The #GoldDustProject ... . So here’s a more abstract photo for Instagram today! As many of you know, this year saw the emergence of the Gold Dust Project, a little photographic exploration I created to empower women, to challenge our beauty standards, and to show what a postpartum mother looks like in 2018, both the physically and mentally. However, it’s not just mothers I’ve met for this project... . Meet Lily-Mae, a little girl born with gastroschisis. She overcame a huge obstacle when she was born; one which only 1 in 3000 children in the U.K. are born with every year. It was such a privilege to photograph her, and I’m so glad her mum @naomiclark1406 could tell me more about her birth story. If you’d like to find out more, and see Lily-Mae’s story, head to my blog 💕 . The Gold Dust Project will be back underway from October. Please pop an email to me if you’d like to be involved! firstname.lastname@example.org . #graceelizabeth_photography #igmotherhood #golddustproject #glitterstretchmarks #stretchmarks #innerstrength #postnataldepression #outofdarknesscomethlight #essexfamilyphotographer #norfolkfamilyphotographer #suffolkfamilyphotographer #devonfamilyphotographer #lifestylephotography #lifestylephotographer #realmoments #colchesterphotographer #stretchmarksarebeautiful #motherhoodunplugged #motherhoodrising
Let’s talk body positivity! 💕 . I know a lot of you are new followers here from @amber_mag’s beautiful feature of my #GoldDustProject , which was all about body positivity. So hello! Thank you so much for joining me over here and I’m so glad you loved my project! I’m forever grateful to Amber for sharing it, I’ve seen so many lovely comments and messages! . This shoot was all about #bopo and was organised with @mermaidinguk, run by the beaut @kerenzasapphire. Along with @themermaidplayground, @bodyposipanda and @thevagaggle we celebrated #bodypositvity on the beach. And yes, mermaids ARE cool, but a #bopomermaid ?! Even better 🧜♀️ . All of us are such big advocates for loving the skin you’re in, and that can be so hard in a day and age where social media continually bombards us with images of ‘perfection’ - leading us all to believe we are anything BUT perfect. The truth is, however we look is A-OK! I have wide hips, a small waist, am 5ft tall, and definitely am never gonna look like a VS model - but I’m also never gonna turn down some mac and cheese because I’ve eaten too many calories already... At 23 I’m finally near enough happy with how I look, and we should all reach peace in ourselves some time. The journey isn’t always easy, but channel your inner #bopowarrior and you got this 🙌🏻✨ . . #graceelizabeth_photography #essexweddingphotographer #lifestylephotography #essexweddingphotographer #norfolkphotographer #norfolkweddingphotography #suffolkweddingphotography #suffolkfamilyphotographer #suffolkweddingphotographer #suffolkphotographer #norfolkphotographer #essexphotographer #essexwedding #lookslikefilm #tribearchipelago #youdontneedtoaskhere #bodyposi #bodypositivity #mermaidinguk #mermaid #mermaidphotoshoot
You would never have guessed that @jadeyc3090’s little boy Teddy was teething like mad at his shoot for @ohlittlebing, would you?! Such a smiley little guy, despite his teeth hurting - well, at least for a few frames anyway 😉 . I would absolutely love to do more work for independent children’s clothing brands, so if you know anyone who may benefit, please let me know by tagging them in the comments! . I’m so grateful to have been able to photograph Lindsey’s pieces on Teddy, too, particularly as she has been one of my ‘online’ friends for such a long time now (way back when I started on Instagram in 2015 she was one of the first people I followed!) Im also so grateful to have worked again with @jadeyc3090, who I first met at a wedding in December but didn’t realise who she was until I put two and two together when she later offered to help me out with the #golddustproject by modelling! I really wanted to give back to her and say thank you for doing so, since she wanted to get Teddy into modelling. . The internet brought all three of us ladies together and it’s so amazing to think it can do that. I’ve made friendships with both girls and I’m so grateful they support my work every day. It means so much to me! So thank you, Lindsey and Jade, you’re both amazing 💕 . So, here is little Teddy in his Playful Dumpling shirt from @ohlittlebing - isn’t it cute?! Please do check out her pieces 💕 . . . . #essexfamilyphotographer #suffolkfamilyphotographer #norfolkfamilyphotographer #devonfamilyphotographer #essexnewbornphotographer #essexnewbornphotography #suffolknewbornphotographer #suffolknewbornphotography #norfolknewbornphotographer #devonnewbornphotographer #newbornphotography #newbornphotographer #babyphotography #lifestylephotography #londonfamilyphotographer #outdoorkids #candidchildhood #childhoodunplugged #motherhoodunplugged #essexweddingphotographer #suffolkweddingphotographer #norfolkweddingphotographer #essexphotographer #suffolkphotographer #norfolkphotographer #devonphotographer
So let’s be real. I rarely am in front of the camera. I don’t take that many selfies. And when I am in front, even if my boyfriend of six years is taking the photo, I still feel hugely awkward. ‘What do I do with my hands? Is my hair okay? I forgot to put on eyeliner today, so I probably look about 14. Don’t get me from any angle that shows how pear shaped I am.’ But you know, I actually don’t care any more. . This year, the #GoldDustProject , along with growing up a bit, has really helped me to feel more at one with myself. I used to hate my chunky thighs and 10 inch difference between my waist and hips, but I’m learning to love them. I’m a petite frame, at only 5ft tall, but I’m not balanced. I’m not hourglass shaped, I’m basically flat chested, hippy, and I’m between sizes. But we all are ‘imperfect.’ . Photography has really opened my eyes to the ways that we all feel ‘off’ about parts of ourselves. And without sounding totally cliché and ridiculous: I don’t see those things. I see every single person just as the way they are meant to be. . I think once I learned that I need to be less harsh on myself, both about my body, my photography (I have literally no self confidence and am constantly told by friends what I am doing is good / exciting / ground breaking), and my goals and how far I’m getting in life, I’ve done better. I’ve learned to ignore everyone’s social media lives. To unfriend / unfollow those who bring negativity into my life, and to concentrate on the positive. . Just my five cents this evening on positivity, I guess. Sorry for my ramblings! . . . #destinationweddingphotographer #devonphotographer #devonfamilyphotographer #devonweddingphotographer #devonweddingphotography #cornwallwedding #dirtybootsandmessyhair #italyweddingphotographer #isaidyes #letselope #destinationweddingphotography #graceelizabeth_photography #essexweddingphotographer #lifestylephotography #essexweddingphotographer #norfolkphotographer #norfolkweddingphotography #suffolkweddingphotography #suffolkfamilyphotographer #suffolkweddingphotographer #suffolkphotographer #norfolkphotographer #essexphotographer #essexwedding #countrysideliving #lookslikefilm #tribearchipelago
