A few weeks ago I went with a family to a local park for a shoot. I tend to recommend families take their time when choosing which images they would like to enlarge and frame. Sometimes we need a little bit of a gap to see what’s going on in photographs, perhaps even more so when young children who are growing and changing all the time are concerned.
I aim to capture photographs which are full of life and was very pleased when a photographer friend described one of my images precisely in that way. Perhaps working nowadays on digital means we have greater opportunity to take risks, which we might not have been inclined to do back in the day when photographers worked with film. Some photographers see this as a problem – I see it as a brilliant plus. I don’t mean you should simply press the shutter down for ages and rapidly shoot as many frames as possible under all circumstances – apart from being an unhelpful strategy, there would be way too many frames to look back over when editing (in a world where we bombarded by images as it is!) Rather, you can try things out and experiment because the cost of a digital frame is not prohibitive. And so it’s not a problem to allow the kids to get involved in the creativity. Of course, you also need to pay attention to their energy levels and patience – but ultimately I want to take pictures that are teeming with life rather than stilted and posed, and that is my aim when working with families.
Here are a handful of images from a morning with a lovely family and two beautiful, very sweet children. This shoot was given as a Christmas present last year. Check out the link for more details, and find a discount available too for anyone who books before the 1st December.
A couple of years ago when I was first finding my bearings as a photographer I was asked by Paradise Co-op to document their summer fete which they were hosting on Dobbins Field, just across the road from the prison in Wandsworth. I wrote quite a long blog post about how I’d lived very near to there for many years and what an integral part of the community both Paradise Co-op and the prison were. The Co-op provides some amazing services to everyone, including their neighbours, throughout the the local community and so I was very happy to be asked to come along again to document this year’s fete on July 15th. Find out more about the day here. I’m reposting some of the images with a much shorter post and look forward to being there on the day.
Here are some images to remind you of how pretty it all looked and what fun it was last time.
A few weeks ago I returned to Aurelia Skincare, having worked with them in 2015 when I photographed their inspiring founder and CEO, Claire Vero. This time we were capturing their new product Little Aurelia which you can read about in Smallish Magazine, a publication aimed at parents. The article tells you how the new product came about and includes some lovely images of Claire and her son, and you can also see more on Little Aurelia’s webpage and social media streams. I have to say the product looks, smells and feels absolutely lovely and it was a pleasure to work with the Aurelia team again.
Here are a few of my favourites. If you have a company and need photography, do get in touch for examples of other product-promotion, and lifestyle/editorial images.
Images (c)SJField 2017
For those of you in the SW18 area, or if this corner of London is easy enough to get to, do pop into one of my local pubs run by friend and businessman, Brendan Conway. Pictures from my project documenting the Grosvenor Arms’ refurbishment, along with a handful of images I took while covering events in the pub will be on display for the duration of half term and for a short time afterwards. The exhibition was part of a first year anniversary celebration held in the Grosvenor on Thursday evening; a successful evening attended by locals and supporters of the venture and the work.
Here is a short extract from the accompanying text that supports the images. The full text can be read in the pub or on the Grosvenor’s Facebook page.
“Brendan, who looks to the past when he narrates the touching memory he has about his father and the local pub, quotes social scientist, Gregory Bateson in his written work; “Stories are the royal road to the study of relationships. What is important in a story, what is true in it, is not the plot, the things or the people in the story, but the relationships in them.” (1972)
These images document social relations that are integral to here, this place and to now. They acknowledge multiple layers of past and make it welcome not only in the present, but in our imagined futures too.” (Field, 2017)
I’d like to say a very public thank you to the people who allowed me to photograph them, to Brendan Conway and his wife Rowan who have been extraordinary supporters of me and my work and to everyone in the community who have demonstrated their enthusiasm and continued backing. Following the exhibition, images will be be given to the people in the pictures.
Image (c)SJField 2016
I spend so much time studying photography, practising as I go about my day and also working for other people as a photographer that I have not made time to create any personal family photo-albums for a few years, which is something I always did in the past. I decided to rectify this and am now eagerly awaiting a book I ordered this morning with just a few pictures covering the months since last December up to this one. It’s a great way to look back and take stock of all the things we’ve done together.
One of the things I feel really strongly about is the way in which we approach photographing families. These are our memories and we have this fantastically wonderful ability to record moments, so when we make the time to print images, our children will be able to look back at objects they can hold and feel in years to come. They might look at these pictures in times of sadness or big changes in their future lives. But so often when I work with young children I spend a good deal of time trying to overcome their desire to say “cheese!” because we are all so conditioned into thinking that’s the appropriate thing to do and the conditioning starts really, really young. I know it’s great to have smiley pictures to remember the happy times, and I love capturing genuine moments of joy, but life is about so much more than “cheese!” And there are much more interesting emotions to capture rather than forced smiles. We want our children to look at these pictures and see that we loved every part of them; the quite moments, the pensive ones, the cross times too. We want them to know we accepted them for who they really were and didn’t make them feel they were only acceptable when wearing weird smiles on their faces. I am also quite careful about what I Photoshop out of photographs. Cleaning up a dirty face might be the thing to do, but equally it may be that keeping in all the grubbiness makes the picture.
The other big problem we have nowadays is choosing which images to include. I take so many pictures it’s impossible to get right but one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned since studying is ‘less is more’. While editing my photo-album I was pretty ruthless, and not only because I’d have ended up spending a fortune if not, but also because we stop looking when there are too many images together, or too many of the same thing. It’s hard to edit when the pictures are of your children but try to avoid printing everything you’ve captured!
Here is a very small handful of the sort of images I would include in my own album. If any potential clients think this is something I could help you and your family with, do get in touch.
Images (c)SJField 2016
As we head towards the end of the year I have just a couple more images that I’m re-sharing. I took this one in the late summer sunshine towards the end of the afternoon as I walked home with the boys along our local high-street. I saw the way the light was falling on a red and blue wall across the road and was really struck by the richness of the colours, made more so by the evening glow, so we all carefully crossed over. The shadows meant that when my eldest son stood by the wall he wasn’t quite tall enough, and I was also holding on to my bike at the time so it was all very awkward – but as I was trying to work out a good picture this man walked right into my frame which was lucky because the resulting photograph was much more interesting that anything I was consciously trying to capture. I do love the grey diffused light we’ve got so very much of at the moment but there is something wonderful about long shadows and sunlight so I’m always on the lookout for pictures to take under those circumstances. This is certainly in my short-list of favourites from this year and I was grateful to have captured it.
I have just a little bit of editing to do now and then that’s it for me this pre-Xmas with work stuff. Hope everyone else is winding down now too. I’m so looking forward to a bit of a rest and plan to do as little as possible for a few days!