We had the good fortune of connecting with Simone Noble and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Simone, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
I’ve shot a very diverse range of subject matter for a vastly different clients since I first picked up a camera, but in the last few years I’ve been focusing on women – and especially women who are in major transitions in their lives. The women I work with are often at a point where they are ‘calling back’ pieces of themselves. Regardless of class, race, age or profession, I’m being drawn to the qualities that emerge from women who are coming into their own, or ‘waking up’ on some level or levels. And there’s something about shooting a woman on her own. For example, in the shot I’ve chosen, this woman has two kids, a huge fashion business which she’s built and run for two decades. But she’s also in the process of a major shift in her life; she’s at the point where she’s really stepping into her power – as a woman, and as herself. There’s nothing around her in this shot about her children, her business, or a man – even though all these things haven’t stopped being integral in her day to day. The image is about ‘power’ in a bigger sense of the word than material success, or success on the professional track as it’s been traditional defined. I’m very interested in: What does the healthy, embodied feminine rising look like. How does it feel? I want to capture this ‘essence’ of a woman, which I think of as another word for healthy power. These things feel like an important contribution to the discussion and evolution of the #metoo and #time’sup revolution.
The natural world is also integral to many of my images. That may be because much of my own inner healing has been supported by a great deal of time spent in nature. As women, our deep rhythms are often not considered in the busy-ness of our lives. And Mother Nature is the greatest teacher for understanding that as beings we do have a natural rhythm, that when honored, supports us in beautiful ways, such as clarity and health. One of my favorite images is where a subject is crouching naked in the beautiful tree. She is calm and confident as she gazes out across a valley. In her life, she seasonally grows and harvests plants and flowers for her apothecary line. She is someone who lives close to nature and listens closely to the rhythms. And here she sits, supported by a sturdy branch of a mature, deeply rooted oak tree. I believe that the waking up of women at this time, is deeply linked to recognizing our connection to the natural world.
As much as I’m passionate about working with women who are finding their voices at key turning points of their lives, I’m also called to use my work to give a voice to those who are usually not seen and heard in our culture.
One of my most memorable assignments was documenting a homeless woman here in Ojai, where I live, who was caring for her two children while living out of an old RV. In a town which is generally known for its whiteness and wealth, here was a black woman showing up for her children in the best way that she could, despite her really difficult circumstances. I wanted to tell the story of her unseen daily struggles, of her showing up in her daily life doing what she believed to be right for her kids. It was a chance for a woman who doesn’t usually have a voice, one that’s listened to at least, to tell her story.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Photographing women is what really calls me now, but the path to get here was anything but direct. My first profession was family law in South Africa, where women were often at the center of my case and client work; looking at women’s roles within the family. Then I did a master’s in public health, where my focus was international reproductive health – which was really around women and reproductive rights, and their health, and the health of children, and the relationship between all of that. Early in my photographic career, I got a lot of work in the yoga world, which is very female centric. At the time, all of these threads seemed not to be connected, but now I see they’ve been weaving a cloth that feels unique, and makes more and more sense for me personally, and for my work in the world. I know I’m not alone in this path of following seemingly disparate threads of fascination to arriving at the thing that really turns on that inner light, that ‘Yes! This is what I want to do!’ The deep feeling that I’ve finally arrived at how to deliver my gift into the world with a profession which both feeds my spirit – and serves something bigger than me personally as well. My dream job is when a client says, ‘We’ve got a story that needs telling involving a woman, or women and/or children.. and can you go and document that for 10 days? It might be a non-profit foundation, or a family portrait, or a human interest story that would benefit us as a collective, once brought to the surface.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Of course no one’s story is just their own. My journey has been heavily supported by a number of teachers, including my 2 kids who are teenagers now, and my circle of close women friends. Having a like-minded community of people to exchange ideas and support each other is one of the biggest gifts in my life. When I arrived in Ojai almost 6 years ago, I connected with The Ojai Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to helping adults and youth deepen relationship with the self, other and the Earth. My time on the land of the foundation (an exquisite parcel of 36 acres located in Upper Ojai), and as a board member taught me a different way of deep listening, to myself, others and the natural world, that I had not experienced before.

Website: www.simonenoble.com

Instagram: @simonenoblephotography

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/simonejowell/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/simone.jowell.9

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