I believe it's common practise to make your first blog post one about yourself, so as much as I prefer to buck traditions I'm gonna go with this one. Bear with me.
By day I'm a photographer, but I haven't always been. In my lifetime I have been a dancer, sold kitchens and double glazing door to door, sold newspaper space and been a receptionist for a high class hooker (that's definitely another story!) I've sold shampoo to hair salons, watches to jewellery stores and then eventually found what I thought was my home working as a 'suit' in ad agencies. That one stuck for a good 15 years.
Although I was working in a creative environment I wasn't being as creative as I wanted to be (although I'm not convinced I was conscious of that at the time). I loved my job, was very good at it and met some incredibly talented and great friends along the way. Let's say it was definitely part of my 'journey' but anyone who's worked in advertising will probably know it's an 'all-in' kinda profession and after putting too much of myself 'in' for too long, I'd had enough. This also coincided with me getting married and so knowing, hoping, that kids would be next, I knew I couldn't continue and so I did a really sensible thing...I left and became a recruiter. Nope, I'm not entirely sure why either.
I have no doubt that there are some very creative recruiters out there but it's not exactly the first job your Careers Officer would mention if you displayed creative tendencies is it? (Do Careers Officers still exist by the way...hmmm) Ironically I did quite well at first. The days were strictly 9-5 which was quite a change after working at least 12-14 hour days. I'd travel into Manchester on the train and get to read a book...in fact that was the highlight of my day, but it wasn't destined not to last.
However, again in another not entirely straight forward move, I decided to set up my own specialist recruitment company with a colleague I'd met and so I got my first taste of running my own business. But that didn't last either (every failure is a step closer to success!) and a twist of fate then saw me move from recruiter to corporate fundraising at Macmillan Cancer Support.
Now THIS was a job I loved! Doing something that I knew for sure was making a real difference. Whilst there I worked for a short time with a group called the Innovations Team...like The A Team but with flip charts, focus groups and post it notes. The job of this team was to create new innovative ways of working with corporate businesses to the benefit of people living with or affected by cancer. I adored this role and everything about it and in truth it's probably the first time, since dancing, that I was getting to flex my creative muscles. After four incredible years with Macmillan I decided it was time to work for myself again. In truth that's a real long story made short but again, that's for another day. Fast forward another 5 years and here I am! A fully fledged professional photographer, working for myself and FINALLY being creative on a daily basis.
Of course it wasn't quite that straight forward but at 44 I'm finally beginning to feel like I'm in the 'right job'. Shining my light. Found my purpose. I know I'm not the only one that's taken the long way round to get here either. Almost every day I meet another woman who is either about to make the leap or who has already jumped. I meet them on photography projects, I meet them on Instagram, I meet them at network events, they're literally everywhere! I love that. It means women are following their dreams, trying something new and in a lot of cases that involves creativity of one kind or another and that's something I can definitely relate too.
As a photographer and writer (something I'm finally indulging via this blog) I love to tell stories and the stories I get most excited about are the ones that involve women following their creative dreams. For some they may have been lucky enough to find and follow their dreams since a child, like a dancer training since childhood and now on the stage. Other times, and increasingly, it's someone who's turned their back on a successful corporate career to sculpt pots, sell gluten free products on an artisan market or follow their passion for interior design by opening their own homewares boutique. Whatever the story, be it a person or a creative environment I find such enjoyment in recording and capturing what they do, what makes them great and hearing their creative stories.
So basically women, creativity & following your dreams is gonna play a big part in this blog. Incredible women, creative women, living their real lives.
They'll also be lots on my own experiences finding that elusive 'purpose', and while we're on the subject I'm a big believer in people having more than one talent so that'll feature too.
I'll be sharing my photography and marketing know-how in the hope it could help you in pursuing your own dreams and knowing me a lot of random pieces, because sometimes something pops up and I just HAVE to write it down.
So there we are. Hopefully you'll be with me along the way and I'd love you to share your thoughts & experiences with me in the comments on each post, cos at least that way I'll know someone is listening.