In the hushed corridors of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), something extraordinary unfolded – a project that I had the privilege of leading, armed with my camera and a vision. It was about capturing the essence of women who are breaking new ground in data and tech within the MoD.

I was fortunate enough to meet Caroline Bellamy, Chief Data Officer at the MoD, who had experienced first-hand the impact of my photography during the Women in Data awards. Inspired by her experiences, Caroline saw an opportunity to challenge the status quo within the MoD, to shine a light on the remarkable women in data and tech, and to redefine the stereotype-riddled narrative that often surrounds them.

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The challenge was real and resonant. Persuading these high-ranking women to step away from the rigid, conventional military portraits and into something more revealing and personal was a challenge, but the payoff was immense. But the transformation that followed was remarkable, both for the women and for me. The project became a platform for these women to see themselves, perhaps for the first time, in a new and empowering light.

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Tears of joy, deep, liberating connections, and immense respect for these powerful women turned the project into an emotional rollercoaster. I don’t think I’ve ever been so emotionally connected to a project.

We aimed to create two contrasting portraits for each woman. One formal and close-up, encapsulating their professional persona, and the other relaxed, showcasing their off-duty selves. The contrast was striking, presenting a different narrative to the conventional military image.

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This project has been a wonderful stepping stone, as I now prepare for an upcoming project, capturing portraits of female presidents and prime ministers. It’s a continuation of my commitment to breaking stereotypes and uplifting women globally.

Projects like this are not just about capturing images; they are about changing narratives and shattering stereotypes. The goal is to transform perceptions about women, replacing dated traditions with a new, genuine depiction of women who feel safe, respected, and valued. Through these projects, we hope to inspire change and continue to celebrate the incredible achievements of women globally.

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New York and London Photography Prize Winner 2021/2022

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