Fighting Hate with Love


It has taken me a long time to write about this. I thought that if I talked about it here I would be fuelling the negativity. Now I realise that by talking about it I have the power to turn it into something positive. Words can hurt but they can also heal. I know this will be rambling, but please hear me out.

I may be known for my photography and my blog but at my core I am still just a 22 year old girl from a small town, no better than anyone else. No amount of exposure has made me any less sensitive or any less capable of making mistakes. I’ll never be good enough but that is what growing as a person is all about.

I was a teenager when I started my blog. It felt like a digital home that I could fill with all that I loved. The things I saw and felt that set sparks off inside me. Back then I didn’t know the ways in which it would shape me, the ways it would change my life. In so many extraordinary ways but in a few darker ways too.

My first taste of the dark side of blogging was a phone call late one night. It was a woman on the other end and she told me my boyfriend would leave me, people only liked my pictures because I was young, I was ugly and I deserved to die. I couldn’t sleep that night, I could only cry. I couldn’t hate anyone, not the men who’d abused me or the girls who’d teased me cruelly at school. Yet here was a total stranger whose voice dripped with hatred for me, and I was caught wondering if I deserved it.

The more I blogged the worse it became. I received hate-mail thousands of words long. Then websites filled with anonymous haters. In those first years I took it all to heart, labelling people’s issues with me as my ‘flaws’. I thought if I was good enough no one would hate me and so I needed to fix myself. I even felt guilty that who I was had caused people to feel so negatively. So I wasn’t quite as cheery or loving, I toned down my writing and confidence and I didn’t share as openly. It didn’t matter if I had good intentions or genuinely wanted to make the world a better place. Every time I shared anything my head filled with countless judgemental voices, picking it all apart.

I knew reading all the hatred was making me depressed but it was so littered with lies and assumptions I was afraid if I didn’t clear them up people would believe them. Words have influence, even when they aren’t true. When I became a young Mother the judgement grew uglier. People said I should have Alba away taken from me. Girls became my friends to try to get ‘gossip’ out of me and it became harder to trust people. When they contacted my friends and my family with rumours it was bleeding into real life and that frightened me.

I was embarrassed that I let it get to me, I am embarrassed even sharing this. It feels like I am looking for pity but I am not. I always felt like I was being weak. After all, didn’t I know deep down that all I had was the present and it only had to affect me as much as I let it? Didn’t I know that every single person could be torn to pieces, that not one of us is perfect? Didn’t I feel how much support and love surrounded me? It is a sad thing that if we don’t fight it, darkness can be heavier than light even when the light is so much greater.

I decided to stop reading the hate. I thought, let the lies and the gossip be. The people I want in my life will be able to see through it, and will give me a chance. I am not my past and I embrace my failures, they have taught me even more than my successes. If I am secure in who I am and the decisions I make, it shouldn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks. I do my best and be my best and that is as much as I can do. Have trust in me.

One day I was staying with my friend Zelda in LA. Her Father is Robin Williams and all her life she has had to deal with negative attention and gossip. She said to me “You don’t need to post about your life Nirrimi. You’re a photographer. You have a choice to not make it personal.” She was right and her words have stuck with me for years. It made me think about why I did blog the way I do. Why I choose vulnerability.

When I stopped posting solely about my photography and started sharing my thoughts an interesting thing happened. The emails I received were no longer short messages from people saying they loved my work and asking what camera I used. I began getting intense, deep letters from people who told me my honesty and perspective have had a lasting impact on their lives. That my words had gifted them courage to follow their dreams or that I had showed them the beauty in the world they had overlooked. My life lessons became theirs too. They are my reason.

I don’t feel angry at anyone who has set out to bring me pain. I know it sounds very ‘hippie’ but I feel like I do love everyone, because I know we’re all the same. We’re all making decisions based on the experiences we’ve had, all wanting to be loved and understood. I like to think that the people who do and say cruel things anonymously online aren’t fully realising the hurt they are causing the people they attack. As though they think we’re not as real as they are. There are many ways to justify hate but at the end of the day it is still hate. I feel that if you wouldn’t say it in the real world, don’t say it online.

Strangely sometimes I am grateful for it. It toughened my skin and helped me to let go of a lot of my ego. I remember reading the hate one day and thinking “if I didn’t know myself, I might not like myself after this” and that realisation made me question the way I felt about everyone. It made me think twice before I spoke badly about another person.

Though I have almost quit a few times, I have kept on. I don’t know what the future holds but I know I will always want to use the skills and time I have to do good for other people. I may not be solving world hunger or climate change, but it is something. I can give more and I will. This world (both real and online) is filled with too much darkness and it needs more light.

I have written this post as a call to action. Whenever you see unnecessary negativity or hate online or in real life, speak up against the hate with loving intention. Let’s make the world a kinder place.

Thank you for reading. I’m grateful that I get the chance to share my side. Here is a silly little video I recorded, filled with ‘ums’ and not at all eloquent (seriously, I can barely watch this without hiding behind my hands). But, hey it is me!

  1. Coral

    I’m literally in the middle of a blog post about your blog!

    I feel SO, so creepy, posting an entry about you and your artistry, but I’m not one bit sorry and I’m trying my best to not apologise, as I’ve fallen deeply, massively in love with your website. Your art, the way you deliver your life all written into words and imagery… Just wow, well bloody done.

