One of her many creative arms is her Self Love Project, where Ella provides a safe space for women to express themselves through both one-on-one personalised nude/semi nude shoots and larger group shoots. Her shoots are all about encouraging self love and acceptance, with the intention for women to walk away feeling a deeper connection to themselves.
Here Ella takes the time to talk to us about her Self Love Project, and gives us an insight into the woman behind the camera.
To find out more about Ella and her meaningful work head to her website.
What is your full name and star sign?
Ellamay Fitzgerald. I’m a Sagittarius with my moon in Cancer & Libra rising.
How do you spend your working days?
Photoshoots can take me anywhere on location or in the studio. When I'm not shooting you’ll find me editing from home, or catching up on personal projects in the studio. I’m always juggling multiple things at once and trying to find that work/life balance.. to be honest I’m not sure it exists as a creative haha.
What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
Coffee. I’m not a morning person so I need a coffee to get me out of bed!
In life and in work, where do you draw most of your inspiration?
I’m inspired by other creatives and people who speak their truths, or challenge the status quo. I’ve never wanted to follow the crowd and always saw myself as different from those around me growing up.
I’ve lived and breathed art my whole life and I feel I have a responsibility to do something positive with it. That’s why I’m so inspired by those who use their art to create positive change, or create something meaningful and real.
Rituals are something we are drawn to in our daily lives. Do you have something you do everyday for yourself?
Every weekday morning I’ll go for a walk, followed by a swim in the ocean! It’s refreshing and starts my day off with something productive. It also makes me wake up earlier.
Who is your favourite artist, and why or how does their work move you?
An Artist I’ve always loved is Frida Kahlo, for her incredible life story & surrealist self-portraits that explore her cultural identity.
Jimmy Nelson’s ‘Homage to Humanity’ is an incredibly inspiring book - a photographer who has travelled to isolated indigenous cultures all over the world to photograph & interview them. Another photography book I love is ‘The Atlas of Beauty’ by Mihaela Noroc, who captures women all over the world, revealing their personal stories & showing that beauty is found everywhere. Both these photojournalist books are very moving for their depiction of humanity & culture.
Favorite musicians that I source inspiration from are Solange, Lizzo & FKA Twigs. Imagine having them all in the same room, powerful!
Your most treasured - item, place, and time?
Item - My film camera & photography books.
Place - Home. The feeling of coming home is ressasuring and grounding.
Time - When I was living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I was only 22 and moved straight after I finished uni. New York is one of those magical places that offers endless inspiration, and it definitely taught me a few life lessons as a young person. It was also the first time I saw snow fall from the sky!
Your photography provides a supportive space for women to embrace their body and express themselves authentically – can you tell us a little bit about your Self Love Project, and your driving inspiration behind its beginnings.
After 2 years of photographing the nude female figure for my personal portfolio, I was driven to take this further. Always finding ways in which to improve my work, I decided I wanted to give every woman the opportunity to be photographed, no matter their shape, age, ethnicity or background. I wanted to create a safe space in which women could openly express themselves and walk away feeling empowered. The Self Love project is all about helping women feel confident and embrace who they are, encouraging self love and acceptance.
The project at first offered one-on-one personalised nude/semi nude shoots, but has now expanded into larger projects and group shoots! It’s constantly evolving and all stems from my belief in showing more representation and inclusiveness of women.
You work with women who are brave enough to share their most intimate selves with you. What are some of the reason’s women seek out a self-love session with you?
It’s incredible to see the transformation of some women from the beginning of a shoot to afterwards. When you’re being photographed nude, there's no distractions and you have to let down your walls or barriers. What results is a deeper understanding or different perspective of your own body. You can see self acceptance and confidence shine through the images. Women who come to me are booking in for all different reasons; to reconnect with themselves, a gift for a partner, pregnant women or women who have been through a challenging time or experienced trauma. Self love shoots are for everyone.
Every woman’s journey to self-love and acceptance is different, as we all have our individual internal battles to overcome. Can you share with us either a piece of advice or a personal approach that has had the greatest impact on the relationship you have with yourself?
Everyone struggles with self acceptance at certain times in their life. When I’m feeling anxious or mentally drained, I find myself comparing myself to others and what follows is self doubt. In these moments I try to remind myself that everyone is on their own journey at their own pace. Some advice that stuck with me was that failure is just life moving us in a different direction.
I love answering this question because to me, beauty is a mindset. Beauty is feeling confident and comfortable in your own skin. It means embracing your flaws and celebrating what makes you unique. When I’m feeling truly confident in who I am, I feel beautiful.