Helen Bartlett / Family Portraiture

My inspiration – my Dad’s photographs of my childhood – Richard and Giles


Today on the blog, we have another post in this series exploring my father’s photographs of my childhood. These are photographs that have influenced me and helped me to develop my very personal style of photography, in which I create pictures that are a photographic record of childhood that will hold many memories for years to come.

I’m not in this picture but it features my brothers Richard and Giles. I’m not sure where my brother William and I are; we’re probably running through the woods looking for sticks of our own.

I’m not quite sure when this picture was taken but I know where, or roughly where – it was in ‘ the woods near Granny’, a favourite haunt of ours on our many holidays to visit her in Dorset. On the days when we didn’t go to the beach, we would go for long walks in the woods – leaping over the ditches between the rows of trees and hiding between them, covered in leaves, ready to jump out at the adults who were ambling slowly behind. We had wonderful fun as we hunted for adders (we never found one) and collected sticks as children do – big sticks, little sticks, any stick would do.

I love how this image captures so much of that – the location is clear, the activity so typical and then the relationship, the moment caught on camera in this fabulous family photograph where Giles jumps up, his tiny twig in hand, to challenge his older brother with his enormous stick. I love how they are both laughing, both having lots of fun together. Richard is so indulgent of his younger sibling, and you can see the family love between them.

Pictures like this make me smile – they remind me of what a wonderful thing it is to have brothers, and how much I love them. What more could you possibly ever want from a photograph?

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