South London Photographer: Amsterdam

The night before my eldest son and I travelled to Amsterdam for two days he sent me via text message a ‘cease and desist order’. He is 13. I suspect only the abbreviated version needs relaying; henceforth, I should stop taking any photographs of him unless I was prepared to pay him – a lot! At his age he’s a far more aggressive business person than I could ever hope to be, although I have explained in the past that as a photographer it’s quite useful to be able to share personal family images from time to time. As marketeers will tell you, nowadays selling one’s services requires a story of some sort. Excuse me, but surely ever since the day and night that was his 22 hour-long entry into the world, I have paid sufficient in the form of mammary produce and sleep deprivation, not to mention anxiety – fuelled by thoughts of various emotional mines I’m inevitably laying down in preparation for some overzealous therapist to unearth in years to come.

Thankfully, without much or any persuasion from me  – as is his adolescent wont, he seemed to understand that it would have been a shame not to record our travels, and in the end he was quite amenable about image-making. Phew! We had such a nice time, I’d have been quite sad to have only the option of street photography by which to remember our brief adventure.

At 13, I understand that he needs to flex his adolescent muscles, and is very much on the cusp of a whole new era which will be a challenge for everyone at times, most of all him. Already he is taller than me, and the hormones are beginning to run riot as promised by popular tales of teenage angst. To confuse us all, at times he is incredibly grown-up and sensible, which is always reassuring and gratefully witnessed by everyone involved. However, I do like it when out of the blue he does something which reminds us he is just a little boy and still in need of his adult people. I won’t embarrass him by revealing the details, but rest assured, these moments do happen, and I just love them.

I’ve plenty of photography away from my family coming up in the weeks and months ahead, and will be sharing as always. But in the meantime here are a few moments from my recent travels, family and street shots included, published with unreserved thanks to my growing-up little boy.

All images (c)SJField 2017

Images at artists’ space W139 including work by Lydia Balke, Edward Krasiński at the Stedelijk Museum , along with various streets and interiors in Amsterdam.


South London Photographer : By the seaside

I remember much of what I have written about in this post because of the photo albums which I avidly used to keep up to date, meticulously recording and documenting our lives. Two children and one early pregnancy later, everything got far too busy and crazy. My photo albums stop at that point and it’s harder to piece things together without the visual reminders. I’m pretty sure the last time I went to Brighton I was heavily pregnant with No 3. Hang on a minute, I can’t have been heavily pregnant because he was born in March and we went in the summer. Oh yes, I remember, I looked heavily pregnant from about day 2 of that pregnancy, so that by the time I was just 3 months gone, I looked like I was about to pop. I do know for sure I ate a family pack of Wotsits and felt sick in the car going down – aaah, you might think, therein lies a possible reason for having been so incredibly big. In fact, it’s impossible to forget just how very sick I felt for most of those 9 months, and I suspect the salt in the Wotsits probably helped keep the nausea at bay. I also recall flooding my bag with a broken bottle of water and destroying my phone on the way home. But I wouldn’t have taken any photographs during that visit because just holding my phone, or a camera, significantly and palpably added to the feeling of nausea. Most people reminisce about how they couldn’t drink tea, alcohol or orange juice when pregnant. I remember I simply couldn’t take a photograph. It just made me want to hurl. Which, as you might image, is a truly depressing way to spend your time when you once loved taking pictures of your kids.

It was a weird aversion and I never experienced it during my other pregnancies. But thanks to the albums, I know for certain that we had a lovely day out in Brighton during my pregnancy with No 2 too. I like looking at those pictures. No 1 is still very young. I have a short gamine hair style, which suits me and my large belly well, and we all look really happy sitting in a fish restaurant, and then later on the beach, throwing stones into the sea. (Here’s an image from that visit.  I photographed a picture from the album, using my phone, and uploaded it to Instagram a while ago – so a great combination of old and new technology.)

Thankfully, the pregnancy hormones have long gone, No 3 is running around outside my belly causing chaos, and the aversion to technology has dissipated. I started thinking about lenses again when No 3 was roughly 4 months old, so I knew then that me and my photography would be OK. When we recently visited Brighton again (sans any pregnancy) during half term to see old friends whom we’d not seen in years and years, I was able to really enjoy my love of photography and record our day out with my usual enthusiasm.  No 1 was very keen to recreate the image I’d posted to Instagram, which I’d taken when he was 3 years old. We had a play and eventually he told me he’d rather wait until he was 18 to do that but he did very patiently let me continue trying out new scenarios.

Here’s a selection from our day. I used my Fuji X100s which is the camera I tend to carry around because it’s light and easy. I really must get back to albums of one sort or another because they’re great for holding and looking through when you have a spare moment, and terrific for future generations to have.

Get in touch for family photography sessions, mentioning this post and I’ll include 5 A4 prints to your booking for free*.  That way you can also think about creating old fashioned albums for you and your children to look at in years to come.

Incidentally, I was recently introduced to Light, a camera company that is aiming to change the way photographs are taken with a new compact camera that has DSLR quality in a lighter and more convenient form! One of my photos will be submitted as part of their Vantage Point project.

Back to school tomorrow.  And onwards with work in a slightly less disruptive manner (and breath….)! SJ x

Images (c)SJField 2016, *T&C apply – see website for details