Sunday, 23 March 2014

A Big Change

I am making a big change. 

I've decided to take a break from client photography for a while - lately I've been having a rough time of it. Back in January I gave a TED talk on Creativity and Happiness, and while writing it I realised quite a lot about myself.
I had fallen into The Hole without even realising.
The last three years, I've been on work-overdrive. Trying to pay my way in life, trying to be someone else's vision of successful, trying to bury myself a little here and there.
Photography is so much more to me than a way to earn money, photography has been my way of expressing myself, for the last six years and trying to figure happiness out has been my quest for quite a while longer.

When I was 16, I lost about 1/3 of my hair due to a bout of alopecia brought on by stress, unhappiness and general lack of life enjoyment. 
It grew back, along with the smile on my face. 
I have lost the sides of my hair twice more over the last six years following, and this October it started happening again.

I took this back in October, it's the size of about the palm of my hand on both sides of my head.

Losing your hair is a very interesting experience. I've learned not to be bothered by it physically, it's pretty normal to me now. But it is a symptom, for me, of something a lot deeper which is growing inside of me that I need to fix in myself. There's a blackness which comes when my hair starts falling out, and it's been present with me for the last 6 months now. 

When I look at my life right now, it isn't where I want it to be.
My photography is my life, and for the last three years I have felt a lot like a slave to my clients - some of which I was gladly a slave to, I should add :) But I haven't felt like I've been able to take time to appreciate doing nothing, I have felt like I have had to put a price on myself, my time, and I can't do it anymore.

The last four months have been pretty soul searching ones for me. I've cried a LOT, had a breakdown, tried to throw myself into other things, other people, no work, too much work. I haven't been able to settle, because without the mask that is routine and comfort, I've been questioning pretty much everything about myself.

Heartbreak is a bitch, I've had some cracks open up in my heart which are finally getting some air inside them. I haven't properly experienced emotion like this in quite a while. I feel very raw, very vulnerable and very open.

Here is my hair regrowth, as of today! :D

So I'm going to be changing some things up to ensure that this newly treasured sprouts of hair don't go disappearing again for a while. 

  • I won't be taking on anymore paid work until I feel lighter again
  • I will be shooting, for me. I am so excited to get out and create something of me, put some more of my soul into my photos!
  • I'm going to be upholding all the workshop dates/current bookings, because I made promises

I'm also going to be changing my daily life - instead of it being work, work, editing, emails, work, work, sleep

It will now include things like
Going for a walk
Going to the gym
Seeing friends
Putting music on and just enjoying it for a while
Looking out of the window without feeling guilty for not being productive
Being unproductive
Being productive
Shooting personal work which I enjoy
Stroking my new hair growth
Cuddling my cat

I can't wait to feel more excited about life, I can't wait to feel happy again, I can't wait to wake up every day and look forward to what's coming. I can't wait to be able to balance my time when I eventually get back into work, but I will be doing so with a new mindset and a new attitude!

Thanks for understanding :)

Signing off,


  1. You are so brave to write about all of this and I am so happy to read about this well-deserved break you'll be taking. It will be awesome and who can say no to lots of cat cuddles :D

  2. Oh Rosie, I feel your struggle. Reaching inner peace seems to be the most difficult thing one has to face. Best of luck and follow your heart x

  3. Good for you! I admire you and your work, I look forward to seeing personal work from you :)

  4. Rosie I have been following your photography since 07, through the Aaron Nace era till today. I sooo admire your work and passion for the best, but if it affects your health then by all means take time for you. The rest of the world will wait for your return. You have inspired me in so many ways to fulfill my vision of photography. Take care of you .....Love and hugs your way..

  5. Thanks sharing, Rosie. Hope you feel better soon, and know that you'll always inspire me :)
    Excited to see the things you make over the next few months xx

  6. You are incredibly stunning Rosie. Ive been following you since your flickr days and dating Aaron Nace? I think that was his name. Your hair is just your hair. I cannot imagine having alopecia .. but I have lived my entire life with severe eczema on my arms/legs/back. I remember wearing panty hose with bathingsuits in the summer because I was so ashamed of how my legs looked... was so hard for me in my teens. Im now 30 years old and I have grown confident in myself despite the obvious struggles with my skin. While my skin is manageable now, it is still visible. No one loves me any less because of it and I am no less beautiful. Although at times doubt creeps in and I question my worth often.

    I think your hiatus will be good for you and I think you should be totally real and transparent in your struggle. Imagine the encouragement you can give to other young girls struggling with this same thing... your talent can be used in amazing ways.

    Im on a hiatus with my photography too... due to depression. A photographer cannot creatively photograph others when there is a struggle within. At least i cant :) - breaks are needed for us.

    Blessings from Atlanta GA Rosie. I admire you and your talent at such a young age, you are truly amazing.


  7. <3 <3 <3 <3 take all the time you need, we all love you now and will love you through out everything!! I hope you start to feel better soon :) love and support from the states!

