Karen Staniland-Platt, Founder of With Passion & Purpose
A professional photographer and writer who is passionate about inspiring women to do what they love and to be seen
2008 was a pivotal year. I got married; left a highly successful 15-year career in advertising; and started working for one of the UK’s largest cancer charities.
With plans to start a family, the fast-paced world of advertising was no longer viable. Joining an amazing charity close to my own heart offered me something that felt instantly more rewarding and brought with it more family-friendly working hours.
I became a mum in 2009 and stayed with the charity. Over the years I earned several promotions which brought more responsibility, larger teams and weekly travel to London. Despite my passion for the role, the increased travel and time away took its toll and I was eventually diagnosed with severe depression and signed off work for several months. My employers were brilliant, but as much as I’d loved the job, my health and family had to come first…
In 2014 I set up as a freelance marketing consultant – providing me more flexible working patterns and an opportunity to indulge my love of photography (taking on unpaid commissions from my marketing clients to build a portfolio). Before long I was charging for my work and, by 2017, was able to earn my full-time income purely from photography.
I see so many women in business doing amazing work in their respective fields, but they’re not always showing themselves: the face and the unique personality behind it all. As someone who is uncomfortable having their picture taken, I’m able to use my own experience to make women feel more relaxed and, ultimately, to capture pictures of them at their most natural: doing what they love.
My passion for this work has been further magnified by my daughter. Witnessing the pressure girls put themselves under to look and behave a certain way, I’ve begun exploring how I can use my photography to spread more positive messages. By photographing girls doing what they love, be it team sports or more creative pursuits, it encourages them (and others) to recognise what makes them unique and to be proud of who they are, regardless of how they look – because no woman or girl should be afraid of being seen for who they really are.