Sophie & Alex [Bangalow, NSW]

‘My atoms love your atoms, it’s chemistry’ Atticus

Photography only started out for me as a career because I was a 17 year old hippie that really couldn't think of anything else to do. I had been on one of our regular trips to the Valley markets and remember being really drawn to some black and white wildlife photographs, but it wasn't a 'this is my calling in life' moment. I went on to study photography and dabbled here and there at it for an income for many years. It wasn't until I was drowning in grief did I realise that photography was as vital to me as any of my organs. My dad died on a Thursday and I had to photograph a wedding two days later. I had to dig deep. Really deep. One of my best friends came to make sure I didn't crumble. I cried the whole way there and the whole way home. I felt so weak as my body had barely been nourished in those few days. But I did it. I photographed that wedding differently to how I had ever photographed before. I had recently been stirred to evolve, but didn't know how to take the steps. Grief had forced my hand. You see even in all consuming grief there is beauty. So photography isn't just a job I do to contribute towards feeding the three little humans in our house. Its an amazing journey where I get to walk alongside other people. Two words keep popping up into my head when I think of the essence of what I am trying to document when photographing people. Bare bones. I want to see the core of who people are. Yes, photography is also about beautiful artwork, but more importantly its about documenting raw and honest love. When people show me their bare bones I do everything I can to handle it with the upmost of respect and care. I know how vulnerable it can make you feel. But I think we are led to believe that vulnerability is a dirty word and that it makes us weak. But I think it makes us real. It helps us to see each other for who we really are. It helps us to heal. Photographing Sophie & Alex's wedding in Bangalow was such a unique and intimate experience. The two speeches by both of their dads had a profound effect on me. As I know it did for everyone else sitting in that room too. They spoke with such conviction as they shared secrets and stories. There were sounds of sobbing as they spoke of loved ones recently lost. But even with the gapping wounds visible for all to see, what followed was courage and love and laughter and commitment to moving forward together. Thank you Sophie and Al. Thank you for letting me see your bare bones xx

Miriam Ackroyd