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The Women and Wilderness project is a fine art photography series.

It's about women, their connection to nature, healing and community.


**disclaimer: this article discusses domestic violence and PTSD.

The 'Women and Wilderness' project officially began on a cold winter day in February 2019, with two friends in the woods surrounding Hamilton Ontario, but the true reason for this project’s existence goes much deeper.

It was created within a moment of vulnerability, of healing, thanks to two wonderful women.

On a crisp February day in 2019 two of my closest friends came to visit. Each of us was grieving; the loss of a relationship, a dysfunctional job for which one friend had moved thousands of miles, and the loss of a family. We came together in a moment of profound vulnerability, each reflecting on our histories and the events that led us to that moment. Each of us found solace in nature, so we decided to go for a hike.

I brought my camera along to capture some of the landscape, however what ended up happening surprised us all. It turned into a series of portraits. As we were walking, I took some pictures of my friends. The peacefulness of the surroundings brought us all comfort, so we took it a step further.

Without hesitation, both women stripped to their sweaters and stepped into the shelter of a large conifer. Fingers numb with cold, I pressed the shutter button.

The pictures taken that day became a time capsule of sorts, so we could document and commemorate our losses, but also to capture this moment of love for each other, and the healing peacefulness of our surroundings. The Women and Wilderness project was born. 

This project seeks to capture women who love the wild, who find solace, peace and shelter in reconnecting with nature.

My story:

I grew up in a volatile home.  My family was controlling and violent, interspersed with moments of deep love and generosity. That love buffered the raw cognitive dissonance required to maintain these kinds of dynamics. I held onto normalcy with the support of some powerful women and good friends, paired with a love of being outdoors.

These two things would help guide me to safety, when in early 2019, my grandmother passed from dementia. She had a difficult passing. I spent a month in the hospital with her and another family member, with whom I had a very complicated relationship.

Once I returned home, I felt broken. I was diagnosed with severe PTSD. A doctor explained that after years of trauma, my body and mind were no longer able to sustain its weight. I had bottled so much for so long that there was no more space for me to absorb it all. Nightmares, flashbacks and panic attacks, along with an inability to process any new information kept me motionless. 

My grandmother and I weren't close, but she was one of the only two remaining family members that I had. We were a tiny family, and our dynamic was such, that when my grandma passed away, I knew that as far as my biological family was concerned, I would be alone. 


There is however, one thing that did tie us all together, and that was our love for the outdoors.


I remember being a child at the beach and watching my grandmother's head disappear on the horizon of the cold Polish Baltic sea. She would swim far offshore, and, I believe, in those moments find some peace.


My childhood, when I stayed in Canada for the summer, it was always very woodsy. One of my fondest memories is of when one evening we drove to some sand-dunes. My mother packed only the essentials, and we, and our big German Shepherd mix, slept under the stars. We would go canoeing every summer, and we rented a little cabin that we would go to every Friday after I was done school, coming back early on Monday morning to start class again. I would spend hours up in the treetops, swaying in the wind, my favourite place. I would make secret forts in the undergrowth out of old branches, bringing with me some trinkets to keep me company for the day.  


Wilderness was and remains a sanctuary. So it was only natural, that when my friends came down to hold space for our collective grief, we turned to the outdoors.


When I released these portraits, other women began to ask about having theirs taken. At first, I was cautious. I photographed women I knew. Spending time with them helped to create a space for connection, for growth. I no longer felt alone. Finally, a year later, I put a call out on Facebook, and overnight my inbox was full of messages from women, wanting to share their own relationships of the wild, and what it had brought to their lives.

In looking for other women who love the outdoors, I inadvertently entered a safe space for myself and others. We find solace and regeneration in nature, and I have found light, connection and trust. 


This photographic project would like to become a book, so if you, or someone you know would like to participate or donate, please don't hesitate to reach out

Donate to support the W+W project







Perks of donating >

Donations of $20 or more will receive a floral post card print

Donations of $50 or more will receive

- A floral post card print

- 10% discount for any purchases from the website 

-Acknowledgment in the book

Donations of $100 or more will receive a copy of the book once it comes into print

- A floral post card print

- 10% discount for any purchases from the website 

-Acknowledgment in the book

To make sure that you receive perks, please include your name and shipping address when you donate

The Women and Wilderness Project is entirely self funded. If you would like to help support the project, click the button below. Donations help to offset the cost of travel to remote shoot locations.
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Nicole Lagacé-Toelde

Emma Weisbord

Shaneese Tate 

Chris Spring

Savannah King

Jim Barnett

Barbara Hacio-Kirby


to date 


Not all donations have been financial.

Many have donated time, resources and even flights.

This incredible generosity has made

W+W possible.

Last updated January 16, 2020

The Women and Wilderness Project is open to all womenx who love adventures in the great outdoors. To get in touch, just shoot me a message by clicking the button below. 

Coming to the Maritimes - spring/summer 2024

*please note, dates may change as there may be travel and health restrictions/regulations due to the pandemic.

All shoots are done outdoors, and at a safe distance.

A quick note: As many of you are aware, this project is self funded, and by donation. To help ease travel costs, I've received many kind offers for accommodation in private homes. Regretfully I cannot accept invitations for accommodation at this time. My priority is everyone's health and well being. 

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