West Busselton, Australia

I am a fine art photographer who has found that nature can be very healing. Many people are unable to get out and spend time in nature,...

My Story

Life has been hard at times, but I have overcome incredible odds & continue to do so….
I was told in 1991 that I would never work again, I was put in a very restricting back brace and told to be happy I was alive & not in a wheelchair.
Needless to say I was far from happy….. I was depressed and disillusioned.
I needed something to occupy me & lift me out of this negative mind set.
I thought, “What can I do?” I struggled with this for some time & then one day standing on the side of the road looking out across a field I thought, “Photography”
I had no experience in this, so enrolled in a short course at TAFE to learn more. I found I couldn’t sit for long, but managed to get through the course & then began shooting in earnest.
This was back in the days of film. As I became more involved in my photography I took another course that focused more on the creative side of photography & found it very inspiring. I had always been good with computers, so I started up my own small business, “Jules Photography & Printing” A lot of my work involved making business cards and flyers but I also did events and eventually weddings. During this time my back was getting stronger and with the help of some natural therapies I was able to take the brace off. I ran the business for 2 yrs.
But life wasn’t meant to be easy and I was then diagnosed with another long term condition. As I was struggling to come to terms with this I gave up my photography and immersed myself in self help groups and volunteered to help others, this took up all my time and energy.
Once again through the help of alternative therapies I was able to overcome this condition & had started back working in my vocational field of Personal Assistant & bookkeeping. My son was studying Accountancy, so I suggested we go into business together. We started “BB Balancing Your Books". Well within 12 months my back pain had returned with a vengeance & I knew I couldn’t continue in this work so I handed the business over to my son & my Hubby & I decided on a sea change.
It was the best thing we could have done. I love being near the beach and as I immersed myself in nature I once again began to experience its healing properties. But once again life through me a curve ball.
I was in constant pain so asked the Dr to do some more tests to see if we could isolate the problem. The tests came back & my Dr explained that I had severe osteoarthritis in my spine & there was nothing they could do for it. After I got over the initial shock I went to see a specialist who promptly informed me that I could not lift anything, could not walk more than 15 m, could not swim or do anything else. I cried all the way home!!!
Then I thought, “NO!, I may as well do what I can & if I end up in a wheelchair so be it”
I then went for a walk down the beach and as I stood looking out over the vast expanse of ocean I thought, “photography helped me last time, maybe it can help me again.”
So I went home & told hubby I was buying a digital camera. Well the rest is history, I still have severe osteoarthritis but with the help of my Dr, a new specialist and natural therapies I am able to have some quality of life. I cannot work a regular job as I have good days & bad. They discovered I also have Fibromyalgia, so I have periods where the pain flares & I just have to have lots of down time. But doing my photography I am able to pace myself according to my body, I don’t do weddings or events as I cannot guarantee having a good day, but I can take images of nature.
At first, like most of us, I was unsure of my ability, but as I started entering competitions and winning them my confidence grew & I realised that I had something I could share with others. I began getting feedback from others, “Magnificent iconic capture! Well done!”, Jennifer Saville. _ “Lovely capture Julia, the colours are gorgeous! :))”,_ Kylie Sheahen . “Beautiful, poignant message in this amazing image”, Wendy Slee “Hi Julia…I just read about this in the journal of the new MOS group, so thought I’d come and have a look!! Awesome image and brilliant message…so important. Am going to send this to a passionate environmentalist friend. I’m sure she’ll love it!!”, Jan Stead.
I went on to become a photo coach for DigitalPhotoSecrets and loved helping others to experience the joy of photography. I met many special people through this. I started to branch out into Digital Artistry and found it gave me a new way of expressing myself, then life struck again. In Oct 2916, my beautiful hubby was diagnosed with a rare type of leukemia and given 2-5 yrs. needless to say we were in shock, he was fit and healthy and we didn’t know anything was wrong, while we were still coming to terms with this diagnosis, tragedy struck again and only 4 days after the diagnosis our house burnt to the ground, we were out at the time so all we had left was what we were standing in. We were so disallusioned, all our memories gone, would we have a chance to create new ones? The next few months was just about survival, finding somewhere to live, getting all the basics required to live etc. Prior to this I had been doing well health wise, myDr was working with my natural therapists and I had started seeing a trauma councillor for the PTSD I had had since I was 26. I had discovered that a spa helped my pain levels a lot, so had purchased one. When we needed the comforts of home and the supports built inti that home, in 6 minutes it was all taken away. We kept struggling on, putting one foot in front of the other. My hubby started chemo and became unwell, then in the 1st March he died, joking one minute and gone the next. He had a blood clot to his lung. It was a blessing for him as he did not want to walk the long cancer journey with no hope of a cure. But this left me on my own to get a new house built within 9mths. (The insurance would only pay 12 mths rent) as well as greiving the loss of my rock, the man I leaned on all the time, I was greiving all our lost memories, I didn’t even have something that smelled like him. After 2 days in bed crying it was like he said, “ time to stop this, there’s no one here to help you now, you have to get on with life. Needless to say it has been a hard year, but I have made it through and am even starting an art gallery at home. While I still miss my man I am excited about what the future holds and where my photography will take me.
My goal then came to be that I wanted to share the healing properties of nature with everyone, but I realised so many people don’t have the time, the ability or the opportunity to get out in nature as I do, so I began to try to bring nature to them; through my photography.
I have donated some of my work to hospitals around the world & I give my family & friends gifts of my photography, but I wanted to reach others, so I started my own website and also joined Red Bubble to help get my work out there. I have been published in the Australian Photographic Society Coffee Table book and am a finalist in a Steve Parish calender competition (still waiting on final results), my work has also been accepted into the Art Geo Art Gallery. So if you feel that you or someone you know would benefit from the healing nature brings, then have a look at my images and purchase some for yourself or your friends.
I try to keep my prices as reasonable as possible while at the same time covering the cost of my equipment. I value myself & what I do and hope you will value it as well. I pray that you will receive healing and peace from my images.
If you want to contact me, my email is jules@juliaharwood.com or you can sign up for my FREE monthly newsletter in which I give you a free image to use as a desktop background image or as a screensaver, as well as updates, specials and tips on how to take better photos. So check out my blog and sign up. You can also connect with me on Face Book or follow me on Twitter and I am also on Google+
“Striving to bring the outdoors in….so that we all may experience the peace, love and beauty of Mother Nature”

Journal Comments

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