Five years ago I sat in the back of a photography conference event listening to a speaker talk about a photo project they'd just completed and how important personal projects were for photographers to do. I've never been great at these sorts of things and I don't remember a 30 day photo challenge that I've ever managed to complete! But I remember how instantly the idea of this book came to me as I sat there listening to this speaker. "I could turn Dad's biography of his life into a photobook with his photographs and some of my own".
That was in 2017. So over the next five years I began taking Dad's handwritten memoirs and putting them into digital form. Going on numerous road trips visiting places around New Zealand where Dad grew up, lived and worked. I procrastinated about how I would bring it all together, the format of the final book and what words of my own I should add. Finally this year I finished it with the help of friends, peers and my family along the way.
Today the published book arrived in the mail from the wonderful Jackie at MomentoPro who was behind me all the way since the inception of the very idea for this book. I cried tears of joy as I held this beautiful book in my hands for the first time. I don't think it's possible to describe how precious this book is to me. My Dad wrote his memoirs for me before he passed away and this book is a culmination of those special words, his life in photographs and the love I had for my Dad all poured into it's pages.
The title is gold foil embossed on to distressed leather to give it an old book feel. And that is actually Dad's handwriting (yes he had the most elegant writing!). My beautiful, talented friend Courtney took his handwriting and converted it in to a digital font for the cover of the book for me.
It's impossible to ever show how gorgeous anything in print is online but I hope from these photos you can get a sense of the book's quality, the crisp pages, the rich colours of the photos and the detail.
I printed two copies of this book (that was all I could afford haha!); one to sit pride of place on the bookshelf in our lounge and the other a 'library' copy to lend to family, friends and those who knew Dad that might like to read his biography. I've made an old fashioned library card for the front of it for readers to sign and date which I think will be a fun record.
I was a little sad when I sent this book to the printers because it was the end of a five year project with my Dad. I almost didn't want it to end. But today was a very happy day to receive the finished book and hold it in my hands. I don't think I've been more proud of any project ever. I had no real reason to do this project, I did it just because and I did it purely for myself. In the process I have gained so much and I feel like I finally know what that photographer at conference meant when he spoke of the importance of personal projects.
This is a video of me unboxing the books today if you want to see me get all emotional! 😭
Warning; I might have sworn once...🤭
Next week I will have been full-time in my business for FIVE years!!! For some reason today that wee fact only just sunk in. I mean I knew it was coming up but suddenly the reality that I have been doing this amazing job, working for myself and pursuing my dreams full-time for five years just hit me. And my first thought was what am I doing to celebrate?! Because this is a huge milestone!!!
I started this business after 8 years in accounting. My passion for photography grew from a hobby until it became my dream full time job on the 20th of July 2016! I will never forget that day - I was EXCITED and nervous. Scared to take the leap but so ready at the same time. I'd been slowly reducing my hours at work as my summer months got busier with weddings until finally there came a tipping point. I had told myself that even if I just gave "going full-time" a go for 12 months, and if it didn't work - well at least I had given it a shot. I always had my degree to fall back on right?
Man I should have backed myself more! Haha. I haven't looked back since that day five years ago. I can't imagine working a 9 to 5 again. Sure there are days when I wish I could just call in sick and there are times when I wish I wasn't the boss, the cleaner, the receptionist and the worker all in one. Those first few years were pure hustle and I still work harder for myself than I ever did for my employers (sorry guys!) but I guess that's part of self-employment.
These last five years have flown by and yet they've also been crammed full of adventure. I love being a photographer so much. My career as an accountant seems like a lifetime ago already. I have so many dreams, hopes and goals for the next five years in business. But before I get too soppy I actually would love your advice...
What do you do to celebrate your wins? Whether you're self-employed or not, your wins in life and/or business - I'd love to hear what you do to celebrate milestones. I'm a total believer that we should recognise, celebrate & reflect on these moments in our lives and I'd love to do something to mark this occasion of five years next week. Send me some inspiration team! xx
Meet Teddy, a black & silver miniature schnauzer. Yep we got a puppy! After being quite certain I didn't want another dog for a long time after our Henry passed away. In fact I distinctly remember saying a mere couple of weeks ago that I wasn’t sure I’d ever be ready for another dog! But it turns out our house isn’t a home without a dog and then this wee dude turned up with a story that I simply couldn’t resist.
When Teddy's first appearance on our Facebook page gained over 3,000 views and a LOT of comments (I swear some people follow me just for the dog posts haha!) I thought I'd better share Teddy's story on the blog.
To say I've been missing our Henry dog constantly since his passing is an understatement. I'd been still crying almost daily grieving for our fur baby. I hated coming home and the house not feeling 'right' any more. I missed Henry's presence and I missed being a dog mum. I also had this stupid idea stuck in my head that I had to keep feeling this way as a tribute to how special Henry was to me. And I was adamant that I never wanted to go through this loss ever again. One day after I'd broken down yet again Matt said he thought I needed to be a dog mum again. I said no, I wasn't replacing Henry. Matt said we couldn't replace him if we tried and perhaps I should look at things from a different perspective. Yes there is pain in losing pets, but what about all the years of being able to give them the best life and all the joy they bring. And so the idea was sparked - we would consider another dog, maybe after wedding season - later on in the year.
But one thing led to another - as always. I messaged a past wedding couple asking about the breeder of their wee schnauzer who we adored. I rang the breeder wanting to simply register my interest in a litter down the track and then I heard about Teddy...
He was a beautiful accident. Quite literally - his parents weren't meant to have another litter so soon but their owners couldn't keep them apart. He was the only child of the litter too. He was nine weeks old, hadn't been advertised for sale yet & I by chance called the very week he was getting his vet sign off. And then I found out he was born on the day our Henry died. It was the universe sending me a sign.✨
And that is how we ended up with Teddy! He was meant to be and of course we fell in love as soon as we laid eyes on him. This past week we've been enjoying getting to know his little personality and are in awe of what a good wee boy he is. Teddy is a fast learner, doing so well with basic training already. He travels well, he's cruisy and playful, he sleeps through the night and he's a cuddly wee pup (which I am loving!).
It took the whole drive home from picking him up (almost two hours!) to settle on a name. Matt reckons he'll end up being Ted once he grows into those distinguished silver eyebrows! But for now he is my Teddy bear.
If you visit the studio you'll get to meet him, my Instagram stories are sure to be filled with puppy spam and I will share lots of photos as Teddy grows and does life with us!