“When Beth showed me the photos she took during our two recent photo shoots, I literally could not speak – the images she captured were stunning and truly beautiful. The whole experience of working with Beth over the course of this project has been fantastic, every stage has been fun and liberating and the photos she takes are testament to both her passion and her gift with her chosen craft.
If you are looking for a portfolio of images that capture who you are (with no effort really at all on your part, except to show up as who you are) then I thoroughly recommend Beth. From concept through to delivery, it has been a joy and her photos have already had a massive impact for me.
Thank you Beth.”
The Happiness Hunter
In 2015 The Happiness Hunter came across my radar, where I came to learn about the opportunity to do a weekly nature walk with the purpose of meeting other people, getting out of my daily working head space and into moving my body.
During 2016 the Humans.In business project was in full swing which explored more deeply into what happens if you present something personal about yourself in a professional context. Linda Wilson had been featured who happened to be one of the leaders for The Happiness Hunter walks. The time came for Linda to nominate someone and she chose Fiona Redding, the founder of The Happiness Hunter.
I smiled to myself and thought, oh yes, isn’t this interesting, here comes Fiona Redding from The Happiness Hunter. It felt like events were conspiring to bring us together.
Our planning call was vivid or heightened in vibrancy. I remember where I was sitting and the energy she transmitted in the call as we talked about what she was up to and how we might explore into that for the project. She spoke twice the pace of anyone I’ve encountered before and it was a challenge to keep up with her!
Fiona is very passionate about the importance of people finding happiness in their lives and is completely committed to helping them on that path. She lives and breathes it in her bones, it’s in her DNA, she was born to do this work and she shares candidly from personal experience.
Our conversation progressed and we went ahead with co-creating her piece for the project. When it came to the photography part we only took six frames. The one that we published was effortless to create because she was in her most natural state of being. Her story was a succinct summary as to why The Happiness Hunter exists. It all slotted in so easily.
“Do you know the thing that changed my life? It’s meditation.
I had a knowing that I needed to stop drinking and start meditating: ‘stop drinking, start meditating, stop drinking, start meditating.’
I was drinking at least a bottle of wine every day, I had to drink to cope. The kids were tiny, and I was like, fuck, this is bad, the drinking was getting earlier in the day. I was in an unhappy relationship, I wasn’t mothering properly, I couldn’t get work, I was lacking in confidence. I felt like financially we were in a hole we couldn’t get out of… Read more.
1000 Steps at Mt Dandenong at dawn
In that experience we got a taste of each other. We both felt a resonance. For me, I cared less-so about the ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of Fiona’s business, but I cared a whole lot about why it mattered to her and the impact she’s making. When I feel passion in another person, I’m in – that’s the type of person I want to co-create with. Fiona gained a feel for how she would be handled in a photographic context with me and that what I was looking for was below the surface.
When we published the Humans piece I knew Fiona was someone I’d love to work with again. I could see the opportunity to create photos that help her get her voice out and visually support her in how she’s showing up in the world. Anytime that a photo is needed for a banner, social media profile, head shot for an article, printed collateral, email signature, you name it – that she would have something to use to help support her on her mission in expressing visually what she stands for.
I went to her in December 2016 asking would she be open to having a conversation about collaborating together? Yes, she said, she was open to that. So we met after one of her walks, and when we sat down I said, ‘I can see what you’re doing and its potential, where you’re headed, that you’ll gather momentum with it, and I believe I can help you get there with my photography because it will be done in a way that supports you in that venture. Would you like to explore creating these photos and giving something to me in exchange for that?’ It may or may not materialize in this exact way, but for instance if she wrote a book, these photos could be used to help illustrate it and bring it to life.
When I mentioned the word ‘book’ it presented the idea to her that it was time to write the book. She had been thinking about it for some time but not settled into the practicalities of getting it done even though she knew what the content would be. It’s like this conversation provided her with a little nudge. She was a little bit emotional receiving this proposition because it was feedback to her that she was on the right track. In any case, it was a yes from Fiona.
After summer I suggested if we go ahead with it, let’s move into that mode and get them done before the weather turns cold. She wanted to do it sooner than later. She said, ‘I feel ready, I feel really good, and complete in my system, I feel ready to show up in this way in photos. I’m ready to have how I feel on the inside shown on the outside in photos.’
Bon Beach at sunset
To me that was the biggest tick of all, that she felt good to go. All in, ready to jump, feeling safe with me as the right person, and trusting that the process would deliver without needing to control it.
The planning was straightforward. She answered some questions that illicited ideas about the place, clothing and context. Given the walks are so prevalent in her business, we knew we wanted one shoot showing her out on a walk, so she picked the location of 1000 Steps in Mt Dandenong, at first light, reflecting what she normally does every day anyway. If the book was a How To type of book, then the walks would show up so that was a clear decision.
Fiona also considered how she is building her own profile, as distinct from The Happiness Hunter, so she opted for capturing her in her luscious, goddess, feel good state, wearing dresses she loves on location at the beach where she feels really alive and connected.
At both the shoots, she lived and breathed her joy and we recorded it. She led the way, I followed her up the trails, into the bush, looking over the water, to kicking up the sand, up into the dunes, and back to the water to watch the sunset. At both photo shoots we captured her experience of being in those places.
Just like in the Humans project, the photos created themselves. It was effortless and felt fluid and moving and organic like a dance with one moment leading to the next. Together we focused on each spot and what does this place do for how she feels? How does she naturally express herself in this place? And we recorded it as we went along in smooth cohesion.
This is something photographers talk about – we know it when we feel the moment and the click takes care of itself. All the converging elements of light, composition, mood, energy, moment and all you need to do is be ready to click. It all just fuses together and we got it. It’s magic and it hits you in the belly that you got it…did I get it?…yeah, I got it.
Fiona sat down to see her collection for the first time. To ease her in gently she first watched this introduction slideshow to get the sweep of the results. She was speechless, had tears in her eyes. She didn’t know what to say. She was struck by their aesthetic beauty and authenticity, showing how beautiful and alive she is, in this moment in her trajectory, showing where she has come from, where she is right now, and where she is heading into the future. But not in the sense of a physical place of where, they are a reflection of her state of place from an internal being perspective.
The pictures show who she really is and are a celebration of that.
In this moment there is a great feeling of satisfaction in creating such a beautiful, accurate body of work that holds value for Fiona at a personal level as much as a professional level. She could put some of these on her wall as an artwork to act as a daily reminder or personal reflection of how far she has come, as much as to use in her marketing or for her book cover, etc.
She said that now her speaking profile is starting to gather momentum, having great photos is becoming more important. Now is the time to get creative about how to use them. Embedded within a PowerPoint show? Or perhaps an evocative, slowly rolling slideshow with each photo presenting one minute at a time… how to take her audience on a journey through her photos? Time will tell as she gathers momentum in playing with the ideas.
She is finding her own way within the speaking space. Recently she was at an event where she was on the floor talking to people, got up on stage and spoke to the room in precisely the same authentic and fluid way, then came back off stage and spoke to another group in exactly the same way. The motion of being out of the spotlight, and then in it, and then out of it again, was smooth. She felt no difference between the two states.
The photos do the same thing for Fiona. They reflect everything of who she is, are completely connected to and in full alignment with who she is on the inside. Synergy, truth and accuracy is really important to Fiona, and this collection is the visual representation of that.
Love, love, love!!!