March 28, 2014

heart to heart with: luisa brimble

Every week we'll bring you a conversation with a Mum; a conversation that took place in real time via Facebook messenger. We haven't edited it or made it pretty. It's just what it is - a heart to heart conversation between mothers. This week, I had the opportunity to talk with the ridiculously talented Luisa Brimble; mother of two girls, food and lifestyle photographer, and the founder of the much anticipated Alphabet Family Journal. The excitement surrounding her latest project is unreal - did you know they blew their Kickstarter goal completely out of the water? We couldn't be more proud (or excited for that first issue!) Today our conversation covers everything from being awkward, having a good support system, the "terrible twos", and balancing life as an artist and mother. Luisa's attitude toward life is refreshing, inspiring and real. You'll leave this one with a permanent grin - promise.  -- Kate

Luisa Brimble
mother, photographer, editor-in-chief  |  |


Kate: Hello, sweet Luisa! Just popping in to let you know I'm available to start our 'chat' here whenever you get situated. I won't hold you up for long ;)

Luisa: hello kate how are you? all good ready when you are

K: Wonderful. I'm great! Let’s start with all the basics… a general introduction, perhaps? Your name, how many children? Your occupation and anything else that interests you outside of being a mother?

L: hah! ok here we go. My name is Luisa Brimble and I have 2 girls - Beth who's 8 years old and Poppy who's 3 years old. I'm a food & lifestyle photographer and also the founder of Alphabet Family Journal. Ohhhhh what interests me outside of being a mother???
ok still thinking of that last question ha ha ha…

ok usually though my outside of being a mother my life evolves in reaching out to other creatives mainly someone who I recently met and organising some kind of collab shoot

K: I have to tell you... I have been nervous about this interview since the moment I found out. Ha! I am quite excited to have the opportunity to chat with you today. I've admired your photography work for years now. You are such a tremendous inspiration to me!

L: Oh you're funny! Why are you nervous????

K: If you and I were talking in person right now, you would understand just how awkward I am when I first get the chance to meet someone I've admired. No lie, you are one of the "superstars" of photography for me, so this was a big deal!

L: ohhhhh you're way too kind so funny because i was feeling exactly the same thing when I was on a skype chat with Parker Fitzgerald last night. insanely nervous but at the end of the day we're all just normal peeps right? bahahahhahahahahahahhahahaa oh totally would be the same if i am in the same situation. but it's only for few moments then you relax and it's just like chatting with friends really.

K: Haha : ) Absolutely. So, what does a typical day look like for you?

L: Typical day would be and this is would mean that I went to bed at say 2am previous night… it will be that my priority will be to sleep until i really need to get up which will be at 8am then start getting Beth ready for school, I prepare her lunch, give Poppy breakfast and all in the space of 45 minutes. I make sure that I finish shooting by 1.30pm at the latest enough time to pick up Beth at school by 3pm.

Then afternoon activities start, prepare dinner and Chris (my husband) comes home and plays with the girls. I will then start work around 6pm - i.e. editing, research, emailing, follow up etc etc… phew geez writing all that makes me all tired ha ha ha the late nights though catches up on me sometimes. so i will end up having a week of late nights and a week of sleeping early say around 11pm

K: That is an absolutely jam packed schedule. It seems that you've got a good rhythm going, though. Do you find that it helps to have a general flow to the day?

L: Yes definitely helps to know what's going on. I do plan the day depending on whether there's photoshoot. I prefer to do all the shoots though during the weekend rather than weekday. Because on weekdays I take Poppy with me and I'm just very lucky that she's happy to sit or watch me work. On weekends Chris looks after the girls.

K: That’s wonderful that you have his help! I remember that photo you took of Poppy with a floral crown - was that on set for one of your shoots?

L: Ohhhhh which one is that one of Poppy? ha ha ha possibly or if not maybe just playing around during photoshoot ha ha ha.

K: Do you travel a lot for your photography?

L: Travel as in Internationally?

K: Travel as in anywhere, really... but where have you been outside of the country lately? I ask because I have only left the United States once and am itching to explore!

L: I travelled on a couple of times domestically and to Paris & Barcelona last year but that's about it. As glamorous as it sounds travelling takes a lot out of me. I miss being with my family and when I come home it takes about a month or so to get back into the rhythm of things.

K: Of course! That's so wonderful that she loves to come with you, though (and that you bring her along!) She must think you're the coolest mum ever!

L: Bahahahahahahhaahahah I love to know what she's thinking. Possibly something like 'Oh mum I don't want to go to a photoshoot I want to stay home and play' :)))) But I think coming with me on photoshoots she's a lot better when you ask her to pose for you. It was hard with Beth - to convince her to stay still for photos ha ha ha

K: If only we could get into the minds of our children... wait... I take that back. I'm dreading what my two year old thinks of me sometimes. Did you ever go through the "terrible twos" or "terrible threes?" We are in the midst of all that craziness right now and it is... tough.

L: Bahahahahahahahahaha oh I'd love to be able to know what they're thinking so funny what they say sometimes. Ohhhhhh yes we do have incidences of terrible twos or threes but we always think of it as a stage in their lives that will pass.

K: I know! I was telling Sofia (my oldest) that she was hilarious and that she cracked me up, and she looked at me quite puzzled and asked, "like an egg?!” Haha.

