Why I Gave a Days Work For Free.


My social conscience tells me to be kind and authentic so a few times a year I give a charity a days work for free. Once I needed help too. Some grass roots charities need this, paying for luxuries is difficult for them until they are more established. But- are bespoke photographs a luxury? Charities care about marketing their brand and telling their story and I believe that stock images are not good enough, too generic. The story of a business should be personal.

A picture is worth a thousand words - what does the image here say to you? Emmerline’s Pantry helps the most vulnerable women in society, those who have escaped domestic violence or human trafficking. Some have been shackled and 27 organisations in Manchester use the pantry to help these women build a new life. If you feed a mother and give her hope she will take care of her child. I too am a mother and survivor of abuse. I am now an award winning photographer who has exhibited at the Getty London and just had a nine week solo show. I know that I did not achieve this alone and I needed people to believe in me.

I Spent a marvellous day with Karen Wilson who runs the charity. As I arrived she explained that they had a blockage in the drains and instead of shooting where we had planned could we use a new room, Maybe I just felt good that day as I was totally chilled about this! I had no idea how many women would come, Karen hoped about six and asked me to protect the women by not showing their faces. They didn’t speak much English, so body language was important. I actually really loved thinking on my feet that day. The edit that afternoon was a tearful one for me though, I had seen such bravery and hope in that room and was aware of the context of the charity’s work. I find these shoots are humbling work and maybe that is the point: to see how far I have come and to help a charity to tell its story so they can stay open and grow.

You can see more of the shots here: emmerline-s-pantry and do look the charity up if this is close to your heart too. 

Using Format