I can’t believe its ten months since I last blogged. Ten months. A lot has happened in that time, it kind of feels like a lifetime ago now. In February we moved locally in Dubai thinking we would be in our new home for at least 3-5 years, then in July we flew to New Zealand for a month visiting friends and family. We loved being back in nature, breathing fresh air, exploring woodland and eating locally produced food (and occasionally drinking locally produced wine!!). Something changed in us during that trip, an awakening and a coming home. It led to our second move of the year. Three and a half weeks ago, after much organization, packing and a splash of stress, we left the desert and headed south like a small flock of migrating birds!

We’ve chosen to settle just north of Auckland, in a beautiful rental property with a couple of paddocks to boot. There’s native bush, native birds and manuka growing strong and free. We’ve explored. We’re still exploring. And we’re home. Here are just a few moments from our first couple of weeks in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

This blog post is part of the wonderful Moments that Matter blog circle I’d briefly disappeared from. I’m delighted to be back especially as many of the incredible artists who dip in and out are based in Australia and New Zealand, I’m so happy to be standing beside them and linking through to their talent. It’s a busy time of year for many so its just a little circle this time, next up is the very lovely Juanita from Little Forest Photography.

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  • Elizabeth Bain

    Amazing photos – looks lovely, can nearly smell the fresh air x x ReplyCancel

Our little girl is now six months old, she giggles a lot and blows raspberries the rest of the time. She’s beginning to chat and when she’s really giving you the look, you know THAT look, she does this double eyebrow raise that is so characteristic you could easily forget that she’s still so small.

And now that six months have passed and all of the trauma, worry and discomfort of my pregnancy journey has dulled I felt that it was time to share – in series – the self portraits I captured during the past year.

Shooting myself has never been something I’m wholly comfortable with but following my molar and cancer experience I just knew that it was time to cast those insecurities aside and brave it. About midway through  I came across this wonderful group of photographers, Mum photographers to be precise – talented, supportive, inspirational, kick a**e creative woman and although I was a silent participant of the group during the last year I busied myself creating alongside them all. The Dear Photographer P52 Radness group celebrate getting in the frame and embracing all our fears, loves, desires, and darkest wobbles about being on the flipside of our own lenses. Today some of us share in unison a selection of images from 2017, here are mine, I am then followed by the fabulously talented Bridget M Parmenter, please take a moment and enjoy each and every artist until you return here to me and my sweet Adaline.

 

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  • Oh my momma, how precious are these. I ache to have those days back sometimes and wish that I had documented more. You little one will be so grateful to have this story captured. ReplyCancel

    • chloelodge

      Thank you Bridget, I’m going to make a photobook and give it to her. I love your images too, so much experimentation and wonderful results. xReplyCancel

  • Sally

    Fabulous xReplyCancel

  • Oh my gosh Chloe, these are all so beautifully amazing!!  I too started the project documenting my pregnancy and it gave me a rush to see you pregnant and then holding your sweet girl in the same spot!  It’s so amazing how fast life can change. I also sighed when I saw your rainbow belly<3 ReplyCancel

    • chloelodge

      Thank you so much, fantastic to hear you are doing the same. Some days it feels harder than others but I look back now and I’m so grateful I stayed with it. Good luck with everything xxReplyCancel

  • These are completely amazing. It’s so moving to see the journey unfold like this – beautiful ChloeReplyCancel

    • chloelodge

      Thank you my dearest friend, interspersed should be your beautiful images too xxxReplyCancel

  • Emma

    Absolutely gorgeous. What an amazing series of images documenting and transcending time and emotion. These are absolute treasures Chloe and perhaps the most important images you have to date. ReplyCancel

    • chloelodge

      Thank you beautiful lady, I absolutely agree they really are xxReplyCancel

  • Emily

    Oh Chloe, this is beautiful.  The amazing miracle of pregnancy and the gift of our precious little one told in stunning photos.
    You have such a talent.  These are precious moments captured forever and what a gift to give to Adaline in the future.
    💕ReplyCancel

