Mj’s Wonder Women Series Feature #1: Gisele Almeida

I grew up in a little town within a gated community. We had no television at home. Not that we did not afford one, but just that my parents felt that it would be an unnecessary distraction for us kids. My brother and I rode to school in our bicycles. In fact the entire campus did. There were no malls or cinemas. Life was super simple and my dream… Well, I did not even know I could dream of a future. I had no clue about the outside world. Forget media and journalism. No one told me that I could pursue my passion. So like 70% of my peers, I landed in an Engineering college! The rest is a story for another day!

At 33 I discovered a passion in me, I pursued it, it freed me, empowered me, defined my identity and the journey since has been an exciting one!

That being my experience and as one who loves documenting stories, I wanted to put together a series titled ‘Wonder Women’ – photographs + real life stories of successful women who have chosen to pursue their passion. I hope these short stories will inspire girls, wives and moms, irrespective of age, background or education to DREAM and chase that dream!

Here, I am debuting my series with Gisele Almeida – a travel blogger and influencer! I photographed these pictures at the very scenic Prins Eugens Waldemarsudde in Stockholm, Sweden!

Read on! Dream on! Continue reading “Mj’s Wonder Women Series Feature #1: Gisele Almeida”

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Gisele + Nicole: Mommy-Daughter Session

A few days ago I posted this picture on my social media and I requested suitable captions or quotes. The replies I received, were sweet, creative and touching! I simply couldn’t choose one. So featuring all of them!

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“Peekaboo!” – Roshini, Jerusha

“If Love is as sweet as spring, then my mother is the sweet spring of Love!” – Rosy Grace

“Hidden Beauty!” – Helan

“I leaf you too, Mommy!” – Sumi

“Behind the leaves!” – Vimi

“Beauty behind the leaves!” – Sophia

“Peek-a-leaf!” – Hanna

“Hiding in plain sight!” – Esther

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The following quote written by Meenakshi in Tamil, may appear short for those who do not know Tamil. However, those who can read Tamil will be able to feel the emotion and the sentiment that are bigger than those words.

உதிர்ந்தாலும் இந்த இலை அழகு!
முதிர்ந்தாலும் என் தாய் அழகு! – Meenakshi

The English translation may not do justice to the beauty these words have in Tamil. But this is what it means,

“Although this leaf has withered, it is beautiful! My mom will remain the most beautiful no matter how old she gets!”

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Photographing this mom and daughter was truly a delight. There is something very pure and heartwarming about the love shared between a mother and her child!

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It is a love that transcends the love shared in every other relationship. It’s utmost selfless, unconditional and sacrificial form of love. So much so it’s often compared to the love of our Creator!

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When Manushi Chhillar, moments before being crowned the sixth Indian winner of the long-running contest Miss. World, was asked ‘Which is the profession that deserves the highest salary?’ she replied, “It’s that of the mother!”

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“A man’s work is from sun to sun. A mother’s work is never done!” – Anonymous 

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I knew the value of my mother only the day I became one. Up until that moment, I had no clue what it took to be a mother. From the moment my girls were born, through each stage of their life, the responsibilities I bear, the sacrifices I need to make, the strength I need to go about multi-tasking, the courage I need to be their role-model, keeps mounting as the days go by. As it does, every time I feel daunted by the challenges of motherhood, I remember my mother! I remember her with a grateful heart!

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I dedicate this post to every mother out there – the confident, the brave, the bold, the beautiful, the multi-taskers, the ambitious, the dreamers, the sleep-deprived, the frustrated, the overwhelmed, the struggling, the tired, the worn-out, the old, the wise… YOU WILL ALWAYS REMAIN THE MOST BEAUTIFUL!

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Enjoy these moments of pure affection shared between this beautiful mother Gisele and her adorable little princess, Nicole!

‘Farsdag’ Special Feature: Rajesh + Sudha Family Session

“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.” ― Antoine François Prévost d’Exiles, Manon Lescaut

Just like mothers, fathers are irreplaceable and they are the ones who build the very foundations of a family. His role stretches far beyond than being the provider of the family. Every move, word, action, smile, decisions he makes keeps stirring and shaping the lives he begot. Unfortunately, many fathers are either unaware or they underestimate the power and influence they have on their children.

While dads are often referred to as ‘Superheroes’ and ‘Superdads’, it subtly sets an expectation for men to attempt the impossible or the unattainable to get the approval and admiration of their wives and children. Contrarily, the fact of the matter is, what makes them ‘SUPER’ are the little things that they invest their love and time into!

With ‘Farsdag’ (Father’s Day in Swedish) around the corner, I wanted to share five seemingly insignificant attributes that sets apart SUPER-DADS!

A Super-Dad Values his Wife

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” – Henry Ward Beecher

The way a man values, honours and treats his wife with dignity will teach his son to respect and honour the women in the family and community. For a daughter who sees her dad valuing her mother, instills value and worth in herself. A super-dad will never ever consider his wife as a subordinate, but as his equal – his best half!

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A Super-Dad Sees a Super Hero in his Child

A super dad doesn’t merely raise a good child, but a child who makes a good difference. Every parent strives to impart good moral values to their children, but the time has come for us to raise children who are taught to think beyond themselves – kids who can be considerate about the people and the need around them. A super-dad not only teaches his child to identify the needs, but shows how small acts of kindness and thoughtfulness can make a massive difference! Thereby, nurturing the superheroes of tomorrow!

