A local photographer with passion and compassion
Listen to Gemma talk about her life story, how events in her life have shaped her and how she has evolved into such a creative and compassionate member of our local community.
Gemma talks about her childhood, split between the USA and the UK, typical of many Forces families. Her reminiscences about her father’s passion for photography meant that cameras were always part of her life and that she appreciated the importance of photographs as a means of capturing precious moments from an early age.
Gemma modelled during her ‘Gap Year’ and had some amazing experiences travelling around the world solo, inspiring her thirst for adventure in later life. Then University beckoned; a multi-media course in the pre-internet days, spending hours on coding that wasn’t her greatest love! During this time she met her husband and got engaged very quickly, keen to finish her final year and move to Salisbury and get married in 1999.
It was a busy year – she graduated from University, got married, renovated their first married home and set up a web development business with her new husband. This was when her particular interest in photography really began to emerge, a great outlet for her creativity and something she could do in tandem when she became a mother and needed to work flexibly.
The power of mum’s networks took off and Gemma’s photography skills were recognised. In 2010 she exhibited at a parenting fair and her popularity snowballed. Photographing children is her passion (and she is too modest to say it’s her skill too!) as well as photographing women in a ‘boudoir’ style. She uses her skills to tackle the chronic self-doubt women suffer and finds the renewed confidence and self-esteem in the women she photographs. Gemma has been nominated for and received several photography awards but there are two main local projects that cemented her into the impressive list of inspirational women of Salisbury:
Children of Salisbury – Life After Lockdown a portrait project recording how 112 local children adapted and blossomed during Covid, in contrast to the huge amount of publicity around the negative impact of lockdowns. Their photographs and stories are in a limited edition book that raised £5,000 for local charities. One of those pictures was shortlisted from 167,000 submissions for a Sony World Photography Award.
Women with a breast cancer diagnosis – recognising that women recovering from breast cancer often undergo brutal disfiguring treatment, Gemma photographs women in an intimate portraiture style to help restore their sense of self image and femininity during a vulnerable time. This won the public vote in 2013 at the Women Inspiring Women Awards – an affirmation that Gemma was doing something really good and compassionate.