Usually I show outtakes, but the Waiting… one is pretty much an outtake from my series Ulterior Monologue, so instead here is the chosen picture for that project and the accompanying hashtags.
So as I explained in my Animal Hats & Cramps post, there was a bit of an overlap between Waiting… and my previous project (Ulterior Monologue). Reading the hashtags for the top image too I realise that I talk about it a bit there too.
I announced my pregnancy on social media when I was 20 weeks and it was starting to become obvious in my dance videos/I got bored of hiding my bump under big jumpers. I definitely bought some time, but was relieved when my archive posts were over.
Anyways, I did a photoshoot around a dragon fruit and cutting my finger, and in the UM hashtags I talk about 3 bad/unlucky things that happened that day. This includes getting a bit of plate stuck in my finger which is why I have tissue wrapped around my finger, though I didn’t talk about my recent (increased) clumsiness.
I talk about how I think it was due to my mind being elsewhere, though it speaks about accidental knife cuts rather than the injury being from the plate splinter. (When I first started to write this post I also thought the need for a tissue was from a knife cut). I wrote the hashtags when I was preparing to post the project on Instagram and decided to add the photo in – I wanted to post them in chronological order so it made sense to decide early on if I wanted to include an image from this shoot.
I vaguely remember writing them as I wasn’t sure whether or not to use the term ‘baby brain’. I really don’t like it, though I think me being distracted by daydreaming about being pregnant and becoming a mother is what probably led to me getting the injury. I like to think that I was pretty ‘with it’ after this incident, so when on a few occasions people accused me of being baby brained when I wasn’t I was annoyed…
(Okay, yesterday I walked into the living room to get the dummy that Tiago asked for and walked back into the bedroom with a tube of nipple cream. In my defence I walked there – the whole 5m – wondering if I should put some nipple cream on… I think this says a lot about not getting enough sleep/being sleepy. If a guy does something forgetful after becoming a father is he accused of having baby brain? Probably not.)
I prefer the UM image more though it wasn’t a favourite and it wouldn’t have fit in Waiting… I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with the shoot, but I like playing around with hands and arms so it makes sense that I did something a little odd – the hand that isn’t holding the dragon fruit is definitely a bit weird. I think I took the Waiting one for myself as it has that pregnancy feel to it; a classic light touch to the belly, but nicely concealed. I definitely wouldn’t have put it in UM.
I could have perhaps been more inventive with the title of the Waiting image – (Dragon Fruit &) Cut To Finger (7 and a half weeks), whereas the UM one is Dragon Fruit & Cut To Finger. However I like that the similar titles tie the two images together as if you saw them side by side you wouldn’t necessarily think that they were from the same shoot – you’d probably just think ‘wow she’s clumsy’ if you knew that they were both pictures of me.
I think that’s about it.
I feel like talking about the whole project is a bit of an undertaking, but I’m determined to do it! 5 down, 79 to go!
My fear is that no one is reading these and I’m spending a lot of time/energy doing this blog, but I guess an audience doesn’t grow overnight.
I’m also awkward about promoting my posts across all my social media sites. The other week I wrote about how I would be better at promoting my work, but I still feel like I am bothering people. A lot of people use social media to promote their stuff and I’m sure there’s a good amount of people who don’t feel weird about it, and I don’t feel awkward for them so why do I for myself? That’s something that I can possibly post about more in the future…
I had planned for this blog to be more than ‘just’ a place for posting my photography and video, so in this post I thought I’d share exercise videos that I did whilst I was pregnant.
(Scroll down if you just want to see my favourite YouTube pre-natal exercise videos and not read my preramble).
We moved to Liverpool at the end of 2018 and we signed up for the gym not long after. I didn’t like going, but watching Pointless (a TV quiz show) whilst using some equipment made it somewhat tolerable. Fact: I cancelled my membership after they stopped showing it on their TVs.
I enjoyed the classes, but I didn’t like that the ones I wanted to go to were quite late in the evenings and I felt like planning my time around an exercise class wasn’t that productive. I then got pregnant after I stopped going to the gym. I had been looking forward to answering yes in a class whenever they asked if anyone was pregnant, but never mind. Covid would have cut short that experience anyways with the closure of gyms…
When we lived in London I mainly did YouTube exercise videos, as the gyms close to me were expensive/I just felt like I didn’t have time to go to one. At one point I did go to a bootcamp in a park by me, but it would take up most of my day and after meeting Tiago (and making him go with me for a bit) I realised that that wasn’t how I wanted to spend a big chunk of my weekend.
