One of my favourite days of shooting last year was a day I spent with a lovely family at Spring Cottage Little Baddow. It all came about after an emotionally charged call I got from Anna, with a special request for me to photograph her mother’s cottage, the family home that her and her brother had grown up in.
Sadly, Anna’s mum Hillary is losing her eyesight and was consequently having to relocate to a more practical home nearer the family in Kensington. Anna asked if I would come and photograph the extended family, all three generations of it, in Spring Cottage and I immediately said yes. To be honest, after hearing the story I felt honoured to be asked.
I’m normally asked to capture children’s moments, but Anna had scoped that actually photographing property is a really important part of what I do. After all, it is our childhood homes that we never forget, that we dream about for the rest of our lives. And Spring Cottage was full of lovely memories for her, the house that she and her brother had grown up in. And now she got to see her children and her niece and nephew play the games they had played in the house and around the garden. To be given the job of collecting those special memories as a photographic story for them to treasure after the house was no longer theirs was an absolute privilege.
Another thing that Anna realised is that having the adults in the photographs as well was really important. It’s a shame that often adults choose to stand back and let me photograph just the children but then it’s not an accurate portrayal of the family. When children are grown up they want to see photographs of themselves with their parents and grandparents. Not have them constantly out of shot.
On the day the weather couldn’t have been worse, but we pressed ahead unable to reschedule because of the impending house move and the logistics of getting the extended family together on a later date. Despite the rain that caused a lack of light the family were delightful and as you can see I managed to get some lovely natural shots. I was particularly impressed with the Amelia, Oliver, Sophia and Edward whose lovely personalities made me job so much easier.
On arrival I was greeted by young Edward sword in hand at the front door of Spring Cottage. A delightful sight, thankfully he welcomed me as a friend (and not a foe) and so the day begun.
The importance of this shoot came to light just a few months later when the large pine tree featured in the album, where the children were collecting the pine cones, was cut down. Thankfully the memories of the tree are recorded in the album.
Thank you Anna for allowing me produce such a special album and for a truly lovely day. What a wonderful present you have given yourself and your family!