A family was born : PART THREE

I love newborns, simply love them. In their natural environment, just as they are. Perfect, precious, loved.

As promised, here is part three of my wonderful client’s experience of being in front of my lens. Uniquely written as if from the little lady herself. xx

Dear Chloe,

I was only 4 days old when you kindly came to visit us at home for my very special newborn photography session. My Mummy and Daddy had barely slept at all since the day I was born, and we were all still very lost in the task of getting to know each other and learning how to help me remain as calm and as happy as possible in this big bright outside world.  I really don’t think my Mummy had even taken a single deep breath yet since she first bundled me into her arms – and she was definitely overwhelmed with brand new mum passion, nerves and reservation about letting anyone or anything anywhere near her precious baby girl.

But you were here for us, filled with as much joy as my parents were that I had arrived healthy and strong; like a peaceful breeze as you walked through our front door – your loving eyes met mine and you softly whispered ‘Hello’…I knew right there that I had found a lovely new friend and this was going to be a very beautiful day shared with you – my very first photo shoot.

You were so very patient with me as I was still just learning how to feed properly and with such a tiny tummy we must have paused the session a hundred times over to fill me up again – you never once lost your smile, but instead reassured my doting Mummy that you honestly understood how important it was above all else for me to be able to stay fed, clean and completely comfortable.

As I started to stir while laying curled in my Daddy’s hands, the supreme care that you took while your ever so gentle fingers slowly reached to lightly stroke my tiny cheek as you offered a soft and soothing ‘Shhhhh…’ brought tears to Mummy’s eyes; for she saw in that moment while paused watching over, that there was nothing to fear, and took her first big deep breath in a while filled with appreciation for the utmost tender respect you extended to her most beloved treasure.

Thank you Chloe – for truly sharing in the celebration of my arrival and capturing my ‘newness’ in the most beautiful way.

From a tiny, brand new fan of yours.

And then it was time : Part Two

Sharing such a letter of praise and thanks makes me shift a little uncomfortably in my chair. However, from the many conversations I have enjoyed with people from all walks of life, parents and those who are yet to take the step, I absolutely know birth photography is still a peculiar concept. For this reason I am delighted to share this beautiful letter, written to me, shared with pleasure from the other side of the story. I give you Sarah…

Dear Chloe,
When my husband and I first approached you to inquire about the possibility of engaging your services to capture our personal “Birth Story” I was in the later stages of a stressful pregnancy and we were both undecided about whether or not this was something we definitely wanted to include as a component of our carefully considered birth plan.  We had seen examples of images from other birth experiences that you had recorded in the past so there was no uncertainty in my mind that to have such sentimental photographs from the birth of our first child was a gift I most definitely desired – however, I am intensely private by nature and the documented images of such an intimate and important experience were still not something I was prepared to have done if there was even the slightest chance it would not be an entirely positive piece of our important journey to becoming parents.
Upon meeting you, it became incredibly clear that your approach to offering this service was rooted in a genuine desire to provide clients with an unscripted and beautifully intense reflection of their own birth story – in all of its wonderfully unique and intimate glory. Your time spent listening to us, to get to know us; where we were coming from and where we hoped this chapter would take us – was shared generously…as was your passion and deep appreciation of the fact that this service was different in nature to most other photographic engagements.
I was soon graced with no doubt, that you would without compromise in all circumstances value the individuality of our experience, protect our sensitivities throughout the adventure, maintain our private information and details with utmost confidence, respect our space and above all else – truly honour our story; in the most professional and well intentioned way possible.
At every meeting with you, and within every communication shared during the lead up to our delivery day we were further reassured that you were dedicated and invested in being there for us when the birth began.  Your words were always filled with support that this was to be a most celebratory occasion but I felt you honestly also understood how this period of time may equally be filled with nerves for parents-to-be, and your gentle presence never failed to calm my mind.
As it turned out, when our big day arrived – for many varied reasons our birth story detoured somewhat from a more predictable timeline of events…and yet you never missed a beat.
Throughout the hours as the pages of our story continued to be written you were right there with us, and for us 110%, yet at the same time almost magically; not there at all.
A loving fly-on-the-wall who was quietly but intensely focused on every second of this raw experience and who I knew without reservation matched my own reverence for this moment of welcoming a brand new life that would never be, and could never be – exactly as it was – ever again.
These life-changing slices of time which quickly cascaded from one to the other without notice, leading straight to the pinnacle of finally swooping our beloved daughter onto my chest  – the greatest accomplishment my husband and I have ever shared in our history together – were all skilfully captured through your lens, absent from any staged interference and are as absolutely breathtaking as the moment did exist in reality.
Not only do the photographs allow us both to forever appreciate a ‘through the key-hole’ perspective of the beauty and strength witnessed the day our daughter greeted this big wide world – but I have complete resolve that there is no greater way we could express or share the intricacies of this new branch on the family tree with those we love most – who at this time are all so far away from the city we currently live in.
As the weeks and years roll forward from this auspicious day of birth, when a long standing ‘We’ became ‘Three’…the value of these priceless seconds that you have frozen in time for us to frame and forever adore – will surely continue to grow beyond measure in our hearts; as will our gratefulness for meeting you and that you were so truly a completely positive influence while assuming one of the now treasured roles in our birth story.
Thank you Chloe, a million times over as my favourite little feather lays here curled in my arms  –  for who you are, what you do, and how you do it – Thank you.
From two very new, very proud parents.

