Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

Just One – Anselm – family and toddler photographer in Brixton, South London


Some photographs depict pure joy, and this photograph from my recent family portrait session in Brockwell Park in Brixton this weekend manages to do just that. I absolutely love it!

I was thrilled to visit Elisabeth and her family in Brixton on Sunday, and even more thrilled that the downpour that greeted me when I left my house in Crouch End first thing in the morning had passed by the time I arrived in South London for our children’s and family photo shoot. We were left with lovely soft light, which was just perfect for family photography.

Anselm was such fun to photograph – we started slowly as he was a little nervous of a new person, and I’m always sure to work around a child and their comfort zone. Some children welcome you straight into their lives, grabbing my hand and taking me straight through to the kitchen to meet their doll, stroke the cat and read them a story before I’ve even had time to take off my coat. Others are more wary and I find that having a cup of coffee with their parents and chatting a little while they get used to having me around pays dividends; rushing a shy child into having their photos taken never yields good results.

So we had a relaxing start, with Anselm drawing some wonderful pictures of snails – his current favourite thing and a motif that would reoccur throughout our shoot. We fuelled ourselves for the morning with some very good coffee and then headed off to the park. It was a short walk from Elisabeth and Tillmann’s lovely home in Brixton to Brockwell Park, the chosen location for our family photo shoot.

When we arrived at the park, Anselm was raring to go and ready to explore. We started in the lovely walled garden, looking at the fountain, playing hide and seek in the wisteria and then, joy of all joys, finding some snails! I love how intently Anselm looked at the tiny creatures and how gently he touched them, so careful and kind. Then we were off again, up on the hills, running and running and running as only a two year old can! I love photographing toddlers – it is just so much fun. I’ll be showing you more of the pictures from our wonderful family photo shoot in a future extended blog post, but today I must concentrate on our ‘Just One’ preview image.

This photograph was taken a little later in the photo shoot, before we headed to the playground and then back home. Anselm was having a lovely time playing in the long grass and I suggested he might like to do some flying with his Daddy. This was clearly a real favourite activity and I’m so pleased we did it (and Tillmann was great lying on the still damp grass, all in the noble cause of a great photograph). Anselm was beside himself with joy and laughing his head off, but it is Tillmann who makes this picture – with his legs in the air, you can feel the emotion in this picture – joy, happiness, laughter! The love between father and son shines through. It’s a wonderful memory for the whole family of this time, and the great fun they all have together at the park.

I hope you enjoy this picture, today’s joyful ‘Just One’ preview from our children’s and family photography session at Brockwell Park, South London.

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