**Focusing on the ‘everyday' has always been one of my most favourite meditation practices, especially in photography. In a world in which 'the sensational' makes the headlines, the everyday, the simple, clean, non-extravagant tends to be left in the shadow - but I am determined to change that, at least in my part of the world.
With my new documentary photo project, I want to take pictures of people of all ages and physical abilities who train outdoors, run, jog, cycle, do yoga, - talk to them about their motivation for this journey, and simple document all this with as little intervention as possible.
I think it is important to see more and more that beyond the ‘perfect’ lives (and bodies) that social media promote, there are millions of beautiful people who can be even more inspiring and more authentic in many ways.
I personally feel a crisis of the real in photography - with manipulations, filters and effects distorting not just the way in which we record our realities but our entire perception of WHO WE ARE and who we want to be; a camera is always at hand but not always put to great use; and it affects us so much that we gradually get sick, in our attempts at trying to fit into the standard frames or shapes that the media bombards us with. We cannot pretend there is no connection between these pressures and the alarming increase in the number of people diagnosed with depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia etc (especially very young ones).
There are people who do not fall for this, or who have the courage to stand against it, so I want to meet them all, and see them in action, doing the right thing for themselves, despite mainstream labelling and toxicity; and, hopefully, feeling inspired.
Everybody is welcomed to become my subject, I will come and photograph you, wherever you are!
**The first to answer my invitation was Emma, a lovely young woman with a sparkling personality and beautiful smile. We took a few pictures at Fog Lane Park in Manchester, speaking a lot about mental health, the challenges and benefits of outdoor running, and the importance of self-love.
Here is the result of our encounter! Thank you, Emma!
“"I’m Emma and I’m 25 years old. I have a background in teaching and set to start as a Learning Support Assistant in Manchester in autumn. I have depression and anxiety and run my own organisation to help those like me – this can be with local events, 1-to-1 chats or through our online blog www.ecbcmanchester.com. "
“I started running after Christmas when I was feeling low and wanted to start exercising but hated the idea of going to a gym."
“Running in nature has changed the way I look at exercise and has developed my confidence and helped with my depression."
“I would recommend to anyone to try and keep fit with mental health recovery, it can seem daunting but there are local organisations that run together or you can stick with your own goals and set out a plan each week."
It was a lovely morning, and Emma’s smile was such a delight to capture on camera.
More about Emma and her work at: https://ecbcmanchester.com