    I bow down to you and your beautiful soul.

    Wishing that I knew you, personally.

    Have a great day/evening.
    Sincerely, Coral.

  2. Anna

    Hey Nirrimi! I just wanted to say that your photographs and blog have been with me through a lot of different stages in my life and I am so, so grateful for your (albeit virtual) presence through those difficult and redefining experiences. Sharing in your joy at the birth of Alba, your worries and pain at criticism and not having a permanent residence – through this blog I connected with your experiences and was touched by your honesty, your vulnerability, and your intimacy with us all. I truly feel as if this blog is as much a private place for you and your experiences as it is a public conversation with each of us individually who are lucky enough to stumble across your work and this blog. You have inspired me so profoundly by your photographs, by your words, by your fire, passion, and openness to life, and the way you choose to live it. I remember I connected so readily with you when I had first discovered your photographs because I saw someone I felt a common thread with, someone who I saw as similar to myself in spirit, despite being so different from one another. It is my greatest hope that you will continue with this blog for many years to come, as long as it continues to serve you and have a positive influence on your life, as well as offer solace and connection to people out there like me, who stumble across your photographs and/or blog, at just the right moment, at just the right time, to profoundly impact their vision and perspective on life. Thank you, Nirrimi, for sharing so much of yourself with us. It is revolutionary, awe-inspiring, and imperfect, just as it should be.
    With all the love in the world,

  3. Dominica

    You’re such a cheerful and cute creature. I wish there were more people like you on the planet. I love your posts and all of your photos. They’re so real and honest, they’re just… beautiful as you are. There are kind of the part of you I think… Lots of love sweetie!

  4. Rachel

    Your heart shines with humility, depth, truth and authenticity. Thank you.

  5. Cora K.

    I wish I can meet you in person one day. you’re amazing :) <3
    xoxo from Italy ^_^

  6. Luna

    Hello Nirrimi,
    I’ve grown with your blog and started following you maybe about 5 years ago. I hadn’t visited it in a while and coming back it’s been such a change since I last checked in. This is probably the first time that yes, you feel like a real person to me. Before, you had created such a vision in your blog that it all kind of felt like a fantasy. This post and your recent posts have really touched me.

    I guess this is more for me than for you but thanks for being such an inspiration. Not by your photography, gorgeous as it is, but for such bravery and humility.

  7. Lindçay

    I usually don’t comment on your posts (or any post) because I always think that what I want to say isn’t worth it, and my english isn’t perfect either (I’m french), but… This time I’m doing it, because I want to give you a huge THANK YOU. You are such an inspiration, you’re shining, countlessly spreading light and love and… To realize that people like you exist gives me hope, lots of hope for the future, because I can feel that this light is really powerful, the kind that little by little is opening hearts and consciousness, making this world a more beautiful place.
    So really, keep being yourself, you are amazing.

    And again, thank you, merci merci merci !

    P.S: If you ever want to visit south of France, my home is yours, anytime.


  8. Grace

    Hi Nirrimi,
    I’m someone who suffers with pretty bad cases of jealousy – if someone does something I wish I could do, etc, I get a sometimes overwhelming case of envy. I know I do it, and I hate it about myself, and I wish I could just say ‘good for them’ and be inspired without the jealous thoughts that accompany it for me. I’ve never taken those negative thoughts to the level of sending hate mail or saying horrible things to people, but there have been times when I’ve given a bit of attitude to a friend that I’m jealous of (and most of the time, realised it and apologised later – i hope I have most of the time anyway!!).
    I’ve been following your blog for years, although I just check in now and then as I don’t look at blogs much anymore, and I will admit that I sometimes get jealous of you and get a bit grumpy to myself about it – but the reason I’m telling you this is because even if I read your blog and get ‘angry jealous’ as I’ll call it, I know that the truth is that you inspire me all the time, I have visual diaries with your photos stuck in them, I think you write beautifully and the way you write your blog and let yourself be vulnerable is something that I wish I could do but I freak out about vulnerability and I wish I could wear my heart on my sleeve like you do!
    Anyway, I guess I’m trying to tell you that from the point of you of someone who does have some jealousy problems and doesn’t always have positive thoughts, that you’re great and you inspire me and anyone who says anything hateful to you is only doing so because of a problem they have within themselves – not because of you!

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Pale Fire








One day my sweet friend Claire drove me & Ashlin out of town. The winter wind drew goosebumps on Ash’s skin while we photographed so we wrapped her in a blanket between shots. We watched the sky change colours and saw the light change along with it. I realised how glad I am to be a photographer, to get the chance to embrace so many sunsets and idyllic places. To soak in the world’s beauty.

Stylist: Claire Hart

 Model: Ashlin

Edited with Digital Film + India + Dust


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  3. Tone

    The second picture brings me right into the moment. I love your blog. I love your’e honesty. And i believe I look up to you :) You are something real special! You’re talent too. O hope you know, If not this Is written to you as a remider. Thank you!

  4. Caitlin

    I normally don’t comment on blogs but I felt I needed to say that you are talented and beautiful. I just discovered your blog and I am so inspired by your positivity and bravery. The pictures of you and your daughter capture the deeply loving, intimate and physical experience of motherhood in a way I have never seen before. It makes me happy.

  5. Helena

    I just found my way here recently.. and just wanted to tell you that I love these photographs! Simply stunning!

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