Celebrate Your Inner Goddess

How do you expect to feel if you have to battle breast cancer? Terrified and angry? I know my breasts are not all that defines me as a woman, but I find them very feminine and I love having them. Susan Bullows came to me for a portrait shoot last week, she wanted to celebrate surviving breast cancer. She wanted her make-up doing by Artur Biernat, she wanted to celebrate being 60 years old. I thought she was rather magnificent! Susan has the wisdom that comes with age and when I lamented that so few mature women want a portrait, she went one further and said, “Now we have done some for my family to show them I am well and happy, I want to do some for me.”

So Susan asked for some topless work, and I love doing nudes! Wow, when a woman feels comfortable in her skin and wishes to celebrate her real body. A body with scars, wrinkles and the stretch marks that come with having two sons. This is what we should be sharing with our daughters – that a woman does not need to be sexualised and that she may love and accept her body. That the body tells a story and its narrative is vital.

Susan met a fabulous “ray of light” in Siobhan O’Ceallaigh, who is a plastic surgeon who reconstructed Susan’s breast using tissue from her own body rather than silicone. 95% of surgeons are men. It took another woman to help Susan to feel whole again. Looking at this image I am struck by how it perhaps took another woman to see the need for the gift of reconstructive surgery. You can find Siobhan at Wythenshawe Hospital in South Manchester and the Spire Hospital in Manchester too.

Be a wise woman like Susan, celebrate the real you!

Be Authentic.

Allie x

The Getty Images Gallery Exhibited 2017.
The Lloyds of London Exhibited 2017.
“Intimate Portraits” Published in America by Joyce Tenneson.
British Photography Awards 2017, Short List.
Magnum Photography Awards 2017 “Highly Rated.”

Be part of “Best Emerging Talent” (LensCulture), you just don’t know whose wall you might end up on!



The Last Supper

Last night I had dinner at the City Art Gallery in Manchester. I was photographing a networking event which included a tour of the works of Sylvia Pankhurst, mixing up being a guest and earning my supper! The curator took us through the art work of Pankhurst and I remembered why she was my favourite of the family. She embedded herself into the lives of working women and drew them. At the time poor women were rarely the subject of art and her work has a documentary feel to it as she drew for hours in the factories. She was using her “voice” to create a record of the lives of disenfranchised women. 

I have been asked to do the same this year. Sparkle- The National Transgender Charity - saw my photography work and asked me to work with them as an ally. I record the narratives of trans women and they need a voice. Another woman to speak out in support and challenge prejudice and misconceptions. I have agreed, at least until mainstream society can listen to trans women themselves.

The women I sat down to dinner with were also fighting for a fairer world. Sally Penni is an award winning barrister who promotes diversity, Libby is a judge and a feminist, Justina is a merchant banker who is developing ethical investments. We were all passionate about creating a better and fairer world. Although our work differs we are all actively engaged in changing the world. Some days we do grand deeds and on others tiny acts of rebellion and kindness. 

Tiny acts performed daily add up. Try it! 


“Our Brenda” in Suffragette City.

Last year my portraits exhibited at the Getty Images Gallery and Lloyds of London. One short listed for Portrait of Britain. Magnum Photography called my work, “Highly Rated.” I love to explore gender diversity and authenticity, but I also photograph for individuals, families and do corporate work. So if you need head shots that reveal the true person, web photos that build the humanity in your brand, I am your woman!

I am a feminist, so imagine my excitement when award winning barrister Sally Penni  (centre) asked me to shoot an event for her on International Woman’s Day. She founded Women in the Law, a networking group that promotes career progression through personal development.  I adore Sally, she is a very impressive woman. So brilliant, in fact, that she had convinced Baroness Hale to speak at the Women in the Law Annual Dinner. The first ever female President of the Supreme Court  was in Manchester at the splendid Midland Hotel  to join  Northern lawyers celebrating in suffragette city!

A whole team of women were preparing for the event whilst I tested my lighting, trainers and flats were exchanged for heels ( except me – photographers shun heels when working!) and the drinks reception began. I took this calm moment to shoot a lot of the younger lawyers as they are the future and I knew that when Lady Hale arrived I would be following her instead. It was important to me to represent a diverse group of women and capture them networking.

I was introduced to Lady Hale by Sally and we had a quick chat before I stepped back to photograph her with guests. This is the part of my job I love. I study people’s faces, linger over their expressions, read their eyes. Shall I tell you what I saw? Lady Hale has a face that divides into two halves. She has ethereal beauty. She may smile warmly, yet her eyes may tell a very different story of piercing intelligence. She sees into people. I am sure that if you have stood in front of her in court you will have realised that she reads you very perceptively. I found her fascinating. An empowered woman, rather like meeting an ancient Goddess and experiencing awe and a touch of fear! Her keynote speech was powerful and she makes no apologies for wanting a fairer world where women have the same opportunities as men. If you want more details check out her recent 2018 Christabel Pankhurst Lecture.

I was invited to dinner, my companions were great people, the food was excellent and the live music fabulous. Which brings me to the title of the story. Lady Hale was as, “Our Brenda” and I realised that to the women in that room Brenda Hale is a person to embrace as our own. She campaigns for women, inspires women, mentors lawyers and proves that women can defeat all barriers. I hope that my dinner companions work together to make the judiciary more diverse and equal and I am pretty sure “Our Brenda” would tell them to get on with it!

 alliephotography31@gmail.com

Be true to you.

Allie x

The Getty Images Gallery Exhibited 2017.
The Lloyds of London Exhibited 2017.
“Intimate Portraits” Published in America by Joyce Tenneson.
British Photography Awards 2017, Short List.
Magnum Photography Awards 2017 “Highly Rated.”

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