I had planned to get into pre-natal exercise earlier than I eventually did. The intention was there, but the motivation was lacking. In the end it was hip/pelvis pain that made me start, as getting a maternity pillow wasn’t enough. I wanted to just workout at home due to the ease of it.
Other pregnant people I knew wanted to wait until the pains got bad enough that they got referred for physio, but I didn’t want things to get worse. Surely with physio they would just give you stretches anyways, not some magic pill that would make the pains and aches magically go away? Covid probably put a stop to most face-to-face physio appointments anyways…
Warning: I’m just a regular person sharing what exercise videos I liked whilst I was pregnant. Talk to your doctor/listen to your body about what you can and can’t do. It’s meant to make you feel better, so don’t push yourself too much. If you can’t do the complete video without stopping that’s fine – I also used to get through a lot of water during them too.
In addition, I tried to go for a walk everyday (particularly once lockdown started). The earlier you start exercising in your pregnancy, the easier you’ll (hopefully) find it. As I got more pregnant I wasn’t able to do what I could earlier on, but it wasn’t such a shock to my body as I had been doing these videos for a while. It was funny doing them the first time and thinking ‘I can’t believe I’ll be that pregnant’, but before I knew it I was more pregnant than the teachers in the videos.
One of the hardest parts of working out at home is just getting yourself onto your mat/into your space where you exercise with the intention to exercise. Having a baby adds another hurdle to getting there, so enjoy one less block whilst you can!
Anyways, here are the YouTube videos that I did the most whilst I was pregnant.
A good one to start with
10 minutes a day is a good start if you really don’t feel up to exercising. I think my morning sickness also made exercising unappealing. I moved to longer videos after feeling like I was just getting into the video, but it was over already.
In the beginning I’d exercise just once a day – usually just in the morning. Before long though I realised it wasn’t enough and I’d exercise in the evening too.
After doing the one in the previous section for a couple of weeks at least, I moved onto doing this one pretty much every morning (after letting my muscles recover from the first time).
After a while I got bored of doing it everyday, so I started to do it every other day (alternating the next two videos on the second day).
After a while I started to do the 3 videos on a 3 day cycle.
Then after no longer finding it comfortable to sit on a chair and sitting on an exercise ball instead, a friend recommended the video below, and it became a 4 day cycle.
In the evenings I started off doing the below video (there is a morning yoga routine, which seems the same so I preferred doing different ones).
And then I wanted to try other ones, so I did this one below occasionally instead.
Then I began to alternate them each night, but after a while I knew the routines off by heart so I started to watch TV and do a mix of the two videos from memory. I found myself doing a lot more than if I was doing one of the videos.
I feel like with the videos there should be two versions – 1 for people who have never done the video before/are doing it for the 2nd or 3rd time, and then there should be one for people who don’t need the explanations. Particularly with the pilates one as once I knew it by heart I would carry on and do the routine, occasionally skipping the video forward to where it was useful to be in time.
Also I would just add my favourite stretches that were missing from the video I just did to the end of my practice – and did extra kegels when I thought about it, particularly with squats.
One last video that deserves a mention as I enjoyed it, but then managed to forget about it…
I feel like the running theme of this blog series is ‘maybe I chose the wrong photo?’ When is it too late to change the selected image? Is it ever too late? I guess it depends on where the photo has been. For me it doesn’t feel too late yet as most of my images have only appeared on my Instagram account and who said ‘what is posted on Instagram is set in stone’? No one as far as I’m aware.
I want to produce a book of this project so I guess it is good that I am revisiting each image and outtakes to have a think about if I did make the right decisions or not.
I chose the photographs based on how I felt at the time, but with the passing of time comes different responses to the images. Maybe I need to value what I thought when I was choosing, though at this point in the project I was not editing the pictures on the same day or same week as they were taken. I kept shooting and hashtagging, and I didn’t really look at them properly for a few months – there is a picture in the project that talks about finally getting round to editing the project. I realised what a mammoth task I was leaving for myself, so I spent some time editing it down (which is what I’m doing now with my new project and is why this post is a day later than I planned). After that I tried to edit the pictures down quite quickly, so I had space on my computer and so I wasn’t left feeling overwhelmed at a later stage with a baby in my arms.
