We all feel strongly about certain images, whether you have taken them yourself or commissioned a photographer to capture them for you. Your heart skips a beat or a smile comes to your face as soon as you see it. Personally, I have a very special image of my son captured on my birthday a few years ago and it fills me with joy every time I look at it.
As a professional, though, I have been surprised to find that I retain such a strong emotional attachment to some client images and when archiving recently, I wondered why this was.
So much of how you feel is down to when the image was captured. For me it is the experience of the shoot, the place, who was there, the conversations we had and my connection with my client and their family. I know the feeling is mutual when my clients shed a tear when viewing the images, I feel that I have captured something of them that will carry a moment in time into the future. It all sound a little schmaltzy I know, but the power of a single image can be enormous.
Some that spring to mind for me include the newborn session with a 7 hour old baby. This was a home birth and I was due to visit with images of the pregnancy shoot. My client’s husband called and asked me to bring my camera with me instead. It was 9 in the morning, the new arrival was in bed with mum where his older brother and sister had just met him, the room was warm and calm and filled with a golden light on a beautiful spring morning. I feel as though this shoot was only yesterday not nearly 4 years ago! When I look back at those images I feel a fabulous connection to this family and privileged to have been allowed to capture those very special first few hours.
Another strong emotional attachment I have, is to some of a little baby who was diagnosed with a major health problem shortly after birth and was due to be admitted to hospital the day after our shoot for an operation. The family was amazing, and the shoot was filled with warmth and laughter, but we all knew however that the next months were going to be very difficult and the images we were capturing were going out to family and friends before the outcome of the surgery would be known. I am pleased to say that the young man in question made a great recovery. I have been back and photographed him as a bouncing 1 year old!
For me a shoot does not have to include babies and families to stay in my heart. Two recent commercial shoots also resonate strongly with me. The first was a millinery shoot for a fabulous hat designer. In my small studio space we had my client, her colleague, four models, two hair and make-up artists, a chaperone for a young model, and a passing friend of the client who came armed with biscuits. We shot solidly from 10am til 4pm, rotating models though hair and make-up, and then in front of the camera. The atmosphere was electric, the models amazing and the images stunning, such a great day of teamwork.
The latest shoot to capture my heart was food photography for a charity cookbook. A two-day shoot photographing food prepared by a team of volunteers, we produced 14 final images. The project will support Scope, a local school and charitable trust which supports my friend’s son who lives with cerebral palsy. This is a cause very close to my heart and I felt proud to be asked to be involved.
Every one of these shoots was different but all I have to do is cast an eye over an image from them, and I am whisked straight back to that moment in time.