Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

A Portrait on London’s Southbank


A Creative Photography on the Southbank

When I’m photographing out on location, I’m often on the lookout for connections. Whether that’s shapes in the surrounding architecture or the way the light plays on a window or, as here, the way textures create patterns of highlight and shadow.

This was my ninth photo shoot with Laszlo, I’ve been lucky enough to see him every year since he was a baby, meeting up somewhere in London and spending a morning together. It’s been such a privilege to watch him grow up and he’s such a brilliant companion for a mornings adventure.

Laszlo is one of those children who finds hilarity in situations and so much time is spent laughing, it’s a total joy. I find that every year I take pictures that find their way into my portfolio as we work together to find creative angles and invent games in different situations.

As we walked along the Southbank for our autumn photo shoot this year I was drawn to the grass in some decorative planters. The way the light fell on the individual blades gave it a feeling of another place, outside of London on a warmer day.

I feel that they echo the way the light falls on Lazlo’s hair, mirrored shapes moving in the breeze and catching the light in similar ways.

The grasses give context and interest, but the power of this portrait comes from the gaze, straight into the camera, unmoving and intense a second of stillness before we returned to climbing and jumping off things.

Shot with the Canon 85mm f1.4L, one of my favourite lenses at f2.8 the shallow depth of field emphasises the focus on his eyes and gives this picture it’s power.

I hope you like it as much as I do. I’m looking forward to next year already.

For more information on my family photography with older children do take a look at the gallery.