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What was the inspiration behind the Tough Women portrait series?
An incredible woman called Kiko Mathews, who I photographed in 2017. She was attempting to break the world record in becoming the fastest person to row the Atlantic solo and raise £100,000 for Kings College Hospital, as a huge thank you for saving her life in 2009. I took some press photos for her and we stayed in touch after that day and became friends and I followed her journey. In March 2018, after 49 days at sea she broke the world record and became the fastest women to row the Atlantic solo. I was incredibly proud and inspired by Kiko, and this sparked the idea of creating a portrait series of Tough Women in Sport and Adventure, where I was fortunate enough to get to know some incredible badass women and photograph them.
Kiko Matthews, by Nyla Sammons
What did you want to capture?
I photographed each woman twice. First in my studio space, where I wanted to really capture their strength and ferocity. I really wanted to show that these women are fierce, they push boundaries and don’t let society dictate what they should do.
The second photo of each woman was taken on location. I choose the locations based on what resonated with them. This helped to better tell their story.
Laura Hoggins, by Nyla Sammons
Do you have a favourite image?
That’s like asking a mother who her favourite child is. I love them all, each photo brings something special and unique to the project and that’s because of the women themselves.
Having worked with the Tough Women, what would be your advice to other women out there looking to get involved in sport and adventure?
This whole project was to celebrate the achievements of these women, but yes it was also to inspire people to go out there and adventure, get motivated and work towards their goals. I would say just get up and go, you will be amazed at how you feel when you get out of your comfort zone. Inspired by these Tough Women, in February, I went on a three-day hike with a friend along the South East costal path where I got to see some of the most beautiful views from climbing up steep hills. I learnt a lot about myself during that trip and its now the beginning of me going out there and adventuring.
Pip Stewart, by Nyla Sammons
Tough Women in Sport and Adventure Photography Exhibition Open daily | Free Entry Crossrail Place Roof Garden Canary Wharf London E14 5AB You can see the full Tough Women series online here. Nyla is London-based photographer, specialising in portraits of people, editorial and cover event photography. Nyla loves travelling and you can usually find her exploring London, finding hidden treasures, sipping on cocktails and discovering the latest hip eatery. You can contact Nyla here.