1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? I'm Lucy. I'm 43. I’m originally from South Wales. I grew up in a small village ...

Moments of Life #1 – Lucy Williams, photographer, starter of the Bags of Kindness

January 17, 2016 Navy Novel 1 Comments

1. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm Lucy. I'm 43. I’m originally from South Wales. I grew up in a small village and I now live in North London. I’m a full time photographer.

2. What's your passion in life?

I'm passionate about photography. I’m passionate about bringing people together and having them experience life in a different way.
In my landscape photography, I photograph things that people may not notice. When they see it on a photograph, they say, ‘that’s so beautiful’. From wedding photos, they tell me that they have never seen themselves as beautiful before and they see for the first time that they are.

Right now, I’m involved in two projects that I started, one is called Kindness Project, another one is called Bags of Kindness.

The Kindness Project started because this time last year, I just come back to London after Christmas. My dad had just been diagnosed with a form of dementia called FTDP and I was feeling quite sad. I just wanted to do something that was lovely for people. My mission was that the act of kindness should be anonymous to give people a lovely surprise, and that they should create a little bit of magic to make people smile and feel valued.

One day someone posted on a project on our Facebook group called The Rucksack ProjectAt the time there wasn't a London-based drop off point so we were inspired to do something similar here in London. It began as a plan to distribute just a few bags to women living on the street and it turned into many more bags for homeless women visiting Christmas hostels.

Part of the biggest problem for women when they become homeless is that it’s unsafe for them to be on the streets, and once homeless, there are also issues with sex crime and dangers associated with prostitution. Because of this, homeless women aren't so easily visible so we decided to deliver the bags to a hostel instead. A lot of hostels for homeless women in London are secret because women often become homeless through domestic abuse. To keep them safe, the hostels have secret locations. We made links with Crisis and we ended up collecting 55 bags filled full of essential items, plus bags of warm clothes and coats, and raising over £200. The bags were taken to the Crisis women's Christmas drop in centre to be distributed.

3. What would you say was the most memorable and inspiring moment of your life?

About a year and a half ago, a big job came in. I rang them and found out that I was shooting behind the scenes photos, and portraits for Victoria Beckham for Vogue. I was really scared and thought I can’t do it. So I didn’t say immediately yes to the job and in fact, I asked some other photographers I knew to do the job instead of . Luckily they weren't available and I thought, if I’m asking other people, why can’t I do it? I realised I was terrified I wasn’t good enough and of letting people down. So I reaffirmed myself and did the job. I took some great portraits of her that were used to publicise Victoria's video as part of Vogue's 73 Questions.

It was an amazing and inspiring moment for me to know that I can do things even when I’m scared. I felt the fear and did it anyway!

I also founded a project called NOWportrait, which inspired conversations between strangers through photography. My mission was that people got out of their comfort zone and experienced being brave enough to start and have conversations with strangers and to take a portrait of them. They then shared the portrait back with the person and shared the portrait and person's story online. To date over 75 people have taken part and met and photographed over 250 strangers, and as well as people reporting a boost in confidence and 'feel good', the strangers they met also felt valued. People were sent thank you cards and some even made new friends that are still in their lives now! We also raised £560 for MIND, the mental health charity. Through running projects like this I am really starting to experience myself as someone who can make things happen!

4. What's the toughest period you had when pursuing your passion? How did you overcome it? What did you learn from it?

The toughest period I've had was when I left a successful career to follow my passion for photography. At the time I was a Location Manager in the film industry. I took photos of the filming locations, which built up my interest in photography. I was offered a job with ‘Bend it like Beckham’ and I turned it down. Though I ended up doing a few weeks on it I knew really that my heart was longing to be a photographer so I stopped working in film and started again from scratch in photography. Lots of people said to me, ‘why are you leaving a great job to be a photographer? You'll never earn any money! Why not do it as a hobby?’.

It seemed tough at that time because I didn't know how to start being a photographer and how to begin getting paid work. I was learning everything myself which I loved but there was so much I didn't know! Looking back it was a fantastic learning curve. People really wanted to help me and gave me opportunities. As a result, I created jobs for myself and built up my career.
5. What's a personal breakthrough you had in a relationship, eg. with a family member or friend or other half? What did you discover about the relationship or yourself that was the turning point for the breakthrough to happen?

I always had an okay relationship with my dad. Our conversations on the phone would mainly be asking how each other was, and then I'd say 'can I speak to mum?' or he'd just hand me over. We get along fine face to face but whenever there was a difficult conversation to be had with him, I could never have it.

During the Landmark Forum, I realised that I saw my dad as someone who got upset and angry very quickly. I was scared of being in trouble and shouted at by him, even at 41 years old! We had an hour long conversation and I really got how much my dad loves me. My dad is terminally ill now and I can't tell you how grateful I am to have had the chance to change the relationship I had with my dad and to have been able to have great conversations with him.

6. What's next for you?

This year I plan to travel more and to set up a print shop selling my landscape photography, which is my passion alongside my business. My new business photography venture is shooting dating portraits for people’s online dating profiles. People's photos are the first thing that potential dates see and I knew I could take great portraits of people showing more than just what they looked like, I wanted to shoot photos that showed people's personality too. I wrote a blog post about it and I started to get work. I really love transforming people’s online dating experience and helping them to find love.


1 comment:

  1. Hi Jia! What a great write up and I'm super honoured to be your first guest! I LOVE what you're doing here on the blog and I can't wait to read about everyone you met on this journey.


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