My kick-ass 2015 | Looking back on a phenomenal year


I once heard that if your life could be filmed,  and at the end of it you got to watch the highlights….would your story be boring or compelling?  I have made it my mission to live a full and happy life, accepting the bumps and heartaches along the way, but taking every opportunity to make the most of it and being grateful in the process.    Finances have helped me to get to foreign lands, but some of my most memorable times have been when I’ve been flat broke too….

Rather than look ahead on 2016…I decided to reflect on 2015….and see what experiences I’ve had…what achievements I was proud of….and if I’d really made the most of it.  It was without a doubt, one of the best years of my life.  

I don’t really believe in making New Years resolutions, but I do believe in making changes, setting a few goals and focussing on new dreams throughout the year.  And I know from my own experience….I will only do them if I write them down.

Here are some moments from my kick-ass year…


I started 2015 off with an adventure to Havana, Cuba. It was a challenge to travel on my own, but I loved the freedom and anonymity….and the beauty amongst the chaos.

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And won in the “50 Best Wedding Photos of 2015” in the Signature Weddings competition….

Photographed Joss Stone and The Staxs at The Cornbury Festival music gig in Oxfordshire, UK….and got to chat to singer, Seal…


Joss Stone and Seal at The Cornbury Festival 2015


Explored London doing two engagement shoots there…and at the same time reminisced on when I used to live there in the 90’s…

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Photographed my friend Claire & Colin’s country wedding in Hampshire, England…

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and then did the same for this dynamic, gorgeous couple in Salzburg, Austria – Kaye & Mark…and in the process made two great friends (we’ll be meeting up somewhere in the world this year!)

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Wedding photographer Salzburg Austria

…Photographed a wedding at Tjoloholm Castle in Gothenburg, Sweden and had to keep pinching myself that I was really there…Finished shooting at 3.30am….had an hour sleep and made it by seconds, onto the 6am train bound for Orebro.

Tjoloholm Castle Wedding Sweden

Tjoloholm Castle wedding in Sweden

My business was given an inspiring boost when I attended the WAY UP NORTH 2015 conference in Stockholm, Sweden.  I sat amongst 500 heads of talent…and was hooked in by speakers like Jasmine Star, Andrea Lindquest, Sam Blake, Nessa Kissinger, Ben & Erin Chrisman (whom I’d met at The Fearless Conference in Bali last year), Fer Jurista, Ed Peers, Kat Williams and Jonas Peterson…

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…And went on a road-trip with my friend Jacki Bruniquel to Gotland, in Sweden…we had a picnic at a random spot on a lake…and got to experience driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road…

Gotland Travel
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Gotland travel - Monica Dart Photography

I had the the privilege of doing the food photos in Sweden for my friend, Monique Le Roux Forslunds sugarfree/lchf recipe book “Lär dig leva sockerfritt”.  It will be published early this year by ‘Pagina Publishing House’!  We worked flat out for almost two weeks…and I remember constantly eating the food after it was photographed…and losing weight in the process.  

Lär dig leva sockerfritt


...and met a very kind and patient man…who understands my weirdness and accepts that I’m a ‘time optimist’ and that I can’t read maps…

….and we went on our first adventure together to the city of Riga, in Latvia….and had a photo shoot done with photographer Arturs Romonovski.  

…and then he came to Cape Town for the first time….loved it! and I got to be a tourist and enjoy my own city!

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…and we ended off the holiday by going to my friends, Justine and Tom’s wedding…as guests!  But I couldn’t resist taking my camera and getting a few snaps…as did photographer Shanna Jones…and I got one of this ninja in action…

Shanna Jones Photographer

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I did some fun family shoots in Cape Town….  The majority of shoots took place at one of our many gorgeous beaches…


Family Photographer in Cape Town

…and a couple in Sweden in the autumn…

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Got to spend a morning with Kristin and Swen from Germany doing a shoot around Cape Town for them…and last saw them in 2014 when I photographed their wedding. It was great to re-connect…

couple shoot in Cape Town

Got to spend some quality time with family and friends….

Family time


….and then won a night at The Island Club Hotel in Century City, Cape Town in the Argus, “Independent Travel Competition” with this image taken in Nusa Lembongan, Bali.  The amazing thing, is that I had a strong sense when I was entering the competition, that I was going to win it.


….and didn’t make it to midnight to say ‘happy New Year’…because I fell alseep snuggling with this furry baby, Miss Banksy…

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So I’ll leave you all with a little illustrated quote from my favourite illustrator-artist in the world, Niki Pilkington:

HAPPY 2016



8 Responses to “My kick-ass 2015 | Looking back on a phenomenal year”

  1. Monique 01/01/2016 at 5:28 pm

    Stunning reflection of your year! Keep living life to its fullest ❤️

    • Monica Dart 02/01/2016 at 7:02 am

      Thanks Mon! See you soon for more adventures!x

  2. Abigail 02/01/2016 at 6:58 am

    You’re an absolute inspiration Monica! The way you follow your bliss is the way that life should be lived. And to have a talent to record your journey in such a beautiful way is a true gift indeed. I follow you quietly online throughout the year and have absolute admiration for you – as a free spirited and gratitude centred woman and as an amazing photographer. Continue to shine your light and share your gift in 2016. You are on an amazing journey.

    • Monica Dart 02/01/2016 at 7:05 am

      Thanks Abigail for taking the time to write to me, I really appreciate it. Have a great year ahead! hugs,xxx

  3. Debz 02/01/2016 at 8:22 am

    Hi Moni, what an awesome year… Just shows you how much fun it is when you live your passion! Your photos are truly beautiful and inspiring. Hope your 2016 is even better!

  4. Claire 02/01/2016 at 10:27 am

    We are so pleased to have been included as we know what a very busy bee you are xxx
    Happy 2016 to you and travel safe my friend xxx

  5. l3anne 02/01/2016 at 11:26 am

    Just the most awesome pics Monica. And I loved reading your 2015 reflections!!

  6. chazphotogCharlene 19/01/2016 at 6:17 pm

    How did I miss this post? How on earth…Shine on you wonderful, gifted, incredible woman. You deserve it all. I have nothing but love for you. Shine on sista. Shine on.

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