I began 2018 with such an interesting job when I photographed a writer called Elaine Halligan, whose book will be published later this year.
Elaine is a parenting adviser in her day job but she has written about how she and her family had to navigate between society’s expectations of how a child ought to be and who her son actually is in reality. The book is called My Child’s Different and, according to her publisher, “tells the true story of her son Sam, who by the age of seven had been excluded from three schools and was later diagnosed with a whole host of labels, ranging from autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) to pathological demand avoidance (PDA) to severe dyslexia. He had become ‘the alphabet kid’. However, having never given up on the picture they had of who he could be, Sam’s parents took positive parenting courses and researched all kinds of different therapies to support him. They believed he was a good and capable person, and that belief in turn gave Sam his resilience, grit and an ability to bounce back in the face of adversity.” (Crown House Publishing, 2018) Elaine’s son, now a young adult, is doing brilliant things and is described as a “budding entrepreneur”.
It was lovely chatting with Elaine and hearing her story, and I was pleased to see a picture I took online so soon after our shoot.
My first love with photography is portraiture. It always has been. And since taking up photography I have enjoyed the process of spending time with people, getting to know them relatively quickly and capturing an authentic quality about them in my camera. However, there is something quite satisfying about photographing people I already know well, like one of my oldest friends, Trudi Jackson, who also happens to be a talented actor. Trudi was recently kind enough to let me work with her for longer than I normally do when shooting headshots. Poor woman must have been exhausted after our day, which of course included a couple of breaks, (I’m not a total tyrant!) during which we fetched her daughter from school and ballet. And who, lucky for me, is equally obliging. Working with Trudi for an extended period gave me plenty of opportunity to play and learn, so I was grateful for her time, and her daughter’s too, of course!
Here are a handful of head shots with some very different looks, chosen by Trudi’s agent, followed by portraits for my own purposes including a couple of the future talent that is Ms. L, who may well follow in her mum’s footsteps by the looks of things.
I am getting my blog for this week done sooner than usual as I am working tomorrow afternoon – a shoot with a family who have a young baby, yay! And then I know I will have quite a lot to do for the following few days. It’s called forward planning, I think. Always worth aiming for but not actually possible in every instance when you’re juggling lots of stuff at once. No doubt I shall be quite pleased with myself if I manage to get everything done that needs doing over the next 48 hours or so, and that’s even without having made my bed this morning. I mention this as I read some peculiar article on Twitter that said making your bed in the morning makes you a better version of yourself… really? I guess I should give it a try and see how I go – If I manage it I’ll report back and let you know if I think I’ve become an improved model of SJF.
I am posting a photograph of Son No 2 today as it’s one of my favourites. And I know some people might look at it and go, really? What? But for me this photograph works. The light, the subject, the reality of it. It doesn’t look posed but I have to admit it actually is. I saw him sitting there drinking his drink, well actually my drink and I said, hang on – let me grab my camera. At which point he got out and ran around the house covered in bubbles laughing at me. He only got back in and let me take the photograph when I had promised to Photoshop something unspeakable on the can. Where this seven year old gets his humour… it’s a worry. I took a few shots but the first one was the best in my view and then he jumped out and I told him I was going to break my promise and not Photoshop anything into it, so he now thinks it’s a rubbish photograph. I don’t mind. I love it.
I think I might have to do a series of photographs of the boys in the bathroom mainly because the light in there is simply beautiful. Is that a good enough reason? Who knows? My studies with art and photography have left me wondering what on earth art is and if there is indeed any reason behind any of it at all. I chat about the teaching of art here in Michael Szpakowski’s Art Education discussion which I mentioned in my last post. Actually, I can’t wait to finish the current module I’m doing at OCA and move on to the next which probably won’t answer the question but it will give me lots more to think about when considering it.
Some of my photographs will be displayed at Barmouth Kitchen on Barmouth Road in Wandsworth from next weekend over the summer. Will they be considered art? I don’t know. You’ll have to pop along and see, and make up your own mind. Not sure BK will want pictures of my kids in the bath plastered all over their walls next time round… but who knows? Perhaps they’d love it! This time though the theme is Wandsworth and colour. So if you’ve got a spare wall looking for an image, pop along and take a look or get in touch. Mounted hand printed images will cost £55 or you could just grab yourself a set of postcards if you prefer. I’ll pop the images online after the launch at BK next Friday. (If you’re local, do pop along – Friday 5th from 7pm)
In the meantime, enjoy what’s left of half term and bring on the last few weeks of the school year! My little home needs a bit of a rest from the kids being here quite so many hours – they were actually decorating the walls this morning. And I don’t mean in a helpful way.
I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Racepoint Global, based at Westfield, Shepherds Bush, a couple of weeks ago. I was asked to come in and take photos of employees that illustrate their hobbies along with some straight head shots. The hobby shots are going to be added to a space in the waiting area of Racepoint’s office where photographs of all the people who work there are displayed doing something they love. It works really well; and it was good to spend the day finding out how all the people I photographed spend their spare time. What a lot of healthy, fit and very clever people!
I was pretty exhausted by the end of the day which was fortuitous as I was far too tired to have a sneaky trip round all the shops at Westfield Shopping Centre; thank goodness I don’t work there on a daily basis – not sure I’d ever have any money.
I can’t go without saying a big thank you to Sonia Carneiro, Racepoint’s multi-talented office manager. She has assisted on a few shoots in the past and helped me out during my time in Shepherds Bush, and I couldn’t have asked for a better assistant!
Wow – I was thrilled, more than a little nervous, flattered and excited about being asked by Sarah Legge, winner of 2014 Best Wedding Photographer*, to do some head shots for her website.
I hope she doesn’t mind me telling you, but Sarah was quite nervous about being on the other side of the Canon and told me she now understands why some of her clients feel nervous. I didn’t let on that I was also a bit nervy because she’s been doing this a lot longer than me and really knows her stuff, but I was very pleased when she told me that I’d been ‘lovely and a natural behind the camera’. I totally understand her discomfort about being photographed. I used to be an actor and it was really uncomfortable having head shots done. Maybe that’s one of the quite numerous reasons I’m not one anymore!