The Gold Dust Project - Chapter Two - Grace Elizabeth, Colchester, Essex Alternative Wedding and Lifestyle Photographer

A few weeks ago, I started the Gold Dust Project (you can find it through #GoldDustProject on social media) as a personal project to empower postpartum women. The aim was to celebrate the beauty in these ladies' scars and stretchmarks whilst also inviting them to share their motherhood journeys and experiences with me and ultimately, the world. So, as today is International Women's Day, it made sense to update you all as to how this little project of mine has been unfolding!

Jade for the Gold Dust Project, a project by Grace Elizabeth

Well, let me tell you, SOMETHING TOTALLY CRAZY HAPPENED... This little project, a project dreamed up by this twenty two year old girl in her office, got PICKED UP. I mean, really, really, picked up...!

After sharing a few images from the project over on Instagram and Facebook, I received the most incredible response from so many people. Whether the comments were from those who had taken part, those who now wanted to take part having seen the photos, or people from across the world who follow me - there was an absolute buzz of positivity! For that, I am so grateful.

But what was so crazy you ask? Well, on February 21st, I received a super special enquiry in my Facebook page inbox!

The project had been picked up by Love What Matters, who wrote honestly the most amazing article on the project and it's intentions. And oh my goodness. It. Spread. Like. WILDFIRE!

Social media went absolutely crazy for it, and, despite a few negative comments here and there, whether it was someone suggesting I was 'making a ton of money' from the project (which isn't true, as this is a totally free project and no money is involved!), or whether people were offended by the images of breastfeeding, or whether people were saying that this project was 'stupid' and 'why do women have to feel so entitled and courageous?!' - the negatives were so strongly outweighed by the positivity!

After Love What Matters article came Yahoo's article, then came Made for Mum's article, then Metro's article, then F Stopper's article, then BabyCentre's article... I thought it had stopped there! I was absolutely balled over by the positive response and the fact that so many places wanted to talk to me about the project - it was honestly the craziest thing I have experienced. But just when I thought it had died down, then the local newspaper, the Gazette, featured me both in print and online!! This was followed by BabyCentre Spain and I am currently awaiting Huffington Post's write up after emailing her all of the info recently! 

I won't go on too much about the project, because all of the articles above say a lot about it and what the experience has been like so far, but I will leave you with lots of recent images from the project! 

There are ALWAYS more to come! This project is in no way finished!! If you want to get in touch and join in, please email me!! I am trying to focus on photographing women with difficult pregnancy and birth experiences, who would be happy to share their stories with me and the world, and let me paint them gold, of course! You'll also have to sign a model release, because, as you can see, this has been really well picked up by blogs and websites, and therefore we need to both be agreed on the image usage front :) 

Anyway, here are some images of the ladies who have taken part so far! It would be too lengthy for me to write about each of their individual stories here (I have already waffled on for too long!), but I have written about each of them on individual posts on Instagram and Facebook, so please do take a look if you'd like to know more!

Lastly, THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH, for all of the love, positivity and empowerment you have shown to me, the ladies on this project, the project itself, and for all of the support, whether you're a friend, family member, a lady from the project, a supporter from afar... Whoever you are... Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Much love, and until the next installment!

Grace xo

 Jade and Teddy for the Gold Dust Project. Jade experienced a traumatic pregnancy and birth experience, suffered from pre-eclampsia, had an emergency c-section, and was the last person to see and hold her baby.

Jade and Teddy for the Gold Dust Project. Jade experienced a traumatic pregnancy and birth experience, suffered from pre-eclampsia, had an emergency c-section, and was the last person to see and hold her baby.

 Tiny hands. Zoe's daughter, for the Gold Dust Project.

Tiny hands. Zoe's daughter, for the Gold Dust Project.

 Liz's hard earned tiger stripes! There's no limit to just how postpartum you are, either! Liz is eight years postpartum with little Megan!

Liz's hard earned tiger stripes! There's no limit to just how postpartum you are, either! Liz is eight years postpartum with little Megan!

 Six year old Emilia, who has Spina Bifida and is so very proud of her scar. She had never seen her scar before properly, and her reaction was so heartwarming - I almost cried!!

Six year old Emilia, who has Spina Bifida and is so very proud of her scar. She had never seen her scar before properly, and her reaction was so heartwarming - I almost cried!!

 Zena and Izzy. Izzy was losing weight whilst in the womb due to medication her mum Zena had no option but to stay on, so she had an early c section. However, she hasn't been able to breastfeed and it's really knocked her confidence as a mother a result.

Zena and Izzy. Izzy was losing weight whilst in the womb due to medication her mum Zena had no option but to stay on, so she had an early c section. However, she hasn't been able to breastfeed and it's really knocked her confidence as a mother a result.

 Jaymini here is pregnant with her second little one, and I plan to revisit her in a few weeks when he or she has arrived! She's planning an all natural birth!

Jaymini here is pregnant with her second little one, and I plan to revisit her in a few weeks when he or she has arrived! She's planning an all natural birth!

 Holly's little girl was born early via c-section, as her mum has a blood condition which meant she could have lost too much blood giving birth 'naturally'.

Holly's little girl was born early via c-section, as her mum has a blood condition which meant she could have lost too much blood giving birth 'naturally'.

 Look at little Willow's look of love towards her mama, Lorna. Lorna has three little girls and is a huge advocate for breastfeeding, although the most important thing to remember is that Fed Is Best. Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed with formula, you are doing the right thing for your baby. It's important not to think you're doing something wrong by doing one or the other!

Look at little Willow's look of love towards her mama, Lorna. Lorna has three little girls and is a huge advocate for breastfeeding, although the most important thing to remember is that Fed Is Best. Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed with formula, you are doing the right thing for your baby. It's important not to think you're doing something wrong by doing one or the other!

 Zoe was the first lady to take part in the Gold Dust Project, and her images are so important to me. Can you believe I had never seen a c-section scar before I photographed her? I am learning so much during this project!

Zoe was the first lady to take part in the Gold Dust Project, and her images are so important to me. Can you believe I had never seen a c-section scar before I photographed her? I am learning so much during this project!

 Zena and her little girl.

Zena and her little girl.

 Emilia and her mum, Jenny, who are scar buddies. Emilia was born via c-section and has Spina Bifida!

Emilia and her mum, Jenny, who are scar buddies. Emilia was born via c-section and has Spina Bifida!