In April a group of parents of children with disabilities and parents with disabilities themselves started the Facebook campaign #ToyLikeMe, calling on the Toy Industry for positive inclusion of disability within the toy box.
I was asked to join the campaign to photograph toys that had been made-over to demonstrate how toy companies could easily make positive and fun representations that remove disabiltiy from the toy hospital sets and place it in the fancy dress box instead! Much more fun! We wanted to put some imagination and sparkle into disability toy box representation and help generations of kids, (both with and without disabilities), grow up with a more positive attitude to human difference!
Within days the Toy Like Me campaign went viral and the facebook page gained over 11,000 followers in under a week. We were featured on Sky News, the Mail Online, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan and blogs such as Upworthy, Huffintgon Post to name a few.
There are 770,000 UK children with disabilities in the UK and more than 150 million worldwide. Yet these kids are arriving into a world where, even before they have left their mothers’ laps, they are excluded or misrepresented by the very industry that exists to create their entertainment, the objects that fuel their development, the starting blocks of life: Toys!
This image I took of a cochlear implant fairy has now been seen by more than 80k people worldwide and shared thousands of times. It demonstrated how many parents out there wanted to see their children better represented.
Following on from Toy Like Me’s media success the team have started an online petition, which within days had over 40,000 signatures. We are still waiting to hear from toy companies like Playmobil, Lego and Mattel, please help us make some noise and get by showing your support and signing it. Just click HERE
I am so proud to be part of this campaign, as it is a subject that I am passionate about! Let’s hope we can prove that people power can make a difference and we start to see better representation in the toy box soon.
Children are such a joy to work with and this set of siblings was no exception. I took them for their family photo shoot to what felt like a hidden spot of scrubland just on the edge of Norwich . The river Yare ran next to it and as long as it’s not wet and raining, you know there will be lots for children to do. I prefer family shoots to be outside in natural light, at a location that has several backdrops to use and lots to explore. This spot was just that kind of space. There were trees to climb, feathers to collect, dens to construct, long grasses to run through and poke your brother with (!), fun for the models and fantastic material for the photographer!
I like kids to be kids, to get dirty, play and jump in puddles as I think this not only helps me capture natural expressions, but it also adds energy and movement in to a photograph which I believe best shows that person’s character.
For more examples of my family photography sessions click on this link
Before I started my photography business I lived in London for six years. I used to spend the weekends exploring: bit by bit I’d visited all the parks, walk down new streets, pop into exciting shops selling very fashionable but completely unpractical items and mentally noting places that would make a great location for a photo shoot. Last week I travelled back to London to meet up with James and Emma for their pre-wedding photo shoot before their wedding this summer. I was really looking forward to meeting them again to hear how their wedding plans are developing, but also to finally use London as a backdrop!
We met in Crouch End and made our way down the winding streets to Alexandra Palace, stopping off to pose by garages, in the doorway of a quirky shop and under a beautiful tree in blossom. Alexandra Palace is at the top of big hill offering the best views around, it is also very architecturally interesting, with lots of great lines and shapes I could draw from.
Couples who are about to get married often say to me that they hate being photographed. If you don’t feel comfortable in front of a camera, I always suggest allowing some time to meet up in advance for a pre wedding shoot. This takes around 1.5 – 2 hours, at a beautiful location of your choice and is designed to be fun and relaxed. It will give you a real insight into what would happen on your wedding day, so when the day does arrive you’re feeling relaxed and excited about being photographed.
Photography is a big part of anyone’s wedding day, so it is important you enjoy the experience and is feels like it’s a pleasure rather than a chore. Pre-wedding shoot photographs make fantastic thank you presents and can be made into beautiful personalised guests books or signing boards.