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Freya Dowson

Editorial documentary photographer ✧ restless traveler ✧ based in London | freya@freyadowson.com

http://www.freyadowson.com/

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This photo was taken the first time I ever had the chance to work with elephants and the @dswt. I love it because it reminds me of how it felt to get close to these animals for the first time. I slowly walked up to an elephant with my camera and was greeted with a trunk in the face and I remember thinking, “is this even real?”. I quickly learned what it really meant to work with these little orphans - they are of course majestic and graceful, but they each have their own distinct personalities and they can be so cheeky! They are not at all how I expected them to be, and yet somehow better than I could have imagined. This day almost two years ago marked the start of a line of work in my career that I am still so proud to be be involved with. The feeling that comes with working with the intention of giving back to the environment and the animals that call it home is still one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Happy #worldelephantday 🐘💛 I know this is the exact same photo that I posted last year, but I love it so maybe I’ll just make it a tradition? @dswt #WHPhidden#Dswt #athomeintheworld #travelwithintention #whyilovekenya #antipoaching #neverstopexploring #lovetheworld #magicalkenya #welivetoexplore #roamtheplanet #wildernessculture #nakedplanet #protectthewild #saynotoivory #stoppoaching #ivoryfree #stopthetrade #savetheelephants #nakedplanet #livemoremagic #roamnation #mynaturestory #gritandvirtue #naturallyimperfect #dametraveler #wearetravelgirls #sheisnotlost #notonlymama

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I know I’ve been really quiet around here for a little while and there are a few reasons why... • 1. Lately I’ve been getting the fear about posting on Instagram. It’s not the idea of talking to thousands of strangers that scares me, it’s the idea of the people I know who are reading it and judging me for what I say. And then telling me about it. Usually I have a thicker skin about these things but lately I’ll cry at pretty much anything. 2. I’m working on pulling together a bunch of photos from all my hard drives that I’ve taken over the years so that I can post more regularly in the coming months. It’s taking a bit of time because there is a lot to go through but I’m excited to start sharing some of my unseen work. 3. My life lately has NOT been interesting for stories - turns out waiting for a baby is a bit of a snooze-fest. I’m limited in what I can do and where I can go because I’m as big as a house (a house that needs to pee every five minutes). • I know not long from now these obstacles won’t feel like much at all and I won’t feel so in my own head about any of this. I know I’m not really one to care about other people’s opinions, but I’m tired and it doesn’t take much to bring me down these days. And I know right now in my life I can’t run around and work like a lunatic (as I love to do), instead I have to stay home and nap and allow for baby brain to sink in for as long as it needs to. But I’m really hoping that soon I’ll be able to post way more than I have been over the past few weeks!🤞🏼💛 • #awakethelight #botanicalpickmeup #ofsimplethings #gritandvirtue #plantlife #naturallyimperfect #mynaturestory #plantsmakepeoplehappy #the_gentle_manifesto #mountainstones #mountainescape #rei #keepitwild #westy #alpinebabes #outbackcollective #peoplescreative #discoverglobe #ourplanetdaily #travelstoke #coffeehouse #themountainiscalling #letsgosomewhere #roadtrippin #northontario #tumblraesthetic #summerlove #mountaingirls #adventuregirl

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London is hotter than the sun right now and I’m loving every minute of it. Our flat may be tiny but we have a little back porch where Adam has hung a hammock and the garden is slowly taking over the steps below. It’s one of my favourite things at right now to just hang out there in the evening with a blanket when it gets cool and watch the last of the sun disappear.✨🌱 • Also I’m looking for some new books to read at the minute - what’s your favourite? Or what are you reading right now and loving? A good hammock needs a good book, am I right? • #awakethelight #botanicalpickmeup #ofsimplethings #gritandvirtue #plantlife #naturallyimperfect #mynaturestory #plantsmakepeoplehappy #the_gentle_manifesto #mountainstones #mountainescape #rei #keepitwild #westy #alpinebabes #outbackcollective #peoplescreative #discoverglobe #ourplanetdaily #travelstoke #coffeehouse #themountainiscalling #letsgosomewhere #roadtrippin #northontario #tumblraesthetic #summerlove #mountaingirls #adventuregirl