    • chloelodge

      Thank you Emily, she truly is a gift xxReplyCancel

  • Anne

    As always… loving the way you see and feel life… You are a gorgeous mom and a very special photographer.  If our path cross again, I would love for you to photograph our family. Kuala Lumpur would have been such a beautiful place for that… In Joy, AnneReplyCancel

    • chloelodge

      Thank you Anne, what a beautiful message. I would love to one day capture your family, let’s make it happen somewhere in the world. Hope you’re well xxReplyCancel

  • Nicole

    Dear Chloe, these pictures are absolutely amazing! You are gorgeous, the pictures speak so much and I cannot say how great full I am to have bumped into you! Seeing these pictures makes me want to go back 15 years just to capture the emotion a woman feels when expecting. It’s a great privilege that I would never exchange with anything in the world. These pictures expresses so much. I am so happy for you and the family. Kisses from Seychelles. ReplyCancel

    • chloelodge

      Thank you Nicole, we feel truly gifted and grateful. It was wonderful meeting you all in the Seychelles albeit briefly, hope you’re well and your girls are thriving xReplyCancel

Just seven weeks ago our family grew by one tiny totally adorable person, a little girl by the name of Adaline Sofia. We’ve welcomed her into our lives with more love than we all really know what to do with and we’ve shifted routines, family rituals and bits of furniture to accommodate her every need. Recently though I have to admit I’ve been finding it tough. The intensive feeding and knowing when and for how long she should be sleeping has had me chasing my tail. But you’ve done it before you may well say, ah yes but it was over five years ago and the human brain has this magic ability to blank out those first few months – lucky really or there would be a good chance our species may come to an abrupt holt fairly quickly! There’s also the fundamental fact that all babies are different, and already I’m learning that although our little lady is an identical twin to Maxi at the same age, that’s where the similarities end.

As we hit just over six weeks it was time to call for reinforcements, and so the nights have become a team effort and some of the day too. All of a sudden I’ve stopped feeling quite so crazy and broken, and although we’re all full of cold we decided to take one of our evening trips out into the desert to celebrate. The best part – a cool breeze accompanied us – hopefully signifying that this long, exceptionally hot summer may be nearing it’s end.

It’s been too many months since I contributed to the Moments that Matter blog circle, however, onwards… follow on round to enjoy some of my favourite and very talented photographers’ work starting with Laura Love and her moments that matter this August.

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  • Oh Chloe, these are beautiful! How adorable is this little head full of hair in your hand – my favourite image, and I remember the way that feels exactly… Gorgeous!ReplyCancel

  • Love that car feeding shot with a tree especially! Glad to hear you are feeling better – first 6 weeks are always the most challenging as you adjust to new life.ReplyCancel

    • chloelodge

      Thank you Yana, its such an unusual environment out there I love to capture it xReplyCancel

  • Polly

    Absolutely stunning captures Chloe, loved all of them! ReplyCancel

  • I absolutely love them all Chloe. I love the textures of the water, all golden and fun in one image and then so tranquil in black and while. I also loved the silhouette of the trees and the sunset. Beautiful family, congratulations on your new addition, Adaline Sofia looks so soulful in the last image. Really gorgeous ReplyCancel

  • Lauren

    So beautiful Chloe! she is just adorable. Glad to hear it is getting easier.ReplyCancel

I pick up my phone, as I do maybe ten times a day to scroll through the latest uploads on Instagram. Dozens of new images fill my feed, stunning images, compelling moments captured by photographers, friends and creatives from all over the world. I double click with love and appreciation for the time and skill it takes to craft these often gallery worthy 2×1 pictures on the hand held device in front of me. It’s been months now since I removed the Facebook App from my phone. I had been feeling a desperate need to quieten the noise filling my head every moment that I let it, and so Instagram quickly transitioned into my social media fancy of choice.

