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Behind the Lens: Willow And Finch Photography

cake maternity

By Cake Maternity

May 01, 2024

The early days of motherhood are a whirlwind of emotions – a beautiful, messy, transformative experience.  But amidst the sleepless nights and endless cuddles, a hidden pressure can creep in – the pressure to look “perfect” as portrayed on social media.

Today, we have the privilege of chatting with Monique from Willow and Finch Photography, a photographer who shatters that illusion. Monique isn’t just a mum of two; she’s an accomplished artist who captures motherhood in all its raw, glorious authenticity.

Get ready to be uplifted and inspired. We’ll explore how Monique’s own motherhood journey ignited a passion to showcase the real, unfiltered beauty of mothers. We’ll delve into the challenges of social media’s unrealistic expectations and how Monique’s work empowers mums to embrace their bodies and rediscover their strength, one photograph at a time.

family of 4

Tell us a little about yourself and your family.

I’m a lucky mum of 2 baby girls, Willow is almost 3 and Isla is almost 1. My partner Josh also runs his own business in health and fitness so going to the gym and cooking yummy food is a staple in our household. It’s been a dream of mine to become a mum and working my job means I get to be a mum but also do what my soul loves which is photography. When I became a mum I lost myself there for a little bit but found working I had my identity and I could be creative and express myself through my work.

How long have you been a photographer?

Literally forever! Around 10 years professional. I’ve had my business for almost 7 years and before this I was a childcare photographer and worked in childcare. I have wanted to be a photographer my entire life. Got my first camera when I was very young.

raw motherhood photography

You work across a few different genres of photography. Tell us a bit more about them! Do you have a favourite?

I do! I have ADHD so I find working in all genres keeps it exciting. I love everything for different reasons but since becoming a mum my heart lies in shooting anything motherhood. I know how important it is to document my own motherhood journey so I get excited to be invited to photograph someone else’s.

“I really love shooting births also, just being in that energy and seeing new life being brought in the world is the most indescribable feeling.”

How does being a mum help you with your work?

It helps so much! I’ve learnt so much about myself and my strength being a mum. I feel I can document tiny moments that I wouldn’t have noticed when I wasn’t a mum. Like the way a baby holds their mum’s hair while feeding, or pinching their chest, kicking their little feet and just all the in between moments that create the story of your journey.

natural raw motherhood photography

What is your favourite part of your job?

Have you got all day? Haha. There’s a few things but if I had to nail it down, it’s when I shoot mums and they voice to me they aren’t feeling themselves or beautiful and they don’t want to be in any photos. Once I send galleries the BIG beautiful messages I receive because they can’t believe that’s them. My brand is very natural and raw and I DO NOT Photoshop anything.

“I want to show women they are still beautiful and sexy in their new bodies and seeing my work give women new found confidence lights me up inside.”

You’ve done some incredibly raw shoots in your time. How do you decompress after an emotional or big day?

This can be really difficult sometimes because as soon as I’m home my mum hat needs to be on. I’m also currently still breastfeeding my 11 month old full time (she won’t take a bottle) so that’s very time demanding. The gym is a special place for me because it’s where I can decompress and process big emotions from work. My partner is also very supportive and amazing and has a background in psychology and support work so he is my safe place.

group motherhood shoot

What inspired you to start doing your group motherhood shoots?

Definitely being mum and feeling how lonely it can be at times and how important it is to find your tribe. To find women who are walking in your shoes, you need someone to call when you have had the worst day in the world, someone who will listen and validate what you’re feeling.

“My favorite part about my group motherhood shoots is seeing these women that have never met come together to support each other and lift each other up. And to then see the friendships that are formed after the shoot.”

Our favourite aspect of these shoots is highlighting how beautifully diverse mothers are. How has your own relationship with your body changed throughout your motherhood journey?

It’s been a rollercoaster for me. I’m 27kg heavier than I was before I had my first daughter almost 3 years ago. I’ve documented my body the entire time and being a part of a group motherhood shoot gave me so much more love and confidence in my body. Unfortunately we live in a world full of social media and Photoshopped bodies that we are overwhelmed with unrealistic expectations of what a woman’s body “should” look like after giving birth. That’s why I take so much pride in my work and shoot so raw and real because I want people’s newsfeeds to be flooded with real beauty. My work and page is always a safe space for women.

Where can people find more of your work?

I’m on all the socials but very active with my current work on instagram @willowandfinchphotography.

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