This time last year, I had just quit my job.
I had been back from maternity leave for just six months and the combination of working nights and trying to look after two small children during the day had me running close to a burnout.
I was permanently exhausted, often ill and, unsurprisingly, not quite able to keep up with the demands of my job as a journalist. More importantly, I felt I was failing in my role as a mother.
My little boy was falling further and further behind in his development, it was becoming increasingly clear he needed more support than I was able to give him. My baby girl seemed to be growing and changing daily, I felt I was missing out on so much by not being fully present or able to devote enough time to them.
In the end, leaving work was a massive relief, but while I revelled in my ability to leave the stress behind and throw myself into being with my children, I found I missed having the opportunity to use my brain for something not child-related.
Photographing my every day
I had long enjoyed photographing friends and family and had devoted a lot of time learning everything I could about this amazing craft. I loved picking up my camera and celebrating the daily trials and triumphs of our ordinary routine.
A group of friends convinced me I could start a photography business and (admittedly, having very little idea about quite what I was getting into) I realised that being able to indulge in my passion in a part-time business might be exactly what I needed to keep motivated through the 'hard' days that inevitably come with being a mother.
I was completely hooked from very first photoshoot. I absolutely adored everything about meeting new people and helping capture their stories on camera, making meaningful memories for them to appreciate for years to come.
My 'right now'
In the course of last year, my little guy was eventually diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. It was a relief to finally understand why he had such difficulty communicating and dealing with the world around him.
At the diagnosis appointment our doctor urged us to try and accept Logan for who he is and not seek out ways to make him 'better'. I know she was simply trying to explain that Autism isn't a disease that can be cured, but I was I was heartbroken that anyone would think our love for our child would be somehow diminished just because his brain was wired differently.
The past year has been a huge learning curve, both professionally and personally.
To my surprise, I've thrived on every minute of it and my personal photography has taken on a whole new meaning: Every time I pick up my camera, I'm not just trying to capture milestone moments, I also want both of my children to know how I see them, to know that they are unique, wanted, loved.
And I want that for you, the families I photograph too. Mums and Dads, I love the way you look at your children, I can see just how much you adore them. And absolutely no one looks at you the way your children do. The love, the joy and those tight ‘I love you so much I could burst’ hugs and cuddles are uniquely yours.
Your memories matter to me
When I pick up my camera to photograph your families, I am very conscious that I am creating a lifelong record of memories which are going to be precious to your children in years to come.
And for you as well. Whether you work, or stay at home, are doing it all on your own or have tons of support, whether there are just two or ten in your family, you are the heart and centre of that very special family unit. You are necessary, irreplaceable and very loved by those little people you have made.
My name is Kirsty Hamilton, I am a Lifestyle Family Photographer and I aim to do for your family the very same thing I do for mine, every single time I pick up my camera: revel in the wonderful, unique and sometimes crazy chaos that is everyday life, I want to celebrate you, just as you are, right now.