As photographers we tend to follow fellow photographers, it’s this thing we do. We love to support, and nurture, we love to be inspired and view lives distant in time and place away from ours setting our spirits free in the process. And it works. Well, that is until it doesn’t work. It keeps us buzzing right up until the moment when the hundreds, if not thousands, of images we see every week grab hold of our insecurities and squeezes really blooming tightly. The voice inside us nags ‘but, but look at these captures. Look at the light, the love, the connection, the beautiful locations, those clothes and ahh such attractive, interesting looking people. Seriously, who do you think you are anyway?’ And bit by bit, slowly you stop picking up your camera quite so much. That love and passion you felt when you first started out, shooting every little detail fades and your ability to see the beauty in your everyday diminishes. What are you then left with? An emptiness and an inner artist who shuts up shop until further notice.

It was at this point for me recently that a series of events began to manifest themselves. We had not long been back in the desert, an environment that I’m not afraid to admit leaves me somewhat dare I say, dried up. Regardless of this I’d charged head long back into work, taking on a mixture of projects and clients. My Dubai-head was back on, the hungry commercial beast was awake and ready. As the days and weeks forged on the sensitive inner artist I’d started to nurture during our year in the Indian Ocean was sent cowering to a corner, there was limited room for her in the sun scorched sands of this Middle Eastern metropolis. Or so I thought.

Although I was busy and happy in my work I still felt something was missing. At this very same time there was something else going on for me. I was pregnant and nervous as hell. After three losses, one which had malformed into cancer a year earlier, this was a pregnancy that from the very moment that extra little line appeared on the test became pretty much the pivotal focus of my waking thoughts. I continued to work during the first four months, in-between the tiredness, vomitting and nausea, with more sessions booked in months ahead. It was then we went for our 20 week scan, an appointment I had been eagerly awaiting for weeks knowing that once those developmental boxes had been ticked I could breathe a little easier and the excited planning stages could begin. Sadly this wasn’t to be. As it transpired my now 40 year old body, one which had taken a hammering a year earlier was not holding out. I was strongly advised right there and then to cease working, put my feet up and rest it out preventing pre-term labour and the possible loss of this little person so dearly loved already. Four to five months stretched out in front of me like an enormous gapping hole of time, time in which I not only wanted but needed to keep busy.

As fate would have it, just a few weeks before receiving the diagnosis I’d reached out to a photographer who I greatly admire. Someone who in the tidal wave of talent hitting my IG feed every week always stood out to me. Someone who I know struggles with some of the doubting I do, hell how many of us don’t? And yet through it all produces truly beautiful imagery time and time again, imagery which talks me to, leaves me wondering and is very much against  the grain of many of the current trends and styles. I’d sent her a chance message asking if she did mentoring. I was eager to work with her but hadn’t seen anything on her site about such an opportunity. It wasn’t that I wanted to be the next her, I didn’t want to mimic, or find shortcuts to how she creates her compelling diptychs or story telling images. What I was eager to learn was how, even in days of darkness (or in my case light saturation), she kept on creating and growing. Her name is Cindy Cavanagh, and in my eyes she is an artist in every sense of the word.

I was delighted when Cindy messaged me back and I have to say it was pretty damn near perfect timing. Although she’d not done formalised mentoring before she was ready to work with fellow photographers on just this. We planned it for the month of May and all was set.

Without vulnerability you can not create // Brene Brown

As the start of our time together approached I was in a lot of pain due to my pregnancy and associated complications, I was shooting less and less every week and missing it like mad so having communication with a fellow photographer and a plan of action was like a breath of fresh air.

Cindy is based in Sydney, Australia so any communication would be over email or Facebook, but at no point did I feel a disconnect. Cindy began the month by opening her heart to me, she shared some of the processes she had been through to see, feel and embrace the artist she is today. Her honesty and ability to guide me as I burrowed down on the things that mattered most about shooting was simply wonderful. I felt supported, encouraged and yet never palmed off with shallow niceties. I wouldn’t say our time was about self-discovery, it was more a case of reflection of self whilst being cradled in an environment of safety. As the month passed we ran through a series of exercises to help me view and acknowledge my own unique perspective on the world no matter where I am – South-East Asia, Dubai, Europe, the Seychelles and through our work together the pitch and tone of my voice became clearer to me. I have begun to feel less swayed by trends, less influenced by the masses and although I look forward to having years of learning and growing still ahead of me I feel released and happier than I have in a long time with the way I see and translate the world into images. I now embrace sharing more as I feel I’m being honest with myself and not simply yearning for relatability and the award of that little red heart from those I’ve never met somewhere in the world scrolling through dozens of recently uploaded Instagram posts. Cindy quite simply helped me find the calm in my chaos, and for that I am truly grateful.

