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It’s been a little while since I last blogged a wedding, but I couldn’t resist putting together a collection of some of my favourites from Amanda and Matt’s gorgeous barn wedding.  It was held at my new favourite venue – Hendall Manor Barns near Uckfield in Sussex. I absolutely loved every minute of it!

Everyone was a bit worried about what the weather would be like that day – it started off pretty grey and rainy but sure as anything, the sun came out and shined down on them all afternoon. Their guests were the most fun bunch of people I have come across. So much laughter… children running around on complete sugar highs… and what can I say about the dancing? Epic air guitar and every age group really letting their hair down on the dance floor. :)

I didn’t know this until the day of the wedding, but there was a point a few weeks before the big day that they may have had to postpone the celebrations. Amanda’s mum had a pretty awful accident and they weren’t sure if she was going to be well enough to attend. But she didn’t want to miss it for the world and was determined to recover enough. She did it! And the relief and appreciation for her being there was felt all day long.

Amanda and Matt, I wish you all the love, happiness and health for your future together. Thank you so much for having me there on the day to share in your day of love and laughter. x

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Two years ago, I wrote a list of personal and professional goals that I wanted to achieve over the next few years. On this list, amongst a few other things was that I really wanted to photograph a birth. Last week, I finally did it. I had the honour of documenting the most incredible event I have ever been privileged to witness.

Birth photography isn’t very mainstream, but it is something that is becoming more popular. When my friend Liz became pregnant with her third child, she mentioned that she may consider the idea of having a photographer there for the birth. Liz is an awesome wedding photographer and therefore is in the business of capturing beautiful, emotional and life changing events. It makes sense that these values which are so important in her work should also be crucial in documenting her own life and momentous occasions. I jumped at the chance of being the photographer who would be there for her.

I don’t have children myself, and I have never been present at a birth before (other than my own obviously – strangely I don’t remember anything about that) so I didn’t know what to expect. I told myself that I should expect anything… That I should try to remain in the background, that I should be helpful and that I should be as quiet as possible. I also prepared myself that I might be faced with disappointment if Liz changed her mind about having me there or if the situation might mean that I wouldn’t be able to make it.

But last Thursday in the early hours, the call came. Liz had been induced and was in labour. Would I be able to come to Haywards Heath Hospital? I leapt out of bed – my camera gear was already packed. I drove quickly over to the hospital, nervously, trying to not let my emotions or my excitement get the better of me. I ran from the car to the labour ward. When I arrived, Liz was mid contraction and her husband Rich was by her side holding her hand and rubbing her back.

Liz and Rich had hoped for a home birth but because the doctor had decided to induce her, this meant that she would need to be in hospital. Shortly after I arrived, the midwife moved Liz over to a room with a birthing pool – This was something Liz had hoped she would be able to do at home so the next best thing was to have a water birth in the safety of the labour ward. Once in the pool, Liz seemed more comfortable… The warm water helped support her and eased the pain in her back. Liz went through several hours of increasingly painful contractions, with Rich as her rock by her side. They were both exhausted. They had been awake all night bar an hour or so. Rich was on the high energy drinks, Liz was on the gas and air. There was a point when the midwife seemed hopeful that things were progressing well and that she may give birth very soon.

On inspection, it seemed that things hadn’t progressed as well as everyone had hoped. Liz had endured hours and hours of excruciating pain and she started to think that the baby would never come out. It got to the point when the pain became too much and the decision was made to have an epidural. Liz was so so brave throughout. Rich managed to not faint! I watched silently from the corner of the room. The doctor made a Tommy Cooper joke. It was all quite surreal.

The next few hours that followed were spent monitoring Liz and how the baby was coping. At around 1pm the baby was less happy than previously and finally, the doctors made the call that an emergency caesarian was necessary. Liz and Rich had discussed this previously and had decided that if a c section was needed, Rich would not be able to watch without fainting and would therefore not be able to go into theatre with Liz. This meant that my role was suddenly not just photographer and friend, now I would become hand holder and moral support during the procedure. The midwife gave me some scrubs to put on.

