The time has come to let you into my world, this time a little more personal.
'Ladies in Waiting' is such a special and personal collection to me. This series has been an emotional experience that brought be back to my own Olympics journey in 2012. It’s a reminder that life is unsynchronised and that there is beauty in the imperfection...
For those of you who don't know, I fell in love with being in the water from the age of eight. My mother adored a Synchronised Swimming club in England called the Aquabells when she was little (take your mind back to the 1950's with an above ground glass tank and pretty patterns and caps). When the time came for me and my sisters after moving to Australia, she knew she had to get us to join a local club; that club was Neptunes (yes The Roman god of the Sea! I can still see the logo now).
For many years I spent most weekends underwater and upside down with my two older sisters, with my parents taking roles as judges for the sport at States and National Titles; always wearing white on the weekends with their score cards in hand. After having some time off from the sport, I came back and was selected to represent Australia at the 2012 Olympic Games along with my talented teammates.
You may wonder, why Photography? How did this come into it? Well, I always had a passion for the creative industries. I vividly remember sitting on the beach with my Aunty when she would visit from the UK and watching her capture the stunning sunsets in Byron Bay on her film camera. Her passion for seeing nature and the world in such a different way really stuck with me. This ultimately inspired by studies of Photography at Griffith university in Brisbane, majoring in photojournalism. This led me into the field of capturing weddings, and working for a local radio station taking their socials as well as being a food photographer; however I knew there was something missing..
After coming home from the Olympics and not swimming at the team event I really had some unfulfilled desires and 'what if's left within me, as well as tones and shades of regret and letting myself and others down. Looking back, it was a really dark time for me coming home. Ultimately, after lots of pondering, I decided to purchase an underwater film camera to test the waters with my photography beneath the surface. So off I went, purchased a $100 film camera off eBay and organised my first underwater session! After capturing my inspiring fellow teammates and dear friends who thankfully were happy to be my beautiful muses, I knew this was something I couldn't give up. It transformed a space that held a lot of nerves and regrets for me to a place of new opportunities and creativity. It was an extension of something I had been a part of for so many years but wasn't ready to let go for some reason. Collecting that first role of film was so exciting, and something I will never forget (there were also a lot of frames that didn't turn out, the beauty of film!) After I had enough money I purchased my first underwater housing for my DSLR and never looked back.
My emotions are deeply intertwined within my work, as it is always a touching experience shooting underwater and capturing such beautiful subjects who are mainly ex synchronised swimmers (how lucky am I?!). Among my subjects have also been an artist swimmer and one of my best friends Jenny Lyn Anderson, who remains one of my favourite subjects to this day. Rachel Presser, an upcoming Olympian is also one of my main subjects where we have created the 'Red Head' series together; she is always such a joy to work with.
'Ladies in Waiting' was created when I reached out to the lovely Bianca Hammet, who I used to swim with, and now manages the Tokyo team who happened to be on a training camp at Chandler where I too used to train. I was so grateful that they were able to block out an afternoon session with me to create some magic. The story behind the series was put together while sitting with my past experiences of the time leading up to the Olympics in 2012. I really wanted to create a space for these new and upcoming Olympians to really be themselves and move from a place of self expression, and not so much 'synchronised' movements. I wanted to showcase them as individuals, and display that each athlete's unique individuality is so integral to the making of a team. Most importantly, I wanted them to savour this moment in time. I now know, from my own lived experience, to treasure these pivotal events leading up to the games and not be so stressed and worried which I tended to lean towards. I also wanted to give a lens to the athletes whose dream may rise and fall before the final stage of the swimming deck; and to give them comfort that they are not alone. At times, like the year 2020 and 2021, life is unsynchronised.
This shoot has been such an emotional one for me, and I hope you all enjoy its aesthetics and cant bring something positive away from it. It is not only meant to speak to artistic swimmers, after all, we are all Ladies in Waiting. But the wait is worth it, especially when you look back and see the path that was meant for you all along. My two passions were running side by side for many years, and it just took time for the spark to go off and make the connection.
I truly believe if I had my goals fulfilled at the games, I wouldn't have taken my photography beneath the surface and I wouldn't be sharing and creating imagery the way I am now.
I hope my work makes you feel free, and sparks something in you that takes you to that other place of wonder and creativity; and that you always feel that you are enough and you feel proud and confident on your path, but most importantly excited for what's to come.
Thank you to all the girls in this series, for trusting my creative direction and allowing me to capture their beauty x