  8. You're so inspiring. I take a break this year as well. To photograph things that I want.

  9. Rosie, you're a wonderful, amazing lady! You're doing the right thing. I've been there myself and I know how important it is to take time out for yourself. I really hope you feel better and can't wait to meet you and give you a big hug at the May workshop. Take care sweetie xxx

  10. It is interesting that you post this now Rosie as I have been heavily wrestling with similar issues a lot lately. I think, for me, the critical moment came when it was Christmas Day and I was sitting at my parent's place with my laptop working away responding to client requests as fast as they could come in. And it sorta hit me. Does it ever end? Here I am on christmas day while everyone is relaxing and celebrating and I am being bombarded with work. Which then got me to thinking that I couldn't remember the last time I had a day off, I had been working 7 days per week for as long as I could remember, never taking a day off, never relaxing. Just living to work.

    It was a bit of a wakeup call as I realized that one by one I had eliminated everything about life that I loved in order to make room for more work. I didn't really have any friends left. Didn't even have a social life outside of business meetings. And was pretty depressed.

    Since then I have been making an effort back off a bit, which has been really hard, it has led to some angry clients and I am still really struggling at learning how to have fun again or even feel happiness. (I have found that whenever I come close that I feel so guilty for not working that it undermines things a bit) But little by little I have been expanding my social life again and meeting new friends. And most importantly I have started following my passions in regard to photography again rather than what makes the most business sense.

    I think for me, one of the things that has helped most is the availability of the expansive wilderness here near Vancouver which allows me to take my dog and just disappear into the forest for an afternoon. I think we all need a place of tranquility where we can escape everything. And while I'm not saying you should move to Canada (though if you have never visited the great bear rainforest you def should at some point!) but I think that there are probably places near you that have the power to gift you with the same sense of freedom.

    Personally, I find you to be one of the most inspirational people I have ever come across and I think a big part of that respect comes from not only your ability to create but also who you are and how open and honest you are with the world. As far as I can tell, you have a massive heart that is filled with goodness and that by simmering down the chaos of everyday client work you will be able to better listen to it and find the happiness in life that makes you such an amazing artist.

  11. I love seeing your smile so so much,
    do whatever you want and I really hope you'll be happier and life will give you something sweeter,

  12. Fantastic solution. Best of luck in this hiatus, Rosie. Heal, restore, rest, revive.

  13. I've been a loyal follower for many years now, and I admire your work so much! And yes, like someone else said even back in the AN days...I didn't want to mention that name for you :P But I went through a similar patch in my life, feeling like "why am I doing this for money, on someone else's terms, doing what they tell me to do". I needed some time off, and so It's been probably a few years since I last did some client work and so I've evolved and changed so much since then. Bought my own place, moved up in my professional career outside of photography, spent more time with friends/family and listening to music, traveled all over the world. One word to describe it...Liberating.

    I hope you find that happiness again, because I know I did when I stepped away from photography for a while.

    This is probably the first time in a year since I visited your work...but I've been in a weird mood lately, trying to search and rediscover that passion I once had for photography. I usually visited your page for inspiration and so that is what brought me here writing you a comment! I really miss photography. I've been so unmotivated these past couple years, focused on other things...but I'm really close to picking up that camera again. The happiest I ever was in photography was when I went shooting for myself, doing a 365 project...knowing that I'm shooting for myself, doing exactly what I wanted to do not having to listen to someone else. Maybe hopefully soon I'll find that passion again...

    be well.

  14. It was thanks to you, back a few years ago that i got the guts to go and see a dermatologist, just to be told that my deepest fear was true, i suffered, and still suffer with alopecia, but instead of mopping around i decided to take on it with a positive perspective. I started on treatments, took better care of me and my life (my main problem is still hormonal) and have been getting better, with some downfalls along the way, the latest being pretty much happening since January, as i have been under a lot of stress for too many reasons.

    So, not only i want to thank you for being so upfront and having the courage you had to openly talk about this, but also want to say that i just want to wish you all the best for this new phase of your life. You deserve to be happy, to be better, to feel amazing and to be out of stress. Work can be stressful, life can be even worse, and sometimes we need to stop, and i do understand that, so this is your leap of faith and it's probably the best thing you can do.

    Good luck, Rosie! We will still be here when you are back!

  15. Hang in there girl. Glad you're figuring things out, finding your passion & what's important.

  16. I also fell into The Hole and this blog post hit the nail right ton the head for me.

  17. Remind me to my friend Nuria: She has managed to change a lot of things and now she is pretty happy and has her hair back. It's worth the reading.

    Good luck changing your life / habits and enjoy "little things" as much as you can.

  18. "This too shall pass." Stay strong. Stay lovely. Stay inspirational. x

  19. Where I live we have the Scripps Clinic and hospital that may be able to help you solve this issue. Perhaps you could get in touch with them for advice and I would be happy to assist in any way that I can since I am a good patient of theirs.

  20. Nice! It feels like a turning point in your internal battle with hair loss, with all signs being for the better. It is good to be active in the face of that. Wishing you all the best!

    Byron Brewer @ Knight and Sanders

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