Last night I met up with this very cheeky sausage, little Teddy. His lovely mum, @jadeyc3090 worked with me on the #golddustproject and when @ohlittlebing sent me some of her super cute embroidered tops to model on a little one, baby Teddy was the first little guy I thought of! . It was lovely to meet up with Jade and Teddy last night, especially as Jade wants to get him into modelling (he would be the perfect model!!) It seemed like working with her and #OhLittleBing would be the perfect collaboration and way to say thank you to Jade for helping me out with my Gold Dust Project. . So, despite lots of grumpy crying (poor little guy is teething) here he is in his ‘Cheeky Sausage’ t shirt. We will be sharing the next few photos soon too 😻 . . . . #essexfamilyphotographer #suffolkfamilyphotographer #norfolkfamilyphotographer #devonfamilyphotographer #essexnewbornphotographer #essexnewbornphotography #suffolknewbornphotographer #suffolknewbornphotography #norfolknewbornphotographer #devonnewbornphotographer #newbornphotography #newbornphotographer #babyphotography #lifestylephotography #londonfamilyphotographer #outdoorkids #candidchildhood #childhoodunplugged #motherhoodunplugged #essexweddingphotographer #suffolkweddingphotographer #norfolkweddingphotographer #essexphotographer #suffolkphotographer #norfolkphotographer #devonphotographer #youdontneedtoaskhere
Do you guys remember Jaymini? I photographed her for the #golddustproject a few months back when she was heavily pregnant with her son! Since then, she’s given birth, and a few days ago she invited me back to come and take her postpartum photos - and of course I could meet her newest little one 😻 . It was so surreal to meet her son after having him met him whilst Jaymini was pregnant last time. Of course it’s obvious that a baby is going to make itself earthside at some point, but it’s still so surreal and amazing when you finally meet that tiny baby and realise how incredible the human body is. . If you swipe left, you’ll see the before image. In the latest image, Jaymini was a little nervous about being photographed because of how much her body had changed. I gave her complete control over whether she wanted to still go ahead, now three months postpartum, and she said it was the images of the other mothers who had taken part, that spurred her on. To me, that’s absolutely amazing, and I’m so grateful that she did let me photograph her again, because the two photos side by side show just how incredible the body can be, and just how important body confidence and positivity are. 💕 . . . . #essexnewbornphotographer #suffolknewbornphotographer #devonnewbornphotographer #norfolknewbornphotographer #essexfamilyphotographer #suffolkfamilyphotographer #devonfamilyphotographer #norfolkfamilyphotographer #essexweddingphotographer #suffolkweddingphotographer #norfolkweddingphotographer #devonweddingphotographer #glitterstretchmarks #bodypositivity #threemonthspostpartum #postpartumbody #postpartum #postpartumlife #pregnancybody #pregnancyphotos #graceelizabeth_photography #lookslikefilm #tribearchipelago #motherhoodrising #motherhoodunplugged
This is a body. This is a real, post-partum body. This is how incredible the human body can be. . You might remember Jaymini from a while ago, as I photographed her when she was 35 weeks pregnant for the #GoldDustProject . Today, I revisited her, her daughter, and her three month old son, to document her again for this very special project of mine - now that she is three months postpartum. . Unlike her emergency c-section with her daughter, Jaymini planned to have a home birth with her son. I remember her speaking about how she had brushed up on her knowledge of natural home births, and how the whole pregnancy experience the second time around had been so different to her first pregnancy and labour. Sadly, things were taken out of her hands after she was rushed into hospital as her son's heart rate was dropping, but he was super strong and made his arrival after just six hours of labour! . You know what amazes me about this project? The way that I myself am continually inspired by these beautifully strong women, and how you, the women who have taken part, have inspired more than just me. You have inspired the 16 year old girl in America, whose mum commented on instagram to say she had always hated her stretch marks, but has learned to love them. You've inspired mothers across the world who feel reserved about their bodies. You've challenged perceptions. Whether it be about what a postpartum body looks like, or about desensitising breastfeeding, or about what it means to be HUMAN. . You've inspired so. many. people. Even Jaymini, who despite taking part earlier on in this project when she was pregnant, had initial reservations about how her body looked post-pregnancy. It was the photos of the other mums who have taken part, that really spurred her on to get involved again. For that, I am forever grateful. . We WILL be the change we want to see in the world. #essexphotographer #suffolkphotographer #devonphotographer #norfolkphotographer #essexfamilyphotographer #suffolkfamilyphotographer #humanconnectionstories @humanconnectionstories
Meet Lucy, one incredibly strong (both inner and outer) mama and lover of her tiger stripes! I photographed Lucy and her two little ones this evening for the #GoldDustProject . Lucy emailed me some weeks ago now, with a story I am sure many mothers can relate to, and many even non-mothers - as it involves that of mental health. . Having dealt with mental health issues for over ten years now, six months after her at-home, pain-free birth of Demelza, she suffered a breakdown. She notes that 'the low from the birthing high was particularly brutal.' Lucy found herself dealing with the 'black dog' as she calls it, but this is one strong woman - like all of those who have shared their really personal stories with me for this project - and I can see her absolute inner strength and positivity shining through. . For me, this photo encapsulates her strength and ability to fight post natal depression, for I love the way that her stance illustrates it, as she boldly lifts Jacob and Demelza up and out of the darkness that consumes so many new mothers. Thank you for taking part and for sharing your story, Lucy, I am so grateful! 💕 . . . #graceelizabeth_photography #igmotherhood #golddustproject #glitterstretchmarks #stretchmarks #innerstrength #postnataldepression #outofdarknesscomethlight #essexfamilyphotographer #norfolkfamilyphotographer #suffolkfamilyphotographer #devonfamilyphotographer #lifestylephotography #lifestylephotographer #realmoments #colchesterphotographer #stretchmarksarebeautiful #motherhoodunplugged #motherhoodrising
