Breaking Taboos: Lucy Lumen’s Art and Advocacy

Photographer Lucy Lumen at home in front of cameras

Meet Lucy Lumen, a photographer and content creator, who shares her journey from a teen with a thrifted camera to a full-time creative. She discusses her experiences with menstruation, breaking period taboos, and prioritising self-care.


Name: Lucy Lumen
Pronouns: Her/She
Day job: Photographer
Location: Gold Coast, Queensland


Tell us about your work.

My job would be best defined as “Content Creator,” but I do it differently. I photograph mostly on 35mm film, and with my partner, a videographer, we make epic reels for brands and businesses.

I first got into photography when I was about 17. I had an older, cooler friend who used a film camera at the time, and she influenced me. I got one at an op shop and have photographed since. Now it’s my full-time job, which is an absolute dream!


What challenges did you face when you first started?

The hardest thing is finding your style. You get told to learn the foundations, the rules, and the technical aspects first. But I call bullshit on that! I think following the rules is the antidote to finding your unique style. My advice is to shoot often and not get too bogged down in perfection. Instead, have fun, play around, and embrace mistakes; they often uncover something more interesting.


Where and how do you find inspiration?

For me, it’s always been in music. As a child of the 90s, I grew up watching RAGE and video hits, so music videos are a huge one for me! I also love going to the movies and getting totally enveloped by the imagery and experience. I also find fashion so inspiring. The inspiration for campaign shoots is the coming together of all creative elements!

Pinterest is hands down the best place. Unlike other social media platforms, I can spend hours feeling nourished and inspired. Also, going for a run or just doing something with your body will likely result in a brilliant idea, and you are exercising, so it’s a win-win!

At home with photographer, Lucy Lumen

Are you more creative at different times of your menstrual cycle?

Oh my god, YES! The few days leading up to my period, I am so tired and often don’t want to leave the house or be very social, so these days, plus the first day of my actual period, aren’t the best. I’ve also noticed some mood changes in the middle of my cycle since having a baby and some differences in my body, too.


How do you balance this with work?

In my calendar, I mark off the few days leading up to my period and the first day of bleeding, and I schedule things that don’t require me to be “on” in any way. I first heard an artist say this on a podcast, and since then, I’ve implemented it—and it’s the best!

Instead, these are the times I write my weekly newsletter, update my website, or jump on Canva - couch potato things. I feed myself with lots of inspiration so that when I pop out the other end, I am ready to create!


Can you tell us about your first period?

I was 10 years old, and I noticed I was bleeding after using the bathroom, so I went downstairs to tell my mum. I didn’t know what it was, though, so I told her I had hurt myself and pointed down. I remember her face being so confused and then concerned and I started to feel worried. I had seen her having hers and seen tampons around, so I had an inkling, but I still didn’t understand what was happening.

My poor mum was shocked and caught off guard; she was 14 when she got hers, so it seemed so young for me! If I ever tell anyone, even now, it still is met with a screwed brow and disbelief, and I guess that constant reaction made me feel there was something wrong with me.


Were periods talked about openly when you were growing up?

My mum is my best friend and is very open, so I was lucky. We talked about everything, but I do remember trying to use a tampon for the first time, and she stood out of the room to explain it. I’m sure she wanted to give me privacy and respect, but I was confused and found using it uncomfortable.

I remember working in a cafe in my twenties and chatting periods with a few girls after work, and it came to light that I didn’t even really know how to use a tampon properly. I wasn’t inserting it far enough, and I thought, how could I have been doing this wrong for so long?

Photographer Lucy Lumen's period self-care

Do you speak freely about your cycle now?

100%! I think in my mid-20s, I just got sick of whispering when asking someone for a tampon at work or begging to use a restroom in a store because I was about to flood but didn’t want to say why. I also realised that if my period was so offensive to someone in my life, that was their problem, not me and my periods.

Today, it’s part of a conversation with my partner, my friends, and even my clients, who need to know that the project will be much better executed next week when the period has left the building! Shame can only survive if you continue to be ashamed, so I own my bloody period every time!


What made you become more comfortable?

I listened to other girls talking about theirs, had in-depth conversations, and heard how different it was for everyone. I remember that, for years, I thought I was the only woman who had discharge, but when I spoke with other females, I learned that was normal. I also got to hear about other aspects of menstruation, contraception, and so many other things that have a huge impact on your life. We mustn’t be kept in the dark when it comes to our own bodies.


Are you now in tune with your menstrual cycle?

I’ve always had intentions to be one of those people who write their period down in a diary and know all about their cycle, but to be honest, every time it is finished, I want to rejoice and get off that topic. But since having a baby, it all changed. It’s like it’s been turned upside down, so I cannot bury my head in spicy margs until the next drop of blood falls! Instead, in the last three years, I have become more in tune with what I need, how I feel, and what is coming. I have it scheduled in my calendar so I can plan around it as best as possible, and I also let my partner know so he can support me during this time.

My 3-year-old follows me everywhere, even to the toilet, #mumlife, and he saw blood on the toilet paper and said I had an oowie, so I told him, Mummy has her period, so she is feeling a little tired today. I will continue to let him know so he can be a supportive partner like his father.

Lucy Lumen at home in front of her cameras

Can you describe what period self-care means to you?

For me, it’s about allowing myself the time to let my body do its job and not let anything be more important than that. It’s a time when I am number one, and I can come first, and I think that's fair.

We are going through this huge process every month, and honestly, I think we should get some government-period payment to compensate for our hard work and resilience.


Why do you think periods are still such a taboo topic?

I feel like the world loves women for how beautiful, coping, kind, sexy, and strong we are, but they cherry-pick these parts because they are the most palatable, leaving the other parts to become taboo, shameful, and misunderstood.

Things are only taboo because we don’t talk about them. The more we communicate about how we feel, what we are going through, and how it is for us to deal with menstruation, the more others will feel comfortable because they understand and can empathise.


When it comes to menstrual health, what do you want changed?

I think one of the biggest problems is getting adequate help from bulk billing doctors and other medical teams. It seems that unless you cough up money to go private or spend money on expensive treatments and tests, it’s hard to get help. Also, many doctors are flippant and offhand about the topic, and it seems like a minefield trying to get answers about what's actually happening.

I think there should be more attention placed on women's health in the reproductive space, especially postpartum, with all the nightmare things that can go on with your body while you are also trying to be a mother. I think we have a long way to go, and right now, we must support each other as best we can IRL and online. Like with these blog posts! 



  • My period in 3-words: HEAVY, MOODY, LAZY.
  • Period self-care means: Giving myself a real break.
  • Period self-care toolkit: Heat pack, baths, cooking shows, and Tony's Chocolonely.
  • Best period hacks: Move around a little, despite how much you want to stay put. I have found that walking or gentle stretching really helps ease pain.
  • Contraception of choice: My partner's vasectomy!
  • On day 1, you can find me… in my bedroom, writing on my laptop surrounded by snacks and with a really hot heat pack!
  • Scarlet pick: The Boyshort – a must for Day 1 and truly contains my heavy flow. I’m so happy to have said goodbye to giant Super Tampons.