I will never forget the look on Liz’s face as she lay there on the operating table with the curtain blocking her view. She looked at me and didn’t look away. She didn’t look scared, she looked calm and quietly determined not to let herself get scared. I was terrified. I hope that didn’t show. I felt so protective of Liz and so worried. I was told where I could stand so that I could hold Liz’s hand and also get a view of what was happening. I looked over the barrier several times before returning my gaze to Liz’s face and I reassured her that it all looked ok (What was ok? Was ok, lots and lots of blood? I didn’t think so but I didn’t let Liz know what I could see)

And then came that that sound. Before we could see him, we could hear him. The moment when everyone in the room smiles and relief washes over the surgeon, midwives, doctors, nurses… He cried. And in an instant they pulled him out into the world. I thought my heart would burst.

Time stood still for around ten seconds while they held him up and cut the cord – then it all went into hyperspeed again. Suddenly the team divided – half to look after the baby, the rest to care for a very poorly Mum. Liz lost a lot of blood but still she managed to hold her son for a few minutes before he was taken to meet his Dad… waiting anxiously outside the door. All of these moments were just so precious to see. The look in their eyes. Seeing him open his eyes for the first time and gaze into his Mum’s eyes. Seeing his tears vanish as he was held so close and comforted. Seeing his first skin to skin time with his Dad. The look of pride on his Dad’s face.

That day I will never ever forget. I have so much respect for Liz – for her incredible bravery and strength throughout. And to Rich for being such a calm and loving support. And the incredible staff at the Princess Royal Hospital – all of whom seem like superheros in my eyes now. I am not good with words… reading this account doesn’t even begin to describe the intensity of all the emotions felt that day.

My aim was to carefully and sensitively take photos throughout the whole process of labour through to that moment when a new, precious life enters the world. What I didn’t realise would happen, was that I would see parts of the birth experience that neither Liz or Rich would witness. For that reason, I feel more honored than words can describe. And I’m so glad that my camera could be their eyes… So that these photos can tell the story from where I was standing. This is the birth story of Tobias Joseph Harry Hankins. This is what I saw…

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Thank you so so much Liz and Rich. For letting me witness this miracle and for letting me share the photos here. I wish you and your family all the health and happiness in the world. xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Laura Mackay26/05/2014 - 5:01 pm

    Oh my word these are so unspeakably moving! Massive congratulations to everyone involved – it is such a beautiful thing to capture what is undoubtedly the most emotional, awe inspiring moment in any families lives and you have done so perfectly. Love these so much and thanks for sharing! XReplyCancel

  • Lisa Devlin26/05/2014 - 5:32 pm

    awwhhhh.. these are epic… What an incredible experience and amazing images to go along with it. Wow! xxReplyCancel

  • Rosie Parsons26/05/2014 - 6:49 pm

    Awww such great photos, congratulations Eliza! So lovely to see these xxxReplyCancel

  • Michael O'Sullivan26/05/2014 - 8:48 pm

    These are beautiful and very moving images, what an incredible opportunity and experience for everyone. simply breathtaking!ReplyCancel

  • laura campion27/05/2014 - 8:17 am

    These are amazing!ReplyCancel

  • Lisa27/05/2014 - 11:07 am

    WOW. AMAZING.ReplyCancel

  • Annabel - Love My Dress01/06/2014 - 11:46 pm

    These photographs are INCREDIBLE! Oh my goodness, quite speechless!!

