This month is such a big month for many people around the world. I love Christmas. I love the crazy-fun-chaos of the silly season. But bubbling up from my big internal world (or just too much pizza?), I’ve kept feeling the statement ‘Keeping it real’ as the theme for this December Issue.
Since Little Hutt is about Hutt peoples’ stories and glories, and for this special Christmas Issue, I’ve asked several people from the Hutt City what ‘Keeping it real’ means to them.
Below is Monica Ferguson’s response…
Meet: Monica Ferguson
Tell us a little bit about yourself. What inspired to pursue the path you’ve taken?
‘I love how Steve Jobs said, ‘You can’t connect the dots looking forward,’ because that is so fitting for me. I never could have seen myself as a Business Owner, a Photographer, an Entrepreneur.
One thing that has been a constant is my love for people. I worked as a Mental Health Support Worker for 5 years, and it was one of my clients who introduced me to photography. The moment I held that camera in my hands for the first time, it felt like an extension of me and it turned on a switch that isn’t coming off.
I studied Photography for a year, and it was during my course that I started to understand the power of photographs. I learned that I could really affect people, and so I made it my mission to use that ability for good. I wanted to help people see themselves clearly for the first time.
Photography is completely subjective and is all about perception, so what you see and feel in my photographs is what I felt and saw when I took them.
I see people as powerful, beautiful, kind, talented and amazing, and I seek to capture that inner beauty, pull it out of people, and reflect it back to them. It is a very powerful exercise to see yourself from someone else’s perspective.
Another massive inspiration for me is my little brother who passed away suddenly ten years ago. Losing someone so suddenly and without warning is not something that you are prepared for, and years later as I was able to look at all the photographs of him, I realised how fortunate we were to have so many photographs. As I talked to people, I was horrified to realise that so many people hate being photographed so much that they were going decades without taking any photographs at all. After my experience, I wanted to create an experience for people that was really fun where they felt confident and safe, and would then hopefully create some memories.’
What does ‘Keeping it real’ mean to you?
‘It means to be authentic. It means to be vulnerable, and transparent. I feel like in the world of social media everyone is putting on a big show for everyone else, but it’s not real.
Keeping it real is something that must start with us, where we learn who we are and what our value is internally rather than seeking validation and approval from everyone else.
It is then that you can truly step into your power, and have the courage to go after what you truly want.’
Tell us about what you do: free time & at work…
‘It all blurs into one! Being a Photographer and running my business has become an enormous part of my life because it is also a passion. I love music though (I sing), I am a movie marathon champion and I love going to the sea. At the moment I am focused on really taking care of myself in every sense so that feels really nice to slow down and put myself first.’
*Monica’s photo is courtesy of Tracey Leanne Photography*