Menopause Portraits at Work

Concept and Art Direction
Photography and Photo Editing.

CLIENT: Over The Bloody Moon

To raise awareness of menopause in the workplace the organisation Over the Bloody Moon commissioned myself and art director Pansy Aung to create a series of still life portraits: "Menopause Portraits at Work" to express some of the common tensions and issues they hear from their community.

Menopausal women are the fastest growing workforce demographic. Yet unlike maternity, there’s a lack of awareness and support for it in the workplace. With this campaign we wanted to raise public attention, make people stop, think, smile and engage in this often-stigmatised subject with a provocative and insightful still life photography series. The images represent some of the most common visible and invisible symptoms of menopause:

01. Hot flushes
02. Irritability
03. Mood Swings
04. Memory lapses
05. Loss of libido
06. Brain Fog


Hot flushes are commonly associated with menopause and affect 70% women, even those on Hormone Replacement Therapy. Hot flushes last on average four minutes and people describe them as an intense burning heat that rises sometimes from the chest, up the neck and face to the crown of the head whilst others experience the heat radiating up from their feet or arms. This can be particularly difficult for those who wear uniform, in environments with heat or cold, and for those who are in public facing roles or in meetings.


Irritability can be a result of declining progesterone, making 53% women feel fragile and teary. Some describe themselves as feeling less patient with colleagues, snappy or defensive “going from 1 to 100 in a matter of seconds.”


Mood swings can be a result of declining progesterone or fluctuating oestrogen. Women often describe feeling a spectrum of moods in a short space of time, making them feel ‘out of control’ or ‘going mad’.


Memory lapses affect over 40% of people transitioning through menopause with some finding their vocabulary reduced, unable to remember the names of people, projects and nouns. Some describe themselves as becoming scatty and forgetful to such a degree they worry they have early onset of Alzheimer’s disease. This is due to declining oestrogen and rising cortisol, our stress hormone.


You might wonder what libido has to do with the workplace. Low testosterone may make people tired, suppresses mood, makes it harder to fall asleep, and also impacts on sex drive. With little energy, women can describe themselves as ‘fading away’ or ‘feeling invisible’. There are many hidden aspects of menopause that colleagues won’t notice that impact on a person’s confidence and behaviour. It’s important that this isn’t confused with poor performance.


Fluctuations in oestrogen that are particularly pronounced during perimenopause (the stage ahead of menopause) may impact on cognitive function, making it harder for people to organise their thoughts. The brain metabolism begins to slow, and tasks can take longer to complete, as well as people finding it harder to focus on conversations. As the mind is an important asset in the workplace, this can derail those impacted by brain fog and is sadly a cause for people to leave their job, often not disclosing the real reason why.