Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Black and White Child Photos in London – Just One


I have always loved the clarity that black and white photography brings to child and family portrait photographs. I love how it takes us right to the very essence of an image, to the wonderful personalities of my young subjects. I love how, in a black and white photograph, we aren’t distracted by the colours of interior design or bright plastic toys but instead focus on faces, on expression, on the moment.

This portrait of Will, seconds before the bucket fell off his head and back into the bath has everything that I love in a portrait. It tells us so much. For him and for his family, the bath gives us context, this is his granny and grandpa’s house, he will remember this bathroom when he grows up. I’m sure he won’t remember this day, he’s so little it will already feel like forever ago, but there will be years of splashing in this bath, years of visits to their beautiful home to play in the beautiful garden and enjoy entertaining his grandparents with his lively chatter and hilarious antics. Pictures like this will take him back to the place and then to all the memories attached to his grandparents home, the people, the things, the games he will play throughout his childhood.

I have pictures from my grandparents house and a seemingly small detail like the tiled floor in the downstairs bedroom takes me right back to games with my brothers and the magic of the train shed, we all have things we remember and I love the idea that my pictures will add to those memories.

I love Will’s expression in this shot, you can tell he’s sitting so very still, the slight tension in his arms as he tries not to move, not to dislodge his bucket hat. I love how he is looking up at his parents. We can see them in our minds eye, smiling down at their son, proud of his achievements and about to laugh, like he is, when the inevitable happens and with a splash, the bucket falls down. It’s a picture about anticipation of a moment and anticipation of laughter and I love it

I hope you like it too and that you enjoy the clarity that the use of black and white brings to this picture which will, I am sure, be enjoyed for years to come.

Ah, I couldn’t resist it, here’s the photo of the moment afterwards too!

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