alba and the world (part one: europe)

in the beginning (when our alba was only a tiny growing flower) we travelled over seas and continents to the city of love. i was shooting the next billabong campaign and m was making a short film. i was only nine weeks and tired, my belly hadn’t begun to swell yet so i hardly believed i was growing a person inside there. there was so much happening around me that at that moment i couldn’t take it in.

when we arrived in paris it was fête de la musique (the day of music). the streets were overcrowded with delirious french youth, swaying and singing along to the musicians in the parks, the instruments with minds of their own. it was wild and every person was an animal. unthinking, free. m and i sat with the models and the u.s billabong team in a little restaurant on a street corner. i ate strawberries and cherries for dinner because all i craved was fruit. we shot, we filmed and in the morning we left early to fly to biarritz. we only had that single night in paris, but the living flurry of the music and young streetlight-lit faces will always come to mind when i think of it.

parisian street

lindsay on the train

models stretching

we visited the french seaside town of biarritz next. we shot from the moment the sun rose until all the light had gone and sometimes beyond. sleep was short and dreamless and when i closed my eyes i felt my fingers tight around the body of my camera; i watched the day’s memories through a viewfinder.

m was selfless and slept even less than i did. he’d stay up very late; clearing cards, charging batteries, selecting images and packing for the next day of shooting so me and baby could sleep. it felt endless, my camera was an extension of myself and i ached for it. it felt good though, pushing myself and letting my passion get the better of me. this is who i am after all.

there were three models, all around my own age. two were californian musicians. they’d put on impromptu concerts in stations waiting for trains, by the beach in-between shots and in their hotel room when the day was out. it’s what i adore, music for the love of music, completely unabashed. they were so interesting to learn from and to photograph. you can get right into someone’s soul photographing them, so much quicker than befriending them. it’s a connection that’s difficult to explain until you feel it.

biarritz beach (by m)

bare feet and thrown sand

the three models and i, checking shots (by m)

balconies overlooking the beach

me hiding from mandy (oracle fox) (by m)

we were only in biarritz for a few sun-soaked summer days before getting a night train to another town (here is where i lose the names, as we shoot in a new town each day or two). but i remember that night train well. the narrow, barely lit corridors, foreign whispers and men asleep against the carriage walls. i was exhausted to my bones and so sick. everything frightened me. m held my hand, the warmth of love filled me and somehow i fell asleep slumped against the cabin door.

when i woke there was shouting and rushing, suitcases dragged over my feet. suddenly m was helping me off the train into blindingly bright platform lights and a world thick with cigarette smoke. a derelict, concrete station where we had a vending machine dinner and waited for our next train. my next memory is piling out of a taxi onto an empty road before a hotel somewhere in italy, falling in and out of sleep on the couches at reception.

every night the whole team would eat at beautiful restaurants. anything and everything we liked, the most wonderful european food. with sleepy goodnights, we’d go back to our hotel room and m would run a hot bath for us to sink into. we’d talk about shooting, about our child and about the beauty of whichever european city we were in that day. on the cool hotel sheets we’d cuddle all warm-skinned and clean and i’d fall straight to sleep, holding my growing belly. it was these precious things that kept me sane through the long days of shooting.

tired me at a nowhere train station (by m)

passing fields of sunflowers

sunflowers at a market in provence

dessert and candles

passing oceans

coming into italy (by m)

italy shined even more brilliantly than france. when i photographed strangers here they didn’t yell and swear at me, they just smiled. in monterosso, cinque terre our hotel balcony overlooked the endless beach with rocks rising from the sea like creatures and bright-colored umbrellas like growing flowers from the gold sand. everything was the picture of summer.

one midday when we had time away from shooting, matt and i bought gelato (quickly melting down our fingers) while walking down the beach collecting stones. i sat in front of the water and wrote in alba’s journal that the prettiest would be hers and that i would collect things from all of our travels for her. the water reached up and swallowed my feet and i laughed and felt so connected to this little being inside me, who i would one day introduce to the ocean.

my sleeping love

arriving in monterosso

(by m)

growing alba and i, 10 weeks (by m)

girl lying in a yellow slide in the sea

me, watching the sunset at dinner (by m)

(by m)

me, catherine and the roses m bought us all.

one day we hired a handsome boat to shoot on. for a while i sat on the bow, my toes skimming the surface of the sea, entirely bliss. we’d pass all of the old, hillside towns that made up cinque terre with their tall houses turned pastel from paint faded by hundreds of years of sun. i saw an old steam train billowing cloud disappear behind a hill and felt everything in my life fall away. all there was was the moment and the immense beauty of it.

