Whilst growing up in Zimbabwe, I was educated by Jews and Christians, whilst at the same time being taught to speak in Ndebele (an African language). My first job out of school was raising lion cubs and riding on elephants. But things got scary in Zim, I left in 2002 and my family fled in different directions in 2006. Unfortunately, our dogs didn't make it out of there alive (...I have no photos of my blind labrador x rottweiler, named Winston, whom I would sneak into my room every night from the garden and he'd ball himself up behind my knees and sleep).
I travelled to Cape Town as a seeker of refuge. There I spent my days diving with great white sharks, jumping off bridges and sipping cold drinks with world-explorers (bonuses of working in hospitality & tourism). Africa… I’m stuck for words to describe it.
Then one morning I woke up in sunny Scotland, where I began to appreciate the odd shot of double-distilled whisky. It was in the old buildings of Edinburgh that I discovered a passion for photography whilst working as a Mental Health Support Worker. One of my clients who had high functioning Autism taught me a lot of what she knew about photographic techniques and light… Yes, I have so much to thank her for!
The adventure continued to England, and this is when I began providing photography services worldwide. And where I met my gorgeous husband to be… He had a pet lamb and a Peugeot 205, I had a camera, we both had a sense of adventure… we fell in love, and then got married in order to live in the sunshine of his homeland - Australia. This is what Waz and my wedding looked like – Shirley’s wedding pics.
In 2015 I was diagnosed as chronically ill with reactive arthritis, which lasted two years. This was a pretty big shock at the time, it made me re-evaluate my existence... I realized that the current moment and memories are all we really have at the end of it all, so we might as well make them enjoyable and interesting!
I live a healthy and quiet lifestyle, keep a positive attitude, and really appreciate the little moments when that feeling of joy makes itself apparent. Waz, I and our two legendary (rescue) dogs, Rhoadz & Tripz, live in
a small house on five acres on the Sunshine Coast a five-bedroom house on a canola & wheat farm near Bendigo ... you'd think each dog could have his own bedroom... but no, it doesn't work like that :)
I ADORE DOGS, and more people than I can count using my fingers have called me a dog-whisperer ... that's why I'm studying Positive-Reward Behaviour Training for Animals.
I ADORE HUMANS, too. And that's why I'm studying Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy... with the plan of combining the two into a holistic form of animal-assisted intervention therapy. It is a way I can be of service to the world, by assisting with developing and deepening the unconditional bonds of love between humans and dogs.
I also love the outdoors, camping, conversations, handwritten notes, books, travel (I’m guessing you’ve gathered that already) curious people, most people, being generous, being outdoors, memories, meditation, reiki, coffee, culture, sushi, smokey whisky, and cooking. …and dots…
Things that I’m not such a fan of are… fast food, marmalade, and alarm clocks.
I try to capture magic moments for keeps.
“I could not recommend Shirlz highly enough, her work is amazing, she is so patient with the dogs and humans and will go above and beyond to get great shots. Our shoot did not feel like work it was fun from start to finish!! Look forward to the next one!!”