Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Timeless Child Portrait Photography in North London


Inspired by the Nineteenth Century Masters of Photography

Sometimes a portrait stops me in my tracks. I realise that I have captured something striking and totally timeless.  It’s such a lovely feeling, this looking back over the images as I download my cards from each photo shoot. I get to re-live my morning, laugh again at the antics of the children I’ve been photographing and see which of my ideas have captured something special to be treasured for ever.

I’ve always been a fan of photography books and learning about the masters of photography who have gone before.  I spend evenings pouring over books and admiring the works of nineteenth century photographers like August Sander or contemporary artists such as Alys Tomlinson, they provide such inspiration.

Today’s Just One, a sneak preview from a recent family session here in North London, has a nod to these portrait masters, as well as a touch of Grant Wood’s famous painting American Gothic.  It makes me laugh so much.

This was the last frame I took on our portrait session, and a reminder never to pack my cameras away until the last opportunity is over.  We had spent a wonderful morning out and about, enjoying some marvellous winter sunshine and what feels like a rare warm day.  We had flown a kite, played football, climbed trees and collected conkers. Then we had headed home for a few extra shots in the garden.

This was a garden shot.  What looks like a spade is actually the handle from his sister’s tricycle but it works so brilliantly here, alongside the wonderful outfit (chosen himself) giving this image a completely timeless feel.  It could have been taken in 1920 as easily as 2020.

The expression is wonderful and the amazing rendering from the new Canon RF 50mm f1.2L lens means that the shallow depth of field creates a stunning blurred background in a London garden.  Lovely light helps too, of course.  It was one of those moments when everything came together, I love it and I hope you will too.