IN CONVERSATION: NAOMI @mamasparrowblog
We speak to Naomi about her love of photography and the importance of sharing nature with her little ones.
"It’s crucial that children learn at an early age that we are stewards of the world we live in - and that we must protect it not just for ourselves, but for the generations to come."
Hello Naomi, thank you so much for chatting with us. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a photographer by trade who does a little freelancing here and there, but recently made the decision to become a stay-at-home mum. Whilst I could never give up photography completely, it’s such a huge part of me, priorities have shifted.
Just before the pandemic, my family (husband and 2 children) moved to the Herefordshire countryside. It’s been the best decision we’ve made. We spend a lot more time outdoors than we used to, and the children are growing up around mud, flowers and animals.
I used to sing and make music, which was mostly forgotten when the children came along, but I have every intention of starting again, if I’m ever in the right headspace. I still play the guitar every now and then, but relearning the violin and piano are top of the list.
Photography is a huge part of your life. How did this start and what does it mean to you?
My love for photography started at the tender age of seven. I started by taking photos of my hamster and barbies and graduated to people and landscapes from there. Much to friend’s and family’s delight over the years, I’m never really without a camera; I was the kid on trips who shot rolls and rolls of film. Photography has opened up the world for me.
It’s enabled me to travel and introduced me to lifelong friends. It’s become the job I never knew I wanted and now can’t live without. Over the years, I’ve done photography for album covers, magazine articles, weddings, family photos and more recently, interiors and landscape photography. I’m a bit of an introvert, so my camera can sometimes be a mask to hide behind, but it’s also a means of capturing beauty and memories.
When you take a camera out with the intention of capturing something beautiful, it’s amazing how you suddenly take in your surroundings and the gems that you find. Photography is also a wonderful way to relax. I find that losing myself in a shoot, especially styling and then photographing is incredibly restorative.
What are your go-to mental positive health practices or ways of creating stress free time in your day / week?
Being out and about is crucial for my mental health. As I mentioned before, photography can be a real tonic, and when coupled with a good long walk, or hours in the countryside, I can feel my brain rebooting with all the happy chemicals. You can often find me on a shoot grinning from head to toe, unable to contain the sheer joy at the task at hand.
Another favourite mood booster of mine may sound corny, but it’s guaranteed to raise a smile. As a family, we love to have a dancing party, blasting music in the kitchen or sitting room and dancing till we’re exhausted and collapse in a heap on the floor. I wish that I could say that I’ve managed to carve out stress-free time every week, but this mostly proves elusive.
However, we do have some pretty special moments each day, which certainly help the day feel lighter. We’ve just moved the children to a new school, and we’re now able to park and walk. We leave the house earlier and enjoy a leisurely stroll to school each day. That short walk each morning has helped to start the day in the right frame of mind. If I can, I also try to find time to just stop with a cup of tea, normally joined by the dog, and listen to my audiobook, a practice which is made even better by sunshine!
How important is teaching the next generation about the importance of getting outdoors and conserving the countryside?
It is imperative that we teach the next generation about the importance of getting outdoors and conserving the countryside. It’s crucial that children learn at an early age that we are stewards of the world we live in, and that we must protect it not just for ourselves, but for the generations to come.
The countryside is where we humans can feel smallest, up against the beauty of creation, with its hills, mountains, rivers and seas. It also makes you appreciate that there is more to our fast paced world.
I briefly lived in London and whilst I loved it, it was wonderful knowing that I could go home to the countryside for space and openness. We now live in farming country, and our seasons are mapped out by weather, planting and harvests. It’s incredibly grounding and gives time and seasons real meaning. We excitedly wait to see which crop has been planted, and when the sheep will arrive in the next door field.
We know Winter is setting in when the cows are taken inside, and know what Spring is here when they’re back in the fields. One of the benefits too about living around farming, is that it makes you appreciate where your food comes from and all that goes behind providing the food we eat.
You can’t take your food for granted when you see exactly where it’s come from and the effort taken to rear or harvest it. As technology speeds up the world around us, and makes more and more possible, it’s good to know there is somewhere you can escape to.
We believe clothes can be transformative. What part do they play in your day to day life?
I agree that clothes can be enormously transformative.
They have far more power than we give them credit for, both in a positive way and a negative way. On a low self-esteem day, my clothes are my shield, call it a protection from the outside world. They can project confidence when I’m lacking it.
Some clothing creates comfort, the feel of the right fabrics next to your skin can feel like a much needed hug, and other clothes are like old friends that you treasure and maybe even pass on. However first and foremost, clothes can be a wonderful means of expressing creativity and having fun. Clothing has also helped me overcome racial prejudices.
By dressing in certain ways, it has halted preconceived racial views and given me confidence to enter a variety of situations. I have and always will love clothes and their ability to lift spirits, inspire others, and make you feel incredibly special. I love experimenting with styling and looks to fit my mood, plus the timelessness of certain designs and pieces.
What I love even more though, is the thought that just like I do, wearing my grandmother’s and parent’s clothes, my children might do the same with my clothes. I love the thought that they might wear them, and conjure up all sorts of wonderful memories when they do.