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A photo of a coal miner taken on my latest trip to Pakistan a few months ago. I’m having such a hard time letting go of work lately. I know this is just part of this season of life and my work will always be there for me when I’m ready to go back, but I can’t help but be aware of the growing list of projects I’ve had to turn down for the next few months to dedicate time to this little life I’m growing. From having spent the last three years growing a business by always finding a way to say “yes”, to now saying “no” or “maybe in a few months”... it feels very strange. But I know in a few years I’ll look back and think this time just flew past, and the impact on my career I thought was happening really turned out to be so small in the big picture... So much of who I am is attached to my work. So much of my pride and sense of self worth - and I’m not even a little bit sorry about it. I’ve worked hard to get where I am because I love it with every little bit of me, because it means something and because I think it matters. These stories are important. But every day I remind myself that I am more than just one thing. I am more than just a photographer, I am more than just a mother, more than just a wife, more than just a daughter or a friend. I’m mostly just a human doing the best I can with my life, and trying to pack as much meaning, kindness and adventure into it as I can. #awakethelight #alifeofintention #whplookup #eyeson #lensculture #one_shot_ #passionpassport #peopleoftheworld #natgeoyourshot #magnumphotos #lonelyplanet #lovetheworld #natgeo #everydayeverywhere #worldcaptures #documentaryphotography #documentaryphotographer #reportagespotlight #travellifestyle #thephotosociety #gettyimages #everydayeverywhere #pakistan #lovetheworld #alifeofintention #travelwithintention #whyweadventure #camp4pix #whywecreate #quietthechaos

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I’ve been working on making my Instagram captions a bit more meaningful lately. I’ve had some form of writers block for months now and I got all up in my head about sharing more of myself here, but I’m trying to get over it and I think it’s working. It feels good to be opening up a bit again. Also, because I’m stuck on the sofa today in a jet lag induced haze, I’m doing a Q&A over on stories if you want to ask anything in particular. 💛 #behindtheshot @taniajoyfjane and I were taking turns taking pictures with Hugo at her parents house, which is basically what we do when we go to France together... he’s so photogenic 😍 #WHPflowerpower #awakethelight #alifeofintention #mountainstones #mountainescape #rei #keepitwild #westy #alpinebabes #themountainiscalling #tumblraesthetic #summerlove #mountaingirls #adventuregirl #sunset_lovers #dametraveler #girlsthatwander #gritandvirtue #wearetravelgirls #sheisnotlost #darlingescapes #seekthesimplicity #makemoments #thesweetlifeunscripted #stillswithstories #notonlymama #thehonestlens #themindfulapproach

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I think one of the things I’m most proud of is creating a life for myself that I’m excited to get back to, even after a holiday is over. As much as they say happiness is a choice, it takes a lot of bravery to construct a life for yourself that makes you truly happy. For me I needed to be brave about leaving my job and starting out on my own, I needed to be brave about believing I had the talent and skill to do that, and I still need to be brave every day about having the courage to keep going, even when things are tough. And that’s just the start, the list goes on... I think that happiness is a choice in that you can teach yourself to be more positive, more gentle with yourself and others, and kinder in the way you speak to yourself. But it does take courage to be the best version of who you want to be, to not be self deprecating and to bet on yourself and keep betting on yourself even when you feel bogged down in your own stress and anxiety. It’s our last day here at the cabin on the lake and I feel so chilled, and like I’ve finally gained some perspective. I’m sad to leave but I’m also excited to get back to my every day life - as nervous as I am about what that every day life will look like in a few months time. #behindtheshot we had just finished dinner and were getting ready to play a couple of rounds of Sushi Go - the sunset was getting better by the minute and i’d made a peach crumble for dessert which was freakin delicious. Do you think it’s even possible to satisfactorily photograph a sunset? I don’t think a photo ever does it justice. awakethelight #alifeofintention #livesimplebehappy#mountainstones #mountainescape #rei #keepitwild #westy #alpinebabes #outbackcollective #peoplescreative #discoverglobe #ourplanetdaily #travelstoke #coffeehouse #themountainiscalling #letsgosomewhere #roadtrippin #northontario #tumblraesthetic #summerlove #mountaingirls #adventuregirl #sunrise_lovers #westfalia #freepeople #oceaneyes #botanicalpickmeup #gritandvirtue

