On Sunday morning I had the absolute pleasure of photographing the Simms family.
I enjoy capturing life as it is now. Real. No studio, strobes, infinity wall, posing etc and so arranged to meet them at their home and photograph the family there.
Lee (daddy) and Barbara (mommy) met each other in Chile, whilst Lee was traveling through South America. It was love at first sight for them, I remember Barbara telling me. They couldn’t stay apart for too long and so got married and decided to settle in the UK.
A few years later, Florencia was born and then in 2009, Sofia made her way into this world to complete their little family.
Photographing Children is very special and every child’s character is different. Having previously worked with children in Mexico. I’ve always found it easy when dealing with kids, to put my pride in my pocket, become one of them and understand who they are as an individual. After all they’re just little versions of us, minus the experience and disguises.
As a photographer (or teacher or parent or nanny etc…) Being or “attempting” to be on a child’s level, physically and mentally means they get 120% of your attention. Children are so perceptive they can not just smell fear, but also spot if you are being fake. My strategy was to be as transparent as possible and break a few rules. When kids are in their natural habitat, it’s hard to break years of conditioning. Kids see a camera and pose, smile, perform or shy away from it. They’ve seen it happen many times before. Florencia and Sofia were no different from any other children I’ve met before, in that sense. The challenge here, was not to “entertain” them, but rather to keep it natural, candid and to focus on the composition and lighting.
During the shoot, I sometimes had to extend my arm away from my body to get a shot, purely because I didn’t want to lose the eye contact and therefore break our connection, -this proved to be quite tricky to keep up as I didn’t want to come home and find I had no usable shots!
At the end of our shoot, I did manage to walk away with just a few tightly cropped pics due to the arm extending…along with a few spectacular ceiling pictures. ;D
Composition wise -It’s impossible to be in complete control all the time, (eyeball faaar away from viewfinder remember…?), there’s lots of odd fixtures, wall plugs, toys, chairs, laundry etc, in every shot (as in every home), that one can’t always just get up and move out of frame, without losing the moment. Light changes very quickly, along with moods and facial expressions so I either had to pump up my ISO, use fill-in flash or stay close to windows and use the light available there, keeping everyone close and within an 18mm frame.
The whole experience was unpredictable from start to finish and I thank you for experimenting with me, allowing me to enter your home and most importantly trusting me to capture a few intimate moments in a naturally intimate environment. Also, FYI, the chicken and avo sandwich for lunch was delish! Now I really regret not being there for breakfast! ;D
Thank you again.