My name is Miri Lopez. I am a 22-year-old, London based musician and I have been playing the piano, guitar, and singing for around 12 years.
My music journey didn’t start very well, and I found it super hard at the beginning. There were so many times I wanted to quit because I just didn’t feel inspired or driven by it, but I am forever grateful that I carried on because I don’t know where I’d be without my music.
Composing has taught me how to lose myself but also how to find myself: how to find new versions of me that I never knew existed, and how to make those versions of me, others, and events that have shaped me live forever in my music. It has truly kept me sane.
My new single ‘Lose Myself’, available on all platforms, is mostly about the positives that losing yourself in anything can have: relinquishing control and allowing yourself to feel certain things, whether good or bad, gives you a sense of ecstasy and at times real clarity and I realised sometimes I should embrace feeling out of control, because it has made me feel more alive than ever before.
So I guess we should all at times lose ourselves, in people, in certain emotions and perhaps even in our past. It’s never scary to explore those dark corners of yourself; you often find something worth holding onto.
My name is Stewart Bywater, and I am a photographer.
I’ve had a lot of different jobs in my life, including working as a night room service waiter in a trendy hotel, selling chateaux in France, working as a features writer on a photography magazine, advertising copywriter, and television producer, but I finally settled on photography. I mainly take portraits, film stills and posters and do some advertising work and the occasional video. I’m also working on two huge fine art projects – one for an exhibition and one which will be turned into a magazine.
I think my portraiture style is very simple and honest. I just try to capture the subjects in a beautiful way which can either be serene or fun, but the key thing for me is that they enjoy the experience.
My favourite things about this job are the same things I’ve loved about most of my jobs – I love getting the chance to meet so many different people from all walks of life. However, the best thing is when somebody tells me that my photos have made them feel better about themselves. Photography is a tough industry. People constantly ask me to work for free or for embarrassingly small amounts of money. I think that it’s easy to forget how much time I’ve spent learning my craft, how much the kit costs, and how long it takes to process and retouch images. It can also take months of chasing invoices to get paid, and some people just try not to pay at all.
My proudest achievement in photography has to be the confidence boost that my first big exhibition project has given to so many of the subjects who took part in it. I photographed 55 people – all from Hackney Wick in London – totally naked in the local woods. A lot of them were quite nervous before the shoot, but as I was showing them the photos throughout the shoot, after just a few minutes, they suddenly started to feel more confident. The photos helped a lot of the subjects with their self-confidence, and that has stayed with them. It’s the best thing I’ve done with my camera so far.
I’m excited about showing my next exhibition – it’ll be huge, and a great celebration of Hackney Wick at its artistic peak, before the money people forced us all out. It’s so expensive to put on an exhibition of this size and has taken years already, but I’m hoping it’ll help to raise my profile and that of the local area, as well as introducing a new audience to beautiful, natural, and non-sexual nude photography.
Photo of Stewart by Tana Ka
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