Monday 27 January 2014

4: Lina

Portraits - the Motherhood series. 

Lina and Sam live in a village in Siem Reap with their two sons (aged six and four), two nieces, a nephew and are expecting their third child, a baby girl due in May. I was invited into their home after I told Sam about my portrait project. As we approached, the children came running out to greet us, clearly overjoyed to see their father/uncle. The youngest had been sick with a stomach bug the day before so he was quiet and stayed close to his mother. 

In their home, necessities simply cannot be taken for granted. Lina uses a small wood burning stove to cook for the family in a kitchen best described as basic. A kitchen that is underwater for a few months each year during the wet season. Lina explained how the cost of living was ever increasing. When someone is ill, the medicine required may very well take the place of food for the family. It's incredibly confronting to see young families faced with such pressure, living day to day.

Lina spoke tenderly to the children, her smile warm and generous. She spoke English well and seemed happy to share and connect. I took a polaroid camera and gave Lina and the kids the photos to keep. I'll never forget the look on her face when she saw the image of herself and her husband, they clearly love each other deeply. They are a team.

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the Portrait Series links on the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Tuesday 21 January 2014

Behind the scenes

A friend of mine took the photo above while I was chatting to last week's portrait subject, Thai Dany. It was an afternoon I'll always remember. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to visit the school, take part in the activities and meet the teachers and children so I thought I'd share a few more of my favourite pictures.

Belinda x

Sunday 19 January 2014

3: Thai Dany

Portraits - the Motherhood series. 

Thai Dany is a mother of three. She is a teacher at a school at Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Her two eldest children attend the school as students. She brings the youngest along every day because there is no-one to look after him at home while she works. I met Thai Dany thanks to a work charity event, we built bikes, a playground and planted a veggie garden for the children that attend her school. I took Thai Dany's portrait at four thirty in the afternoon - the end of the school day. The kids were lining up for final role call before heading home. Her youngest was hungry and irritable, she supervised the students in the yard whilst responding tenderly to his cries. When we spoke, her warmth and her quick smile were the things I noticed most.

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the Portrait Series button in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Friday 17 January 2014


The Cockatoo Island free audio tour. I highly recommend it!

Happy New Year! It's a bit late, I know. L
ife has gone by in a bit of a blur these past few months. All of a sudden a whole new year is here.

I hope your holidays left you with wonderful memories. Lots of delicious food, great company and plenty of rest. 

Festivus for us this year was pretty special. Starting with a long anticipated airport reunion with loved ones visiting from England. Family christmas feasts, an unforgettable New Years Eve glamping on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour, ferry rides, fun parks, picnics and meals shared outdoors and of course, as much time at the beach as we could fit in.

The new year brings promise of a fresh start. Soon I will go part time at work, hopefully bringing with it more balance, less stress. All in the name of giving us the best possible chances as we continue our journey to try and grow our family. I'm also aiming to carve out time to explore my creative aspirations. So many ideas have long taken a back seat. I look forward to having a little window of freedom to explore them.

I'm currently on a work trip in Siem Reap, Cambodia. It has been one of the most beautiful, confronting and rewarding experiences of my life, I cant wait to share more about this with you when I get back. Needless to say it has given me a good dose of perspective and gratitude for my many blessings.

Speaking of.... THANK YOU for coming back to visiting me here at Elsie and Joan. This little space will soon be two years old. I cannot even believe that! I look back and can see that my photography skills have improved. I'm finding and refining my writing voice. It's inspired me and pushed me out of my creative comfort zone. But most of all, it's 'meeting' you, your comments, support and friendship that have been the best part.

I'm feeling energised and ready to get into it. Come at me 2014!

Belinda x

Sunday 12 January 2014

2: Star

Portraits - the Motherhood series. 

Her father returned from war a changed man so he named his only daughter after one of the few places he still saw beauty in this world. He named her, Star. She'll proudly tell you she was her daddy's girl and how much Richard reminds her of him. Star is my mother-in-law. We have been so blessed to have her stay with us over the holidays this year, all the way from Manchester, England. We laughed that she and I seem to have swapped roles. She is a Nana in hightop sneakers, fringed tote bags and leopard print and I have an apron collection and laid out crochet placemats for Christmas lunch. When Richard and I visited England last year, Rich left for home before me and I spent a (fabulous) day in London on my own. Star called me as I was settling in at my hotel for the night to check that I doing ok. Such is her way in making a person feel welcome and loved.

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the Portrait Series button in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x

Sunday 5 January 2014

1: Belinda

Portraits - the Motherhood series. 

And so it begins, my second year of the weekly portrait project. Last year, I took 52 portraits of my husband and our marriage. It was an immensely rewarding experience. 

This year, I have decided to extend this project to celebrate motherhood. Mothers are so often behind the camera, capturing hundreds of precious memories of their families. I look at our own family photo albums and I'm rarely in the pictures. I intend to turn the lens around and put mothers front and centre. 

As many of you know, Richard and I have had a rather challenging journey over the past few years in trying to expand our family. I have to admit I am a little nervous about this portrait project. I wonder whether I will have the fortitude to complete it. My hope is that in celebrating motherhood, it will give me strength and inspiration in turn. We shall see.

1 ~ Me.
I'm a step-mum to a beautiful six year old girl. We first met when she was six months old, I fell in love with her instantly. We have a wonderful, precious bond and I love her as my own child. Being her step-mum is my saving grace. I will forever be indebted to her for this gift. My portrait, taken by the little one herself during our recent Mother/Daughter day out to Sydney's Luna Park.

You can view all of my portraits from 2013/14 by clicking on the Portrait Series button in the right sidebar of this page.

Belinda x
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