Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Losing Myself and The Last Two (and a half) Years

It's crazy to think that it was just under three years ago that I was nearing the end of my 365 days. When I first started shooting properly, when I fell in love with creating pictures, I was 17. I look back on those days, and I wasn't just in love with photography - I was in love with the world. I think I was the happiest I've ever been - totally naive and very aware of it, enjoying the sunshine, the snow, the rain, the wind. It was a period of self-discovery where I felt like I was in control of creating myself - and very simply, I was going to be AWESOME.

20/365 - You know it's summer when builders get their tops off and hairy chests out!

Things got a bit messy a long the way - life kicked in. I lost my identity during a relationship which was bad for me, and became someone I disliked. It took me a long long time to become okay with my dreams crumbling for the first time. I had to take a deep breath and let it go, and even that breath took months of preparation.


Finding my feet again, with just myself to find them, seemed impossible at first - but within months of being home, being young and having nothing to do but smile, I was pretty sorted. I was in another great place in my head, as happy as before - just slightly less naive and very wary that that could be quite dangerous.

Spines to rest your spine

Stress really kicked in when I moved into my first flat in 2011 - all of a sudden, I had responsibilities! I'd only had a few months practice of earning money, a few awesome things had happened and I figured "hey - I can bank on this happening every month, I'll be fiiiine" not quite realizing the ginormity of the mountain I had taken on.

Blindsided On An Idle Tuesday
Being a newly turned 20 year old and renting quite a plush flat in the city centre, purely from your own money from your own business is quite a cool achievement. I got a bit of a rush from that. But I found myself constantly plauged by financial worries, with the stresses of a 30 year old on my head. I didn't plan ahead, got myself right down to an empty bank account every month, and had quite a few little breakdowns. I was so focused on client work that I had no choice but to completely ignore my personal work - only squeezing in flickr uploads max once a month, and generally feeling confused about my style, my passion and questioning whether I'd made a stupid choice trying to be this awesome person with this awesome life.
Shit Happens

The more I started to get into personal shooting again, and the more active I became online, the more negativity cropped up - criticism of myself, my life, my morals and my past were all common occurrences of my web inbox. It was a lot to handle, so I decided to withdraw myself. I tweeted once a day, blogged occasionally about client work, and tried to keep myself to myself. Inside my head I became very much "on the fence" in terror of upsetting someone, being someone worthy of hating and questioning. Instead, I threw myself into what made me happy - my boyfriend, earning money and shooting weddings.

the superhero in me is tired

Towards the end of last year, I managed to build up a small sum of savings to ease the financial stress. I spent less on personal things, more on business. I thank god I don't have to buy anymore kit! But as I was finally getting the business balance right, though I'd lost so much passion for what I was doing. I'd become a muted version of my 17year old self, too tired to let go and enjoy myself because I was consumed by being a grown up.
drizzle, not a hurricane

This took it's toll on my relationship, my expectations were sky high and I was needy and the majority of my happiness got loaded onto my poor boyfriend. Things came to a head a few months ago, we took a month apart to decide whether we were right for each other and whether we could give each other what we needed.
The Journey Home

In that month apart, I completed what I will call Phase 1 of "Aha! There you are!". I was forced into doing my work, enjoying it. I rediscovered old friends and made new ones who are irreplaceable to me. I took pride in being independent again, I enjoyed it! 

Phase 2 was learning how to balance the relationship with this new independence once the month was up, and make sure I was doing it all for the right reasons - not to avoid being on my own, but because it made me happier.

Phase 3 seems to have made me come full circle to 17year old me. I've let go of all my bitterness - people are just people, I am just me. I still want to be AWESOME. But in order to do that, I have to let go of the struggle and let it embrace me on it's own, as hippy-ish as that sounds. 

I'm enjoying my client work - making it my personal work. I'm starting to do personal shoots once a week, just for my mind to empty out the bad thoughts like I used to. My relationship is flourishing because I no longer have unrealistic expectations for it to provide all my happiness needs - and I feel like I'm back, and ready to swing into action and begin an amazing career, a life to be proud of, to eventually be a mother somewhere near as good as my mother, and to truly truly love someone and to radiate that love every single day.

oh, it was all yellow

 My therapist said to me: "Why is it so important to you that you do so well in life? That you score 10/10 on every life box?"