the rest of italy was standing on a red roof in firenze city, street ballet at night, laughing in candle-lit restaurants, boutique hotels, chasing light with the models and recognising the colossal sculptures in awe through the taxi windows. the old world.

italian girl by the boats

jocelyn and the camera she lost

view from the bow, towns of cinque terre

italian flag (by m)

m making me laugh

grandpa pushing a boy around town in a wheelbarrow

cinque terre hike (by m)

young girl photographing a man with a bouquet of roses

unwillingly photographed youth

red roofs in the city of florence

the town through taxi windows (by m)

the flight home was long and i fell sick. the sickness welled up where i imagined my little one laying and i prayed she wasn’t feeling any hurt. i put my palms over her and i sent her all my love and warmth. i imagined the day i would hold her and look into her eyes and it made me cry. she was mine and i’d do anything to keep her from hurt.

on the long train ride back to the mountains i fell asleep with m holding his hand over our alba. i dreamt of the places we’d take her when she was born, and kept imagining long after we’d arrived. i can’t wait to show you the world, baby.

131 love notes

  1. I’ve just stumbled upon your blog and I am thankful I did. You are beautiful and so is Alba. Your family and the photos are amazing. I’ve started reading one and i just cant stop. 🙂 be dropping by often from now on…

  2. That´s amazing the work you share with all of us with your pictures and writtings.
    I would love take pictures like you. Alba is so lucky:)

    xoxo from spain.

  3. I am enjoying your blog so much.
    What a lovely reminder that life is to be lived, every day.
    I had my first child when I was quite young (also born at home) and we traveled around southern Italy when he was 2 months old for 6 weeks. I carried a backpack with his diapers (which I washed in a sink or bucket and hung out to dry) and our clothes. I left my sling carrier at home because it seemed too bulky, & his dad and & I carried him in our arms. His first swim was in the Adriatic sea.
    Have a beautiful day with sweet Alba.

  4. love all the pictures!!
    really really nice shots, i havent explored italy as much as i wanted to.

  5. Just stumbled on your blog, so happy I found it!!
    absolutely amazing way of writing and photography,
    in this post I love especially the one where you sit at a nowhere trainstation, I wish you all the best for you and your baby and your bf/ husband! I follow u!

    Marija from intwoo

  6. the way you write is just so beautiful. it's so light and delicate and precious. so heavy adjectives or verbs or descriptions of one place or another, just a few sentences of the perfectly painted picture, even without the need of your photos, which are gorgeous, by the way. i don't know what to say. i've never seen anything like it. great post :))
    -jocee <3
    {pee ess: your friend's name is jocelyn? so is mine!}

  7. i've got tears in my eyes. i absolutely love your photo-story. especially the one with u making a heart sign for alba. so lovely

  8. I live in Provence!! Yeah, I'm English and live in the south of France! Your photography is simply amazing, one of my favourite blogs! xoxo

  9. wow. I just don't know what to're photographies are stunning. seriously. you are talented. this looks like a beautiful life !

  10. I love this. The beaches, the sand, the balconies, the sunflowers, the people, ….the reality of all. Thank you for providing such beautiful pictures to truly admire.

    My love to you, Adrienne.

  11. Great pictures ! And thank you for telling which beautiful village that is in the mountains (Cinque terre), I've been wondering for quite a while now, haha ! P.S. I'm following you 🙂

  12. I adore your blog and your photos. I think you are really talented! (Just started subscribing to you on facebook, I like your updates)

  13. Your photography is amazing! I'm trying to learn the ropes of photography do you have any advice you would like to pass on? I would really appreciate it

  14. The text and photos, specially the photo of you and "growing" alba, are touching, hope it all goes well 🙂

  15. nirrimi please keep posting about your beautiful and inspirational life. your words and your pictures turn my computer screen into a little window of joy.

  16. you are unbelievable and amazing! i click on your page/blog really often, always waiting for new pictures. it's always a pleasure to look at them! these colours, depth of field…. simply everything- thank you for sharing them!
    what camera are you actually using?

  17. breathtaking, alba will be one lucky daughter to have such creative parents, who can SEE the world for what it is

  18. Stunning pictures. Just discovered your blog. What a find! I love it! You are very creative and I love your style.

  19. timtam: the campaign is not yet out- so i'm not allowed to share it anywhere unfortunately. i should be able to in december.

    if you're not here for my personal posts, that's fine. but others are, and i'll continue blogging about my life for them.

