Starting a personal photography project was something that I had wanted to do for a while but I couldn’t quite find the ‘right’ project for me. Until now. The aim of this project was to enable me to get out there and meet people while practising my portrait photography skills. Little did I know that the women involved in the project were going to blow me away with their sheer brilliance at being human. The women photographed did not ask to be involved or put themselves forward, they were nominated by their friend/ sister/ colleague to take part. And I am so glad that they said yes.

From the minute I met my first subject, Jean, I realised that this project was to become far more than about the photographs to me. It was all about the stories we collect through our lives. Every one of these women had a story to tell, as we all do, and I was enthralled by all of them.

The one thing that connects these women is passion. When they talk about what is important to them the passion radiates out of them whether that be birth, belief, chocolate, community or fire walking.

I hope you enjoy seeing these pictures. More in-depth stories will follow on the blog as the project develops. Hover over each picture to find out who they are…

Pam experienced a change of career path after being a teacher and bringing up her three lovely children. Having always had a strong faith, around ten years ago Pam felt a calling from God and became an assistant priest in her local parish. She is a central figure in her community and as we shared a cup of tea Pam told me about her journey.

Leanne works with parents to enable them to have a positive birth experience. She has opened up her home to teach hypnobirthing to mothers-to-be. With Leanne’s support more mothers feel empowered to make their own decisions during their birthing journey.

From this very kitchen table she has organised events that have raised over £70 000 for @macmillancancer and she’s not stopping yet. Next year will be 10 years since her first bacon butty breakfast held at her home (for the last 5 years it has grown so much it is held in the school canteen) and she is aiming to crack the £100k mark! Inspired by her Mum who died from cancer eight years ago and was cared for by Macmillan nurses Fiona has created a true legacy in her memory. Every year she is supported by a team of friends and family and the local community. She is a true inspiration to us all. And an amazing friend too with her kind and generous soul.

Jean has lived with a lung disease for thirty years but after an episode of life-threatening illness she has found enlightenment and lives her life to the full with thanks every day.

Sue has such a warm smile which reflects her kind soul. Her energy is endless as she runs Together 100 from this container unit known as the donation station. Every donation is sorted by Sue and her Duke of Edinburgh volunteers every week and is destined for refugees in Europe. Sue is also a wonderful photographer, works at the very inspiring Electric Umbrella charity and is mother to her two girls.

Since moving to Leighton Buzzard twelve years ago I have always enjoyed going to Room No9- a gorgeous cafe and shop on our high street. Caroline is the owner of this lovely place which has become a hub for the community with her ‘regulars’ in the cafe. Although she may not like to shout about it Caroline is also an amazing fundraiser of The Arts Festival at Mentmore raising money for many charities.

I’m not sure that words can convey how amazing this woman is. Charlotte is currently in her fifth pregnancy as a surrogate mother. With the incredible support of her daughter and husband, as well as her extended family and friends, Charlotte has enabled four couples experiencing infertility to have a baby and create the family they have dreamed of. For one couple she had two babies and twins for another. This wonderful woman spoke so passionately about surrogacy and I had the privilege of meeting the couple who are parents of her current pregnancy to hear their story too.

Helen has always supported families with child care and today she uses homeopathy and reiki to provide healing to those in pain. Helen also loves to fire walk.

This mother/daughter duo have created a unique chocolate company with ethical values at it’s heart. Employing a team of women in this thriving company, Lucy and Andrea know how to have fun while they do it!

Vivianne is a passionate supporter of local business and established Tring Together to create a local network. She and a small team also plan and run the town carnival and major events in the town creating a sense of community for those who live there.

This is an ongoing project. If you would like to nominate a woman you know please do get in touch.