Well, I still don't know that. But all I know is that instead of sitting by my computer, listening to music which makes me imagine things and moments that don't exist yet, dreaming of all the amazing memories I am going to have - I am going to get out there and make them happen. It is just me in this world, I will always be on my own inside my mind. But I will share it, and share it with as many people who want to know - if it puts a smile on their face or helps them realize something they forgot, then I've done something good. Something AWESOME.


  1. wonderful blog. Glad that you are back in the saddle again. I love your work! Keep on being yourself :)

  2. Brilliant blog post. I wish you well.
    Some real art there as well.

  3. Go you Rosie !! Youre a superstar :D

  4. awwww this makes me so happy and hopeful! you really are awesome, rosie, and you're such an inspiration to me!

  5. Loved reading that. Be happy Rosie. You're so talented, clever and a lovely person. You deserve all the success you've had and will have in the future. Sx

  6. So glad you're back on track! Really loved reading this. Such an inspiration. Stay awesome, Rosie!

  7. Rosie, you are an incredible woman. I first discovered you three years ago and have followed you and your journey since that time. You have always inspired me with your work, and it makes me overjoyed to see my favorite photographer back on her feet again and happy :) Always know there's someone watching you, hoping for you, and wishing to be just as amazing a woman as you are someday. Never give up! You're an inspiration

  8. Rosie, thank you for sharing this with us. You are so generous with your art, time and with your honesty. I've been inspired by you for years and have learned so much from you through your blog, flickr, and formspring. You remind all of us, your fans, how to stay young, see beauty everywhere, and live with honesty and a sense of adventure. Being this open is by no means easy, but I'm so happy you've been able to walk away from those who would criticize and accept that they're just people, and you're still just you. You're wonderfully talented, a beautiful writer, and I don't think I'm alone in saying I'm so happy you're feeling better and full of excitement for what's next. I couldn't be more excited to see what you DO next!

  9. you are so wonderfully inspiring and I especially love your open-mindedness -which to me is the best part of you among so many photographers. Here's wishing you all the best in your life, inspiration and more importantly, happiness. Thank you for sharing your pictures, I absolutely love them!

    Much love,

  10. Good honest stuff. By the way it's 'plagued'.

  11. It's beautiful that you've shared this story Rosie. Thank you for being an inspiration! :)

  12. When I first discovered your work I thought you were brilliant, just as many many others all around the world. You were Rosie Hardy, the girl everyone on flickr knew, the girl who inspired everyone. You were so far away at the time because I looked up to you so much, and when you stopped uploading regularly I kind of stopped checking out your work on a daily basis, too. Then about two years ago you came in my field of vision again and I realised I still loved what you did so very much, I had just needed a break from it for some reason. During the following weeks and months that I followed you, I noticed you weren't as far away as I'd thought you were in the first place. You were a normal girl with normal problems and going through phases we all know too well. But the thing is, upon realising all of that, I still think that you're brilliant. Because sometimes it's the most human side of somebody we need to see to be able relate to them. And I love that about you.
    Very, very lovely blogpost and definitely something to come back to when things go wrong.

  13. And this is why you have the adoration of thousands upon thousands of people.

  14. Rosie Hardy, I have been following you (in a non-creepy way!) since July 2008 when I was struggling through my first month living abroad in China and looking for ways to connect with a world I understood. Checking your Flickr stream was something I looked forward to, especially living in a gritty foreign city with little care for art or beauty. I've enjoyed your evolving story and your growth as an amazing artist. I always thought, maybe I should message Rosie, let her know I appreciate her work and inspiration, but I figured there were so many others doing the same thing. It's sad to me that anyone would waste their precious time to send you negative messages, so I thought, now is a good time to throw my 2 cents in and tell you I love what you do as a photographer and as a presence on the Internet. You've inspired me to get out there with my camera and try harder on more than one occasion. So thanks, Rosie, for sharing with me and everyone. Love from Ohio, Sarah Grooms.

