LIFE: UNMADE - WHAT'S THE STORY?
I'm allll about keeping it real in here, and the story of "Life: Unmade" is most definitely a real one! You see, over the past few years I have been on quite the ride, and through that, have grown and developed a brand and business that represents the core values of who I am, where I've been, where I'm going, what I am curious about and what I want to explore.
Amy Rushbrook Photography was my original business name back in 2011 when I had no idea what I was doing or what I wanted in life. I was just a girl with a good camera who people wanted for their family photographs. What the hell, I thought. Go and make some extra money, I thought. I created some work, which looking back on, with it's vintage photoshop actions and over-sharpened eyes, still makes me giggle/cringe. We allll start somewhere, remember that!
In 2013 I gave birth to my sweet boy Archie and took maternity leave from my day-time job as a marketing assistant/office manager and my weekend job of photography.
When Archie was six months old, I became a single parent, which was my decision. It wasn't an easy decision, in fact, it sucked, let me tell you. I was living in my parents house in Melbourne while they lived in Singapore, I was on government benefits and I was barely keeping my head above water. I was surviving on little to no sleep with a baby who woke and fed around the clock, and was in my care 24/7. In those quiet, exhausted moments I wondered how on earth all of this could happen to ME! This was not the life I had ordered!
When Archie was around 14 months old I knew I needed to go back to work. I needed to find my feet again instead of relying on others to support me. I wanted to get Archie and I our own home, I wanted to make my own money. I wanted to be the provider. I needed it. I could either go back to my office job and put Archie into care five days a week, or I could get this photography business off the ground and out into the world while still able to be home with my boy. That was the choice I made and I didn't give myself the option of failing. A rebrand and shakeup later and Lark + Bear Photography was born, representing me and Archie (Bear), our awesome little team of two who were going to make this work.
In those early days I created work that was very safe. Very by the rules. I was always so anxious that the world/my clients might find out who I really was - a single Mum and all the stigma that goes with it. In fact, anxiety became my middle name. If anyone asked during a session what my husband did for a living, I would flat out lie to avoid the truth. I was scared and I was hiding behind work that was pretty but it was safe. I was controlling the image I was putting out into the world. In some respects even rebranding under Lark + Bear was me hiding behind a name as well. My life was turmoil and so far from conventional. I felt like a complete hack photographing what I perceived to be perfect families. I never felt enough. Fear drove everything I put out into the world. My work was safe, by the book and honestly, pretty damn boring.
In early 2015 I met a human being who would change my world. Yan, a photographer, made me dig deep during a workshop over the course of a weekend. She took a look at my portfolio of client work, commenting that it was technically great and really pretty, but when she looked at my personal work of Archie she saw something else. When I was photographing my own world at home I wasn't afraid to break the rules. There was grain, there was grit and most importantly there was soul and truth. The gap between the two was ENORMOUS, She asked me what on earth was going on for there to be such a huge difference. Why wasn't I afraid to break the rules at home, but when I was getting paid by clients I played it so safe? Where on earth was the story of the single Mumma who is getting.shit.done for herself and her baby. Where is the pride in that? Where is the honesty? Why was I hiding?
And so I set about injecting my entire soul and my truth into my business, into my brand and into my photographs. All of them - the client work and my personal work. Being vulnerable was scary, but amazing things began to happen.
Life: Unmade was created to represent everything I was about. Everything I wanted people to know I was. My story was OUT and sharing my truth was the most fulfilling (and terrifying) thing I had ever done. It meant I could inject myself into every aspect of my work and be proud of who I was and where I had come from. Creating photographs without fear led to a huge shift in my work, in my relationships with my clients and in my personal life. I started breaking the rules, saying what I wanted to say, being honest about how messy and hard life could be. Then an incredible thing happened. I started attracting people; clients and fellow photographers, who connected with what I had to share. They saw something in my words and my images. It resonated and it felt good to be bouncing that honesty around. My tribe was forming and as a result of being surrounded with so many like minded people, being myself, wholly myself, became as easy as breathing.
Life: Unmade salutes the mess of life; the imperfect relationships, and the beautifully chaotic and different. I work with those who are brave enough to just be themselves and not feel like they need to project an image of perfection to the world. It is the core of my business whether I am photographing people or teaching photographers. It is everything I am and everything I believe in.
I don't hide anymore. I don't need to. In mid 2017 I rebranded again to Amy Rushbrook. Just Amy Rushbrook. Exactly as I am, ready to show up, unafraid to just be me.
I own my story. I own the fact that this road I have travelled so far has been real, hard and raw, but it's also been exactly what it was supposed to be. The universe, God, Buddha or what/whoever you choose to call it well and truly has my back. I am proud of my accomplishments. I credit my drive to get shit done and make things happen to my resilience and good old trust that things always happen exactly as they are meant to. I'm proud of how hard I have worked to make the life I have for myself and my family. I refuse to to be pulled into the pressures of social media to present a perfect life. I'm keeping it real up in here every single day and that's something my clients LOVE about me and what I do for them.
I live well, and I credit that to living a life where I say yes often and take risks on the regular. I seek truth, beauty and I'm determined to live boldly. Archie and I are joined by my beautiful, bearded lover man and his two gorgeous children and together we embrace our perfectly imperfect, chaotic, blended family.
Living my truth has led me to create and work within my dream job where I get to take photographs, teach, travel often, work with incredible people and I get to just be me. An that is enough. I am enough.
Want to be part of Life: Unmade?
Contact me to book a session
Sign up for photography mentoring or workshops
Join me as I teach at conferences at home and overseas