Bring it on home : family portraits

Bring it on home : family portraits

Sometimes I am asked (at least half-jokingly, I am sure) if I photograph anyone other than hairy, tattooed rock stars. The answer is yes, I do!

I undertake a fair number of portraits for private commissions – sometimes whole families, sometimes individuals, couples or children. Often this work is not featured on my website for privacy reasons (and yes, I recently photographed a rock star at his home for a family portrait, too).

The influx of social media may well have resulted in a good chunk of the population reaching for Facebook or Twitter the very moment they have taken a photo of their holiday, kitten or dinner – but even today, not everyone wants to ‘share’ their photographic memories with all and sundry.

Occasionally, if I feel it’s appropriate, I’ll ask whether I can feature a photo from a private commission in my portfolio. This was one such time. The adorable James and Ellie were the subjects of a recent photo shoot. Their parents wanted some photos of them together at home.

I picked this image out from the set because it subtly mixes the idea of both a slightly more formal portrait with a natural moment. James struck this pose by himself, with this mother talking to him from behind the camera and Ellie smiled, rocking backwards a little as she was about to laugh, thus taking her ever so slightly into soft focus. I love this as it draws a little more focus to James, who has commanded the attention and made everyone laugh, yet it is still very much a brother and sister portrait that speaks of their relationship.

It’s likely that the current generation of children will be more photographed than any previous – an inevitable result of the accessibility of camera technology and the increasing ways to share images online with family and friends.

But taking a photo that really captures the spirit of a moment in time, the character of an individual child and the relationships between families will be as special and cherished today as it ever was…privately held or publicly shared.

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