  15. Great great great blog post! I hadn't kept up on your goings-on, and hadn't heard of all the personal upheaval. Sometimes you've got to get burned to come out stronger, and it certainly sounds like you've done that in spades! Great work as always, and I'm glad things are looking up for you!

  16. Rosie! Keep doing what you're doing! You're more than awesome :)

  17. Rosie, I have been a fan of your work since 2008 and it has been great to see your evolution as an artist and as a human being. Keep up the good work and keep smiling!

  18. you're incredible Rosie. Wish you the best of luck with everything that has yet to come and I hope it only brings a smile to your face. Your work ranks with the best of the best, and I can't wait for your self portraits every week. :)

  19. Miss Rosie Hardy,

    You are FABULOUS. Life is beautiful in all of its ups and downs but I am SO HAPPY to see that you are finally back in a good place, I hope you can manage to stay in that "awesome" frame of mind even when life isn't so great. This video really helped me:

  20. David, your American Friend6 June 2012 at 10:21


    I am honored that you share yourself. I only met you and conversed with you one time for a couple of hours in an airport in Chicago when you were not in a good place in life. You told me that I made a difference for you and I will always be grateful to God that I was there to speak with you that day.
    I have had a lot of setbacks in my life since then, but if ever I begin to question why I had the job I had back then, all I have to do is think about that time in the airport. You meant a lot to me and following you on FB means a lot to me. I hope that one day, I will be in the UK and can spend time with you and your boyfriend and also see some of your work in person instead of on the internet.
    Please continue to have your wonderful attitude and dreams. You are an inspiration.

  21. This blog shows that you're sincere in what you are doing. Keep going and I wish you all the best in your life.

  22. Honored to be able to catch everything you share. Keep going.


    I don't need to say any more..
    But YES Rosie, you ARE absolutely AWESOME!!

    lotsa love - JJ

  24. It's so wonderful to read all of this.
    There were moments while following your photos over the past few years when I glimpsed this normal girl between all the impressing, genius images you created. But reading all of this makes me finally realize it completely. I mean nobody who takes photos and is using the internet does not know AND love you. And justifiably so!
    And I can only imagine how hard it is to try to live up to so many wrongful expectations + the high demands you made/make on yourself. You will always be the girl who inspires all of us. Who makes all of us aim higher goals. Who makes us smile, cry, dream with you.

    Rosie you are awesome.

  25. You have been missed!!! Your work has been missed... and your God Given Talent!
    Life will always get in the way, trust me on that. Keep that beautiful resilience you have and your head held high. No matter how dark the day, remember there will be light. I have been following your work for years now and have missed your posts. Never stop doing what you love. Congrats on finding you again!
    We (normal regular everyday people) go through the same trials and tribulations and are rooting for you!

  26. You are such an inspiration Rosie! Keep doing what you're doing, I love seeing your work.
    Oh, and you are awesome. In the most awesome way! :)

    Kisses from Poland :)

  27. Rosie you inspired me to start photography and you still inspire me everytime I see another of your photos. I hope you start to share with us online a bit more and that the negativity doesn't get you down. I am in awe of you and think you are the most creative and fantastic person.

  28. You have such an experienced, mature way of expressing yourself and I am always amazed reading your blogs and photo descriptions on Flickr. You have inspired me to become a creative photographer and I have very much enjoyed your photos. I wish you lived in the states because I would love to attend your workshops! Thank you for being incredibly awesome and please, please, please more tutorials!! I would be willing to pay to see them (although free would be great too)!!

  29. you are truly an AWSOME person rosie!! and really inspiring for me because now I'm in the kind of situation of finding myself to know what I want to do with my life, but one thing is really important to me.... I want to be truly happy doing what I dream to do. You are always an inspiring person for me, you really bring me a big smile to my face and in to my heart. I truly wish you to keep going the way you are now, and get better and better every day, learning things about life and enjoying every second of this beautiful life with the bad things and the good things.
    Thank you for your beautiful photos and words Rosie!!