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Swimming in the lake in the rain, trying to listen to the thunder and look out for lightning, hoping it’s not too close just yet. This place is so peaceful, it’s so special. Sometimes if the sunset is nice and it’s been a warm day we’ll drive the boat out into the middle of the lake and jump off. Just floating there when the water is so warm it’s like a bath is one of the best feelings on earth. I’m convinced there are some good vibes coming up from the bottom of this lake in the deepest part, it’s impossible not to feel good when you’re diving down into its depths or floating on the surface looking up at a golden sky. Sometimes when it’s cold and cloudy I’ll set off from the beach and try to swim my way to the middle of the lake anyway, just to get that feeling. Adam always shouts at me from the beach and comes to paddle beside me in the kayak, I think he’s convinced I’m going to drown. This year he’s probably right - I can’t swim for more than five minutes without being out of breath. #behindtheshot this is the photo I was trying to get with Adam and is the story behind yesterday’s post. Thank you so much to everyone who commented and sent messages in response, it means everything to feel less alone when you’re unsure of things ❤️ #awakethelight #alifeofintention#mountainstones #mountainescape #rei #keepitwild #westy #alpinebabes #themountainiscalling #tumblraesthetic #summerlove #mountaingirls #adventuregirl #sunset_lovers #dametraveler #oceaneyes #gritandvirtue #wearetravelgirls #sheisnotlost #darlingescapes #beautifulmatters #seekthesimplicity #gritandvirtue #coffeehouse #mynaturestory #naturallyimperfect #canada #ontario #freepeople

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Life is starting to take on a different pace already, things are slowing down and more of my energy is taken up by growing this little girl. I know it’s not something you’re meant to admit, I’m meant to be talking about how #magical it all is and how I can’t wait to meet her - and while that second part is true, honestly the magic has escaped me. I’m terrified. - I just wanted to jump in the lake while it was completely clear and silent, while the rain came in and the thunder rolled over the trees - it all seemed so peaceful and I wanted to be a part of that. But truthfully there’s a ball of anxiety in my heart and it’s the only clear spot I can see, everything else is fuzzy. There are so many reasons, all too long for an Instagram caption, but the journey to becoming a mother for me has been so long, it started way before we even decided to have a baby. - I’m working on clearing some space in my heart so I can see it all clearly and find some of that peace, take some ownership of it all and feel less like it’s all out of my control, but it’s a slow process and it feels a bit like learning a new way of living. - The journey to motherhood doesn’t always look the same for everyone, and you’re allowed to feel more fear than joy - it doesn’t make you any less full of love and gratitude for the life you’re creating. The human heart has many facets and eternal optimism and joy isn’t one that gets a lot of use in the reality of every day (only on social media...). • #behindtheshot I was swimming as the rain was starting and photographing dragonflies when I called to Adam to come and help me take a portrait in the water. I didn’t have a swimming costume and he shot this as I was heading up to the cabin to get into some dry clothes, but I kind of like the way it turned out even though I feel a bit shy about posting it. • #WHPjourney #awakethelight #alifeofintention

