I’ve recently decided that I have too many eggs in one basket and too many fingers in a pie. And as much as it’s brilliant to think that I am a “Jack of all trades”- reality is that where you focus you grow. And unfortunately it is impossible to grow in too many avenues.
I have had to deal with a few personal challenges which caused another Lupus flare. This consisted of mostly extreme fatigue, flu-like symptoms, aching joints and recently swollen face. Not being able to sleep comfortably yet feeling so incredibly exhausted really took its toll. Then the social media frustrations…
As most of you know; I’ve taken a short break from Social Media. This was prompted after the frustration of not being able to follow other accounts, like others’ posts at times and not being able to comment on other’s posts. Should you not know this; these actions are all integral for the growth of your social media profiles. (Besides the fact that I actually enjoy interacting with my followers.)
I do not take it [social media] too seriously; however I do depend on getting work through some of my social media pages. This all led to me deciding on a little detox. Now as much as such a decision is rather easy; allot of my close friends continue checking up on me asking me whether I’m “coping” without my Social Media accounts. Was I really that much on those platforms that people thought I’d struggle?
Whilst all of this is said with tongue in cheek, one of the scariest realisations recently is that people place so much value on social media that they actually identify their social standing or even their life accomplishments on being “available, present and seen” on their profiles. Their “likes” and “followers” become such an obsession that they begin to identify themselves with it! Studies have now shown that teen depression and teen suicidal tendencies are at its highest ever. This largely due to the pressure of a “false life” on social media.
You see it way too often on the story lines. You see someone you idolise at some prominent restaurant and perhaps take a short video of sipping on some exotic drink with bags of shopping around them. This now seems very ideal; and probably cool to the average teen, who copies this. Only they try and emulate what they saw. Perhaps trying on the newest brand clothing and posting it as if they have just bought it. Another peer sees this and envies this. Perhaps goes to a bespoke bar and takes a snap insinuating that they dine there. This is seen by others who now feel so depressed that they are unable to afford these kind of life styles exhibited by their peers. And so the circle continues. Talking to people “in the know”, social media is still so new that these issues that come along with it is just as new, and our experts have no experience in treating this. Or very little at the moment.
It’s become quite evident how Social Media can take over and how one can allow it to affect them. Taking breaks and also limiting the amount of time you “check” on what’s going on, “checking in” to see what is going on, and “checking new likes and follows”, all will benefit your mental health I assure you. What I have personally realised from this is that when I have a spare moment I usually grab my phone and try catching up.
When I announced that I’d take a break, I deleted every social media application off my phone. This not only takes away temptation to “just quickly check what’s going on”, but also in those moments that you’d forget about your decision. I am so surprised that I have continuously had a couple moments free time and automatically went for my phone to catch up, only to see a void where the apps were – and feeling literally confused and lost. Like what now? What can I do with the time I used to spend on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter?
With most smart phones now; you are able to gauge how much time is spent on your phone, and reminders “to take breaks”.
This break from my virtual reality made me realise that I’m not only “detoxing” from Social Media, I’m freeing up “thinking space” and allowing my creative juices to flow freely. Less human interaction – which in reality exhausted me – and more ME time. Whilst social media is an integral part of what I do; I will from now on take one day completely away from all social media, as well as once a month take a four day break. I’d suggest to anyone and everyone to do the same. Take days completely away from Social Media – to allow your mind a break as well as to connect with nature/family/real life/ hobbies etc. It is so easy to get carried away with this virtual reality. So easy to loose sight of YOU. So easy to get caught up in other people’s (pretend?) lives and neglect your own self.
Many a times I am asked the strangest questions; (strange to me) about what I do – or I hear the assumptions and can’t help but have a giggle.
To understand what I do, is to understand why I am doing what I do first. Have I lost you? What I mean is that when you look at my work, my posts on Instagram and my website; there is a general assumption as to what I do without realising what I actually do.
In the past I’ve received private messages on Social Media…
Asking for explicit images of me sometimes posing in suggestive ways. Usually this amuses me; and I always ask what gave them the idea that I’d do that or that I’m a porn star. And usually the response would be that I shouldn’t get offended as I am the one “asking for it” by posting nude images of myself. My first question would usually be : where did I show my genitals and second question : where do I pleasure myself.
