The strongest ties..

Invisible threads are the strongest ties //Friedrich Nietzsche

Last Sunday's delightful afternoon with Hannah and her gorgeous brood...

If you are interested in family photo sessions, whatever the occasion, whether it's a 1st birthday party, a golden wedding anniversary, an engagement, a wedding, or for no reason whatsoever other than capturing a moment in time, a day, the light, a smell, a colour, a feeling, an age, a look:  all the things in which our memories are stored.. then please call me to find out more! 07875 195876

Human love

“A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead.” Graham Greene

Family photo sessions at a location that you love, or in your home...

If you'd like to arrange a session for your own family, then please get in touch via my contact form and I can send you more information. Or give me a call on 07875 195876 if you'd like to chat things through..

Flow and patience

“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” // Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad


An angel at play...

"We do the odd family selfie but they never turn out like this. Cannot thank Alex enough! A wonderful photographer not just for being skilled with a camera but because of the way she connects with her subjects. My son and I hate being in front of a camera, but Alex's photographs seem to tell a very different story. She made us feel comfortable enough to behave naturally despite the camera and then quietly captured some perfect moments that we'll treasure forever. The 'in between moments' she captured of my daughter were the biggest surprise though. Alex conjured up images of an angel at play in a bucolic idyll when the reality was the edge of the heath by a busy road! I'm really in awe of her talent to be honest :) " Vanita James


Such a sweet testimonial i want to share..

.. in case any wonders what it's like having a family photo session with me:

"Myself and my children recently had some family portraits taken by Alex, none of us are particularly at ease in front of a camera but the photo shoot was just so relaxed and natural that we barely felt we were being photographed at all.  This was by far the nicest and most relaxed photo shoot I have ever been too and has resulted in the most beautiful and natural family photographs we have.  Alex has a wonderful gentle nature and it was a absolute pleasure to spend time with her.  Thank you Alex."

Home is a feeling

Wonderful afternoon photographing these lovelies

**Summer family photo sessions still available - please call for availability and pricing**

I have to share this very sweet endorsement from Sunday if anyone is considering booking pics with me:

"Alex was a pleasure to work with. We haven't a huge amount of spare time and aren't a family that usually enjoy having our photos taken. Alex completely exceeded our expectations - she was quick, thoughtful, didn't make us feel awkward or uncomfortable and most importantly worked around our crazy schedules by coming to our house. She followed the kids round and just let them be them. The results are fabulous and capture exactly who we are as a family. I couldn't recommend her more highly! Love her and love her pictures - perfect!" Laura

I hate being photographed #Bran

I've started creating pain-less portrait sessions for you who hates being photographed. If you avoid the camera, refuse to have your photo taken, never appear in family photos, are always the one taking the photos, whatever the reason just don't have beautiful photos of YOU for keepsakes... this is for you...

Elizabeth Gilbert on magical ideas

Love this. An extract from Elizabeth Gilbert's new book, Big Magic on the mystical, transcendent world of ideas.

"I believe that our planet is inhabited not only by animals and plants and bacteria and viruses, but also by ideas. Ideas are a disembodied, energetic life-form. They are completely separate from us, but capable of interacting with us – albeit strangely. Ideas have no material body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will. Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest. And the only way an idea can be made manifest in our world is through collaboration with a human partner. It is only through a human’s efforts that an idea can be escorted out of the ether and into the realm of the actual.

Therefore, ideas spend eternity swirling around us, searching for available and willing human partners. (I’m talking about all ideas here: artistic, scientific, industrial, commercial, ethical, religious, political.)

When an idea thinks it has found somebody – say, you – who might be able to bring it into the world, the idea will pay you a visit. It will try to get your attention. Mostly, you will not notice. This is likely because you’re so consumed by your own dramas, anxieties, distractions, insecurities, and duties that you aren’t receptive to inspiration.

You might miss the signal because you’re watching TV, or shopping, or brooding over how angry you are at somebody, or pondering your failures and mistakes, or just generally really busy. The idea will try to wave you down (perhaps for a few moments; perhaps for a few months; perhaps even for a few years), but when it finally realises that you’re oblivious to its message, it will move on to someone else.

But sometimes – rarely, but magnificently – there comes a day when you’re open and relaxed enough to actually receive something. Your defences might slacken and your anxieties might ease, and then magic can slip through. The idea, sensing your openness, will start to do its work on you. It will send the universal physical and emotional signals of inspiration (the chills up the arms, the hair standing up on the back of the neck, the nervous stomach, the buzzy thoughts, that feeling of falling into love or obsession). The idea will organise coincidences and portents to tumble across your path, to keep your interest keen. You will start to notice all sorts of signs pointing you towards the idea. Everything you see and touch and do will remind you of the idea. The idea will wake you up in the middle of the night and distract you from your everyday routine. The idea will not leave you alone until it has your fullest attention.

And then, in a quiet moment, it will ask, “Do you want to work with me?”

At this point, you have two options for how to respond.


The simplest answer, of course, is just to say no.

Then you’re off the hook. The idea will eventually go away and – congratulations! – you don’t need to bother creating anything.

To be clear, this is not always a dishonorable choice. True, you might sometimes decline inspiration’s invitation out of laziness, angst, insecurity or petulance. But other times you might need to say no to an idea because it is truly not the right moment, or because you’re already engaged in a different project, or because you’re certain that this particular idea has accidentally knocked on the wrong door.