I’m so grateful that my job allows me to meet and photograph some of the most amazing people, both for work and for vocational projects. For example, you might remember this little sweetie from my #GoldDustProject . ✨ . The Gold Dust Project has taken a little hiatus recently whilst I have been dealing with some personal things, so apologies for that. This is a project I am well and truly proud of and passionate about; so I didn’t want to do it with half of my attention - hence this little break. I’m glad to say that I am now feeling back on track and have two new shoots to add to it this week. One being with a mother who has suffered from post natal depression, whose story I will Be sharing around Friday, and one with lovely Jaymini, who was pregnant when I last photographed her. I am super looking forward to both, and to meeting her newborn son! 💜 . If you want to get involved, you definitely still can! Just pop me an email to email@example.com with your pregnancy and birth story and why you’d like to take part. I will require you to sign a model release due to the nature of the project and the fact that the images will be (as they already have been) published online and in print, therefore your safety and agreement is of paramount importance to me. I look forward to hearing from you! 💜 . . . . #essexphotographer #colchesterphotographer #pixel_kids #clickinmoms #childhoodunplugged #momswithcameras #letthembelittle #makeportraits #letthembebrave #honestmotherhood #thatsdarling #liveauthentic #livefolk #littlefierceones #graceelizabeth_photography #tribearchipelago #lookslikefilm #familyphotographeressex #familyphotographerdevon #familyphotographeruk #babyphotographer #newbornphotography #newbornphotographerdevon #newbornphotographeressex #newbornphotographydevon #newbornphotographyessex #glitterstretchmarks #lifestylephotographer #lifestylephotography
Meet Naomi and Lily-Mae, scar and stretch mark buddies! When @naomiclark1406 was in hospital, having just given birth to Little Lily-Mae, she wrote the loveliest diary. You can see it in the second photo (swipe right!) It contains all matter of things, from how she was feeling, to an almost poetic write up about her first few hours with her little girl. . I chose to photograph this spread because on the left you see the phrase ‘best day of my life!’ in capital letters, and on the other side, the juxtaposing poem, which Naomi wrote, and which explains her real concerns for Lily-Mae’s condition: #gastroschisis . I thought it was such a raw, personal way to explain how she felt, and I am sure many other parents could relate to the worries Naomi felt, especially if they are going through, or who have experienced these kinds of medical worries and difficulties. Naomi kindly let me read the diary and I have to say, so much of it was beautiful, but of course I can’t photograph it all 💜 . Her little girl doesn’t quite understand the importance of the diary just yet, but we know in time she will truly treasure it. Along with the jam packed photo album of images her mum also collected, including a visit from @jessiej! . I love how close these girls are, and I love how proud Lily-Mae is of her scars. Her actual operation scar is just above her belly button. She was a little dubious about having it painted, but after seeing her mum’s stretch marks all glammed up, she wanted to get involved. . I hope that one day little Lily-Mae will treasure these photos, and will understand her journey. She is such a role model to so many people already, and I, and her mum, are eternally grateful for all of your kindness. I have really appreciated it and I am sure Lily-Mae does too 💜 . #golddustproject . #essexphotographer #colchesterphotographer #pixel_kids #clickinmoms #childhoodunplugged #momswithcameras #letthembelittle #makeportraits #letthembebrave #honestmotherhood #thatsdarling #liveauthentic #livefolk #littlefierceones #graceelizabeth_photography #tribearchipelago #lookslikefilm #sonya7rii
Wishing I didn’t have to crop this image, but it’s the only way Instagram would let me post it... . This is little Lily-Mae, whom you might remember from a few days ago. Lily-Mae took part in my #GoldDustProject , along with her mum, @naomiclark1406, last week. . Lily-Mae was born with #gastroschisis , meaning she was born with her intestines partly outside of her body. This can occur in varying degrees of severity, thus resulting in various operations to deal with the complications it produces. It’s a very serious complication, and always needs prompt attention after birth. Some children are end up with little scars, some with much larger scars and some even end up with stoma bags. If the gastroschisis is small, it is usually treated right away after birth, but if many organs are outside of the body, multiple operations may be needed. Some gastroschisis is even dealt with in intensive care, with quite an interesting process. The intestines are contained within a mesh sac, and elevated, so that gravity can slowly move them back into the body. There is no anaesthetic involved, but pain relief is used. . Most children are rushed to @greatormondst within a few hours of birth (Lily-Mae being one of them!) and many children who experience this also need other treatments, such as IV lines (to allow them to obtain the nutrients they need), antibiotics to prevent infection, and monitoring of their body temperature. Lily has a few little scars on her tummy, and also some behind her book, where her Hickman lines were. . Whilst Lily-Mae was in hospital, her mum Naomi wrote the most wonderful diary, which she allowed me to read, as you can see here! This little girl doesn’t realise just yet how important this book is, but we know that one day she will. She was a little confused I think about why we were photographing her with it, but I really hope that one day she might cherish these photos. . You know what I also find most amazing about her? She was never without a smile. She spent most of the photo session telling me how much she loved to sing, and proudly presenting her scars to me - even if painting them involved lots of wiggling and giggling (paintbrushes are tickly!) 💜
Photo credit: @graceelizphoto. Look at my beautiful baby boy. My beautiful, blue eyed, chubby, baby boy. I did that. My body nourished him exclusively for 15 months, firstly through a placenta and then via my breasts. Aren't bodies AMAZING, especially the female body, I actually think it's a little bit magic. Here you can see my lap scar in my belly button, I had 4 surgeries to make my babies possible, one of them was life saving. I'm so lucky to even be here right now. My ectopic pregnancies were probably in the top 3 worst experiences of my life, they ruined me, ruined my confidence in general and my body. They left me with PTSD. Ectopic pregnancy is still the leading cause of maternal death in the first trimester. But in a weird way I don't regret them or wish they hadn't happened as without them Edison and Arabella would not be Edison and Arabella and I am grateful for them every second of every day, even on the days where they test my patience. My little miracles, my dreams come true. #ectopicpregnancy #ectopicpregnancytrust #golddustproject #laparoscopicsurgery #infertility #ivfbaby #ivfsuccess #edisongeorge #exclusivelybreastfed #breastisthebiologicalnorm #breastfeeding #normalizebreastfeeding #normalisebreastfeeding
