I had the pleasure to photograph Kai & his parents to mark his first birthday. It’s undoubtedly a huge milestone – so much has changed over a year in the life of a baby. As they are growing into toddlers their personality starts to shine through and I was able to capture a few moments that really represent him. Take a look at this cheeky little boy!
Playing a guessing game with the British weather we decided to go ahead and take our chance with a photo session in the park on a Sunday. Fortunately we were spared gloomy clouds or worse, a downpour. We took away some lovely shots of sweet Maya. I had a smile on my face the whole time I was editing these pictures.
Here’s a snapshot of a photo session with one of my favourites families. We started out at home for a session with a documentary twist to it, and then we headed off to a nearby park to shoot in the beautiful sunshine.
Alpha was the centre of attention that afternoon. First he went to say hello to a group of ladies having a picnic and got offered strawberries! Walking on I could hear people sitting on benches say “Such a cool kid!”. All I can say is – yes, he is!
How often do you tell yourself that as a couple, you may not have any really decent pictures together? That’s what Claudia & Dave had been saying until I introduced myself. When they asked me to be their photographer, I was overjoyed.
After several attempts to organise this shoot – think British weather and its notoriously unpredictable temperament – we picked a day and decided that the shoot was on till it was off. And I am so glad we did! We were spoilt with gorgeous warm autumn sunshine and the array of golden brown colours from the trees around us to complement the perfect scene. I found a spot which inspired me; it was a quiet corner which helped the couple be more at ease and willing to go along with the shoot rather than a crowded area which could have ended up making them self-conscious. They thought they were terrible subjects, but I think they were wonderful.
A few dry roses, a bunch of hydrangea and a freshly picked pear combined with bright natural light were an irresistible invitation to a few shots. So camera in hand, feet a on chair (and sometimes the table!) my Saturday afternoon was spent setting the right shutter speed, looking for the right angle, waiting for the light to shine just about right where I wanted it to fall. About an hour later I had a certain idea of which photos would be on the edit list.
This time, I went for Black & White again. I wanted to achieve a poetic and enigmatic atmosphere. Although I could have used artificial light, I felt that the natural available through a large window was falling nicely on the objects to achieve that specific effect.
These are just two comments that I remember seeing on some of my photo albums recently. They’re talking about photos in Black & White. Over 3/4 of the photos I take are mono. When it comes to explaining it, I struggle. B&W is a natural choice. Trying to lay the reasons on paper though, here’s what I would say:
Black & White images project a unique atmosphere. Without the distraction of colours the focus is on the moment or the subject. For example with portraits it seems that the connection to the subject is even stronger. It’s an honest shot of the subject. Combined with astute use of light and shadows and great expressions the images tend to make more of an impact on me as a viewer. I feel that I am already getting to know the person I am looking at. I heard a say about colour vs. B&W photography which goes: “When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and White, you photograph their souls!” – (Ted Grant).
B&W evokes times gone by, it’s an invitation to visit another decade, another century. Just open Brassai’s Paris by Night and you will understand immediately. When I look at his photos, I start wandering through the streets, I am no longer sitting at my desk but I am there, in the shadows of alleys, furtively walking past fountains, cats, lovers on the bench, police patrols… The contrast creates the drama which catches the imagination and plunges the viewer into the captured scene.