April, 2013

 

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Sometimes I feel guilty that my blog is so much about Motherhood now. That my creative photoshoot posts are rare. But if I’m going to keep my blog honest then it has to grow with me. And right now Motherhood and life is where I am.

This will change in time. I will always be a Mama and an avid life-documenter but as my daughter finds independence I will get more time to create.

April disappears quickly. We haven’t travelled in a while and we miss it. We check flights to Europe now and then and wish we could, but content ourselves planning our November trip instead. We’re going to Bali for a month because this is where we are hosting one of our Photography workshops next year and we have a lot to organise.

Life continues in the every day kind of way it does when you’re not travelling. So we break it and go camping. The camp grounds are strewn with coloured tents and the air is smoky from bonfires. Beyond a dip in the Earth is a beautiful swimming creek running alongside the grounds. We meet new people and we all share food and stories. I collect ‘dinosaur egg’ rocks with my cousins and float on an inflatable mattress in the river.

The night grows cold and I sit before the fire with Alba. Her arms wind around my neck as she watches the flames. In those moments being a Mama is exactly what I pictured. I may never find the right words to describe what it is like to have the gentle, warm weight of your own child in your arms (if you’re a parent, you already understand), but it holds so much meaning to me. It is something where there was once nothing. It is the strangeness and wonder that is life. That weight is the weight of the world.

We don’t have many friends in Brisbane yet but we see my Auntie and her girls a lot. The way Sommer and Alba love one another makes me melt. My auntie was like that with me when I was a baby, and maybe Alba will be that way with Sommer’s baby too.

An advertising agency hires me to shoot a campaign for The Smith Family. I fly to Sydney twice. The first time I am only there for a day to scout school locations and cast. I interview and photograph close to 50 children at Sun Studios before flying home again. A few days later I am there overnight to shoot the ad campaign. It is the first time I have been apart from Alba this long. On the flight over I feel my face burning as I try (unsuccessfully) to pump milk without drawing attention.

I stay in a boutique hotel in the city. There are a bowl of chocolates on the bed and I eat them cross-legged in my underwear, savoring my space. I thought I would be lost with loneliness and missing my family, but instead I’m rejoicing in my time alone.

It only takes me an hour to prepare and pack for tomorrow’s shoot. Then I have all this free time that for the first time in a long time I am not sure what to do with. I have a long, hot shower. I pump some more milk. I go walking in the city. Memories hit me hard. I have spent a lot of time here, a lot of things happened. The memories crowd my head so much I have to grab dinner quickly and rush back to the hotel room.

The bed is too big for just me and I sleep very soundly. When I wake at dawn my breasts are very full with milk. I was teased so much for being flat chested in highschool that I can’t help but laugh when I see myself naked in the bathroom mirror.

Someone from the production agency picks me up and we drive to the location. I have a digital operator and assistants and everyone is asking me about lighting set ups and I am trying to explain how simply I shoot. Just the sun, I say. I don’t need a lot of assisting either. I know I shoot unusually (and probably unprofessionally in some people’s eyes) but this is the way I make my images.

It is hard to foster a connection with a model when there is a big team standing around you both. So I do what I can to make space for us. The shoot is very long but the children are sweet. The clients love the images and we are all exhausted but content. They are a charity I really believe in, you can donate here and see some of my images here.

For the entire flight I keep imagining what Alba will be like when she sees me. Will she cry out “Mama” and run to me with her arms outstretched? Will she say her first ever sentence “Mama, never leave me again”? My imaginings grow more and more far-fetched. When I walk out to the baggage carousels I can see her walking around Papa’s feet. Her strawberry blonde hair looks bright and her skin glows. She is the prettiest little girl around. I can’t believe I get to be her Mama.

When Alba sees me she doesn’t even smile. She just looks at me like I’ve been here all along, as though she didn’t notice I’d gone anywhere. But in the car she holds my hand tightly all the way home.

 

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  1. neurotisch rot

    Oh I love your photos and your blog! Actually I wouldn’t be that interested in your currently theme or phase of a mother but your blog is just so good, I get interested in more and more.. I really like it here ;)

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  3. Tamara

    As always, Nirrimi, your photos are breathtakingly beautiful! I just love the way you capture life’s precious moments. x

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  5. marie

    Your photos are stunning. Great lighting, and very realistic-looking. Love every one of them, even from the other posts.