Day three of @lovebeckha and @jamo_k’s IVF journey for the #GoldDustProject ... It also wasn’t without its difficulties. . After having an even poorer result post-stimulating her ovaries for her second cycle of IVF, Becca found out she had also developed a hydrosalpinx in her remaining, blocked, left fallopian tube. She went to egg collection, only then to find out she had just five eggs, and only two of those five became fertilised. At this point, #IVF wasn’t getting any easier, and they were understandably disheartened. They went in for a three day transfer, and, as part of the trial they had decided to take part in (more information on this in my last post with Becca), she was scanned... Only to find that her uterus had filled with toxic fluid from her hydrosalpinx. This was their worst possible nightmare. The transfer was cancelled. . They had to wait to day five to see if either of their two embryos were good enough to freeze. Day five came around, and they weren’t. One had perished, but one was allowed to remain until day six, when, in an absolute turn of events, it turned out to be a great blastocyst! The clinic froze it and they had a tiny glimmer of hope... . Four months down the line, Becca was finally back to see her gynaecologist for the removal or clipping of her remaining tube. This was her fourth surgery by this point. . Exactly six weeks post operation, Becca began the procedure to have her frozen embryo transferred. She went through five weeks of injections, and estrogen, to prepare her lining for the transfer. Finally, it was time for the transfer. Just as they arrived at the clinic, she got a phone call, whilst Jamie was paying for the car parking. It was the clinic. The embryo had not survived the thaw. Her heart broke. After speaking to the embryologist, she and Jamie decided to go ahead with having the transfer; even though only 10% of its cells had survived. All she could think about was becoming a mother again, and doing the best for her baby. . Having experienced such a difficult second cycle, Jamie and Becca decided to go back to their original clinic in Wales, to do egg sharing again. They were booked in for a consultation...
Yesterday (on my last post) I spoke about about @lovebeckha’s experience with #IVF , as she offered to take part in my #GoldDustProject . Today I’ll speak a bit more about what happened after she and @jamo_k realised natural conception wouldn’t be too likely. . After her second #ectopicpregnancy , Becca and Jamie looked into IVF, and more specifically, into egg sharing. Having seen the true impact of being able to give another couple looking to have children but also suffering #infertility the chance to have a baby via egg sharing, was something they really wanted to help with. But egg collecting is no mean feat. . Her first round of IVF was at a London Women’s Clinic in Cardiff. After plenty of medical combinations and hormones to help stimulate her ovaries, they still were working too slowly. Finally, doctors were finally able to retrieve 12 eggs. 6 were kept, 6 were donated. 4 were fertilised via IVF only. On day 3, they only had 3 embryos remaining. Day 5 left them with one blastocyst, which they transferred, but there were sadly none to freeze. . Two days post transfer, Becca experienced pain which she explains as ‘I would rather go through childbirth 10 times again in one day than experience the pain I was in.’ Rushed to A&E she was diagnosed with Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) and ovarian torsion, and hence ended up in hospital for a week. At this point, they still didn’t know if their first cycle of IVF had worked. When Becca finally left hospital, she did a pregnancy test the same day... and it was positive! However, she still wasn’t sure, and both she and Jamie experienced doubt throughout. She explains that IVF is so scary and daunting that you can never be too sure, so although optimism is good, they were realistic. . Fast forward a year, after Little Bella’s birth, and they decided they wanted to give her a sibling. Having had to lose 4.5 stone of baby weight, Becca also had a #hycosy on the NHS, showing her remaining Fallopian tube was blocked. She was refused removal of her remaining tube. Having found a clinic in Hammersmith who were undertaking a new clinical trial to prevent OHSS, they jumped at chance... . More tomorrow!
Picture credit: @graceelizphoto I took part in the wonderful #golddustproject yesterday. Initially when I first saw this picture in my head I started to pick out all my "flaws", and then I stopped myself. That is what society and the media has done to us, crept into our brains and told us we should look a certain (often unattainable) way. After stopping myself hating on myself I decided to look at the wonderful things in this picture shows, my beautiful daughter we fought so hard for, how strong my arms look, my tattoos, that beautiful gold paint. Yes I have fat, yes I can see a roll, this does not make me any less beautiful, and is beauty the be all and end all really? I'm intelligent, I am strong, I am valued. I want my daughter to love her body, being able bodied and healthy is a privilege. Hating yourself changes nothing, love the skin you are in. I do not look perfect, this body grew two whole humans, it was their home for 9 months, it birthed them with ease, its fed Edison for the last 9 months still and will continue to do so for many more months, it skips, rows, jumps, lifts weights that are pretty impressive. Thank you body, and thank you Grace for taking such a beautiful picture and letting me participate in your project. #bodypositivity #bopowarrior #bopo #ivfsuccess #infertility #infertilitywarrior #loveyourbody #crossfit #fitmom #girlswholift #arabellafaith #bodyconfidence #postpartumfitness #effyourbeautystandards
Today I met back up with lovely @lovebeckha, who I shot newborn photos for last year with baby Edison. Becca is amazing, I love photographing her, Bella and Edison, but this time, it was a very special shoot for the #GoldDustProject . I think it will take me a few posts to explain Becca’s story, as there is a lot to cover and a lot which deservedly needs to be covered as to raise awareness to #IVF . It may be a trigger to those of you who have lost babies, so I would like to preface with this. 😊 . In effect, both of Becca’s children were born via #IVF . Becca had a really difficult time falling pregnant, and as I want to cover her IVF story in depth, I’ll be staging it out. I will likely write an entire blog post soon on Becca’s experience. . At 23, her first pregnancy turned into an #ectopicpregnancy just six weeks in. After having a laparoscopy to try and find out what had caused her ectopic pregnancy, they found out she had a folded fallopian tube, so her second surgery, another laparoscopy was used to unfold her folded Fallopian tube. Her experience ultimately resulted in her having her right Fallopian tube removed. At such a young age, her ectopic pregnancy hit her hard, as did knowing that such a large part of her fertility had been removed. The mental recovery was, as she told me, much worse than the physical. . Soon later, Becca fell pregnant again, only to suffer another ectopic #pregnancy , which wasn’t recognised immediately by doctors. Having come back from holiday with excruciating pelvic pain, she was rushed into hospital, and told she was having a miscarriage. At this time, she knew what was going on: it wasn’t a miscarriage, but another ectopic pregnancy. By this point, she and partner Jamie came to realise that a ‘normal’ pregnancy would very likely not be possible, so they began to consider IVF, but the waiting list exceeded 40 weeks, so they began to look into private IVF. . However, the chemotherapy drug she had been on to treat her ectopic pregnancy wouldn’t allow them to try IVF for another three months. This set back their plans incredibly. . I’ll explain a bit more about what happened after this tomorrow, so as not to overwhelm you all.
