Like many others, I adore Vogue; everything it stands for, the photography, the creativity, the fashion. So over Christmas I decided I wanted to shoot something Vogue inspired, with high end fashion and creativity, but with all the focus on light and story telling.
My concept was about different women coming together and being united by fashion, creativity and the commonality we all share as women. I put together a team of women creatives and models who are all different and the plan was born.
On the day of the shoot I headed to Mill Studio and was chatting to my dad, who informed me that the old linen mill that the studio is based in is actually where my late Granny worked during the 60s.
My Granny was an incredible woman. She had 5 children, one of whom who had very complex needs and my dad, who spent over a year in hospital with issues with his legs. She worked a number of jobs and raised a family on the peace line during the height of The Troubles whilst my Granda worked several jobs as well. She is the definition of a strong woman. So for me to be heading to the same mill she worked in all those years ago and shoot a project of passion was just mindblowing. I really felt it was all a sign and the most incredible inspiration.
I wanted this shoot to represent how we as women can be different, but we all share a commonality that binds us and makes us so much better when we work together. As women we are born with strength and determination which knows no bounds. Let’s face it, we have more of an uphill battle than men, even just because of what our bodies go through every bloody month. We are in an era where the role of women is changing, where it’s clear that we can do whatever we set our minds to, but there is still the societal pressure not to. In theory we are told we can have it all, but in practice it’s not quite that simple. That’s when we need our tribe. Our women who support us and lift us up.
I’ve found this especially as I’ve worked hard to pursue my career and build my business. It’s tough at times, raising children and hustling hard to fulfill your dreams and passions. Business doesn’t come easy and photography can be pretty isolating. That’s why one of my closest friends played a big part in inspiring this shoot. She’s the ying to my yang. This year she’s going to see Metallica. This year I’m going to see Westlife. Our tastes in fashion couldn’t be more opposite. But we share a commonality as creatives. As women in business. As people with similar values. This is what binds us and we support each other which enriches everything. This is what I hoped to portray with this shoot and the fantastic team of female creatives really enabled that.
Steph from This Old Home styled the studio beautifully to allow us to create a series of different looks within the one space. Erin Rose worked magic with her clothing from Alf and Roe to style a series of looks which worked so well together. Strong individually, but a different level when together, the styling was insane. Rebecca Duff created a series of stunning makeup looks alongside Nicola McIlroy, who worked her magic with the girls’ hair. Jill McLean helped the girls’ skin glow. Whilst Beth MacAuley created the most epic film of the whole shoot.
But the key people responsible for bringing it all together and my vision come to life were the two models, Fionnuala and Megan, who slayed all day. They were naturals in front of the camera and epitomised the fierceness that I wanted this shoot to represent.
This shoot was a dream come true, and something that has really fuelled my creativity. As a photographer, it can be easy to fall into a niche or get caught in a rut, but shoots like this, where I get to tell a story and use my gift to send a message, is what it’s all about. Lx