    Btw hope you’re doing well with your family. And hopefully you’ll update your blog soon! Hee. :)

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  6. charlotte

    Your pictures are so real, so authentic, and it is a moving authenticity. It’s refreshing in a world where so many images seem artificial. Few people show their soul in their work, as you do. You manage to create in most of your pictures a sense of peace. I really feel peaceful when I look at them. This is the power of your pictures in my opinion.

    Thanks for sharing this with us.
    Charlotte

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March, 2013

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It’s March and my daughter is taking her first steps. As I watch her I hold my breath. She steps forward and forward and then falls onto her bare bottom. We clap for her and then she claps for herself too. Her proud smile reaches her ears. I think, oh baby, this is just the beginning.

Brisbane is a beautiful city. We spend days by the big river, walking across the man made beaches, under the flowering vines and spend hours in the library. Alba meets other children here and Papa reads her bird books from the grown up library. We both love seeing Alba happy.

One night I have a gallstone attack. It is the only pain I’ve ever felt that rivals childbirth. I had one in the mountains last year that lasted hours and I thought I might be dying. Back then I talked to my aunt and she told me it was common for the women in our family to have the attacks after pregnancy. I can’t breathe properly and my stomach is as hard as rock. I want it to end but I don’t know when it will. We drive to the hospital. The traffic is bad and time goes very slowly.

Soon after we arrive my lungs begin to open wider, bit by bit. And then like a sail caught in wind I can breathe full breaths again. It feels so incredible and blissful to be well and alive. I am told to get an operation on my gallbladder but the attack already seems miles away. A part of me feels grateful for the reminder of how good it feels to be well.

Every morning M goes for a run up the nearby mountain and Alba and I spend the morning together. For breakfast I make her scrambled organic eggs with lots of coconut oil (for good fats) and nutritional yeast (for b12) and I have chia & oat bircher with almond milk and fruit. When Papa is home we make green smoothies together (kale or spinach, squeezed orange juice & frozen banana). Now that we eat well food is a huge joy for us. Eating a piece of sorrel from the garden sends delicious shivers down my spine. Who would have known that I would one day find more pleasure in a big bowl of salad than an ice cream? Somehow now that we mostly only eat plants, nuts and seeds we eat more diversely than ever before.

We go on a little roadtrip to visit my grandparents. We have breakfast in their garden, picking fresh figs, persimmons and raspberries to eat. Afterwards we lay back on a picnic rug and teach Alba what a cloud is. We forget the camera, so we are careful to not let this memory slip away from us.

As I am picking the raspberries with Alba, I tell M “We need a big garden with strawberries and raspberries and blueberries and mulberries because I could never be unhappy if I had fresh berries to pick.”

We daydream about owning our own land every day. We talk about what we’ll grow and build and how we can live sustainably. I begin planning workshops, a photography book and an app so that these dreams can become life someday soon.

 

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  1. Bella

    I found your blog this morning and was captivated by the images – You inspire me to pick up my camera and document more of my journey. I’d LOVE to hear some of what you’ve learned about photography and what makes your images so special. It’s clear your eyes are full of love and that’s what you are capturing. I’m grateful. Thank you for sharing….

  2. LVO U

    These are the most beautiful and peaceful pictures. All your capturing of the world around her will never allow you to miss or forget a moment.

  3. Nele Lara

    I’m so impressed by your photos. They look so emotionally and all tell a little story.
    So happy that I found a blog like yours !!

  4. chandni

    Your images just make my day..and make me reliase..howbeautifullll life can be!!

  5. Lisa Terle

    Hi Nirrimi + family, your blog is the dreamiest I ever came across and I want to be like you when I grow up, haha (I’m 29). A question, is that a stainless steel drink bottle in the first picture? If yes, what brand is it and can I find it somewhere online?
    I wish you all the best of lives!

  6. laura

    alba is light, light and magic. just like your photographs are truly and utterly full of light.
    thank you for sharing. laura

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