    So, so, so happy for you darling Liz xxxxxxxxxReplyCancel

  • […] to our clan with a scrummy, gorgeous baby boy – you can read about Tobias’ arrival here. He’s almost 2 weeks old, and I’ve been back at home for a week, so thought it’s […]ReplyCancel

  • Den04/06/2014 - 10:08 am

    You have caught the agony & ecstasy of it all beautifully.ReplyCancel

I’m just back from spending 5 days at Photography Farm near Dorking in Surrey. It’s been an amazingly inspiring experience of learning and being creative with lots of other photographers. I’m hoping to do another blog post showing all the wonderful things I got up to and all the lovely people I’ve been hanging out with. I took so many photos, it’s going to take me a little while to go through them all! For now, I can’t wait to show one or two photos of the beautiful Zoe who let me take some shots of her in the pool. Following a workshop with the incredible Brooke Davis, I felt very inspired to have some play time with my camera and asked Zoe if she would mind posing for me.  I want to say a big thank you to her for being so brave and patient with me. And finally, a massive thanks to Lisa Devlin for having me there. What an amazing time. :)

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  • Rebecca Douglas03/02/2014 - 11:01 pm

    Wow!! These are just amazing – what a stunning shoot! I’ve not seen images like this – well done you guys xReplyCancel

  • Eliza03/02/2014 - 11:06 pm

    Wow, gorgeous shots and stunning use of light. And, of course, Zoe looks completely stunning. Nice work, girls!ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn04/02/2014 - 8:01 am

    Wow! Stunning shots. Zoe you look incredible. xReplyCancel

  • Alison04/02/2014 - 8:42 am

    These are just fabulous – absolutely wow you two!ReplyCancel

  • Tigzy // Tigz Rice Studios04/02/2014 - 9:50 am

    That hair flick shot is incredible! Perfect timing! xReplyCancel

  • Lindsey04/02/2014 - 9:51 am

    Alexa these are AMAZING. Zoe you look so beautiful. I especially love the shot of Zoe floating on her back with the deep blue water. Stunning work ladies.ReplyCancel

  • Hannah04/02/2014 - 10:06 am

    Amazing, beautiful work. I am just…. WOW.ReplyCancel

  • Philippa James Photography04/02/2014 - 10:13 am

    EFFING ELL…… you know I’m a massive fan of yours anyway Alexa, but these are great! Love them all, bet Zoe is well chuffed. dream team ladies xxReplyCancel

  • jessica Roberts04/02/2014 - 10:58 am

    These are absolutely stunning. So sexy and sensual Zoe and powerful work Alexa!!!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah Webster04/02/2014 - 4:11 pm

    These are so beautiful. That light and the water and Zoe being all blummin’ gorgeous. Absolutely amazing. xReplyCancel

  • Millie04/02/2014 - 9:42 pm

    Oh man!! These are awesome, well done guys… love how unique these are. Beautiful work.ReplyCancel

  • Gail Kelly05/02/2014 - 1:52 pm

    Amazing images, beautiful work! My mind is blown!ReplyCancel

I thought I would write a little post to summarise my best bits of 2013. Before I start I must give you a gush warning!

Well what can I say, 2013 you have been the best year of my life to date. :) Professionally I feel like my business has been growing from strength to strength. I photographed 26 wonderful weddings and met lots of lovely new people. I was awarded third place in a national photography competition – The Professional Photographer of the Year Awards – 50mm Category. And next year is looking even more exciting with the bookings I have in place. :)

Personally, my biggest highlight was our magical wedding in Provence surrounded by our loved ones. These kind of days only happen once and these beautiful memories will stay with me for the rest of my life. (Sorry for the soppiness but I did warn you) Oh, and our honeymoon… two weeks in paradise with My Love. Can I do this year again please?

Another personal achievement was undertaking and succeeding in doing a 365 project. My aim was to take a portrait every day for a year. It was hard work at times, some days I really didn’t want to leave the house but I’m so glad I made the effort. They’re not masterpieces but the point is that I have pushed myself and it has changed the way that I look at the world. I am having an exhibition to show the photos in Gallery 40 in Brighton. It will be open from Friday 7th – Saturday 15th March 2014. Please come along if you’re in the area. :) I would like to thank all my lovely family, friends, clients and the wonderful strangers I met along the way. I made a little video slideshow of my efforts and I feel proud looking back on it. Have a look if you have the time… It goes on for a bit. ;)

  • Cara Mair03/01/2014 - 5:08 pm

    Wow what a phenomenal group of photos, powerful images, I really really enjoyed looking at these and would encourage anyone to watch the video on a full screen rather than their phones. Thank you Alexa, wonderful work.ReplyCancel

