We are so happy to be kicking off our Whispers By The Water series with Verity, our 2021/22 campaign photographer for WYLDING.
Thanks for being a part of this series, can you tell us a little about about yourself and your business?
My name is Verity Rivers, and I am a photographer. I created my company, 'Short & Sweet' to follow my own path and guide myself towards how I felt family photography should be. Natural, playful, and with a personal documentation of emotion and connection between people. I specialise in portraiture, and our relationship with each other in the family unit. Over the past few years I have opened myself up to different aspects within the industry, and I have really enjoyed the versatility. Whether it’s a mother and child, a corporate or a fashion shoot, the way I work is the same in every picture, it’s about my connection to the individual and our surroundings.
Do you have a daily wellbeing routine and if so what is it?
I am still building a platform for my daily wellbeing, it’s been a long journey and one that I haven’t prioritised, I have many steps to take. I start with staying connected to the people I love. A pipping hot cup of tea from a flask, beside a river after a swim has been another.
Why did you start cold water swimming?
My thoughts can often lead to a whirlpool of negativity and anxiety, I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember, I have tried psychotherapy, medication, herbal infusions, and been given many wise words, but nothing has come remotely close to resetting my mind and bringing me into a better version of myself than the effects of a cold water swim in the wild. Cold water is the only cure I have found that gets me out of my head and into my body, escaping these thoughts and emerging from the water on an endorphin high. What ever has been floating in my mind as I entered the water, is released the moment I enter it.
Can you share your first memories of water with us?
My first memories of water are as a child, are in my family home every night. I would take a red hot bubble bath and I would feel like I was washing the day away. Imagining a million universes in the bubbles that were floating around me, it was my time to reset, rest, and enjoy my solitude.
My first experience of cold water swimming was in the river beneath my house, there was snow on the ground and the water swirled into a pool beside the little wooden bridge. There were 5 or 6 of us going into the water, some went straight in, head first. Some would just paddle. I waded out until my knees and thighs were immersed and I could feel the burning sting of the cold. Something happened as I stood there in silence, accepting the feeling and eventually becoming numb to its effect. It was mediative, calming and reassuring knowing that I had the control to stay or to leave. Taking the decision to submerge my body into the pain of the cold was the moment I let go of everything, all of the tension and worries I was holding in my head vanished the moment I released myself into the water. I felt rejuvenated, and it's this peaceful, clear and happy present state that keeps pulling me back in.
Controversial but ..... can you share your favourite swimming spots with us? (We won't be offended if you say no!)My favourite swimming spots are anywhere that I can feel fully immersed in nature, a quiet calm place to take my plunge. For me, it isn’t just the cold water, I don’t think I would feel the same effect from sitting in an ice bucket in my garden. It’s the whole experience, of setting an intention to take myself into the woods, to be outside and hear the birds, feel the wind and the sun, the mud beneath my toes as I clamber down into the water. Returning home after a wild swim leaves me energised and ready in a way nothing else ever has.
Apart from being advised to never swim alone for safety reasons we have found that swimming with one of more friends has really enhanced our dips - what does the sisterhood mean to you?
Sisterhood means many things to me, it is a connection to every other woman on earth, especially to other Mothers. I feel we share an understanding of what it means to be a woman, a Mother, in a way that no man ever could. I also use this word to describe my closest friends, and other women who I feel safe with to share my vulnerabilities and my truest self. I think sisterhood is a nurturing, compassionate safe space, held in the presence of another woman.
Website - https://www.verity-rivers.com
Social - Instagram