L: bahahahahahahhahahahahahahahaha oh imagine having the power of switching from an adult thinking to a kid thinking?

K: Now that would be something, wouldn't it?!

L: I was wondering that wouldn't it be awesome to be able to do that so that we understand our children when they're feeling frustrated.

K: That is such a good point, Luisa. I love that! Can you tell me about your favorite moment as a mother? Something you’re really proud of.

L: Favourite moment would always be when both our girls say 'I love you' to either myself or Chris without being prompted to say so. Followed by a cuddle. For me that will be the ultimate. There’s loads of those.

K: Oh... that first unprompted 'I love you’ It makes your heart swell, doesn't it?

L: Yup exactly that! right there.

K: Is parenting anything like you had expected?

L: Well it's hard for starters, the hardest job ever. It's definitely not for the faint hearted. To be honest seeing Beth & Poppy grow up and all the joys that comes with it I'm seriously thinking we can so totally do it again for the 3rd time ha ha ha.

K: It can be so challenging... but the tough moments often lead to miraculous learning experiences and our capacity for love just continues to grow - hence, more babies hahaha

L: Well said! Boom! Can I steal that answer? ha ha ha

K: Of course! All yours!

L: bahahahahahahahahahahahahha. As you can see I laugh a lot

K: You're a very funny lady! I wish I wasn't halfway across the globe!

L: I love a good sense of humour not taking life to seriously. Always moving on.

K: That's a good philosophy to have. I think it lends itself well to motherhood, too!

L: Imagine that???? Do you live in Chicago?

Whereabouts in Chicago?

K: I do. We are just south of downtown, by the Midway airport.

L: How far are you from Amanda Jane Jones?

K: Oh, I would say maybe 15-20 minutes. Just a quick drive up the lake!

L: Have you guys met in person yet?

She's the one I want to meet one day too

K: You know, I went to one of the Kinfolk events last year, but it was before she moved to the city. And I haven't gotten in touch with her yet...  but I have no excuse not to!

L: I would if I were you!

I’m jealous :)))

K: Haha!! All of these wonderful creative mothers out there. I was talking to a friend of mine recently about being a mother and and artist... it's a challenging combination! To have the time to devote to your craft, yet still devote one-on-one time with your children and truly get involved in their lives... how do you handle that juggle?

L: People ask me that all the time? How do you do it???

Geez looking at my day to day schedule I already find it hard. But I think with Poppy as she's with me the whole day she seems to just follow where ever I go. We play for small bursts or take her to a playground, come home and sometimes she will be happy to play on her own

But my work really starts when girls are in bed from 7.30pm onwards.

So I just work straight from then until 2am :))))

At the end of the day we just make it work for us.

K: Ah, burning the old midnight oil! Well it's clear you are just doing a wonderful job :)) I'm so thankful we got the chance to chat!  If I can, I'd like to ask you one last question: is there any piece of wisdom you'd like to share? Maybe advice you wished someone had told you?

L: Oohhhhh wisdom... let me think… Still thinking

K: Take your time.

L: I guess living life not being dictated by too many rules, whatever life has given you then you make the most of it through kindness, love and generosity, same thing we teach our girls. I believe that in this life you get given the life you can handle both the joy and pain.

... still thinking more…

Like now I overthink the answer to this question. Well it's best not to overthink things right :)))) Best moments happen when it's unscripted. even in photoshoots. Best shots of the days are the one you least expect

K: Those in-between moments... the ones that sometimes would go unnoticed if you weren't looking. Beautiful.

L: Exactly those!

K: I like your take on life, Luisa. I really do!

L: bahahahahahahahha you're making me cry Kate!

K: Oh my goodness, no no please don't cry!

L: ha ha ha nah just a lump in my throat

K: I think sometimes we forget the good work we do every day, even if it's just doing the daily drop off in our PJ's our a quick trip to the park.

L: It's nice to be reminded every now and then

Hence it's great to have a good network of friends and families who supports you

K: That community of supportive friends and family is so vital, isn't it? Bonding together without the fear of judgement... it's a tough job, motherhood. Having support is so crucial!

L: So very true. Hence I really love what you guys are doing at Wholehearted bringing community of mothers which in effect inspires others to reach out.

K: I am happy I got to snag an hour of your time! Thank you so much, beautiful. It was a pleasure getting to know you better!

L: Thank you Kate so very much for the opportunity to chat with you. Really truly honoured and privileged to be part of this

K: We are so thrilled to have had you!

Photos of Luisa and family courtesy of:  Annette Wilson


  1. 2 am? Luisa, you're insane. I loved reading every bit of this beautiful interview. Thanks for sharing.

    1. ha ha ha Bethany I know crazy. Not healthy and don't recommend it. It catches up on me though. I will get a couple of weeks doing that and a week of going to bed early. It will need to change :)

    2. Ahhh 2am - crazy but sometimes necessary huh! It's not easy doing SUPER time consuming creative work and a mum at the same time... here's to a few extra hours in the day and some early, recharging bedtimes!

  2. Wow I am seriously under achieving! Haha (no I don't believe that- but 2am wow- I am tipping my hat!) \
    AND wow- the AFJ mag looks divine! I hope I can get it in Australia. \
    Great interview- thanks so much for sharing your life :)

    1. I know! Luisa puts us all to shame in the achievement department ;) Such a go-getter!

      I'm about 99.9% sure AFJ will be available in Australia...