Every Woman Is A Work Of Art - Kate Cornfoot Photography

A year ago, I set out to create a series of images that explored and celebrated my belief that every woman is a work of art.

I wanted to create a series of images that showed that beauty is far more expansive than we’re led to believe in our mainstream media/culture. Perhaps, too, I sought to address the body-hate, body-shame and body-envy that is so prevalent - something that I’ve been more and more aware of and concerned about as a woman, since becoming a mother to a young girl who will have to navigate her own way through these issues. 

What if every woman is a work of art? Every person? What if ‘beautiful’ is not the result of dieting/surgery/punishing physical activity, but the simple acceptance that no one else gets to be me, so I’m going to embrace it?

Along the way, I found a group of incredible women who were prepared to participate in my project - women of different ages (30s through to late 70s), different body types, different backgrounds, different sexualities and different feelings about their own beauty.

Having always loved the paintings of Monet, I decided to ‘paint’ these women with a famous Monet painting, effectively turning them into a work of art (but perhaps more importantly, revealing the work of art they already are).

Here, I present to you these works of art. I would like to express my deepest gratitude and love to these incredible women for trusting me in my vision. 

For more information on custom art pieces, send me a message here.

Made Beautiful by Scars - Veronica Farmer

On an overcast Saturday afternoon, I drove to Veronica's house for our photo session. The brief for our image-making was a little different to my usual family sessions - we would be making images of Veronica for her upcoming book, Made Beautiful By Scars.

And the scar story we'd be capturing? Veronica's experience with breast cancer.

*****

Thirteen years ago, as a single mother of a 6 year old girl, and a soon-to-be-bride, Veronica received the diagnosis all women dread - she had a malignant lump in her right breast. And it had spread to her spine.

She was called in for an urgent MRI scan to see if there was anything they could do for her.

"I was now feeling the cold steel of the scanner beneath my butt in a backless hospital gown; I was freezing and uncomfortable with needles in both arms. Suddenly, I felt the most indescribable rage pour through my heart, hot all over with it. I was angry. Angry at God".

"Now, in that coffin-like space, I yelled out to the great Universal force. It was all I had left to do:

If Anyone is there, I am so Pissed at You, WHAT THE HELL??!! I have a little 6 year old girl who is going to be left alone. I'm getting married in a few days. What have I done that is so bad that I deserve this?

Veronica says it felt "so good to say it". To let that rage out.

Still laying in the MRI, something changed, shifted.

"Suddenly I felt deliciously warm all over. I felt a blanket of light, of warmth above me in the scanner...

"I lay there for a few moments soaking that in. Feeling the warmth of the huge light energy wrapping around me, a sense of patient love, sense of humour and deep non-judgment of my predicament. I felt a question rise in me and I called out to the warmth wrapping me in the cold belly of the scanner:

So I choose. And if I get to choose, what if I choose something else?

Mere moments later, everything changed. The anger disappeared, replaced by a feeling of love and connection, a deep knowing she was going to be okay. More than okay. The specialist, who had discovered the cancer in her spine, now examined the new scans just taken and found no cancer there. She was going to live a new life, a radiant life. Helping others, being a healer.

All these years later, Veronica is still thriving. After having the breast tissue and nipple of her right breast removed, and an implant put in, Veronica has been cancer-free ever since.

She has turned her attention to the many scar stories of others, collecting them and sharing them in her new book, Made Beautiful By Scars (including my own experience with melanoma, which you can read an excerpt of here). She is shining a light on the dark times we all experience, in different ways, showing that great adversity can be a powerful catalyst for immense growth and wisdom.

Photographing Veronica was an honour and a joy. You can read more stories on the Made Beautiful By Scars website (and growing movement!) here. And you can pre-order the book, Made Beautiful by Scars, here!

~ Deep thanks to Veronica for allowing me to share these images, and her story. ~

5 Tips for Taking More Natural, Candid Photos

Once upon a time, in a decade that shall remain nameless (*cough* 1980s), family photos looked like this…

 

Time (and fashion!) has moved on, thankfully!

If you’re anything like me, the photos you will most treasure in years to come will be the photos that best capture the personalities, interests, expressions and relationships of your loved ones.

The natural, candid photos.

So, if you’d like to learn how to take more natural, candid photos of your own loved ones, read on!

1. Wait for a moment.

Your phone is probably full of great happy snaps of people smiling and having some awareness they’re being photographed. To mix things up a bit, simply wait for a moment – whether it’s watching your kids play together on your lounge room floor, or watching friends talk to each other at a dinner party, wait for a moment when no one is aware you’re taking their photo - when they’re full of animation, relating to someone else. The image will reflect the time and place and fleeting moment between the people you’ve captured.

2. Detail shots.

Often, we photograph a person or scene, trying to fit as much of the action into the shot. But sometimes, the best shots are the zoomed-in shots, the close-ups that capture important details, like a newborn’s tiny little toes or your toddler’s crazy-messed-up-hair from a morning playing in the park. Try zooming in on one key element that you normally might overlook; in my case, I captured my toddler’s super long eyelashes and in the one beside it, my daughters red finger nails.

 

3. Keep 'em movin!

People are less likely to put on their ‘posed’ face if they’re unaware you’re photographing them. Or, if they are immersed in some kind of activity. Whether it’s children or grown-ups, having some kind of activity to focus on (baking a cake, playing with blocks, picking flowers) will help your subjects look and feel more natural.

 

4. The ordinary is extraordinary.

If you have kids, you’re probably all-too-aware how fast time flies. That the cute things they do today, they may have grown out of tomorrow. Sometimes, the most striking photos are the images capturing ordinary, everyday things, like kids brushing their teeth, or the way your toddler tries to push you away from the bench when you’re cooking! The fact that time marches on so quickly gives these seemingly ordinary moments their power.

 

5. Get in the Frame!

We all want to capture these precious moments with our kids, our partners, our friends and family. But so often, we forget to include ourselves. Or, we don’t want to ask someone else to photograph us. I’m directing this, in particular, to the Mummies – Get in the Frame with your kids! Ask your partner or friend to take some photos of you with your kids. Remember the tips above – having an activity to focus on, ordinary moments, the little details – and have that partner snap away. Your kids will want to look back on their childhoods with you in them.

If in doubt, just play! Have fun with your moment-capturing, try new things and think outside the square. Some of the best photos are happy accidents!

 

 

Riverhills Childcare Centre - Kate Cornfoot Photography brisbane children's and families photographer

It was a new experience for me, photographing a childcare centre. I knew it would be busy and chaotic and delightful and I'd have to work FAST! What I didn't realise beforehand was just how hard everyone in the centre works, how devoted the teachers are to the students, and what a warm, fuzzy vibe the centre has as a result.

Thank you, Riverhills Childcare Centre, for inviting me to capture the beautiful work you all do!