Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Greenwich family photographer – Just One: Stiina


I hope you will like today’s offering on the blog, a ‘Just One’ from my recent family photography session with Stiina and her family in Blackheath and Greenwich. This was my childhood stomping ground and my favourite place in London for family photography. Growing up in Blackheath myself, I have so many memories, and so many photographs, of my own childhood – learning to ride my bike, playing on the bandstand, and feeding squirrels. It’s the perfect place to grow up and I’m always so pleased when I get to visit again to photograph my clients and their families creating their own family memories. We do many of the same things that I did as I child, I like to believe these images can’t fail to conjure recollections that, like mine, are filled with love and laughter.

It’s always a fascinating process choosing my ‘just one’ from a photo shoot.
It is a matter of instinct and immediacy – finding that image that jumps out at me and captures my imagination. Sometimes it’s a real show-stopper, a set piece shot that may have involved an element of choreography to ensure everyone is in the right place and the background and the light are perfect for the moment. Other days, it’s a portrait, a striking classic headshot or, like today, a quiet moment where something completely unplanned occurs and captures the essence of a relationship. An image that, like this, is filled with joy and with the unmistakeable love between parent and child.

I always strive, as a photographer, to capture the essence of relationships and to react to what is occurring around me. Often my response has to happen in a split second. I turn from photographing one child to see a special moment unfolding behind me. The key is to react fast enough to think about the whole picture. It is not enough to just turn and shoot. As I turn, I have to think about framing and composition‘ – “What should I include?’ ‘What should I crop out?’, ‘What is this picture about?”

For me, this picture is not only about people but about place, – a place of great importance to the family – a place that they love. This picture is firmly anchored in Greenwich Park. That particular bandstand will hold so many memories for this family – as it does for mine, and for so many others who grow up in and around Blackheath and Greenwich. It’s a picture that will recall so many happy days spent here in this park – so many memories triggered by a sense of place.

Primarily, though, it’s about the people and about the special relationship and fierce love that exists between mother and daughter – so close and so happy. I love the symmetry of pose and outfit, even down to the matching pony tail. Above all, what strikes me is their matching expressions of love and happiness. It’s a picture that I could happily look at all day – a completely natural expression of pure joy. I love it!

I’ll share some more pictures from this fantastic family photography session in Blackheath and Greenwich soon. In the meantime I do hope you enjoy this, today’s ‘just one’ a lovely picture of a mother and daughter relationship.

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