I had the idea of writing this blog about my first year at JAM, but the Summer has just run away with us so it is a bit (a lot) later than anticipated but here it is…
As i’m jumping about, pulling faces behind the camera and chasing kids around the woods (or wherever we ended up that day), parents often ask how I came to be here and what I did before. After reaching the end of my patience with a pretty awful office job, I made the decision to walk away deciding that I needed something more. After a jobless and panicky few days, having considered returning to vet nursing, I then stumbled upon Jules’ advert for an assistant.
I have known Jules all my life, our families grew up together, but we hadn’t been in touch for many, many years (probably more like decades) and she didn’t quite manage to hide the shock in her voice when I rang her up and asked for a job. I came to the studio for a chat and it was clear neither of us knew what to expect from each other (mostly because Jules got confused and was expecting my sister) so we decided the best way to see if this would work was for me to jump straight in and so that same night, we headed out to Holmfirth for my very first shoot.
It has been a super steep learning curve because at that point, I knew exactly ZERO about photography and had never even been on a photo shoot but I must have done something right as a year later, I’m still here… And what a year it has been!
In this time Jules has become a really special part of my life, I often joke about her just being my boss but she is a great friend and I have definitely been adopted into the Mosley family. And through this last year, one of the biggest years of my life, she has been by my side through it all.
I was quite open with Jules when I started about how little I knew about photography and business but her trust and faith in me has been incredible and I am so so grateful. I have learnt about things that I didn’t even know existed. Who knew I could write a website? Or more shockingly make something “crafty” – I definitely had never used a Stanley knife before in my life! I am now also a master of transporting, building and dismantling beds – I’ve done this in the studio, in the woods, in the cotton fields. That bed is better travelled than me!! And when Jules asks for input or advice, and then actually takes my opinions on board, well, that just blows my mind!
I had seen Jules’ work before but had never considered how much actually goes into creating the images she does.. Dreaming up, designing and building our sessions is one of the best parts of my job.
My first Creative Works session was brilliant! I had so much fun and I can remember thinking how lucky I was to have a job like this.. We walked through the Rivelin Valley and found the perfect spot, bang in the middle of the river!!! We had taken a little boat complete with homemade sail, fishing rods and (carrot) goldfish and set it all up ready for the Swindin boys to jump in. And jump in they did, and jump out! I’ve never been much of an action girl but I certainly threw a few dives that day – once to save an overboard teddy bear, another to save a goldfish the boys had managed to catch. I’m sure J & J were doing it on purpose! Haha.. It was a brilliant day and I was absolutely shattered, even getting the camera bag home was too much at the end of that session!
I’d love to say that losing that goldfish was the only close call we’ve had but I will forever be traumatised by our discovery that bulls don’t like balloons.. Luckily it was Jules’ girls (we’re more careful with other peoples kids) that were sat all pretty on a dry stone wall with their giant purple balloon, they were shouting to us about the cows that were coming to say hello. Out of view from us we pacified the kids and told them not to worry. Only when Georgie was getting more and more excited did I decide to look over the wall to see what the fuss was about and I caught sight of the bull bucking and charging, only 20 feet away from the kids. I grabbed Gabs and told Georgie to run as fast as she could. I turned to run too only to see Jules had already made her escape and was already safely on the other side of the gate. I think I need to start adding danger money to monthly invoice!! We have been much more careful around cattle since that day and have since discovered that sheep have a strange reaction to balloons too!
Jules has some crazy ideas and I can normally tell if she’s serious but when she told me that WE were entering the half marathon, I definitely thought she was joking – I had never even run for a bus before. But no, this actually happened! For months we were out training at all hours, early and late and in all kinds of weather conditions (mostly snow). It started with learning how to run for 1 and 2 minutes at a time – I really was that much of a beginner! We had so much support from the JAM family and we were so proud to raise every penny of the £1100 we donated to the Sheffield Childrens Hospital Charity. Unfortunately, with only a matter of days to go, Jules had to forfeit her place due to injury. She was devastated, and so was I – the thought of running the race was terrifying, but without her?? That was unthinkable.. But she was there to support me with the girls as I made my way up Ecclesall Road and on my way back down the hill, she was there waiting for me to hold my hand as she ran the last 2 miles with me. I could never have dreamed that it was possible, but because of Jules, and JAM, it was!
I have met so many other fantastic people over the last year too – one thing I didn’t expect was to be so accepted into so many peoples families. In the short time I get to spend with families we manage to create a really special bond, it’s quite an intimate time. Only this last weekend I bumped into one our families in Tesco and it was really great catching up with the little boy that I was lucky enough to spend time with on one of our Bridal portrait sessions, we got to be quite mischievous together so we got on really well. Through the magic of Facebook and other social media, I get to see more of our kids growing up and going about their daily lives and when they come back to visit JAM for a second and third time, it really is so special and heartwarming seeing them more grown up than the last time and developing more and more into their characters.
But JAM isn’t all about kids – one of the best relationships I have built over the last year is with the brilliant Manuel Orsi. We did a lot of work with Manny rebranding his personal training business, building him a new website with loads of amazing images (all skills that are brand new to me) and I was totally inspired. I have been working with Manny since I ran the half marathon in April and he has taken my fitness and strength to new levels and I simply can’t wait to see what else I can achieve with the help of this man.
I’m often caught in the photos – sometimes I just haven’t run out of shot quick enough and sometimes i’m doing something particularly unflattering or funny so Jules thinks it hilarious to capture it. Jules often reminds me of some of these photo’s, mostly whilst she’s laughing at me but sometimes just to encourage me and remind me of the journey I have taken over the last year. I have grown and learnt so much but thanks to Jules’ support (and introduction to Manny), I have undergone a bit of a transformation too.
I turned 30 this summer. Jules made sure my birthday had an injection of JAM Magic – she helped me find a venue for my birthday party, made sure I looked my best and was there to help me celebrate and dance the night away. As I was making a speech at my party, I realised how much fun my 29th year had been and how much I was looking forward to my 30th. Far from the cries of a million phones ringing and being shouted at by horrid customers, I now spend my days entertaining kids, drinking lots of coffee, running from wild animals and generally having a great time!
My life has completely changed in this last year – I turned 30, moved into my own place, I ran the Sheffield Half Marathon. But more than anything, I get up every morning excited to find out how the day will unfold.
JAM really has made my life ‘that little bit more fabulous”.