I was born in 1976 and raised in the English county of Kent, known to manyas the ‘Garden of England’. My earliest memories were always of the storiesread to me by my mother as a child … how it felt to be curled into her side,listening to the rush of her breath as she paused for effect, before launchinginto yet another characters voice. She was an English teacher, and read tome almost everyday, to an age I could no longer admit to my friends. Sheinstilled in me the most precious gift a mother could, her imagination and abelief in beauty…… it became my root, and the place I constantly try toreturn to in my work, and my dreams.Growing up, art became my sole passion. I studied until I was 25, takingcourses in the history of art, photography, fine art, and then on to train in‘costume for film and theatre’ at the London College of Fashion. Havinggraduated and worked for a short time in the industry, I decided to furthermy education, and returned to university, completing a first class degreewith honours in fashion design, at Ravensbourne in the summer of 2001.During this time I also completed two internships at the design studios ofAlexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan, both of whom have affected megreatly.
Since then I have worked full time as a fashion designer for aglobal designer brand, until in 2007 when personal illnessbrought a sudden change in myself, and led me to pick up acamera. I cannot explain how this happened, but a new, deep,and genuine need was born. I used to say I had never truly‘looked’ until it was through a lens… life was different, morebeautiful, more sad, and extreme in every sense of the word.People mattered, how they sat, how they slept, how they lookedwhen they thought no one else cared. I fell in love with the facesof strangers, and photography gave me a new purpose…… thatis, until March 2008.Tragically my mother was diagnosed with a brain tumour, and my worldfell apart. Photography became my only escape when I could no longertalk about how I felt. I lost myself in street portraiture, focusing on thosewho reflected my own sadness and loss. I later turned the camerainwards, and began photographing myself throughout the hardest yearof my life. It became an utter fantasy that blocked out the realworld, and a place where I could return to my memories of her,far away from those hospitals walls.
She died in November 2008 and that was when photography engulfed me,becoming an overwhelming passion that I couldn’t stop. I found myselfproducing pieces that echoed the memories of her stories, and the belief inwonder I have always felt since a child. By combining my variousbackgrounds, I now create images where everything has been designed andproduced by myself, and sometimes with the help of a few friends. Thecostumes, props, sets and accessories, are all a vital part of the process thatis finally recorded in the finished product of the photograph. It is driven bythe need to produce tangible pieces of my dreams, and make it possible tostep into the scenes for real. This physical creation is my favourite part,and has taken me to places I would have otherwise never known. I havewalked on snow covered in flowers, stood in lakes at sunset, painted trees,set fire to chairs, made smoking umbrellas, and giant wigs from stolenflowers. I have laughed, been overwhelmed, and left in awe of all the thingsI had previously passed unnoticed until now …….Life has become a different place, ‘a second chance’ is maybe the only wayto describe it, and for that I am so grateful. I have had my eyes opened,and no matter how sad the origin of it all was….. I will always cherish thefact this small and precious awakening has happened……………