Why am I sharing this post here today? It is I guess part of the reflection of self. Since I started my training to become a ‘professional photographer’ seven years ago I’ve morphed from a photojournalist, to a documentary portrait photographer (a self adhered title that no one ever really got!), to more simply a ‘family lifestyle photographer’. I’m still not sure I’ve found the right title for me yet but what I do know is that I’ve found my script to work from, and that’s a great place to start. We’ve moved as many times as I have fingers on my left hand and as I’ve rebuilt my business each time I’ve lost myself a little more along the way. This enforced time out over the past few months has been a gift which I’ve endeavoured to use as wisely as I could and my investment with hiring a mentor has really made a difference. As I venture forward I’m excited to see how things will evolve. Cindy was the right fit for me and I can highly recommend her but with so many photographers offering online and in-person mentoring now it’s about finding the right fit for you BUT be ready as it could change everything for you, in ways you can’t even imagine right now.

Interspersed in this post are images from my archives which I feel truly represent who I am as a photographer today. They shout from the roof tops of my soul and kick me out of bed even at almost nine months pregnant to keep on telling my story.

Be brave, be bold, be you and never stop creating.

Cindy Cavanagh // cindy.cavanagh@gmail.com // Instagram

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  • Lauren

    Beautiful self reflection Chloe. So glad Cindy was the right fit for you and helped you through. Good luck with the birth of your little love.ReplyCancel

  • Not only are you a wonderful photographer but a wonderful writer! All the best with the upcoming birth.ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful words Chloe! It sounds like Cindy was definitely perfect for you and it doesn’t surprise me, she is amazing in talent and heart. The images you have shown here are breathtaking. XReplyCancel

  • I just love your photographs and this post really spoke to me. Thank you and wishing you best wishes for your baby girl. x ReplyCancel

Working creatively, be it professionally or personally, can be such a gift. It can also be like wading through thick mud in your gumboots. To maintain a level of creative output even when feeling uninspired can be tough, and well I’m not afraid to admit I’ve been hiding for a few months but this last week I feel like I’ve begun to turn a corner.  And so when Maxi begged to play on his trampoline in his pyjamas this weekend, I felt something inside me stir. He beckoned me to join him in the garden and I asked if it was ok for me to bring my camera – he agreed – it’s this beautiful trust we are beginning to build, I will only shoot when he’s happy for me to do so, and it means a lot to us both. It’s been a couple of months since I shared a post within the wonderful Moments that Matter blog circle and I’m delighted to be back on the horse again. Here is a whole lot of Maximus Happiness and Lensbaby love, I hope you enjoy them as much as we loved shooting them { don’t forget to scroll down and link through to the next wonderful artist for this month celebrating some of their own moments that matter }

Follow through here to enjoy the lovely Bec Stewart’s Moments that Matter this month.

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  • Lauren

    These are so artistic and creative Chloe!ReplyCancel

  • Juanita

    Great movement in these.  I admire those who use a lensbaby.  I just cannot get on with mine 🙂  ReplyCancel

  • Bev

    So lovely, Chloe. I feel I know Max, even though I didn’t get to meet him.  It has been such a pleasure to watch him grow. He is a beautiful boy. ??ReplyCancel

  • You’re so good with a lensbaby! I love these images. The softness and movement and colour is breathtaking. You can really feel how much you loved taking them. ?ReplyCancel

  • Janine

    Love the creativity in those! Can’t wait to follow your work in future ReplyCancel

  • Polly

    Chloe these are fantastic! I love trampoline shots! ReplyCancel

  • Cindy

    Love your creativity in these images.  You captured his joy beautifully.  ReplyCancel

    • chloelodge

      Thank you Cindy, that’s such a compliment coming from you xxReplyCancel

  • Polly

    I love all of these Chloe. xReplyCancel

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