Anyways, in these images I am ‘wearing’ a scarf instead of clothes. I can’t remember making that decision – I really need to start keeping a shoot diary – but I am guessing that it was because I worry about wearing the same clothes in all my photographs. I say this and some of my clothes have been in quite a few projects.
I had started to wear the scarf out around that time as it gets very windy in Liverpool, so it was probably lying around the flat when I was thinking about what to wear. I did do a project where I wore towels, so it’s not that odd really.
I guess with the chosen image I wanted something that wasn’t that flattering, due to the topic. In the outtakes I look a bit more ‘put together’, whereas in the chosen one with the way I am touching my chin and with my general expression you can tell things are a little off. At this point I wasn’t actually being sick, but the feelings were sufficiently unpleasant.
The meat/fish cravings were odd and I never had them again. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 15 (I’m 31 now), so it was quite bizarre though the fake fish burger seemed to do the trick. I haven’t eaten another one, but the burger place has only just reopened after being closed due to Covid. (A fun fact for you there – you’re welcome!) Maybe my body just needed a bit of protein and after this episode I did make an effort to eat more protein.
I’d forgotten that I mentioned an ex-boyfriend in the hashtags. The same moment came into my head last night when I started to put this post together and I thought about writing about it, but I already had. However I do now remember feeling awkward when I posted it to Instagram.
Why the need to write about it? I’m not entirely sure, but my work is therapeutic for me and has helped me work on various things like my confidence. It started to decrease when my family moved when I was 7 (to about half an hour away which isn’t much at all) and then it got destroyed in high school. In college I let my barriers down and cried a lot so my art teacher recommended that I go to counselling. I cried through all my BA assessments, so dating someone who did nothing for my confidence probably wasn’t the best idea but I also felt like that was what I deserved and I would never find someone else. Writing this whilst being married to a great guy, and with our month+ old baby lying beside me I’m starting to feel a bit emotional.
Breaking up with someone/being broken up with is always weird as you don’t know what will happen in your future. It’s nice when you can look back and be glad it happened as it led you to being with someone else (who hopefully really suits you) or maybe you’re just really enjoying being single.
I haven’t spoken to this ex in over 10 years and I doubt he will read it. If he does then I’m sure he will admit that he wasn’t the kindest person. I think he had underlying issues that he needed to sort out, and I genuinely hope he has.
Another moment that I am sharing because I just find it so bad that it is funny is that when we were out at clubs (can not remember the last time I was in a club), girls would come up to him and tell him that I was so ugly and that he should be with them and not me. He would tell me with a massive grin on his face and not say anything to comfort me/make me feel better about the situation.
A couple of other things: He was embarrassed about me meeting his family because I was vegan. I stopped being vegan (for myself after 4+ years as I didn’t want to be vegan anymore) and broke up with him a week later. I never met his family. Also, he told me if I cut my hair short he would break up with me.
When I finally broke up with him (and cut my hair shorter) people around me would tell me how much they didn’t like him, but they were worried it would push me towards him more if they told me how they felt. True, I am stubborn but in this case I was just unable to realise how badly he was treating me. I felt like I deserved it/I would rather be with him feeling bad about myself than single.
If you recognise your partner in what you read above, then know you deserve to be with someone better. You deserve more.
As always my blog post turned out differently to what I thought it would be, but I’m enjoying the journey and hopefully this may help someone who needs to hear it right now/when they read this post.
After all this sidetracking and distraction though I think I did choose the right image. The other possibility would have been the last outtake, but even with whole projects based around nudity you may be surprised to know how awkward I feel about nudity in my work. It’s something that I feel deserves its own post rather than a paragraph at the end of a long post that has already taken an unexpected turn, so I’ll put that on my list for a later date!
It’s on the list under ‘nudity/censorship/awkwardness’.
One last note: Though my work is usually about me, I have always hoped that other people would find something helpful in what I do. I guess with this blog I can go into more detail and write about things that have led me to making the work that I make. I have always worried that people find me narcissistic and vain, though my reasons for making my work are from feeling the complete opposite. Sharing this blog now feels really awkward, but I really hope it might help someone, either with a situation they are going through now or to help process something in their past. Some parts I have rewritten over and over again during the day, but I need to just let it go and live with it.