  30. I'm not sure how to begin this, since I'm not usually a commenter, but I guess I'll just begin with a thank you.

    As everyone else has said before me, you're an extremely inspirational person and one of the reasons I was first motivated to start, and continue with photography when I had to choose which path I wanted to follow.

    Just seeing how you've grown so much by looking through your stream on flickr is inspiration in of itself. You're so easy to relate to, and the photographs you create touch with so many people, whether it reminds me of a funny inside joke, the dreamlike-wonder of a child, or just being blown away by the intricacies with which you've been able to work your craft.

    And then going out and building a business by 20! I'm 20 and am just figuring out all of this! You really are so hardworking, and it makes me want to better my own work.

    Aside from all of this, I stumbled across your blog one day. In this latest post you briefly mentioned struggling with your style, which I'm definitely dealing with right now. I feel the constant need to define myself-- but at the same time, setting up boundaries is a little scary!

    And beyond this, you're so open with your personal life, which I think is amazing. I've found it helpful at least.
    For instance, you posted a long, long time ago about being single. When I first saw it, I was going through the same thing and I can't even begin to tell you how much it helped-- just knowing that someone so talented understood and felt and was honest about that.
    Here, you talked about your growth, your rises and falls, and ultimate peace with yourself as a person-- and I actually really needed to hear that today. I'm not going to go much into that, but honestly. Thank you. :)

    I guess this is getting a little long but anyway. Sparknotes version:
    I think we all really appreciate the photographs you share with the world, the reflections you write and the motivation you inspire in all of us. It sounds like you're doing great though, and I really look forward to seeing your new photos! :D

  31. Dear Rosie,
    This post makes me feel so happy for you because I know you will be alright.
    You are such an inspiration for so many people (including myself) and you are so creative and expressive in your work that I always have to go back and look at what you've done and stare at it for awhile to breath into your wonderful world.
    I'm sorry to hear you had to go through difficult times but I believe in you and all that you can do. You will make it, you are making it right now.
    Thank you so much for sharing something so personal. x

  32. p.s. you surely are AWESOME! No doubt. =)

  33. Fantastic post and a wonderful view of life. Thank you for continuing to be awesome, others out there exist for mostly the same reasons. We want to be awesome and we are willing to do what it takes, that is what makes us awesome. Have a beautiful day and I look forward to all of the wonderful things you will do in life. Following your work for a year and more and I will continue more fervently from now on.

  34. Keep going what you do Rosie

    Hugs xx

  35. Been there.

    What i did?

    I started my life from zero: Moved from my parent's house, finished my 3 years relationship, and started a new episode with a bag of enough clothes for 7 days, one pair of shoes, my camera, computer and enough money to live 7 days, and a list with all the friend houses i could stay. The first rule: To stay only 7 days per house. The second rule: To pay back somehow. I cooked for them and cleaned their houses. The third and most important rule: To do only what makes me happy.

    And that how i started, i spent 5 months living that way. The most amazing and poor months of my life. I was so happy (I'm still happy), because i noticed i didn't really need much things to live smiling. I learned a lot about social relationships, and met a lot of people, good people.
    The first month i bought a bicycle, and in my free times i met the city to fall in love with it.

    It's been 6 months now, and i've worked only in what makes me happy, and suddenly.. being happy brings more and more projects. I decided to work freelance by making little money out of different projects, so at the end of the month i have enough money to eat.
    I rented an apartment with a friend, because i got very tired of emigrating. I was exhausted. I borrowed an old mattress and the past week got my first pair of sheets.

    I'm only living with happiness

  36. So glad you are back my dear Rosie!!!

  37. You are truly an inspiration! I wish you all the Best!

  38. Hey Rosie,

    I've been following your work since almost the beginning of your 365 project. It's been amazing, so much has changed in my life and yours as well, but being able to continue to enjoy your work and read a bit about you from time to time is an amazing way to keep me grounded and remind me of my past. I hope you don't give up on us, people interested in both your life and your work, and I'm really glad that you're doing your own projects.

