Eliza's Portrait Session
"These photos are truly amazing Elodie and they have truly unearthed a new found confidence. I will always be grateful to you."
I met Eliza through one of the many fundraising events she organised for the Royal Papworth charity. 9 months before she got in touch, Eliza had been admitted to Royal Papworth Hospital due to severe heart failure, and 2 months later she had undergone a Heart Transplant. Since being admitted to hospital, Eliza had set up a Fundraising Campaign to support Papworth’s DCD Appeal and she had raised an incredible £15,000 already (see more on this at the bottom of this post).
Eliza's story and commitment to her fundraising efforts whilst in recovery really touched me, and I wanted her story, her transformation and her strength to be celebrated and captured in photographs.
Fast forward a couple of months, we'd arranged Eliza's portrait session in my Cambridge portrait studio at the time of her final biopsy appointment, also marking the 1-year anniversary of her Heart Transplant.
Spending the day with her, witnessing her gratitude and optimism, hearing more about her journey, and seeing her push her boundaries and blossom in front of my camera was an incredible source of inspiration for me. I couldn't be more honoured to have created with her this timeless reminder of this moment in her life.
Eliza tells us more about her experience below.
Tell us a little about where you are in your life right now
"Currently I am a year post Heart transplant. Before my Transplant in February 2019 I had to live in Hospital waiting for a Heart on Urgent waiting list. Before this I was stuck at home in severe heart failure. This year has been about building confidence and learning how to be me again."
Do you usually like having your photos taken?
"I like the idea of having my photo taken but have always been too scared to go in front of the camera. I am usually the person who takes good photos of everyone else so I have quite high expectations from photographs. Since having my Heart Transplant I have been very conscious of my face. Due to various medications for long periods of time my face has appeared swollen. This had really affected my confidence and looked even more emphasised in photos. This meant I had not really taken any photos of myself for the past year.
How did you feel about your photoshoot?
"Before the shoot I was really excited as I already loved the look and style of Elodie's work. However, because of my lack of confidence post transplant I still wasn't very optimistic she would be able to take photos of me with out me seeing my 'oversized face'. I didn't think anyone could make me look photographable! But boy, Elodie proved me wrong! We tried out lots of different photography styles to see what I preferred and Elodie gave me so many useful tips on how to pose for the camera. It was such a fun day which flew by. By the end of the day I was exhausted but so elated that I would be seeing the results of what me and Elodie had been working on for the day.
What surprised you most about the experience?
"I was surprised how quickly I got comfortable in my surroundings. At first I was a bit tedious and felt a little awkward as I had never been the focus of a camera to such an intensity. With the help of Elodie who was always giving me tips and tricks I soon got the hang of what pose looked and felt right. Eventually, I was the one directing the shoots and the poses which really made me feel like I was as much as in charge of the creativity as Elodie. It really made me feel more empowered and confident by the end of the shoot!"
What is your favourite photo, and how does it make you feel?
"My favourite photo would be the B&W photo of me showing my scar whilst looking down. There's a softness to this photo which exposes a different side to me. It also celebrates my scar, my donor and what I have achieved so far in such a small amount of time."
What would you say to others considering a Portrait session?
"Whatever the reason it is for being photographed, Elodie will capture you perfectly. She understands everyone is different and shows this through her photography. Elodie is a major advocate for empowering the people she photographs and just wants to make her subjects feel beautiful. All photographers should be more like Elodie!"
Eliza is continuing her fundraising for the DCD (Donation after Circulatory Death) Appeal, who raises funds for a new form of organ transportation that reanimates and gives the heart more longevity when time is of the essence - it has helped to increase heart transplants by 47% at Papworth alone. To support her, head over to her justgiving page.
Interested in having your own portrait photoshoot? Whether you would like to celebrate a big milestone, or just the here and now check my portrait page for more information or schedule your free consultation to find out more.