I feel that tweaking an image in lightroom can really bring a photo to life and convey your vision more clearly. I'm trying to edit in a more painterly way recently (I like to think of a photo as a canvas sometimes, and lightroom as the paintbrushes), especially as this image (as you may know!) is for a personal project regarding postpartum scarring, meaning I have full creative freedom to explore editing styles. This image of @naomiclark1406’s little girl, Lily-Mae, was taken for my #GoldDustProject , which is named after the application of gold paint I make to stretch marks and scars on postpartum mothers, and on children with scars from birth, the gold therefore highlighting their beauty. This little girl I photographed was born with #gastroschisis , which affects 1 in 3000 children in the UK. It meant she was born with her intestines outside of her body. She's a very lucky little girl and had a very easy procedure to correct her gastrochorisis the day after she was born, but it wasn't without difficulties in between. Some children with her medical condition aren't so lucky too; many end up with much more dangerous versions of gastrochorisis, for example, some children end up with stoma bags permanently and into adulthood, and some have even died from the condition depending on it's severity. I'm so grateful Lily-Mae's mama let me take these photos for my project to share with the world. I was so impressed with Lily's confidence and genuine understanding of what I was trying to do, despite her being only 5 years old and the concepts of the project being quite complex. Thank you Naomi and Lily-Mae for letting me document this little slice of your journey 💜 . . . #essexphotographer #colchesterphotographer #pixel_kids #clickinmoms #childhoodunplugged #momswithcameras #letthembelittle #makeportraits #letthembebrave #honestmotherhood #thatsdarling #liveauthentic #livefolk #littlefierceones #graceelizabeth_photography #tribearchipelago #lookslikefilm #sonya7rii #familyphotographeressex #familyphotographerdevon #familyphotographeruk #babyphotographer #newbornphotographer #newbornphotographeressex #newbornphotography
Thought I would share this one of lovely Zena today, from our shoot for the #GoldDustProject a week ago. Zena’s little girl lost weight whilst in the womb when she got stuck in her mum’s ribs, so Zena had to have a planned c-section to deliver her before she became too little. As a result, this mama has a beautiful scar! Doesn’t it look so pretty in gold?! I love the way the light picks up on it 😻 I also love seeing the difference between all of the scars, from some lower down from breech babies, to others higher up, to some smaller, some bigger, some neater than others (usually for first time mums) to others more scarred (usually for multiple c-section deliveries). For such a repetitive procedure they’re all so different. The most important thing to remember is how amazing those scars are, and not to be embarrassed by them, or nervous for people to see them. They are beautiful 💜
This morning I met the lovely Zena and baby Izzy, for the first shoot in a little while for my #GoldDustProject ! Izzy was born via a planned c-section, because she got stuck in her mum’s rib cage, and refused to budge 🙈 However, it wasn’t good, as she began to lose weight, partly due to the mediation her mama was on (which couldn’t be changed.) After days of waiting to find out what would be best to do, doctors finally agreed a c-section was the safest to deliver little Izzy. However, Zena couldn’t breastfeed and still can’t, which is something she has really personally struggled with as she felt there is such a pressure to breastfeed and she feels she’s lost out on precious weeks of bonding with her baby girl as a result. However ladies, let’s remember, so long as you can feed your little one, no matter how, you’re doing the right thing 💜 Never feel like you’re incapable or insufficient just because you can’t, or maybe you choose not to breastfeed. So long as your little one is happy, healthy, and fed, you’re doing the right thing 💜
Day 5 of #marchmeetthemaker is photography. Now I know, I knoooow I’m supposed to be telling you about my photography, but to be honest there’s little more to my own photos than a little iPhone wizardry, a steady hand and lots of daylight! I have however been very lucky to work with some amazing photographers so I wanted to shout to you about one of those! It’s the incredibly talented @graceelizphoto who took this absolute beauty! I met Grace last year when she was organising her first styled shoot which weirdly enough was a year ago today! Head over and have a look at her profile, she’s absolutely killing it with her documentary style photography and has recently had such success with her #golddustproject . Go see, she’s amazing 😍#meetthemaker #supportsmallbusinesses #supportsmallbusiness #smallbusinesssupportingsmallbusiness #weddingphotography #weddingphotographeressex #wedding #2018wedding #girlboss #shemeansbusiness
I’ve had lots of lovely new followers in the past 24 hours! Where are you guys finding me from? 💜 Comment below where you are in the world and how you found me (did you spot a blog feature I don’t know about?)! I’ve also just got off the phone from a phone interview with a local paper, who want to feature the #GoldDustProject ! I’m so excited for it to be seen by a local audience because all of the ladies involved have been local! Let’s support and empower our local women 💜 I’ll keep you all updated! Here is another of this lovely mama with her c-section, which looks rather like a smile to me! 😊
So today I joined #Vero ... I’m not entirely sure how to use it yet, but I thought I’d give it a good go! I like the chronological timeline and how you can split your feed between friends, acquaintances and the public! If you want to follow me, I’m ‘Grace Elizabeth’ on there. In other news, here is another from the #golddustproject ! I’ve received such a good reception to the project - I actually had to turn away The Sun yesterday as I didn’t feel they were a good fit for the project. I’m ever so grateful for all of the positivity coming towards it, it’s amazing, and hearing some of the wonderful comments has really made my heart go all fuzzy!
