When I was little, it was de rigeur for Mum to drag us all down to the local photography studio (anyone else remember Olan Mills?) for an annual photo session. These images are hilarious now, the funky mottled backgrounds, everyone in their best clothes, the cheesy smiles and retro hair do’s – I love them but they are certainly of a time. Mum would consider any image that didn’t have us all looking at the camera and smiling as a failure and woe betide you if you were the one not playing ball that day (my siblings will be laughing out loud at this point – sorry Mum!).
Now I have my own kid, I still love the smiling images, and when I work for clients I’ll do my best to get that shot – preferably with genuine smiles all round. But some of my favourite images are more documentary in style. These are quieter, more intimate images of the family as it is naturally, when there is no photographer watching.
In this personal project, I wanted to look at the relationship between my young son Isaac and his dad. I wanted to capture this strange space they’ve built (complete with rather odd signs) and look at how they work there together. I confess I don’t entirely understand their relationship. It is often fractious, always intense and so full of a strange love that I think is something quite different to my own relationship with either of them. It is beautiful, although many don’t agree that these images are very beautiful. However, I think in the long run they are a more true representation of family life.