Coming together initiates ideas and working together conquers change. The 15th February 2022 saw talented photographer, Jade Emily, partner up with the Editor-in-Chief of Femme Country Magazine, Brontë Clare Mitchell, to create a day that showcased the imperative relationship between the camera and our determined personalities. This montage debuts eleven powerful ladies, each with a fervour to put their own footprint
on the country world.
I think being comfortable in one’s skin is the most attractive quality a girl can have.’ Working inside the magazine industry, I’ve seen and collaborated with so many unique
photographers each with their own style and creative motives but, something felt very different when Jade Emily first sat down to speak with me one Monday morning in January. Having used her photography within our Autumn Issue in 2021, I knew of her desire to further introduce her work inside the Femme Country Magazine publication, but my initial prediction of a small advert quickly turned into something much more life changing. ‘I want to create a photoshoot that is bathed with female resilience and strength and a day that aims to highlight the imperative connection between the camera and the personality of each woman.’ Jade’s first pitch and I was hooked.
After ten years in the corporate world of Human Resources, Jade took a leap of faith to spend time focusing on something that filled her heart and soul with passion. In September 2021, just seven months after acquiring her first camera, Jade set up ‘Jade Emily Photography’ and began working with brands that she loved and people she felt truly aligned with. When looking into the world of photoshoots, she noticed that there was an absence in direction and guidance for the girls who wanted advice on how to put themselves in front of the camera. ‘I really felt that we were missing a space for photoshoots designed to make women feel powerful and confident. Not just in the way that they looked, but in the way that they felt through a lens that would highlight their independence.’
Whilst the camera functions to capture and secure memories in a permeant frame, the idea of having our photograph taken still poses a great anxiety to many. Taking a photograph may seem simple, from our choice of clothing, to the location, to the moment the photo is uploaded, it all seems easy, right? But not all of us gain a sensation of fulfilment when sharing a photo. Watching the luminous flash and hearing the consistent click often makes us hyper-analyse every aspect of our bodies and drives us to compare ourselves to the endlessly uploaded pictures on social media.
With a strong mindset and an appetite to create change within the photoshoot industry, Jade pitched ‘The Countryside Collaborations’ event to me and together we set to create a day where the concept of extreme high-end beauty is removed, and the foundation of the photography is built on the charisma and story of each woman. ‘I love to work with people that I feel align with my values as a photographer,’ explained Jade. ‘Femme Country Magazine is such a powerful advocate for women in the country and as a reader myself, I found the publication created a platform for women to share their stories and enable them to contemplate, create and conquer. Sitting down with Brontë, I felt instantly drawn into her ambition as a female founder but also her campaign to make each reader feel as confident as the female faces staring back at them. She immediately knew what I wanted to achieve with ‘The Countryside Collaboration’ days and how to make it a reality.’
On the 15th February 2022, ‘The Country Collaborations’ event saw me and Jade alongside eleven women, two stylists, one make-up artist, one speaker, ten brands and a variety of prop stylists head to Birdsall House in Malton, North Yorkshire. The day began with an
introduction from each girl and an insight into their desire to attend. For Jade, understanding each girl and their story was the most important thing before even picking up her camera. ‘It was imperative to me that a space needed to be created at the start of photoshoots for women to take their insecurities and use them as a driving mechanism to share empathy, connection and encouragement with one another.’ By creating a safe circle for each girl to be able voice, not only their achievements, but also their vulnerabilities, they became a part of a truly powerful collective. ‘I know that if we create a safe environment for women to be able to talk about the things that they find difficult, then this will drive relation and conversation’ says Jade. ‘For me the goal of a photoshoot isn’t just revealing the final images, whilst they are an
amazing biproduct, the main thing for any model is that they come away feeling achieved and wholesome. Having that time at the beginning of the shoot was the most important part of the day as it gave me an insight into each girl’s personalities and how I would drive that into their final photos.’
The girls were then joined by Jessica Avey, an established Limiting Belief Coach and founder of the ‘Heal to Reveal’ membership. As a single Mum who runs her own business, Jessica offered the girls an insight into empowering limitless beliefs and discussed her own development journey that brought her into a career as a neuro-linguistic programming practitioner. Opening the girls up to the idea of how journaling prompts self-love, she acknowledged that we are all allowed to have mindset changes, set backs and down days. ‘We are forever changing, don’t keep your vulnerabilities as a resistance but rather use them as breakthrough moments.’
This most splendid, embellished 16th century home had been warmed with the modernity and presence of each personality. Watching girls collaborate in their own photos, sharing stories sat on the grand piano and encouraging one another from behind Jade’s camera was such a beautiful thing. Everybody was given permission to be themselves and whilst matters such as the props and location were pre-planned, each girl showcased spontaneous fortitude and self-esteem, bouncing off the energy that Jade exercised at the click of each shot. ‘As a photographer, I see people completely different to how they would see themselves. Everybody is unique and everybody has something different to bring to the camera. As a photographer if you connect with the person and you really get to understand them, you have the ability to ignite their personality into any photo.’ This was further embodied in their
wardrobe. For all it was a chance to wear new products and interact with upcoming brands, which allowed everyone to embrace their own style and even discover a new one.
As the sunlight started to withdraw from the sky and the products returned to their packaging, everyone sat down to reflect on their contrast of feelings from their arrival to their final photo captured. ‘I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, but Jade put me at ease and made it such an enjoyable experience’ recalled Chelsea King. ‘I started the day feeling nervous, but Jade made me feel so relaxed, empowered and confident and I cannot wait to do another shoot with this talented, gorgeous lady’ smiled Cara Wilson. ‘From the minute I stumbled into the venue, hair bobby pinned with curls, Jade and Brontë made me feel not only welcomed but as though they had been waiting just for me. Jade carried this energy throughout the day, making each person feel beautiful, special and worthy of being in front of the camera. Her dance moves made me feel as though I was born to be in front of the camera!’ said Jemma Bowens.
Jade has now opened up membership for the official ‘Countryside Collaboration’ days whereby ladies will receive monthly calls, classes and collective advice in the lead up to a quarterly photoshoot run seasonally throughout the year. ‘I want to change the stereotype that has pushed women to analyse themselves negatively and compare themselves to others through photography. Maintaining a strong connection and establishing internal self-love are fundamental ideals which sit at the heart of this membership. I want women to feel they have conquered courage before they have even stepped onto the photoshoot.’ These shoots are an opportunity to take time out for yourself and celebrate your love for fashion and photography with likeminded women who want to push themselves beyond their comfort zone. For those reading and thinking that they would love to get involved but may be needing the confidence boost to sign up, here is Jade’s advice; ‘It really isn’t as simple as telling someone you sign up. For any girl out there, who wants to get involved in the Countryside Collaboration membership but fears that they lack confidence or familiarity behind the camera, please do reach out to me. Whatever you feel is holding you back, send that to me in a message and we’ll talk! Acknowledging our fears is just as important as knowing what makes us happy. Recognising and sharing our vulnerabilities ignites an energy of confidence and through this we have the ability to comfort others and spark conversation.’
It is this ethos that bridges the connection between model and photographer.