulting shit) but I’m just not having it anymore. CREATING is the most important part of my life, it’s how I function, how I feel, without it I actually feel nothing.
This is as much as a message to those out there feeling unconfident in their ability as it is a message to myself to say HOLLY, stop making excuses, you’ve done this for the past 12 years and yeah, sure, things get in the way, but you NEED this, it’s therapy. It’s survival.
(It’s also inspired a little by Sabrina, because we started watching the new series whilst in NY, and when I was younger I used to watch the originals and always wish that I could change my outfits with a finger swish!)
Cairngorms National Park + Loch Ness + Glencoe
Hey! If you’ve arrived here from my latest video (below) then scroll down to see the rest of the images we took on the day. The castle was a really beautiful and serene place to go, I would definitely recommend going to see it if you are ever in Aberdeen!
A couple of weeks ago Jack and I went to New York City for our 7 year anniversary and as we were in the Big Apple, we thought we’d shoot our annual anniversary photo! 🍎
I wouldn’t be the person I am today without this man. We met all those years ago on a red hot island in the Mediterranean sea, crossing paths in our hotel we longed into each others eyes, and from that moment on we were inseparable… lololol no, that didn’t happen, it most certainly was NOT romantic. A very eventful girls holiday to Magaluf hahaha! Moving swiftly on…
Although we may have our ups and downs, I’m so very grateful to have you in my life. You are the stability to my ever changing mind. You are my rock when I feel everything crumble. You make me laugh even when I don’t feel like it (well not all the time but you don’t take it too personally hahaha) & you have the peachiest bum I’ve ever seen.
Thank you for 7, here’s to 7 more!
- The idea is 100% credited to Lewis Membery! Thank you for coming up with and allowing me to use the idea!
Apple stock photo - here
I turned 26 last week and it suddenly dawned on me that it’s taken 26 years of my life to finally feel comfortable with my body. I spent a lot of my teens and early twenties trying to change myself, adding and taking away parts of my natural shine. I felt that I had nothing to give other than superficialities. To fit in, to feel wanted, but what really was I trying to ‘fit in’ with?
I wasn’t more than my appearance - until I found the ability to create art through photography.
I may have turned the camera on myself (mainly out of pure shyness and availability) but I began to see myself through a different lens (so to speak) and I realised that there was more to life than what I looked like. We are taught so many different ways of looking at ourselves, but the most important (according to the majority of mainstream media/and what has been ingrained into us*) has been the way we look. I would like that to change please. I am fed up of feeling like I have to look a certain way, I am so so so, so bored and drained from analysing myself, figuring out ways to change that might make me feel better. But that’s it. I am DONE. Done with hurting my happiness. Done with trying to glow just from the outside. I am bones, I am flesh, I am breath, I am power, I am knowledge and I have a lot more to say about this.
*I can feel/see that it’s shifting for the better (thanks to people like @bodyposipanda) but back when I was a teen it was engulfing and we still have a long way to go.
P.s NYC was amazing and I can’t wait for you to see my next Hotels with Holly. I shot this photo in our downtown Brooklyn airbnb apartment, which was so fricking cool!
P.p.s thank you all so much for the birthday wishes too!!!
P.p.p.s HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
A fire ball of burning anxiety, until those words enter the atmosphere.
I shot this image whilst we were travelling Scotland this summer, I've been sitting on it for weeks and weeks, imagining how it would all come together. It's been refreshing to have something in the editing pile that I can reflect on, every now and again, in between client work and life in general. I sat down this evening and my mind wandered and I decided upon the explosion in the air.
I'm heading back New York tomorrow, and I can't wait to see what I create this time round!
I brought this cute little bat home (from the the Sainsbury’s halloween isle) last week, and he only bloody went and attacked me when I picked him up to shoot with him today, the cheek! (lol). I couldn’t do a self portrait challenge in October with out getting a little spooky!
& with that, my 7 Day Self Portrait Challenge is finished!! That’s it for another 6 months!!!!!
Wow, this week has been a real test for me, both mentally and physically (hey bad back and disgusting cold, nice to meet you) but I made it! I’ve chosen not to post a video today, I spent the morning wallowing and then I went out with Jack to shoot this, which took 10 minutes, and I got dizzy from moving my head too much, so now all I want to do is be horizontal again. I’ll be posting a round up video and some clips from today in a video this week!
I just want to say thank you to all those who have left lovely comments and supported me through this week, and also to those who have joined in on socials with #7dayswithholly, you rock! Although I do this project to learn and evolve my style, I also do it to encourage those of you who listen, to embrace your creativity (& weirdness!!!!) to become the person/artist you wish to be!
I’m sat here writing this with leaky eyes, a runny nose and sneezes a plenty. Today felt like an odd day to create, but we made it out eventually! (Even if both Jack & I are suffering with our colds now!) We headed over to Haysden this morning to shoot this, the weather was beautiful (to say we are in October?!) but the conditions were wrong and my brain was foggy.
Although this project is never a walk in the park, I’m happy, let’s see what tomorrow brings, ay!
(Tonight calls for tea and sleep, bring on the bat prop! 🦇😍)
A short video of how we created it:
When all you wanted to do was to create hair out of a new (h)air plant you got, but you actually morph into beetlejuice!? hahaha! This just happened and I have no explanation as to why I created this other than the fact that when I bought this air plant in the garden centre a couple of weeks ago, it reminded me of hair and I thought to myself ‘one day i’ll photoshop this onto my head’ (because that’s just the way my brain works) and here we are… 1 air plant, 1 stripe t-shirt and an hour of photoshopping later = accidental/unintentional beetle juice costume! (or Krusty the clown perhaps?)
P.s I’ve never actually watched Beetlejuice, so I’m going to watch it tonight!