How-to Guide: Making artworks from your amazing children.
I think it’s safe to say that most parents would wallpaper every wall of their home with photos of their children if it didn’t make them look a little obsessed. We only need to have a quick scroll through our camera roll to realise just how photographed our children are. But sadly, I’ve noticed that the more technology allows us to take photos of our kids at EVERY moment of their lives, the less we seem to value professionally documented and displayed artworks of our children in our homes. My mum didn’t have a smartphone in her back pocket when we were growing up, but she did get us professionally photographed every five years and those photos are still on her walls, and some are even now on mine. We still enjoy them every single day. Meanwhile the 5,000 snaps I took of my boys last year are gathering dust in the cloud. For this reason, I was SO happy to hear from Kelly, a super-cool mum of three pre-teen boys, because she had a really clear idea of exactly what she wanted to achieve from a family session with me…
Often families contact me because they just know they need to get some awesome professional photos of their kids before they get any bigger. Good call. But Kelly’s thought process went one step further. She explained that she wanted some contemporary, fine-art style portraiture to fill three spaces along a board-form concrete wall of the family’s architectural home. A brief like this really helped inform how I shot the boys, and I kept the background and lighting really simple, using natural window light at home where the boys had their favourite things on hand for props and could be really relaxed.
When you’re a pre-teen, you don’t want to be dressed for a photoshoot by your mum. It’s an age where your personality is reflected in what you choose to wear and Kelly just let the boys throw on whatever they wanted. I also had a really simple aesthetic in mind but it required the boys to get on board and trust me enough to take off their tops. Great photography with kids of any age comes down to a great relationship with the photographer and I’m stoked Kelly and the boys enjoyed the process.
“What I loved and didn’t expect from a photographer was just how well she engaged with the kids,” explains Kelly. “ She really got to know them and understand their little personalities and their passions. They loved her, and they so enjoyed the shoot, and we’re talking about 10 and 11-year-old boys here, so that’s saying something!”
In the next five years or so, these gorgeous brothers are really going to become individuals, with their own independent lives, going in their own directions. For me, this made it so important to capture the sense of brotherhood and close connection they had at this age. I really want them and their parents to remember how that relationship felt. I also know how much the family love Bay View (I’m a local here too, so I get it!) and as well as the simple portraiture at home I wanted to capture these cool guys in their natural habitat, in the great outdoors. So we nipped down to a few favourite spaces of mine at sunset to finish off the shoot.
In the end Kelly and her husband chose three simple colour images of the boys in hoodies with black backgrounds for her wall art, and (my personal fav) a large one of the them bare-chested saluting the camera.
Says Kelly: “There were so many lovely images that we could’ve chosen, and it’s only because I don’t want to create a shrine to my children that they’re not all up on the wall! These photos will be enjoyed for the rest of our lives, in fact I can even imagine us at 80 looking at these photos of our now grown-up children, having a laugh at how their cheeky little personalities were so present. It is such a lovely gift to give yourself and Eva totally nailed it.”
A big thanks from me to Kelly and her awesome boys for letting me share these images.