Look at this little cutie! @hollymay2217 took part in my #golddustproject and her little girl definitely stole the show! She’s so sweet 💜 I’d love to do more newborn and baby lifestyle sessions, little ones are so cheeky! 💕 Also, have you seen?! The Gold Dust Project got featured on @officialfstoppers yesterday by the wonderful @anete_lusina! The link is on my Facebook page! #essexnewbornphotographer
So today the #golddustproject has been featured on @yahoostylebeauty! Yesterday it was featured on @lovewhatmatters and it although predominantly positive, it did receive a mixed reaction! I’m very thankful for all of the positive comments towards the project, and a little saddened that some of the photos have been regarded as ‘distasteful’ but then again, the project and my intentions with it may not for everyone, and that’s okay! The most prominent issue seemed to be with showing breastfeeding publicly, particularly as the image used over on Love What Matters Instagram account showed lovely Lorna breastfeeding her little girl. However, I am unsure if many of the commenters have seen the whole project, or simply seen that one image. I do hope they’ve had a look at this project, and the way it is trying to challenge people’s conceptions of what it means to be a post partum mother with scars and stretchmarks, and I hope that they see the body positivity we are encouraging here. I’m so grateful to the ladies involved in this project, who, despite seeing some of the comments, are so positive, and I’m so thankful for the kind comments and messages I have seen and received, defending and celebrating the #golddustproject It’s the most amazing thing to have become part of a community of women who build each other up rather than tear one another down. However, all in all, breastfeeding doesn’t define this project as you guys will know, it is simply a part of the project because naturally, it’s a part of motherhood! 💜 @buzzfeed @theellenshow #essexnewbornphotographer
The #GoldDustProject has been featured over on @lovewhatmatters today and I am so excited about it!! I hope you might enjoy reading the article I wrote for them, the link is in my bio! This is an incredible achievement not just for me but for all of the ladies involved, who are the driving force behind challenging people’s perceptions and encouraging body positivity by accepting ourselves 🙌🏻 I only have huge appreciation for these ladies, particularly for their positivity and also for providing me with fantastic role models. You are all amazing and I am so thankful that this project has brought us together!
Detail of a portrait I just spent a little more time on. I could always use a little more time!
The #GoldDustProject has enabled me to meet so many lovely people, such as Jaymini here; who hasn’t got long until her second little one arrives! The project has also been such a learning curve for me, as I know very little about pregnancy at all, and I’ve really enjoyed so far finding out more about the crazy changes your body goes through from all of the mothers on board (I know many of you have told me you never get to chat about these things with ‘non mothers’, and that you’ve enjoyed educating me!) and celebrating those changes. I found out a few days ago that the stripe you see here for example, is called the Linea Nigra (literally ‘black line’) and although you have always had one, due to changing hormones and increased melanin levels, it becomes quite prevalent during pregnancy! Some women find it to be quite unsightly, but this project is all about challenging those opinions, so Jaymini allowed me to paint hers in gold, so we could draw some attention to this marvel of pregnancy! 💜 ________________________________________ photo by the beautiful Mom, Grace @graceelizphoto Beauty of MotherHood is in Everyday Moments. Celebrating ALL Mothers & Your Precious Miracles. . 💖SUPPORT to INSPIRE💖 . ⓕσℓℓσω & Tαɢ #ig_motherhood Featured by: Jenn @jennifer_davies_ ♡ ________________________________________ • • #igmom_graceelizphoto
The #GoldDustProject has enabled me to meet so many lovely people, such as Jaymini here; who hasn’t got long until her second little one arrives! The project has also been such a learning curve for me, as I know very little about pregnancy at all, and I’ve really enjoyed so far finding out more about the crazy changes your body goes through from all of the mothers on board (I know many of you have told me you never get to chat about these things with ‘non mothers’, and that you’ve enjoyed educating me!) and celebrating those changes. I found out a few days ago that the stripe you see here for example, is called the Linea Nigra (literally ‘black line’) and although you have always had one, due to changing hormones and increased melanin levels, it becomes quite prevalent during pregnancy! Some women find it to be quite unsightly, but this project is all about challenging those opinions, so Jaymini allowed me to paint hers in gold, so we could draw some attention to this marvel of pregnancy! 💜
Another from yesterday’s #GoldDustProject shoot with @hollymay2217. The golden sunlight we saw yesterday morning doubled up so beautifully with the gold I painted over Holly’s c section scar, and with Maci’s little amber anklet 💜 Maci was actually born via a planned c section as her mama had to have a planned c section or risk losing too much blood due to a blood condition. Maci was also born with the same condition but grew out of it after a few weeks or so. I can’t imagine what it must be like to have a c section; let alone an emergency c section. I’m very thankful to all of you lovely mothers who have come forward to take far in the project and to tell me your stories. You are all patchwork squares forming a huge patchwork blanket in the form of this project 💜
Alright guys, if you didn’t want little ones before, let little Maci here change your mind! This morning I met up with lovey Holly (@hollymay2217) and her little girl Maci for the #GoldDustProject . Maci also made her entrance into the world via c section, although this one was planned as she was early, and I have to say, Holly might have one of the neatest c section scars I’ve seen yet! No unusual back story to this mama’s pregnancy story, just a mother who loves her body, and wants to bring up her little girl in a body positive world. Thank you so much for taking part, Holly! 💜 #essexnewbornphotographer