    Thank you so much and I wish you all the best!


  39. You are wise beyond your years ...

  40. Thanks Rosie for this article and for trusting your fan like this. It's not everyone who share his fear and this is really great to see that in the end, we all go through the same situation (more or less of course).
    I have an advise: take care of yourself. Be more selfish. And if other don't appreciate you the way you are, instead of becoming a personn you are not.
    I cannot wait to meet you in June.
    Lots of kisses

  41. I love that last pictue! So full of fresh energy!

  42. It is really inspiring to read this... I have to say I didn't understand why there were no more posts on your blog. Now I do.
    Don't loose faith on people just because some people are rude or just envious.
    I can see how you've grown, as everyone does more or less; going through tough times and valueing happy moments as the best thing to treasure in life. More than a career, more than money, more than anything.

    Thanks for making me believe I can still pursue my dreams as you have done, and finally achieve them. Thanks for sharing your work and talent.

    And very specially for sharing this nice music. Didn't know that Mumford & Sons had that song, as it's not on Spotify. Guess I'll surf around youtube now for a while :-P

    Take care. Wish you all the best,


  43. Your outlook on life is amazing! :)

  44. Great stuff Rosie. As many people have said above, you're an inspirational photographer and I've missed your blog posts and more regular flickr contributions. The online world can be brutal and I know from experience that it's sometimes best to address problems away from the internet and get out there and live your life. I'm glad you've come through a rough patch looking forward to a life of awesomeness!

    Looking forward to seeing you over here in York in September, I'm on the York Photographic Society committee (token youngish person) and suggested you to the programme secretary. Glad you said yes, I can't wait to see what you've got to show us and hear what you have to say :-)

  45. Rosie,
    I am tearing up right now. The things you said, the words you have just wrote, they are incredibly inspiring. I am so happy for you! You are such a talented and incredible person, and to see someone push through struggles and find the light in the past and the present, makes me feel like I can too. It seems like life can be so so hard to understand, and it can be so hard to hold onto and believe in the things we love. But there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
    Thank you beyond words for being such and inspiration. I wish you the best and I am so happy for you <3


  46. I have loved watching your work develop since I found your Flickr in 2008. You have always amazed and inspired me and this blog just brings all those feelings together! Thank you so much for sharing this and being so honest... I admire you so much and really hope things continue going well for you!


  47. First time checking out your blog and I have to say I did so on a turn of fate it seems for I am a little lost with myself and would like to find MY 17-19yearold self again. I hope I can take much from your blog here on out. Thanks. The photos are lovely

  48. wow Rosie.. you sound exactly what I am going through right now. When I was 19 I grew up too quickly I bought myself an apartment, a car, took on all adult responsibilities instead of enjoying my life as a young girl, focusing on trying to do 10/10 on everything. Trying to make it as an awesome designer and photographer plus in a serious relationship with a guy who was proud and happy for me to 'make it' but every time I was that one step closer to success he'd hold onto me, maybe afraid I'd leave him because of my success? I am not sure.

    7 years later, relationship is failing because I was unhappy I wasn't making it as a photographer, I wasn't doing good enough in design or photography, I was trying to save money, travel the world, and have a relationship and have fun with friends and socialise. I am still going through all this and I feel that little bit better knowing I'm still normal and other people can go through this too.. not happy you did but it's nice to relate to someone. I've drowned myself 7 years worth in this and I am not sure how to get out of it. Sometimes I just think well that's my life and I can't change it... I'm not sure but I am glad you have gotten yourself out of this rut instead of drowning in it for years. Keep up the good work, I've been flowing you since the 365days and watching your photography grow is really inspiring.


  49. At least you made me smile at the end of that post! :)

    Im following you and your photos quite a while now - for me you doing everything right. You've got a really winning personality Rosie. Keep it up. Believe in you dreams and go on with what are you doing now - everything will be fine!

    Big hugs from Germany

  50. You are incredible Rosie! Definitely one of my biggest role models ♥

  51. Soooo Inspirational. Thank you beautiful. This lifted up spirits in me that were dimming.