July 20, 2014 - 10:30 am

Kirsty - This fills me up – with emotion and hope and love and life – it’s everything that any birth photographer would aspire to do for their clients and you clearly do it with so much love poured into every moment Chloe – you should be so proud of being able to share peoples experiences like this <3

August 7, 2014 - 2:50 pm

chloelodge - I am completely the same Kirsty, it fills me up every time I read it. From the chats I have enjoyed with you about birth photography I know you feel the same as me, it’s something so unique, special and true. Exactly how we both love to shoot <3

‘We’ waiting to be ‘three’ : Part One

A few weeks ago I received three of the most beautiful letters ever written to me. They were from my most recent birth clients. When I read them (which I have done a good dozen times now) I feel a mixture of emotions. Pride, honour, bashfulness and on occasion ‘are these really addressed to me?’

To share these is a very special thing indeed and I extend my deepest thanks to my gorgeous client for not only allowing me to do so but for putting pen to paper in the first place and expressing so eloquently a little of her experience of being in front of my lens. As much as many of us yearn for beautiful memories to be captured I also know, from my own insecurities, how it can be a daunting prospect to hire a professional.  Please do take a moment to peruse this first of three letters, it may just change your mind.

Dear Chloe,
Please accept my sincere gratitude for I am absolutely over-the-moon with the maternity session photographs that you so kindly captured for my husband and I.
When I first spoke with you about scheduling a maternity shoot I had very mixed feelings and a lot of nervousness about whether or not I would love any photographs of myself at this end stage of our pregnancy. 
Extremely tired, displaying a drastically different and larger shape than I had previously known plus honestly becoming quite uncomfortable as the weeks progressed – I was certainly not feeling my most glamorous. 
I remember saying to you that I was not sure ‘when’ or even ‘if’ I might want to look over all the final pictures; a comment fuelled with genuine insecurity about my current physique and a weary self esteem that was buried deep in trying to focus and prepare for the exciting moment when my long awaited daughter would suddenly decide to make her appearance – but that I definitely still wanted this moment captured nevertheless, for in time if I ever did feel comfortable enough to reflect I wanted the option to do so.
However, after seeing the first preview image you shared – I could not stop myself from wanting to look at the absolutely fantastic images again and again.
Your appreciation for my sensitivities, your understanding of how my mind was locked in a complete whirlwind watching the clock waiting for the big arrival day – and the kindness you extended to me on the day of our shoot through your patient and unobtrusive approach; had both my husband and I feeling overwhelmed with happiness and completely at ease within mere minutes of being in front of your lens.
Even more so than our love for the stunning photographs of this very special time in our lives that you have so beautifully captured for us – is the love for the memory of how enjoyable this day spent with you was.  Both in our home and standing on the sandy dunes under the glow of a setting sun, you really were every kind of wonderful that I needed that day – to help me stop, smile, and appreciate the true beauty of this incredible moment; only weeks away from my greatest dream ever finally coming true.
Thank you Chloe – for capturing my inner glow; for me to remember – in the most beautiful way.
 From a brand new – very happy Mummy.

July 19, 2014 - 3:21 pm

Kirsty - What an amazing letter Chloe – and I believe every word of it – that you make people feel comfortable at their most vulnerable of times – something to be treasured on both sides

July 19, 2014 - 3:31 pm

chloelodge - Thank Kirsty, coming from a fellow photographer and one I truly admire your message means a great deal. x

The World in My Pocket

Ras Al Khaimah . June 2014

A greater percentage of my time behind the lens is spent capturing portraits. Portraits and births. Both of which are a real passion of mine. Capturing people, moments and relationships.

There is also another love of mine. Capturing places. I absolutely adore looking for ways of revealing somewhere’s true beauty through use of light, line and composition. Exotic places as well as the familiar, scenes which are often as much a part of our daily lives as the people in it. Taking time to explore, understand and reveal the beauty in elements we often pass by in the rush of life. Recently I received a Fine Art commission to do just that. It was for a series of Ras al Khaimah. A dream commission.

On my reccie trip my trusty iPhone was right there by my side, after all ’the best camera is the one you have with you.’

‘The world in my pocket’ is a personal project incorporating series of images from different countries, all shot with my iPhone. Encouraging and supporting the idea that it’s not always necessary to use the biggest and latest gear available on the market to create beautiful imagery. These images and others are also featured on my Instagram feed @chloeatthelodge

Those who sail together, stay together

Some say you should be careful what you wish for. I say, go right ahead and make those wishes.

Be bold, be brave, believe.

When I first arrived into Dubai I said to my hubby one day when walking through the marina ‘what I would really love to shoot is a family out on a boat, in the sunshine, spending time, laughing together, loving one another, embracing what a life in Dubai has to offer.’ Then just a couple of months later I received a call. It was an excited lady with big plans. Her husband’s 40th was coming and she wanted to capture the story she was about to curate. One of the elements to this story was to be a trip into the sunset on-board a boat.

And there it was.

As soon as Harshika and I spoke on the phone we connected, then we met in person and we chatted more. We planned how I would capture the three days of celebrations she had lovingly mapped out. Reccies were done, outfits discussed, logistics tweaked. Did I mention it was all a surprise? I love surprises!

On the afternoon they were to set sail I waited on the road side a little like their personal paparazzi. The moment they appeared I could see the relief in Harshika’s face, the celebrations had begun, all her months of planning. Now it was time to relax and enjoy. Then of course our birthday boy, Dilip, he just didn’t stop smiling. The boat trip was a suggestion by their son, it was the way he wanted to mark his Father’s big day. What a perfect way to celebrate and with his little cousin to hang out with to boot.

Here they are, a beautiful family on such a happy, happy birthday. Thank you Dilip and Harshika for inviting me and my camera to join you on your special journey and for allowing us to share in your moments xx