I attended a seminar once by a very talented Australian photographer called David A Williams and he spoke of a project he had started where he asked friends (mainly photographers) to share their favourite pictures of growing up via email and social media.
What he displayed was a surprise and something really quite touching.
There were no studio images or formal portraits. Most images were blurred, faded, low quality snaps. There were loads of polaroids and quite a few images were half a thumb was covering the lens but they all had one thing in common – they all looked completely natural.
This was definitely an experience I had never forgotten as it made me think about the photographs that matter to me.
My Dad wasn’t a keen amateur photographer at all but growing up he had a good camera (an Olympus Trip which at the time was advertised by David Bailey so it must have been a pretty good!) He wasn’t always snapping away but he did regularly take pictures of our family.
I think what I loved about how my parents used photography was that they would stick a film in the camera at christmas and 36 exposures would last nearly the whole year! It would be developed near to the following christmas. Each time there would be a family event or day out my Dad would capture one maybe two images to remember that day so getting the pictures back was always a treat as it had a years worth of events to look through.
Photography has become so disposable now with instagram, Facebook and camera phones that we no longer celebrate photography in quite the same way, but still, we all have pictures and moments that we treasure.
Don’t get me wrong I love my iPhone and it definitely has a place in all our lives but for Anna and I we look for something different as photographers. We have terabytes of hard drive space taken up with thousands of special moments, but we are riddled with guilt that we have not printed and displayed these wonderful moments all over the house. Sound familiar?
We did however come up with a solution in 2010 when our daughter Marnie was born…
The polaroid wall!
Anyone that visits our house LOVES our polaroid wall and it is the perfect way to live with our most treasured memories everyday. What makes it even more wonderful is reconnecting to the nostalgic feeling of photography again. The vintage look of the prints just looks dead cool and also the cost makes each image rare and unique. At nearly £1 per click we only use the polaroid now and then but it’s always something special and even with the amazing technology of modern digital cameras, our kids get such a buzz out of watching the image develop!
Polaroid and film photography in general is something that is very special to us. The way that you shoot with it and handle it is a skill that is only crafted by experienced photographers but it’s also a medium that lends itself to natural photography. We purposely don’t work out of a studio because natural pictures are always best achieved in natural surroundings with natural light as the only light source.
There is a softness and rich colour palette that comes with using film and it connects to all the things we value about the stories that make up our childhood.
Photography is special not because of what it shows but more of what it speaks of. There is a canvas on the wall of our studio that shows our son Nate at three years old walking along holding a stick. It doesn’t show his face but it reminds us of his personality and spirit at that time. He was always the explorer and would never go anywhere without a stick!
All of our commissions are like this. Using the location and the landscape to tell the story. A snapshot of how our lives are at that moment.
- Drop us an email and let’s chat about what would be your perfect family picture.