You see, we as humans, and we as society have been lied to for so many years that we actually believe that the human body is a dirty, sinful thing when not covered with fabric. We have taught generations of children to be ashamed of themselves. To be embarrassed with what we were born with. That evil creatures will lurk around any corner and will pounce on you for showing a little too much skin. That there would be justification for those acts! You asked for it after all by “exposing” some of what you were born with!!
I was asked in a recent interview what I’d tell anyone who condemns what I do or brand my work as pornography. The difficult thing is that I cannot change society’s mind single handily. I do however believe that if we brought our children up to love their own bodies, and not to be ashamed of their bodies, that we respect each other’s naked bodies – not by hiding it but accepting it as natural and normal. Not to sexualise nudity and skin; that it would solve so many of our crimes and the worlds issues today.
Think about it…
There would be less sexual crimes, less depression due to self esteem issues, less self harm and eating disorders. Imagine a world with more confidence and acceptance of one self? We would have so much more success in every business sector! So many more people would achieve their dreams and optimum productivity!
I digress. Years ago when I posed for a boudoir shoot, and whilst changing outfits, the photographer of the day asked whether he could take a shot (picture) of me. My back was facing him and I was dressed in only my knickers. I felt a little shy yet intrigued. I’ve never really had an issue with being naked; yet I’ve never actually thought of being photographed naked.
Once I got changed into my next outfit the photographer showed me on the LCD viewer what he had taken of me whilst topless. It was a gorgeous shot. It summed up to me; what I see in women. Soft, elegant, warm, feminine, sensual, love, beauty all in one. I was amazed that THAT was me! And so I was happy to shoot implied nude. After realising that this not only motivated me to share the beauty of a woman, but also to encourage other women – who do not have self confidence – that they are in fact beautiful in their own skin!
After a few months of shooting boudoir and implied nude; I met Peter from Boudoir Fusion Photography who took my first bodyscape images and I was blown away! Never mind that the images I was looking at; was of me!!! However; the human body is so darn beautiful. And every other bodyscape that Peter have done, took my breath away. I quickly learned that my art, my expression through my modelling and the images taken by me, can show emotion and can evoke emotion.
When you look at my work…
I would like to believe that most people see past the ‘nakedness’. That you notice the colours, the shapes, the textures in the images. That you are able to feel or notice whether there is sorrow, or happiness. Whether the image is more of a fine art piece to be hung on a wall of a surgeons office, or something that could be looked at or admired from your mobile phone screen, used in an advertising campaign empowering women, or used as a PC screensaver. That you can believe that I’m more than a ‘naked woman’; someone who at the age of 39 believes wholeheartedly that ANYONE can love themselves and is art. That anyone – no matter what your age, your size or your background – can love the skin that they are in. That nudity DOES NOT equal sexuality.
I love modelling, photography and matters of the heart and mind. I love art. I love the human body. Combine all of these; and you will find what I do. This is only the beginning…
I spoke to someone recently about what their life purpose is. It has dawned on me that so many people are on the same path of self realisation. Little comments about how suddenly you just don’t feel like putting up with certain energies. How things feel differently. How it has become more common to meditate or stay with people who “gets” you and “vibes” with you. Talking about spiritual growth and awakening. This is such an exciting time to be alive.
Recently I listened to a podcast where they said that imagine we used the jargon above 50/60 years ago. “Hold on Ann, I just need to clean my chakras”. Or “Sorry Steve, I get a bad energy from that crowd so won’t join you tonight”. How about “Frank, please take the Rose Quarts and Amethyst with you when you’re called for national service”.
Truth is that times are changing so rapidly and people are becoming more and more aware how their energies, their vibes and their thought processes influence themselves, their circles around them and their future. And how their attitude, their beliefs and their outlooks can change their present and future circumstances.
Most of all though, how we all have a life purpose. A soul purpose. That all this woo-woo stuff I’m talking about has now been scientifically proven and backed.
So I spoke to this person about our life purpose. About how each of us are destined to (together) change the world and humanity; and they brought up that they are not cut out to stand on a stage and preach or to become some revolutionist. They can’t even talk in front of their family.