  • Beth Roo03/01/2014 - 10:42 pm

    Lex, going to miss seeing your amazing pictures weekly, always inspiring!ReplyCancel

  • Georgia06/01/2014 - 3:24 pm

    What an amazingly inspiring piece to share with the world at the beginning of a new year! Just as we are all wondering what we can make of the next 12 months…ReplyCancel

  • Zoe Campbell08/01/2014 - 4:43 pm

    flipping ace!!! what an incredible set of images and so, so inspiring, congratulations on completing such a great achievement :)ReplyCancel

  • Neil09/01/2014 - 10:00 am

    This is truly awesome Alexa!

    Tune as well!!xReplyCancel

  • Emma Lucy10/01/2014 - 8:34 pm

    You know how much I loved your 365 project duck – but seeing it all here in one, massive respect for keeping it up and for creating such amazing images.

    Massive love x xReplyCancel

  • Boris Khan20/01/2014 - 10:12 am

    Extraordinary collection of images – your talent in capturing such brilliant looks from your subject matter and their relationship to the lens is fantastic… next project?ReplyCancel

  • Philippa James Photography22/01/2014 - 10:41 am

    No way…. love this film sooooooo much…. only just catching up with things, and wow – what an incredible year you’ve had lady. Loving your work so much, I totally want to come to your exhibition, it’s going to be awesome xxxxxReplyCancel

  • Gail Kelly23/01/2014 - 7:01 pm

    Great idea! Love the video, the tunes and the photos! :)ReplyCancel

  • Fiona Watson25/01/2014 - 9:15 pm

    Amazing! I looked forward to seeing what images you had taken every week during your 365 project. It’s something that I need to build myself up to doing. You’ve got an awesome talent.ReplyCancel

  • Kathryn27/01/2014 - 2:00 pm

    Flippin’ amazing. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura05/02/2014 - 10:32 pm

    Lexi, it was so great to meet you last weekend. I had seen some of your images before, but had a look (a.k.a website/blog stalk) after meeting you. You are such an inspiration and your 365 project is truly beautiful. New biggest fan! xReplyCancel

  • Anja20/02/2014 - 3:28 pm

    I love 365 projects but never managed to pull through with this myself. Seeing your 365 portraits in one piece like this is awesome and makes me want to shoot more personal stuff myself. Great work Alexa!ReplyCancel

  • Alex17/03/2014 - 9:36 pm

    What a delight to stumble .. Such. amazing characters and animals in the world .. Now a fan. Smiles xReplyCancel

  • Nina07/04/2014 - 2:56 pm

    Absolutely wonderful xReplyCancel

This is my final week of my 365 project. Wow! I’m so pleased that I managed it! This post is not a summary of the year, I’m going to write a special post that attempts to sum it all up. For now, here are my last 8 photos of the year (this year has been 52 weeks and one day long making 365)

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Tuesday 24th December 2013 - We went up to Maida Vale to spend Christmas with my in-laws. This is my lovely niece, Flora.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Wednesday 25th December 2013 -That feeling when you’ve just finished your Christmas dinner and you can’t move you’re so full up – well this photo was taken then. We had an amazing spread cooked by my sister in law, Jane… And this is a portrait of their family on their doorstep outside their lovely home.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Thursday 26th December 2013 -Over to see my Ma and Pa on Boxing Day… Another lovely day felt like a second Christmas. Lots more lovely food and pressies. Feeling very loved and spoilt. :) This is Marjorie, my Grandma, with her hat she had kept from Christmas Day. I had hoped that I would be able to include a photo of her in this years collection of 365 photos and always imagined that it would be taken of her in her favourite chair in her house. I have so many lovely memories in her house.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Friday 27th December 2013 – Our beloved chicken named Bear died on Christmas Eve. Leaving just one remaining chicken left – she seemed lonely so we went over to Raystede Animal Rescue Centre to get some friends for her. Raystede do amazing work and this time of year they receive a massive influx of unwanted pets. So if you are thinking about getting a pet, please think about going for a rescue animal rather than supporting breeders. Or if you want to donate some money, I’m sure it will be a great help to them! My photo of the day is of Saint Nicholas – a beautiful turkey that managed to survive Christmas thanks to the lovely folk at Raystede. As tempting as it was to take him home with us, we managed to resist and take 8 scruffy brown hens instead. Lots of new friends for Lady Cluckington. :)

