Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Family Photography in Greenwich – Just One – Olga


One of the things I enjoy most working as a family photographer in London is the challenge of creating something new for my clients each and every week, and this is why I’m so pleased with today’s ‘Just One’ from a recent family photography session in Greenwich.

I’ve been photographing Olga and her family for nine years now, since the twins were babies and I always look forward to our annual photo shoot. Our sessions are always really relaxed and the kids are brilliant so I know I’ll always end up with something really special.

I love to look around with fresh eyes, always alert to new possibilities and so I was excited to notice the reflections in the glass surround of the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. I had been telling the story of the figurehead – the farmer being chased by the witch and only escaping by jumping over the river – I spotted the potential for a picture.

The witch catching the horse’s tail had caught my imagination as a child – From Robert Burns’ Tam o’ Shanter’

For Nannie, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
And flew at Tam wi’ furious ettle;
But little wist she Maggie’s mettle –
Ae spring brought off her master hale,
But left behind her ain gray tail;
The carlin claught her by the rump,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.

I hadn’t known (and I’ve just looked it up because I do love a bit of trivia) that ‘Cutty Sark’ is an archaic Scottish name for a short nightdress which the witch, Nannie, wore in the poem by Robert Burns from which the Cutty Sark got it’s name. I shall add that to my tour guide knowledge for my next family photography session in Greenwich, it’s always fun to have facts to tell the children. For those who are interested there is more about the naming of the Cutty Sark on the Royal Museums Greenwich website

But I digress – I noticed the fabulous reflections and all the incredible shapes and thought I would love to use them as part of a composition. The iron girders of the glass roof, the Cutty Sark’s prow visible with it’s numbers, the ship above and a darker area where I could position the family to create this unusual composition for a family portrait.

I’m so pleased with this, I love the lines and the shapes and how even the roof of the foot tunnel curves continues the line of the girders, it’s own glass roof echoing the shapes. I love how the boat is so majestic towering in the top of the picture and giving such a sense of scale – I wonder if ships boys of a similar age to Juan-Pablo would have climbed the rigging back in the 1900s!

I’m so pleased with this picture from my recent family photography session in Greenwich and I hope you like it too. If you are interested in booking your own family photography session do get in touch, we still have a couple of available dates during half term and in the run up to Christmas.

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