But that’s not the point. Like my husband says. It’s all about a little ripple in a pond. When one person is kind, loving and generous to those in their immediate circles, they create a little ripple. This ripple that affects perhaps a handful of people, also inspires those they touch; to do the same. So that one ripple multiplies by several ripples. This has a knock-on affect that then encourages more and more humans to do the same. A little kindness, a little love, a little understanding and a little generosity that eventually becomes a massive wave and affects everyone.
So whilst some of us were born to have a voice in front of the masses and literally be an inspiring presence in the public eye; the rest of us were born to be an inspiration to our close knit friends and families. And perhaps by doing some small act of kindness that changes several other peoples lives and restore some faith in humanity.
I posted an image last night with a brief description of what happens when I shoot. I’ve had such great responses and more questions that I figured I may give a little more details of what my general shoot day looks like.
I instantly feel irritated with some questions and remarks when it comes to what I do. However; trying the shoe on my foot – allow me to set a few things straight:
Do you have sex with other photographers and models on set? Don’t be ridiculous would be my first answer. Think of your work place. Do sleep with your clients? Wait…. don’t answer that….the average person doesn’t! We are all there to do a job. Not have sex.
Do you or your photographer get aroused/turned on when you shoot in nude? Again; Don’t be ridiculous. HOWEVER; this is a plausible question as I gather that if you are not used to see people in the nude; being human – it may be a “turn on”. Should this ever be the case, I would not know as all the people I’ve worked with have always kept our shoots very professional. Then again I only work with people who are experienced with what I do.
How does your husband “allow” you to do this? I do not “belong” to a single other individual. I’m not property to be owned – therefor no one should or would have ownership of me and “allow” me to do anything. I would advise you to look very deeply within yourself when you think this way. All my loved ones (including my children) support me, and encourages me. They are fully aware that when I am with them; I give “me”, I give my time and my heart to them. What you see on photos of me is something that is created – not my personality, my heart, my mind or any other intimate moments of me.
Clients get in touch with me via my website, Messenger on FB or DM’s on Insta. “Clients” refer to an individual or company that will employ me/pay for me to model a brand, a concept or something abstract. This could be an amateur photographer, a clothing/beauty/food/coffee etc brand, or artist or even a private individual that wants my work displayed in their house/workplace/office/reception or an artist that wishes to paint or sketch me.
Once they have reached out, I send my hourly rates and we discuss what the requirements are. We book hair, make-up and wardrobe if necessary as well as the location.
It’s very similar to an actress – I am provided a reference/dream board/idea and then meet for a briefing of the job. We go through the set; we discuss at length what mister client wants to achieve and then we start.
First half hour is usually like a rehearsal. I become or embody the mood that is meant to reflect what we shoot. Acting out the emotions and moods. Moving around and “connecting” with the lens. The photographer would take a few shots and we would look at the results and unpack how we want to change or enhance the results thus far. Sometimes we nail the shot; sometimes we don’t.
Depending on client (I call them trigger happy or interval clickers) I move with every shot or I pose until desired shot, light, mood, and pose is achieved. I have to change my facial expression and my body continuously. A lot of people don’t realise this but posing in it self is work! It means you’re posing head to toe – all at the same time! Suck your tummy in, relax the look in your eyes, relax hands and fingers, chin out and nose down, feet pointed at all times, arch back and push out butt etc. You have to know what you are good at, your “good sides”, your flaws (and how to move to avoid it), and not to move in extreme gestures and movements.
This takes a while and sometimes we end up with amazing work, other times not. For most jobs (nude excluded of course); I’d have 3 outfit changes. We then “load” the images onto the computer, and go through the images. Selection process then post work begins. This is the harder part, and if the light and set up wasn’t spot on; the most technical part for the photographer would be in post work. Editing becomes more challenging.
Leave the BS at the door
This is my passion – though it’s work I LOVE every minute of every shoot. I do not entertain any bullshit on set ever. Then again the people I work with have always been incredibly professional. No person will try anything on. I have always prided myself in being professional and making it clear that there’s no room for any nonsense.
