Olivia Vella

First there’s this photo. It is part of a nude shoot I did when living in London in 2009. It was a horrible shoot. I wasn’t used to doing nude photography modeling. I had done it a couple of times before. It was actually quite a scary scenario. I was with a man in his forties in his flat, who had converted his bed into a set, complete with lighting. I was in a part of London I didn’t know and nobody knew I was there. Minutes before starting the shoot the guy began to explain that he wanted to do bondage shots and I found myself in an uncomfortable situation. I ended up agreeing to do things far beyond my personal limits to avoid confrontation. Basically, this shoot happened at the height of a time when I was doing crazy things and taking a lot of chances. I was very brave and a little too much so. I was seeking adventure and trying new things. But, on the inside I felt restless and really just wanted something important in my life, like a relationship. In this photo I can see this sadness that I was feeling in my eyes. I like it because it encapsulates a certain period and when I see the photos from this shoot, I can relive how I was feeling, it takes me back to this time, makes me grateful that I had these experiences, and even more grateful to be living something different now.

These two were taken by a photographer I knew on my request when I was 8 months pregnant. At this time I felt amazing. I felt the most beautiful I ever have. I felt in touch with my femininity in a maternal way, not a sexual way, for the first time. I was excited about what was about to happen and for the first time I thought I was in the right place, without looking around for other things to fulfill me. I also felt like super woman because I was still choreographing and taking dance classes. I felt very empowered around this time and as if I was standing at the point where all my chosen paths had been leading.

Since my daughter was born my life has changed completely. To start with I am no longer the centre of my own existence. My ego has taken a step back and I now do everything for her. From a place where I was always looking for self-fulfillment I find myself effortlessly fulfilled. The concern that I am not doing the right things with my time has subsided. My daughter’s smiles are worth the sleepless nights and hectic days. I am tired and I do a lot of parenting on my own, but I am happy. This photo was taken when Alma was 8 months in a park with friends. I am very tired in the photo, as I always am these days, but I am smiling more than ever.