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Saturday 28th December 2013 - I went for a walk in the North Laine area of Brighton on Saturday and thought that this would probably be the last time I would do this for my 365. This is Bonny, I spotted her outside a pub and asked her if she would mind having her photo taken. I took a few photos before realising that she was visiting a friend of mine in Brighton who was also in the pub with her. Another occasion where I realised what a small place Brighton is!

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Sunday 29th December 2013 – Christmas is often a time for family get togethers and a great opportunity to have photos taken. On Sunday I went over to Borough Green to take some photos of my old school friend, Susie’s family. This is Susie, Andy, Izzie and Benjamin. :)

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Monday 30th December 2013 - This is not where I was expecting to be at the end if the year. Due to more stomach pain, I ended up going back to hospital for another scan. This is Ann who had been in for a hernia operation. I spotted her gazing out the window and asked if she would mind me taking a photo of her.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Tuesday 31st December 2013 - In all honesty, I was hoping to do something quite creative on the last day of the year – But then I knew whatever I did was always going to be an anticlimax. So this is it. Day 365. It’s all done. Finished. A few people have asked me if I will continue doing another 365 next year but I have decided not to. I am hoping instead to find time for other personal projects which I will of course share from time to time on this blog. It’s been a pleasure sharing my first year of blogs on here. Thank you so much to everyone who has followed me and showed your support with all your lovely comments. In the next few days, I hope to post a summary of my year in photos… Watch this space. :)

  • Hannah01/01/2014 - 1:21 pm

    Really amazed that you have created such a beautiful 365. Your standard has always been so high – you are an inspirationReplyCancel

  • Holly02/01/2014 - 8:55 pm

    Alexa… We have loved your weekly blog, so many stunning pics!
    Wishing you lots and lots of success in 2014!
    H & J xReplyCancel

  • Jo11/01/2014 - 6:01 pm

    I am devastated this has come to an end. It has been awesome to follow you around your 2013. Thanks so much for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • […] been totally inspired by Alexa Clarke Kent’s most incredible 365 project. She shot a portrait a day, using her big girl’s camera, and […]ReplyCancel

  • Judy11/03/2014 - 7:05 pm

    Hi,

    Just had a look at your photos on recommendation from Irene, who was on a photography course with me. I really, really liked them (especially the photo of your Nan) and looking forward to going to see your exhibition.ReplyCancel

Happy Christmas Eve everyone! I have just woken up to news that the overnight storms have caused massive problems all over the country. I hope if you are reading this you are safe and dry. I am just about to sign off for a week of family time – though the journey today could prove a little interesting!

You may or may not have noticed that I failed to post my week in pictures last week – so close to the end, I’m not slacking I promise! I have still been taking a photo every day but I unfortunately ended up in hospital last Monday and didn’t have the means to get my post together… So this week is a double week special. :) And some of the morphine induced attempts at photography are quite special! So without further ado, here is week 50 and 51 of my photo a day project:

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Tuesday 10th December 2013 – This feels like a long time ago now! I spotted Caroline whilst on a little walk along the Lewes road in Brighton, she is a ex art-student so was quite happy to help with my little project.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Wednesday 11th December 2013 – I waited very patiently for the right person to come along on this day. It was around 3pm and the sun was low in the sky. I waited at the bottom of St James Street for what felt like an eternity. The light was amazing but people looked like they were in such a rush. Hundreds of fairly uninteresting looking people walking quickly by. Then I saw Joanna and grabbed her. She was kind and agreed to let me take a photo. The sun disappeared behind a building moments after I got this photo. I really like it.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Thursday 12th December 2013 – This was one of the many tough days I faced over the last two weeks. I was very busy getting Christmas orders together for clients and didn’t really have the time to commit to wandering the streets. I spotted this guy and he didn’t speak any english, but I managed to convince him anyway. I never got his name.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Friday 13th December 2013 – And the first day of all day relentless rain. Not appealing to walk the streets but that is what I did. And as it was getting dark, and I hadn’t found anyone, I met Connor. He was working in a coffee shop on Gardner Street and he welcomed me in out of the rain. He was telling me how he has played stunt roles in various big movies. Nice man.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Saturday 14th December  2013 – This was when I started to feel pretty rough. But we had some Christmas shopping to do so off into town I went. I spotted Chris on the London Road and asked him for a photo. He seemed flattered that I had asked. I was relieved to have a photo and put my camera away.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Sunday 15th December  2013 – This is Stephano who I spotted on Sydney Street. It was raining. He let me take a photo or two. Again, very relieved.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Monday 16th December  2013 – And so in to hospital I went (I went to the GP but they sent me up there with a suspected appendicitis) A lot of waiting and pain. Aware that my photo of the day was going to be a complete fail, I grabbed this shot of the corridor from the waiting room.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Tuesday 17th December 2013 – Now I understand the meaning of the word patience. I was sent up to the digestive diseases ward while they ran tests and they relieved me into a floating morphine induced stuper. This is my view from my bed. First thing in the morning, a beautiful light flooded in. This is Debbie who was recovering from surgery opposite me.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Wednesday 18th December 2013 – The day of my surgery. This is a rubbish attempt at a photo of the day but I didn’t really care. I was awake very early and watched the sunrise from the bridge by my ward. Not a great time for a selfie, but I was worried I wouldn’t be capable of taking a photo later on.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Thursday 19th December 2013 – Everything felt a lot brighter on Thursday, I was in pain from the surgery but recovering well and relieved that it might be my last day in hospital. Getting so close to Christmas, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to get out in time! This is Gemma, one of many amazing nurses who cared for me and put up with my winges! Again, the light was amazing.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Friday 20th December 2013 – Freedom! I was told to take it easy. So I knew I shouldn’t exert myself too much. But then I thought I must make an effort with my photo of the day after so many half hearted ones. I went for a walk in George Street in Hove and bumped into a guy I recognised. This is Graham who lives near me and has been through some very tough times. Talking to him made me feel very grateful for everything I have. Christmas is a time that makes me think of everyone I love. I made a pact with myself that as soon as I feel better, I will do something good for people like Graham. Don’t know what yet, but something.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Saturday 21st December  2013 – Lots of bed rest and being looked after by My Love. So relieved to be home and starting to feel human again. I dared to brave going out for a Christmas meal with some friends. I wasn’t exactly the life and soul of the party but I coped. It was the evening of the ‘Burning of the clocks’ in Brighton. An annual parade to make the shortest day of the year – the winter solstice. The weather was windy and rainy so I was very impressed with the turnout. And I took a few pretty average photos.

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Sunday 22nd December  2013 – What would Christmas be without lots of wine? We went on our annual trip to the wine shop. This is Lewis, who basically told us which wines we should buy! Job done. :)

Portrait Photography Brighton, Alexa Clarke Kent

Monday 23rd December  2013 – A horrid day of terrible weather in Brighton. I had a few last minute bits to deliver to clients and a few pressies to buy in town. My camera didn’t come out of it’s bag all day. Sideways rain and 40mph winds didn’t inspire me for some reason. But I paid a little visit to see Jude and his Mummies and finally the Christmas spirit has kicked in! I remember what Christmas was like at the age, the excitement of it all.

ONE MORE WEEK LEFT! Have a very Happy Christmas everyone.

That’s it for this week. :) This has been my 50th and 51st week of this years 365 photo a day project. Thanks for looking.

  • Kathryn27/01/2014 - 1:39 pm

    Your portraits are brilliant Alexa. You manage to tell such a story with them. I particularly love Graham. What a fantastic face! Beautiful shot. xReplyCancel