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A Super-Dad is Human

“Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers – and fathering is a very important stage in their development.” ~  David M. Gottesman

A super-dad sets ‘excellence’ his goal and not perfection. A very crucial criteria required for excellence is to remain down-to-earth, owning mistakes and taking responsibility. For a father to accept his imperfection or mistakes and being open to feedback in front of his family will teach the kids that it is okay to stumble but it’s important to get back on the feet again. The emotional vulnerability a super-dad expresses shapes children who are more open and willing to learn and adapt!

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A Super-Dad is Present

With the advancement of technology, most dads bring home their work and are inseparable with their gadgets. A super-dad knows when its time to keep the gadgets aside and enjoy the moment with his family. He is present when his child wants him to listen, converse or play. He is present not just physically, but invests all of himself in spending quality time.

“If we miss the moment, we miss the clues. In the present, when we allow ourselves to fully live there, we are restored, made wiser, made deeper and happier.” –Marianne Williamson

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A Super-Dad Lives by Example

Today, parents set such surreal expectations for their children while their own actions are from the set expectations. That’s where a super-dad differs. He doesn’t just preach. He practices. It’s no longer his words that set the goals, but his very life becomes a testament to what he desires for his family.

“Live so that when your children think of fairness, caring, and integrity, they think of you.” – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Dads, reflect on these. These little things are what makes you a SUPER-DAD! Moms, sit with your kids and make a list of things that make your man a SUPER-DAD! He wouldn’t know it until you tell it! Make this Farsdag a very special and memorable one!

Enjoy this special feature of Rajesh and Sudha’s Fall Family Session! If you would like  one such session to celebrate this Father’s Day, CLICK HERE!

Rachel + David Fall Family Session

Two years ago, when I had just started out with my photography, I used to look at fall photographs of some American photographers in complete awe and amazement. Coming from a country where it is summer all year around and nature pretty much appears the same throughout the year, I was completely fascinated with the idea of leaves changing colours and thereby transforming landscapes with gorgeous tones of orange and yellow!

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Last year, I witnessed my first fall season. It felt surreal. This is the second time I am experiencing this season and I must say, it still feels surreal! The way nature transforms itself so subtly into something so different and breathtaking is nothing but a miracle!

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Obviously, it was one of my dreams to do a photoshoot in fall. And to my very pleasant surprise I inaugurated my first photoshoot in Sweden with a Fall Session in Hagaparken last October!

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It’s been a year since. This fall I was privileged to photograph fourteen families in two days at the very same Hagaparken amidst this picturesque backdrop!

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This year as I stood in Hagaparken with my camera, there was something more that overwhelmed me than the scenic colours of fall that surrounded me. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for an amazing journey in photography over the last year. I have met people and been to places which I never dreamt or thought was possible. I feel greatly blessed to just do what I love. The freedom and satisfaction I find in photography is something I cannot put in words. To capture love, laughter, joy, romance, milestones, life and to know it is going to be treasured for a lifetime and beyond is more than a privilege!

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2017 fall has almost passed. There are more leaves on the ground than on the trees. The first snow has fallen in Stockholm. Days are getting shorter. Winter is coming. The next change. The next season. I cannot wait to see what it holds! I believe greater days are ahead!

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Photographing Rachel, David and their handsome little camera-ready one year old was an absolute delight! Here are glimpses from their Fall Session!

As each one of you transition from one season of life to another, this is what I wish for you,

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Veronique Family Fall Session

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” ― W.T. Purkiser

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Blessings… We all long for them. We desire one blessing after another from time to time. Often, unknowingly we get caught up in the race of chasing blessings, while all along our biggest blessings have been right beside us!

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On my journey as a photographer, I feel I have travelled from a place where I wanted to take ‘perfect pictures’ to a place where I want to capture ‘pure moments’! And to be able to do so, I ought to be a person who lives in the moment, in the now, being consciously aware of life that is happening around me!

I have found that it is not as easy as it sounds. It’s not easy to keep our gadgets aside. Virtual worlds are constantly beckoning us from reality. But that moment when we take that bold step to not check on our mobiles for the ‘n’th time, we start living!

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And in living, loving and belonging we discover our blessings!

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This being the season of thanksgiving, I would like my Fall Sessions to reflect that. I would like each picture to reflect what you are thankful for – milestones, marriage, motherhood, fatherhood, childhood, family, smiles, snuggles, laughter, joy, love, life, blessings and you!

Veronique’s was the first family I photographed in my ‘Fall Super Mini Session’ at the picturesque Hagaparken. Veronique and her husband hand in hand, her three year old son climbing on his daddy’s shoulders and her almost one year old who was in absolute wonder of the golden, crisp fall leaves was a picture perfect blessing right there!

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Sit back and enjoy all the lovely moments from their session!

Life is a series of thousand tiny miracles… Notice them!

Swetha + Lucky Fall Session

“Mothers and their children are in a category all their own. There’s no bond so strong in the entire world. No love so instantaneous and forgiving.”
―Gail Tsukiyama, Dreaming Water

It was a very special feeling capturing the bond between a dotting mother and her little one!

Continue reading “Swetha + Lucky Fall Session”

Aakansha’s Fall Session

It’s a new season!

A perfect opportunity

to do something NEW,

something BOLD,

and something BEAUTIFUL!

That just happened!

I did something new and bold with someone beautiful!

Last Saturday, was my very first official session here in Sweden. I got a call on Friday from a very chirpy person. All she wanted were pics of her having fun and being herself. I was immediately interested and we decided to have the photoshoot the very next day!

Continue reading “Aakansha’s Fall Session”