a beautiful mama project

Hi there,

My name is Belinda, and I’ve been a photographer and story-teller for as long as I can remember.

It is only now, though, after eleven years of being a mother myself, coming to terms with a difficult separation and co-parenting with my son’s father, a lot of experience working with children and families in different settings, and just recently the break-up of my relationship with my best friend and partner due to trauma of losing their mama, that I am beginning to understand what I want to do with my skills and my yearning to tell stories of beauty, even when it is not so beautiful.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s where the light gets in”

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Some of you may have already met me and seen my work either here at this site, or on my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/applestarphoto.  Those who have, know love taking pictures of children, parents, learning, community and showing how we each have unique gifts to share hidden in our core.  When we are honoured for how we show up and what we bring to the table, we can truly shine from the inside out.  My photography aims to hold a space for our deeper yearnings, our buried seeds.

Still, I’ve been trying to get closer and closer to what I really want to do.  Is it just candid portraiture?  Or a focus on play, alternative learning, wilderness skills, freeing up ourselves through costume, silliness, sensuality?   Is it therapeutic photography, re wilding and body positive, celebratory, helping women or couples rediscover their sensuality…?

I know through my work in childcare and education, I have long been an advocate for children and mamas.  I believe how we raise our children, is how we raise ourselves.  I am inspired by attachment as a life-long need, NVC, Forest school, regenerative community, body positive and re wilding, as well as the basic needs of art, story telling and celebration in culture repair.

When I became a mother, I didn’t imagine for a minute that my relationship with my ex would continue to be challenging for years and years, I didn’t imagine that my son and I would experience at times confused and conflicted attachment, I didn’t know at the beginning that I would feel unsure about public school education.  I didn’t know yet the intense trauma that can come alongside the gifts of family and parenting through sickness, divorce, abuse, death and other losses.   Nevertheless, I had begun an incredible journey of learning about how to protect my child and nurture his own ability to grow to love, accept and protect himself.  And on that journey, I realized that I had to relearn everything, learn to protect and nurture myself.  Wow.  What a journey it has been so far.  My chest heaves with the incredible gift that my son, and the many other children I have known have been in my life.   Because of my boy, I began to explore home learning, and through that exploration, discovered many ideas and practices that brought me closer to understanding that we are all unique, we all have our own light, our own gifts to bring to the table, we deserve to be loved because we exist, but yet, so much of our culture, our media, our institutions teach us to NOT be ok with who we are, how we learn, how we are showing up at any given moment in our lives.  And therefore, through my mothering, and my work with children, I have come to realize that our fundamental fragility is the place where we are most beautiful.    some are more fragile than others, some more hardened, some more broken.  What happens when we hold a space to allow vulnerability?  I yearn to do this, to explore that light we each have that we are born with, but that for some gets lost, buried away, painted over, or dimmed a little. Motherhood, cracks us open on so many levels like a seed,  but in that original generative act, through those cracks, the light shines through.  I want to be able to add Fatherhood to this and Parenthood in general and specifically how it expresses itself to gender neutral and Queer parents, but I have much less experience with this….

The work of Jade Baell of A Beautiful Body Project has been so inspiring to me.  http://www.abeautifulbodyproject.org   My hope is to become a regional photographer for ABBP.  I think portraying women in all their natural, raw beauty without airbrushing or photoshop at any age, stage, size or body type, scars, wrinkles and all is a noble and incredible work.   I hope to add to this project my own particular gaze and voice.   There is so much incredible natural beauty in a woman at any age or stage, and I want to portray that, but I’d like that portrayal to leave space for what is not so beautiful, for what hurts, and is perhaps even ugly or terrifying.  I am often stunned for example at how lovely a new mother seems, supported by a doting husband or wife, living in a beautiful home, all seems pretty and perfect, and yet when you talk to her, tears flow, there is loss of self, huge conflicts around meeting needs, confusion around body boundaries and so much more.  As well, many of us live with a shame or fear that we won’t be accepted if we expose our failings our weakness, and so we remain alone in our brokenness.  Many families are facing hurdles, and those hurdles don’t always show in the beautiful photos.  I would like to use my photography and writing to shine a light into these murkier areas, tell those stories, and create a visual celebration of wholeness of being a mother, cracked wide open….

If you are interested in participating in A Beautiful Mama Project or A Beautiful Father or A Beautiful Parent with me, please visit me at http://www.facebook.com/applestarphoto, subscribe to my page and message me there for more details or to book some time together.

kindly, Belinda White, still learning to honour herself as a beautiful mama through all the heart ache and storms.

#abeautifulmamaproject #applestarphoto #abeautifulbodyproject #thereisacrackineverything #bodypositive #mamahonouring #shiningfromtheinsideout

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