Something that I have been saying a lot lately is that when someone is mean to you, it says a lot more about them than it does about you. And this goes for how I have acted towards people as well. I am happy to admit that I am not ‘perfect’ – whatever that is – but I want to work on becoming a better person for myself and my family. Asking yourself why you do things and react the way you do – and really listening to yourself and the answers – is a good place to start.
Who would have thought a blog post about morning sickness could get so deep?
With shoots I end up taking a lot of images and with most of them it’s difficult to edit them down as the differences are so subtle. In the beginning I take a lot of pictures to make sure that I am in the right position – as central as possible as I am usually central-ish in my images. Then once I find something I do a lot of little variations and take enough to make sure that I ‘have the shot’. Now I’m debating if this is better than the one I chose but I think looking off makes me look a bit more thoughtful whereas this seems more confrontational? Maybe I’m talking rubbish. I can’t believe my hair used to be this long…
The whole project is full of belly shots and I think I realised how ridiculous a shot like this would be in the beginning, though does it really matter? No. Even though I have done nude projects I do feel awkward about sitting around in my pants for shoots, though less so after having 6 people at the birth of my child, and having my boobs prodded and poked by lots of women whilst trying to breastfeed in hospital.
This seems a bit too adventurous and belly squashing for a pregnancy picture. Even though it took about 9 months for me to get pregnant I then was doing lots of stupid things like falling over for a video repeatedly as I think I could not believe I was pregnant. Perhaps I knew I would not be able to do these more flexible poses for much longer which is why I milked it as much as possible with this shoot.
A big secret (that isn’t so secret and especially not now) about how I shoot for my self-portrait projects – generally I have no idea what I am going to do for a shoot.
With this shoot I had no clue and looking back for outtakes I can see that, though the theme seemed to be that pink top that my younger sister gave me and being sat on the floor.
I play around and then when I find something that I like I ‘riff on it’ – yeah like a musician or something.
In 2010 after my BA I was shortlisted to take a portrait for the National Museum Wales and National Portrait Gallery. I travelled from Birmingham to Cardiff for the interview and proudly talked about how I don’t plan shoots and you could just see in their faces how disapproving they were, yet I kept going on. The thing is at university me and my friend Sarah (who started and runs We Are Hairy People) did fashion shoots all the time when we were in the mood and we generally had no plan; we were always winging it. I’d photograph and she would model. We would just pull random clothes from our wardrobes and mess about with usually quite good results. I feel the need to pull a photo out, so let me have a look…
Here are a few pictures from 2010.
I feel like this post is going a long way away from where it was supposed to be. I’ve talked a lot about how random and made up my shoots are, but then again with my pregnancy project there have been shoots where I knew what I wanted to show.
Don’t be fooled (especially if you want to hire me and now are thinking I’m too risky – come back!) I guess I do plan things to an extent… now I think I am just saying this so you hire me.
No, what I mean to say is I have planned shoots more so with this project. For example: I had a blood test, I want to show that etc. I guess there was a reason why I did improv comedy in London, as much as sometimes I lack confidence I like just seeing what happens and what I come up with.
I did mention in my interview that when I do plan shoots I never like the images, but I guess they provide a starting point.
With shoots if you don’t try then you don’t get – if I don’t do a shoot then I have no pictures to possibly like or dislike. If I do then I might have a shot that I can use or at least have an idea for something to recreate. With this project I took poses/shots that I liked and recreated them later on, especially if one was good but I felt like another one was better. Though towards the end of the project I got more indecisive and often chose two images from shoots – perhaps because I was running out of time to photograph myself pregnant.
Anyways, some of the hashtags are kind of similar to the first image from the series. I had planned for this to be the first image, but I then remembered that I had done the previous shoot and wrote hashtags for it. It was hard knowing what to write for the first one as a lot of it had already been said here. There was a noticeable difference within myself though, especially with feelings of morning sickness beginning to start. I had forgotten that I got food aversions that early.
Everyone always asks about cravings, though I had never really heard about food aversions. I seemed to hate everything I had ever loved – I was really upset about not being able to eat my favourite lunch that I had been eating for YEARS. At one point I could only eat pasta and vegetables for dinner, as everything else made me feel sick. Luckily I could start to eat different things just as the Great Pasta Shortage of 2020 rolled in, otherwise that would have been a very grim time…
It was hard to imagine myself ever being pregnant, let alone imagining myself pregnant during a pandemic, but I guess that’s something I’ll talk about again and again during these posts…