A few days ago, I met up with the lovely Jaymini for another shoot for the #GoldDustProject . Now 35 weeks pregnant with her second little one, Jaymini, a textile weaver and lady of equal creative flair, was a wonderful addition to the project due to being pregnant whilst taking part! I was super excited when she emailed and mentioned she was pregnant - because it allows this project to continue to grow! The Gold Dust Project really is encompassing the full circle of life! It was so eye opening to me too, as I have never been so close to a bump (I have a small family, none of which have been pregnant lately!) - nor have I painted on one! It was incredible to feel baby wiggle beneath the surface as my brush glossed over Jaymini’s tummy- probably her little one’s knobbly elbows or knees saying ‘Hello?! What are you doing?!’ I’m hoping to return to see this lovely mama to be, with her newest addition, in a few weeks time when he or she arrives earth-side, and I’m so looking forward to this, because it will add a whole new dynamic to the project. From pregnant mothers to be, to recently postpartum mothers, to long time mothers, to mothers who have had difficult pregnancies, or easy pregnancies, to mothers like Jaymini who have decided to have as much of a natural pregnancy as possible, to mothers of all shapes and sizes, and mothers of all walks of life... I adore this project, its diversity, and most of all, I am so blooming thankful to all of you who have so far taken part, will be soon taking part, or who have generally just given so much love for this project! So much so, that there is a little waiting list to take part! So thank you all, and keep an eye out as it continues to develop 💜 #glitterstretchmarks
I can’t believe this moment wasn’t even posed or directed - I came across it whilst editing and forgot I had taken it. Little Georgie post breastfeeding came across the little tiger stripes we had highlighted for the #GoldDustProject on her mum’s chest, and something about her tiny hands touching those stripes really reinforced the beauty of this project 💜 @buzzfeed @theellenshow #essexnewbornphotographer
Absolutely adore the way that the light picked up on the beautiful @jadeyc3090’s c section scar for this #GoldDustProject shoot. That combined with little Teddy’s feet, I love the juxtaposition of the before and the after, and the journey in between pregnancy and birth 💜
One from my most recent #GoldDustProject shoot with lovely Jade and little Teddy. Jade suffered quite an ordeal during her pregnancy with continual sickness, and then when it came to her labour, she was induced early due to preeclampsia and had to have an emergency c section. An understandably terrifying time made worse by the fact that she was put under general anaesthetic as she couldn’t be numbed, and therefore couldn’t even witness her baby being born. She tells me she was in fact one of the last people to see her little boy, which for a new mother must be totally heartbreaking. For this reason, Jade has had a bit of a love hate relationship with her scar, knowing that on the one hand it was a necessary means to bringing her little boy safely into the world, but on the other hand it reminds of her of the negative time she went through during her labour, not to mention the physical result of being scarred, which for an emergency c section, isn’t something you have much time to get used to. For this reason, I focused less on her scarring (although you’ll just see it peeking in at the bottom of the frame!) and more on her and her little boy in that gorgeous natural sunlight! Thank you Jade for being a part of this project and I hope you will feel more empowered as a result 💜 #essexnewbornphotographer
Another of lovely Lorna with baby Willow, for the #GoldDustProject . As far as possible as you will have seen, this project encourages mamas to breastfeed, because many of these women are advocates for breastfeeding, but for many women on the flip side of the coin, this either isn’t possible for the entire duration of their baby’s journey to infant hood, or for many, it is completely impossible at all, due to a whole manner of variables - #fedisbest . Please don’t feel lesser because your baby isn’t suckling. Please also don’t feel lesser because you don’t feel you ‘fit the criteria’ - because chances are, you probably do! You’re very likely perfect, amazing, strong, and powerful. So, if you want to get involved in the project, whether you’ve just had a baby, have a toddler, breastfeed, no longer breastfeed, are slim, have a tummy, are plus sized, are body confident, or not body confident - please get in touch! This project is about #EMPOWERMENT . I am completely non judgemental, and non intrusive. This project aims to give you the confidence to love your tiger stripes where your bump once was, or that emergency c section scar you despise. For many women too, there is no right or wrong way to relate to your body. Some ladies LOVE their bodies, and it comes easy for them. Some adore those tiger stripes, some hate the way they’ve appeared on their boobs, others love their c section scars because that’s where their little one came from, others struggle with their c section scars because their baby’s birth was difficult, or terrifying, or just because they feel like it is unsightly and embarrassing. Ladies, please don’t worry about any of these things. These shoots celebrate those scars and stretch marks, and moreso, they celebrate you and your journey to motherhood 💜
Oh the #GoldDustProject how you have melted my heart! I love this project so much, and I am so thankful as always to all of you wonderful mamas who have come forward so far to take part! Here is another of Lorna (from yesterday) and baby Willow (her little ones are all named after botanicals which is literally family goals am I right?!) Lorna is a big advocate for breastfeeding and I’m very thankful she offered to breastfeed for this series! Let’s change the stigma ladies! #breastisbest (Also, I should note, for ladies who struggle to breastfeed, please don’t feel inadequate! Lorna and I discussed this in great length, and we both agree that it’s not always the easiest option, and for some ladies, almost impossible. So, as long as you have a healthy and happy baby, that’s all that matters! 💜) #essexnewbornphotographer
Little Georgie doing the most natural thing in the world: #breastfeeding . This is another photo as part of my #golddustproject , focused on post partum mamas and their journeys and all of their scars and stretch marks it comes with! It makes me really sad to think that breastfeeding is considered taboo even now in 2018, and that it attracts frowns and disgraceful whispers in public. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be sexualised, nor should we even bat an eyelid to it: this is a mother feeding her baby, and if you find something weird or distasteful about that, I hope you may be able to come to a more positive perspective towards this amazing thing the female body can offer to a tiny baby 💜 Props also to this mama, for breastfeeding now into her eight month postpartum. It’s really incredible and empowering to see her still feeding naturally as much as possible 💜 #glitterstretchmarks ______________________________________________ . Photo shared by talented photographer Grace Elizabeth, @graceelizphoto, The Beauty of MotherHood is in Everyday Moments. Celebrating ALL Mothers & Your Precious Miracles. . 💖SUPPORT to INSPIRE💖 . Follow & Tag #ig_motherhood . Featured by Yuliet @thisjoy🌻 _________________________________________ . #igmom_graceelizphoto . . . . . #fashion #postthepeople #posttheordinary #livethelittlethings #instamom #habitandhome #persuepretty #feelfreefeed #momlife #folkgood #mommylife #darlingmovement #babygram #thehappynow #motherhood #babiesofinstagram #createcommune #instababy_russia #momlifeisthebestlife #babystagram #babyfever #toddlerfun #momandme #breastfeedingmom