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Sometimes it feels strange coming back to Toronto. Even though I grew up here it still feels so foreign to me and yet so familiar. I love to walk around and eat at my favourite restaurants, shop at my favourite stores and visit my favourite people - but even though I lived here for so many years, it still feels a little unfamiliar. But I suppose that’s the nature of cities like Toronto, they’re always changing. • #WHPrelax #keepexploring #placestovisit #places_wow #passionpassport #livetravelchannel #lovetheworld #worldcaptures #travelgram #adventuregram #placestogo #beautifulviews #sceniclocations #travellingthroughtheworld #amazingplaces #travelstoke #lovetravel #instatravel #travelawesome #beautifuldestinations #mystory #guardiantravelsnaps #huffpostgram #mytinyatlas #lonelyplanet #worldtravelbook #bbctravel #timeoutsociety #cntraveler #theculturetrip

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I’m in full holiday mode now. It’s so funny being back at my dads house in my old neighbourhood with all my old friends, on one hand it’s just like it always has been but on the other hand, hauling this baby bump around makes it all feel a little different. I’m thinking about taking a little insta break while I’m here, but I’m undecided. On one hand it would be nice to fully embrace the holiday feeling, but on the other Instagram has always felt more like fun than like work to me - although t does take quite a bit of work! Photo from the south of France 🌿✨ • #awakethelight #alifeofintention #livesimplebehappy#passionpassport #lostfam #visualsoflife #whywecreate #visualscollective #travellifestyle #holdthemoments #searchwandercollect #agameoftones #chasinglight #hurrayforplay #simplejoys #peoplescreatives #lovelysquares #liveforthestory #makemoments #inspiremyinstagram #thehappynow #adventurethatislife #theartofslowliving #livemoremagic #roamnation #mynaturestory #botanicalpickmeup #forgeyourownpath #gritandvirtue #naturallyimperfect

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Today is #WorldRefugeeDay and I wanted to post a photo from my trip with @ACF_uk to Jordan where I documented the stories of a few refugee women. They had all left Syria with almost nothing because their lives were in danger, because they had lost loved ones, and to try to make a safe life for themselves and their children. All of them are widows, or supporting husbands too ill to work. Their stories left such a mark on me and have impacted my work so much - it’s a trip I will never forget. • This is Sakhaa Ababreh, I met her and her little brother at an @ACF_uk workshop. Both of them have been trying to create a new life for themselves after leaving Syria to escape conflict. • I also made a film about another woman we met, Sameera. I’ve put the link in my profile if you want to take a look. • #refugeeswelcome #refugeecrisis #refugee #lensculture #featureshoot #seventwentymagazine #reportagespotlight #hikaricreative #spicollective #irimages #eyeshotmag #magnumphotos #lenscultureportraits #burndiary #canonportrait #portraiturephotography #liveforthestory #unknownperspectives #eyeson #peopleoftheworld #gettyimages #bbcnews #gritandvirtue #whywecreate #camp4pix #awakethelight #alifeofintention #athomeintheworld #dametravelerconnection

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I wouldn’t say I’m counting down the seconds until I fly to Canada, but maybe the hours... I’ve even started writing a packing list in anticipation, and I never write packing lists! I’m looking forward to so much - friends, family and food... but it’s getting out of the city and to the lake that my body is really craving at the minute. These achey pregnant bones could use some fresh air and a swim right about now ✨🌿 • #plantproblem #botanicalpickmeup #ofsimplethings #alifeofintention #petalpower #petalsandprops #petalperfection #naturallyimperfect #mynaturestory #thefloralseasons #flowersmakehappy #flowermagic #underthefloralspell #flowersofinstagram #the_gentle_manifesto #inspiredbypetals #ofsimplethings #gritandvirtue #plantlife #naturallyimperfect #naturephoto #greenthumb #iloveplants #flirtingwithnature #plantlove #byarrangement #livesimplebehappy #plantsmakepeoplehappy #awakethelight #the_gentle_manifesto

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