The Voice Competition 2021 – 3rd Place Winner and Finalist

awards, PHOTOGRAPHY

The Voice is an annual competition held by Click & Company and brings together a collection of the best work from photographers worldwide in an online gallery. The winners get published in Click Magazine and a free application into Click Pro Photographers, a group of photographers amplifying the voices of artists across the world. Yesterday I found out I had placed 3rd in the Mobile Category and 6 other Finalist images in other categories, being my first year I am overwhelmed and overjoyed. Back in August, I submitted around 70 of my best images across 16 different categories: Colour Theory, Diptych, Envrinomental Portraiture, Eye Contact, Faceless, Family Connection, Golden Hour, Minimalism, Mobile, Movement, Portraiture, Self Portrait, Shadow and Light, The Year 2020 and Young Photographers. This year there were over 45,000 images submitted, 8 rounds of culling by the judges and only 1% of images were selected for the finals. To place 3rd in such an amazing photography competition is one of the biggest highlights of my photographic career.

My own favourite submissions to The Voice Competition

Every year sees an outstanding amount of entries and talent amongst big names such as Megan Loeks and Lindsay Saunders, and I feel so honoured to have my images up there with such amazing artists after a great couple of years developing my photography. Most of the images I submitted have been taken in 2021 on my journey of experimentation with colour, self acceptance and finding my own authentic voice. Having ADHD means I like to try a lot of different things which at sometimes can be frustrating on the quest as photogaphers to find consistency, but I realise now my variety in imagery is one of the reasons I had so many images to submit in the first place. If I had not experimented so much I would probably not have created such a diverse portfolio which gained me 7 big reasons to celebrate. For this now, I am so grateful.

Here are all my images that made it to The Voice finals!

Mobile Category3rd Place

I was so overwhelmed to find out this image placed 3rd in the Mobile category, I have taken a lot of images on my iPhone this year and never would have dreamed whilst taking them that one would go on to win a competition. This image was taken as part of my Seven Days of Self series where I took a photograph of myself each single day for seven days but restricted myself to just using my iPhone. I took my phone with me everywhere and waited for a moment or great light to appear. This was taken after I had been in the shower and I noticed the water droplets on the mirror with the light shining beautifully on me, I knew that this would create great texture and contrast so I started snapping away.

Faceless Category – Finalist

This image was the start of one of my colour projects that I am quite well known for and was actually messaged a lot from people who recognised my work straight away in the competition. I never actually shared the full collection of this series, but it was a series of my eldest going through her current stage in childhood. Although still very much a child, she began showing signs of wanting to be that little bit older as her body changes and she becomes more aware of herself. It was important for me to document her in a way that she wanted to be portrayed in both life and in the photographs. I don’t often get to photograph her at the moment so I love that I managed to get creative with her on projects like this one.

Family Connection Category – Finalist

These images were some of my favourite taken at the end of 2020 and part 2 of my Lockdown Series. I was getting creative with reflections and textures and spent a lot of my time shooting through window and glass surfaces. This was definitely a turning point in my photography as I felt the restrictions of lockdown heavily and was forced to create with what I had right in front of me. Living on my own at the time with my two girls and my partner living at the oppostive end of the UK, meant that moments were fleeting and I knew I needed to capture them.

Portraiture Category – Finalist

This image was a total surprise to be selected as a finalist and I sort of put it in on a whim, it was inspired by an image by Magdalena Piotrowska in one of our creative ‘Inspired By You’ loops on Instagram. This image was just totally fun and random and this is when my eldest likes to get involved, when there is facepaint or a chance to be silly. Never underestimate the potential of a stripey bedsheet!

Self Category – Finalist

For me, this was one of the images I was hoping would go far in the competition if any because it has such an important message that I am very passionate about. I did a whole series of images this past year highlighting my postpartum acne and this pressure women face on retouching their skin, as well as being bombarded with ‘perfect beauty ideals’ in the photography industry. This was a follow on image from my With Love Flat Lay series and although quite different from my other work, I felt it was necessary to create.

The Year 2020 – Finalist

This image is another one of my colour series this year, My Colour Masks Project. This image was another way of processing all that we have gone through over the Global Pandemic. So many of us have spent less time outdoors and nearly 2 years of wearing masks, I created these flower masks in a monochromatic series to document the times but in a colourful way. These colour projects have been some of my favourite work over the year and have helped me further develop my work with colour theory and styling.

If you are looking at entering The Voice in 2022, I recommending joining the Click Community and take a look at The Voice 2021 Virtual Gallery and previous competitions here.

A New Direction

Business, family

Hey there! If this is your first time to my blog then welcome. We are a little family of four based in Arbroath Scotland and we spend a lot of our time in the outdoors. My name is Zephy, my partner’s name is Alex and we have two children Ace and Hazel who are the funniest creatures I have ever seen. We love to forage, bake, create and travel around, mostly indulging ourselves in a more simple life in a digital age because it’s healing for us all.