  20. the way you put your emotions, feelings and thoughts into words and photos is amazing. It's like im reading a fairy tail <3

  21. You have such a different life from mine, and it's really cool to see you following your heart, especially in the case of Alba. I think it's awesome that you are letting yourself know what's right instead of looking to society for answers.

  22. I think you'll already know: Alba in italian means "dawn", the break of the day 🙂

    And sounds so perfect and romantic for this beautiful child who is already so loved!

    Hug from Italy,


  23. As mentioned on facebook, Nirrimi, specifically the part where you speak of collecting stones, giving Alba the most beautiful, and collecting all sorts of treasures and writing a diary for your forthhcoming child about all the places she has been . . .. it brought tears to my eyes!!!

    you have such BEAUTIFUL HAIR!

    And you are wearing red lipstick in that shot of you laughing!!! I can just notice it!! Fabulous!

    These photos are so touching. You always capture the best depictions of the world around you, such artistic sense. You AND M!!!!!

    you two are the most amazing twin flames I have ever seen

  24. i was so, so happy to see this new post. it's beautiful and lovely as usual and i'm so glad that you exist to share these incredible words and photograph's with us.

  25. this is so beautiful!!! I can't wait to see the pictures and introduce alba to us 😀 you'll be some great parents!
    I went to cinque terre last year and I said to myself that someday I'm gonna buy a place to live there, it's like heaven!!

  26. So your baby is little girl 🙂 All you described sounded so beautifully and also the pictures you and Matt took. You are so pretty and I wish I could draw a picture of you someday. Wish you all the best and I pray your baby will be safe and healthy. Love,

  27. The trip sounded wonderful, you are so lucky. I'm so glad that you're able to have these amazing experiences! It gives me hope.

  28. Amazing.. You're so lucky to live the life you do. Madly in love with the boy of your dreams, pregnant with a healthy girl, traveling the world and immortalizing each amazing moment with your stunning photography! Every time I read your blog, it makes me want to pursue my dreams with even more valor, and to see the world and make the most of this one life I have 🙂

  29. beautiful…i think i was in france+italy around the same time. thank you for seeing so much beauty in this world. also i love alba, it reminds me of the time traveler's wife

  30. nirrimi, this post was so beautiful, your words and your photographs mix together to create the most amazing story! thank you for sharing!

  31. Your photos are so amazing. For a moment, I took a moment just to realise how beautiful the world actually is. Your photos are so inspiring.

  32. oh nirrimi this is just so full of beauty. it's so exciting to finally know it's alba who's growing inside of you. after all these years of reading blogposts from you, either here or in dA, it just seems so magical, the way your dreams have come true. the world loves you. you are definitely one in a billion, i hope you know that. we're all proud of all you have accomplished, and yet, it's funny to think this is just the beginning. many blessings!

  33. this is amazing! i m so so happy you blogged again and can't wait the part two. you are special. and alba, wow can't wait to see her!

  34. …like a book , that I keep reading.
    and your photos take me on a journey .
    you guys will be wonderful parents.

    Much love, Sofie

  35. I am constantly stunned by your photographs, you're a true inspiration and some day I wish to be as good of a photographer as you.

  36. There is so much love in your words and the way you experience life is so inspiring! I am so happy for you and I am so thankful that you share these parts of your life with us. It is like an every day reminder to never give up pursuing the best in life and it gives me so much hope! and these photographs are as always beyond beauty 🙂

  37. i travelled through very similar places this summer (as i do almost every year). i hope you had a chance to see the best of europe, it seems you did. the atmosphere of these cities is so unique.

  38. i can't quite express the connection i feel with your life. following your journey for so long, your work being one of the things that first influenced me to pick up a camera and find my passion all those years ago.
    i feel as though we are friends whom have never met, i feel as though i know you better than some of the closest people in my life. this all sounds a little odd, but i'm just so happy for you. sometimes when things are tough for me, i like to imagine your life and how wonderful things have turned out for you.

    beautiful things happen to beautiful people nirrimi, you have blessed so many lives, and you deserve this blessed life most.

  39. wow, nirrimi, wow.

    There is so much love and beauty in this post. Thank you so much for the wonderful morning which you'd made it mine.


  40. Reading your blog, looking at every single photo of yours are really pleasant for me.

    I like the way you take the photos of the world so much.

  41. hey girl:) congrats! I bet you're gonna be a great mum. and such a beautiful story.. your writing is amazing. And the pictures.. it's like a picture should have been like that a long time ago.

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