Photography, growth and being yourself


It’s the 3rd of January and I’m prepping my gear for a photo shoot. Lmao, the gear is my Nikon Coolpix camera which I had purchased five years prior with the intention to create more. Our location was the picturesque Klipriver Nature Reserve, south of Johannesburg and the model, my forever muse and sister; Lauren.


My sister picked me up and we drove to the location. In order to get to the site I’d imagined as a backdrop we had to hike a few kilometres into the wilderness to a stream of water under a wooden bridge. Lauren got into her first look and pow babes, it all came together like peanut butter and jelly.


My sister was fighting a war with her skin. She’d been experiencing breakouts of aggressive eczema all over her body. This affected her outlook on who she was and forced her to reevaluate who she was and what lessons were to be learnt. My sister had battled with acne from a very young age and it had always affected her confidence.


I asked Lauren if she had anything to say about what she was feeling at the time and she said this;

It was like a way of coming out with confidence. I truly believe that my skin was physically manifesting the unhappiness I was experiencing. I was dedicated to being a braver and better me. My skin wasn’t completely healed but I wanted to celebrate myself, scars and all, it was still me. I’m proud to look back on the pictures to see how much I’ve grown and how far I’ve come.


Looking back, I realise that the trying times didn’t only affect my skin but my body too. At the time the images were taken I was the thinnest I’d ever been. My skin condition limited what I could and couldn’t eat. Looking back at the pictures, I admire that body, I’m surprised by how thin I could get. I wouldn’t want to be that skinny ever again but it was very empowering being the social construct of beauty, even though I was battling internally.


If you look at the pictures you don’t see the struggle I was suffering at the time, you see a glowing goddess. The contrast is amazing, that so much beauty can be created out of so much pain. 

I wasn’t necessarily feeling the way I looked, but my sister captured me in the best light.


Editors note:

Go out and create. Stop sleeping on yourself and the talents you possess, but most importantly, learn how to love yourself every day.

I took these images and they took me 10 months to edit and another month to post this blog.

It’s hard being a creative because we seek validation from other people to validate that we’re worthy, that our work is impactful, that it’s even worth pursuing your dreams. I don’t care about that anymore. Here’s my shit, take it or leave it, babes.

Thanks for reading,

Love Gaby.



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