I have many times been approached by ideas that I know are not right for me, and I’ve politely said to them: “I’m honoured by your visitation, but I’m not your girl. May I respectfully suggest that you call upon, say, Barbara Kingsolver?” (I always try to use my most gracious manners when sending an idea away; you don’t want word getting around the universe that you’re difficult to work with.) Whatever your response, though, do be sympathetic to the poor idea. Remember: All it wants is to be realised. It’s trying its best. It seriously has to knock on every door it can.

So you might have to say no.

When you say no, nothing happens at all.

Mostly, people say no.

Most of their lives, most people just walk around, day after day, saying no, no, no, no, no.

Then again, some day you just might say yes.


If you do say yes to an idea, now it’s showtime.

Now your job becomes both simple and difficult. You have officially entered into a contract with inspiration, and you must try to see it through, all the way to its impossible-to-predict outcome.

You may set the terms for this contract however you like. In contemporary western civilisation, the most common creative contract still seems to be one of suffering.

This is the contract that says, I shall destroy myself and everyone around me in an effort to bring forth my inspiration, and my martyrdom shall be the badge of my creative legitimacy.

If you choose to enter into a contract of creative suffering, you should try to identify yourself as much as possible with the stereotype of the Tormented Artist. You will find no shortage of role models. To honor their example, follow these fundamental rules: Drink as much as you possibly can; sabotage all your relationships; wrestle so vehemently against yourself that you come up bloodied every time; express constant dissatisfaction with your work; jealously compete against your peers; begrudge anybody else’s victories; proclaim yourself cursed (not blessed) by your talents; attach your sense of self-worth to external rewards; be arrogant when you are successful and self-pitying when you fail; honour darkness above light; die young; blame creativity for having killed you.

Does it work, this method?

Yeah, sure. It works great. Till it kills you.

So you can do it this way if you really want to. (By all means, do not let me or anyone else ever take away your suffering, if you’re committed to it!) But I’m not sure this route is especially productive, or that it will bring you or your loved ones enduring satisfaction and peace. I will concede that this method of creative living can be extremely glamorous, and it can make for an excellent biopic after you die, so if you prefer a short life of tragic glamour to a long life of rich satisfaction (and many do), knock yourself out.

However, I’ve always had the sense that the muse of the tormented artist – while the artist himself is throwing temper tantrums – is sitting quietly in a corner of the studio, buffing its fingernails, patiently waiting for the guy to calm down and sober up so everyone can get back to work.

Because in the end, it’s all about the work, isn’t it? Or shouldn’t it be?

And maybe there’s a different way to approach it?

May I suggest one?


A different way is to co-operate fully, humbly, and joyfully with inspiration.

This is how I believe most people approached creativity for most of history, before we decided to get all La Bohème about it. You can receive your ideas with respect and curiosity, not with drama or dread. You can clear out whatever obstacles are preventing you from living your most creative life, with the simple understanding that whatever is bad for you is probably also bad for your work. You can lay off the booze a bit in order to have a keener mind. You can nourish healthier relationships in order to keep yourself undistracted by self-invented emotional catastrophes. You can dare to be pleased sometimes with what you have created. (And if a project doesn’t work out, you can always think of it as having been a worthwhile and constructive experiment.) You can resist the seductions of grandiosity, blame, and shame. You can support other people in their creative efforts, acknowledging the truth that there’s plenty of room for everyone. You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures. You can battle your demons (through therapy, recovery, prayer or humility) instead of battling your gifts – in part by realising that your demons were never the ones doing the work, anyhow. You can believe that you are neither a slave to inspiration nor its master, but something far more interesting – its partner – and that the two of you are working together towards something intriguing and worthwhile. You can live a long life, making and doing really cool things the entire time. You might earn a living with your pursuits or you might not, but you can recognise that this is not really the point. And at the end of your days, you can thank creativity for having blessed you with a charmed, interesting, passionate existence.

That’s another way to do it.

Totally up to you.

Sir Ken Robinson, educationalist

A morning chatting to Sir Ken Robinson about the importance of lifelong curiosity, and how our destinies are guided by imagination – the wellspring of creativity.

Full interview at

© Alexandra Dao

© Alexandra Dao

Our lives are a constant process of improvisation – what you find inside yourself and what you create around yourself
— Sir Ken Robinson
Everyone’s life is full of these dog-leg curves, and there’s a good reason for it, which is that we create our own lives. The best evidence for imagination and creativity is your own biography
— Sir Ken Robinson
Our lives are a constant process of improvisation – what you find inside yourself and what you create around yourself
— Sir Ken Robinson
Imagination is what sets us apart
— Sir Ken Robinson
We’ve been bought up to think there is a fundamental divide between intellect and emotion, but there really isn’t
— Sir Ken Robinson
Imagination is the stuff of human intelligence, and creativity is the executive wing of imagination, it’s putting imagination to work
— Sir Ken Robinson
Some people watch apples fall from trees and don’t care, but Newton couldn’t get over it!
— Sir Ken Robinson
Life is its own meaning, and we can construct our own purpose within it
— Sir Ken Robinson
This is a package deal – body, soul, mind, spirit, it’s all one. We are not software
— Sir Ken Robinson
Inspiration is a cocktail of curiosity. A big part of becoming more creative as you grow up is remaining curious
— Sir Ken Robinson
For me, life is simply about being here – we have all these sensibilities and capacities and it’s enough to ask what we can do with our common humanity to make life more congenial and fulfilling
— Sir Ken Robinson