I am a lifestyle photographer and blogger with ADHD, and I have spent a good decade figuring out what it is I am meant to be doing with my life and business other than motherhood. As luck would have it, I found photography 5 years ago and it was finally a way of combining all the things I love into one place. I have photographed portraits and weddings for most of my photographic career, but now I am diving a bit deeper into what is going to be sustainable for my family and I. I have always been incredibly creative with a high motivation to create anything and everything, but it actually stopped me making progress at times. Growing up, I was often made to feel bad by others for being ‘gifted’, mixed with perfectionism and anxiety, I actually suppressed a lot of my creative skills in fear of being called a show off. Filled with all this potential and not feeling like I was ever good enough, I have been on a real journey of discovery since having my first daughter Ace 11 years ago. Since then, I have grown in creativity, met my soulmate Alex and had our daughter Hazel. Combined with my recent diagnosis of ADHD, I now feel I can find peace with and forgive myself a lot, letting go of those voices that held me back for such a long time. It’s taken me nearly 10 years to accept that it’s ok to be inspired by lots of different things, and to carve out a job that is suited around me, my ADHD and my family life.

I have made the bold decision to combine both my photography business and my personal work as I embark on a new journey of lifestyle photography, mentoring, teaching and blogging which I couldn’t be more nervous but excited to do. This blog is now a combination of my photography blog Zephyre Rose and With Love from A to Z blog, one I started with my daughter Ace when I was a single parent but will be documenting our adventures as we travel around Scotland. Having ADHD it’s so easy to have a billion different projects going on which previously I felt a lot of shame, but now I feel only joy that I have so much to share. I hope all of my current followers enjoy this new direction that my business is headed and that you all will take something from this little blog.

Come follow our journey here and on Instagram and I hope you feel inspired to make your lives a little more simple!

Motherhood and Postpartum Acne – One Simple Act Of Self Love

PERSONAL

‘Drink more water’

‘You wear too much make up’

‘You need to wash more’

‘There’s medication for that’

Here are just a few of the things people have said to me when they see my face. Growing up I had a few spots like most teenagers, but what I didn’t know is that when I got pregnant I would suffer with postpartum acne so severe that my face itches, it hurts to put make up on and i’m so embarrassed by my skin to the point I don’t even want to go outside. My closest family and friends know about this, it goes away once I stop breastfeeding although scars remain but otherwise I really hate talking about it let alone sharing pictures of it. My daughter is always telling me to get in the photos without my make up she says I’m beautiful the way I am, half the time I don’t because I know how bad I feel looking at them. I started a project called Mums Get In The Photograph last year which encourages mums to get in the photographs even though at times we don’t want to, and I realised that this was the start of me opening up to being a more honest version of myself in front of the camera. Watching my daughter be so brave recently made me realise I want to be brave now… I’m always honest in my photography and this is the most vulnerable thing I have ever shared and have wanted to share for such a long time but I was too scared until now…. but if I don’t show how normal this is to love myself like this, taking beautiful portraiture in my natural skin how can I teach my daughters to? This is an act of self love….and I’m selfishly loving myself right now…

A self portrait of Zephyre Rose her side profile displaying her postpartum acne

‘We have to be women we want our daughters to be.’

Brené Brown

After sharing the above image recently, I have started to embrace my natural skin and share images with minimal retouching. Recently after sharing the image on social media below in cherry blossoms, I had an uneccessary comment that brought up a whole lot of issues I feel are in the industry. I don’t often get angry let alone share about it on social media but what happened to me was part of a bigger problem within this industry and I am angry about it and so should you be. Some of the comments on my post sharing my views really shocked me trying to tell me I was in the wrong, telling me it was my lack of technical knowledge and that I was too sensitive to understand what they meant. Do you think this is the only comment that has ever been said to me or that I have witnessed within photography? No….if you think for one second that this isn’t a problem, then you are part of the problem. Despite the negativity, it hasn’t come close to the amount of support I have received. I hate being centre of attention and I hate drama but the day I shared an image of me with my postpartum acne was the day everything changed with me for my photography….for my daughter’s sake I will continue to share minimally retouched images of our skin and them to watch me educate and teach other people that it’s beautiful. For whatever reason, the original commenter felt the need to reach out and apologise to me, and it’s a start. Let’s be in a world where we can make mistakes and then we grow from them. I will be part of the change…

Self portrait of Zephyre Rose in white cherry blossom

I still feel like there aren’t enough images out there that represent faces like mine, especially around adolescence as this is something I am particuarly passionate about within my photography work. My daughter returned to school this week and was anxious as she has started to get a few spots and was worried about what others might think. Even though I tell her otherwise, encouraging her to love herself, it shows that I can only do so much….but I will show her how empowering it is to love yourself and to continue documenting it within my images. Since posting these images, I have had so many women come forward sharing their own thoughts and journey’s of living with acne and a lot of them feeling like they were the only one! I will do everything in my power now to use my camera and my face as a tool of helping other women to show that they are not the only one and that we are all simply beautiful. This is for my daughters.

With Love From Zephy x

Self portrait of Zephyre Rose in her bare skin

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One Photo Every Hour

Creative projects, Lockdown

Last weekend I took one photo every hour on the hour as part of the Phlock Live #phlocklifeinblackandwhite Weekend Mini Challenge. It was so lovely to see and enjoy my home in a different way, and I although I am a total perfectionist I loved being restricted to what was right in front of me…We had such a wonderful day which ended with a shadow play that totally failed as it collapsed and we all fell about laughing 😂 (I put two of these images in because I loved them so much!) Although it was a challenge for me having to set my alarm and think on the spot every hour, I felt like I spent more quality time with my girls than I have in ages and was really enjoying watching them just be their beautiful selves…I did a similar project about 10 years ago when I took one photo every hour for 24 hours and each hour had a different theme…it was really intense but I have wanted to do it again for a while. I will be doing an hourly challenge over at my little photography community Wild Rose Family very soon for anybody looking to challenge themselves creatively, so come get involved!

With love from Zephy x