The secret to loving my job as much as I do – and I truly believe that photographing children and families is the best job ever – is to keep pushing myself creatively. For me, it is always about discovering new angles, facing new challenges and finding new approaches to photography that work to capture the essence of a child in new and unexpected ways.
I set myself the challenge of doing something new at each and every photo shoot. Besides going out of my way never to take the same photo twice, each day I make an effort to try some new technique. Sometimes my experiments work and sometimes they don’t. Whatever the outcome, I do find I am constantly learning, improving my craft in some way and slowly building up my collection of diverse and creative children’s portraiture and developing a style that I’m proud to be commissioned for.
This portrait of Amy is one of those experiments. I think it works perfectly and I absolutely love it. I’ve always been a massive fan of Norman Parkinson’s fashion photography. I remember being arrested by by Parkinsons 1959 photograph ‘After Van Dongen’ and wondering how an image like this could be translated into black and white. The subject, purposefully out of focus, grabs and holds the viewer’s attention completely. It is an image that stays in the mind years after viewing. I’ve always wanted to take an image that has that same power. While I am reluctant to compare myself to Parkinson, I feel this image has a bit of that same magic. I love it! (and for those who are interested, here’s a link to the Van Dongen Corn Poppy)
Amy too is deliberately out of focus behind the fronds of the tropical plant and yet eye contact with the camera is absolute. Both eyes are visible behind the leaves and Amy’s expression, serious and utterly compelling, invites immediate attention. As I process the pictures for the shoot, I find myself returning to Amy’s gaze again and again. I know it will find a place in my portfolio when I next update it.
I hope you like it too. This image is a bit different. It challenges expectations and is, I feel, all the better for it. Today’s Just One, ‘Amy – After Norman Parkinson, After Van Dongen’. This is creativity through the ages. Taking an element from both images, it is, a reimagining that is both homage and something completely new, original and exciting. I really love it! Van Dongen Corn Poppy