I do not drink on any job, nor would I work with anyone who does. My manager is fully aware of my movements and my diary, as is my family. As soon as I arrive at a job, I’d WhatsApp everyone my location.
The P word
I do not get involved with “adult entertainment” industry, not because I do not agree with it, but because that is not my line of work. Should I ever be addressed or employed for anything that involves the adult industry; I’d consult with my team and most importantly talk to my family.
That being said: I will not and have never entertained or considered pornography. I will not engage or consider that avenue, and have no inclination nor desire to explore that. Yes, pornography to some could also be art. For me personally; it’s not my thing.
Pornography, representation of sexual behaviour in books, pictures, statues, motion pictures, and other media that is intended to cause sexual excitement. The distinction between pornography (illicit and condemned material) and erotica (which is broadly tolerated) is largely subjective and reflects changing community standards. The word pornography, derived from the Greek porni (“prostitute”) and graphein (“to write”), was originally defined as any work of art or literature depicting the life of prostitutes.
Because the very definition of pornography is subjective, a history of pornography is nearly impossible to conceive; imagery that might be considered erotic or even religious in one society may be condemned as pornographic in another. Thus, European travelers to India in the 19th century were appalled by what they considered pornographic representations of sexual contact and intercourse on Hindu temples such as those of Khajuraho; most modern observers would probably react differently. Many contemporary Muslim societies likewise apply the label “pornography” to many motion pictures and television programs that are unobjectionable in Western societies. To adapt a cliché, pornography is very much in the eye of the beholder.
I demand respect
I take my work very seriously This is NOT an invite to ask me out, to ask me for a coffee, to ask “to get to know me”, to send me proposals, to send me genitalia or ask me advise on your genitals, to request to pose naked with me, to tell me how I’m asking to be disrespected, to ask me whether I have had any specific sexual deeds done to me.
What I do is all on images – you cannot assume that I don’t have anything left for my special person in my life. There’s so much more to a body than what the eye meets in an image. In fact it is YOUR creativity and imagination that creates something from what you see. If this leads you to anything other than appreciation; keep it to yourself.
A lot of my work is for sale too! Questions about who I am, my life, my tattoos etc? Have a look at my blogs. It’s all on here. Thank you to each of you for your ongoing love, kindness and support – I value you so much! I’ve had countless messages from women especially thanking me for inspiration or motivation; and to be frank: THAT makes my day.
🖤 Don’t you think the curves of a woman is just beautiful? 🖤
I have been quiet, I know. I’m not sorry though. The past year was a toughie. Not just on me…I know a lot of us have had to face demons, stumbling blocks and other challenges. It’s been a goodie and a baddie. We have seen the end of so many wicked ways and the beginning of new chapters. Alone time – alot of it – is needed. And if you are not making time to be alone and work on your heart and mind, then I’m afraid the challenges will continue.
Personally, the hardest part of some of the challenges was griefing – when someone was still alive (not that it is easier when someone pass). PTSD; when something rocked your world so hard, yet it was such an unobvious event to have caused such trauma. I’m not just talking of my own experiences, I know that many of us have faced this.
During this same period, many people have searched inwards too. Questioning life and the way things are. A true awakening or consciousness. Becoming aware of what’s hurt or broken within themselves or within the world, and the deeper realisation that we are all responsible to make a difference or change.
I’ve loved and despised this journey – my anxiety and depression rolling to and fro in waves. My autoimmune disease teasing at the tip op my front door. My chronic fatigue taunting me every so many hours. This has however taught me how friggen strong and stubborn I am. That my love for my children and my determination and will, to be successful and to continue to run successful business’ is stronger than all the mental and physical games I’ve glanced at yet not succumbed to.
The biggest challenges or lessons for me is being vulnerable and letting go. Letting go of the past, and letting go of the hurt. And following that; allowing myself to be vulnerable.
This is to remind you that you will be okay. Do not give up on yourself, or your goals. Do not be so hard on yourself. Stop resisting the lessons and curveballs the universe is throwing at you. Instead, acknowledge it and ask yourself – what am I meant to learn from this? Go easy on yourself, make yourself a priority, and most of all smile!!!