Another from the #golddustproject , of baby Georgie, now milk drunk! She was such a sweet little girl, and was also a total poser - which made my job super easy! I really love natural portraits, too. More often than not I work with newborns, but I actually loved working with this little one because she was eight months old, smiling, laughing, and just being super cute! It would be lovely if I got to do more in home portraits when your little ones are no longer newborns, because this is when their characters start to shine! 💫 #glitterstretchmarks
This mama earned those tiger stripes!! 🐯 This is Liz, a family friend and all round awesome lady! She’s usually top to toe in colour, choosing her outfit after her shoes are picked out, but today she was in a simple monochrome get up so we could let those stripes shine! Liz was one of the first lovely ladies to come forward for this project, after wanting to show off the tiger stripes little Megan-Rose gave her. She said she felt empowered by her stretch marks and that she is proud of them; because they gave her her little girl, now eight. Thank you Liz for being another wonderful model for this project and for your awesome body positivity 💕 #golddustproject #glitterstretchmarks
Another from yesterday’s Gold Dust Project. This time with this little guy involved! He loved to see himself on the back of the camera, so I’m taking his ‘IT’S ME!’ as confirmation that he liked this one! 😊 If you’d like to be a part of the project, don’t hesitate to get in touch! #golddustproject #glitterstretchmarks
So here it is, the first photo from my Gold Dust series. I have wanted to do a project like this for the longest time, but now was the right time, and today it commenced. This series will be focusing on post partum mamas from all walks of life, and on the beauty that comes from your journey through pregnancy. It began through researching the beautiful Japanese art of Kintsugi, whereby broken pottery would be fixed and put back together with gold - the concept being that it would be made to be more beautiful than it was in the first place. I wanted to transform this concept into an intimate photographic project that didn’t look at the ‘brokenness’ or the ‘imperfect’ of a post pregnancy body, but that EMBRACED it. So many women lack confidence these days, and I myself can say that I am not always the most confident, especially when it comes to my body. Despite being a 23 year old without having ever experienced pregnancy, I can understand that pregnancy can really change a woman’s perspective towards her body. On the one hand, you have done something AMAZING. You’ve created a life, carried that life for nine months, and delivered that little life into this world. On the other hand, you’ve ended up with stretch marks and scarring, and most likely a very different and less positive outlook on your body. What I must say, is from most mums I have spoken to over my career as a photographer, many are so proud of their bodies and what it has done, and are so much more comfortable with it. But at the same time, they do feel a slight disconnect with its new appearance. Some ladies like to hide their scars and stretch marks, others find them easy to embrace. However you feel about your marks, scars, wobbly bits and squishy bits is FINE. If you’re not comfortable with them yet, that’s fine! If you are, then that’s also fine! We are ALL allowed our own opinions on our bodies, but during this project, I want to EMPOWER postpartum mamas through drawing attention to their scars and stretch marks through quite literally drawing on them. So, if you’re a postpartum mother who would like to get involved, let me know via message, or email! 💕 #golddustproject #glitterstretchmarks
Who’s ready to entertain this weekend?! We’re dying over how #serene and #inviting our custom build #golddustproject #diningroom is looking these days thanks to Kristen and Co @lifestyledco // 📷: @shannonleephotoaz // #esbuilders #esbuildersaz #shiplap #luxuryhomes #luxurydesign #diningroomdecor #diningroomtable #crateandbarrel #westelm #homesweethome #thisishome #thisishowwedo #bohostyle #bohohome #charminghomes #buildersofig #contractorsofinsta #contractor #homebuilder #customhomes #customhomebuilder #scottsdale #arizona #neutrals #dreamhome
Not all #phoenix and #scottsdale #homes have accessible gas, and running a gas line can be $$$$. This can be very disappointing to a client who wants a gas range. Although an #inductioncooktop doesn’t share the same beauty and character as a gas range, it offers a faster cooking option, while giving off less eat (very helpful when enduring summers here in the desert 🔥). This is the route we took at our #golddustproject and all turned out nicely ... not to mention the super easy cleanup! // #esbuildersaz #esbuilders #kitchendesign #kitchenremodel #kitchen #subwaytile #whiteandbright #luxuryhomes #beautifulhomes #luxuryhome #luxurydesign #customhomes #customhome #fixerupper #homebuilders #contractor #contractors #contractorsofinsta #instaconstruction #ighome #dreamhome #houseandhome #homesweethome #homebuilder #custombuilt
Phew!! What a whirlwind weekend that feels like it’s ending too soon. A good soak in this #clawfoottub at our #golddustproject may help soften the blow of Monday. Designed by @lifestyledco // #esbuildersaz #esbuilders #fiddleleaffig #bathroomdecor #bathroomremodel #bathroom #customhome #custombuilt #custombuilt #beautifulhomes #houseandhome #homesweethome #contractor #contractors #contractorsofinsta #renovation #fixerupper #ighome #ighomes #scottsdale #phoenix #arizona #luxuryhomes #luxurydesign #generalcontractor #instaconstruction #homebuilder #customhomebuilder
Ummmm this came out of me today. My new clients at #GoldDustProject wanted #whimsy , #rustic and #sophisticated . Oh my god, I should try this #color thing a little more often! #outofbodyexperience #interiordesign #interiordesigner #interiorstylist #interiorstyling #moodboard #inspirationboard #designplan #designerlife #desertproud #popsofcolor #cactus #cacti #customwallpaper #woven #naturals #neutrals #beaded #woodbeads #chandeliers #shiplap #bohostyle #bohemian #boho