With the drop off in her photographic business during the COVID-19 pandemic, Medlow Bath photographer Brigitte Grant finally had the opportunity to produce her first book of portrait photography celebrating 100 Mountains women.
"It was always on my to-do list, but I never really found the time to really get started," Grant said.
"With the arrival of COVID, my photographic business collapsed and I was like many people, feeling very anxious without any work. I had to force myself to snap out of it and try something that I had never done before."
Women's Journeys: Blue Mountains' Women and their Stories takes the reader on a photographic journey with women whose careers and passions have embraced everything from violin-making to dancing, anthropology to chocolate-making, millinery to Instagram influencing, fashion designers, local councillors, and everything else in between.
The launch occurred on Tuesday, June 8 at the Hydro Majestic in Medlow Bath with guest speaker Kristen Dunphy the writer and Co-producer of movie 'Wakefield' which was filmed in the Blue Mountains.
The event was strictly limited and by invitation only, which included Lithgow Councillor Cass Coleman who was featured in the book.
"I was thrilled to be chosen and relished the opportunity to be part of a project that inspires story sharing and demonstrates that when women support women fabulous things happen," she said.
"It was something I definitely wanted to be a part of.
"The book takes the reader on a photographic journey, my story was full of emotion, feeling and lived experiences that I had never shared before."
Cass said that Bridget inspired her to give herself completely to the project.
"I chose to be completely honest with myself and of course the reader which I never expected, it was an enlightening experience," she said.
The women wrote their own short essays to accompany the pictures and the book was edited by Grant's good friend, Charlotte Smith.
"It feels very surreal," Grant said of the book. "I'm thrilled and proud of myself, not only for completing the project, but also for giving a platform to local women to share their amazing stories.
"When the women gave me their stories, the emotions, feelings and lived experiences within those stories had a depth that I certainly did not expect."
Grant moved from western Sydney with her family 20 years ago and loves it that so many creative people have made the Mountains their home.
"Photographing the people and places over the [early] years I came to understand this is a unique place.
"Even though I grew up in the Pacific Islands, I can now tolerate the cold and enjoy the snow when it comes. There are so many talented and artistic people living in the Mountains that sense an ethereal presence living in the Mountains. You are so close to Sydney, but yet so far away in what you have around you and what you can experience."
Women's Journeys is available from local bookstores from June 9.
Signed copies can also be ordered from www.brigittegrantphotography.com.au for $55. For every book sold, $5 will be donated to Blue Mountains Women's Health & Resource Centre. Established in 1981, it provides services to boost the health of women in the Mountains.
BMWHRC's Suzie van Opdorp said their group was "delighted to be involved [and] overwhelmed by Brigitte's generosity. We know what a tough year so many in the arts have experienced."
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