Kate Griffin Photography // London Family Documentary Photographer » Celebrating family life in London and across the UK » page 23

Kate Griffin Photography // London Family Documentary Photographer » Celebrating family life in London and across the UK

I’ve photographed my share of tough toddlers. They get the measure of you immediately. They know what you want (the big black camera gives it away) and they fix you with a stare that says, “try it.”

Well I like a challenge. So presented with a little boy with a sparkling sense of mischief and a room full of books, that’s a challenge I am going to win.

In the adult corner: Kate Griffin, 33, intrepid child photographer.

In the toddler corner: Alistair, 1 and a half, little bookworm, gorgeous boy, currently without trousers on.

Mum succeeded where many would have failed and dressed his lower half. Minor victory. Battle still on.

Seconds out. Round 1.

“Alistair, show me your books. I love books.”

Alistair, silently, sizes me up. Points to his brilliant bookshelf.

“Alistair, have you got a noisy book? Show me a noisy book.”

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Alistair cracks a smile. Progress. I will win you round little man, I will.

Ha! WIN.

Never met a kid I couldn’t charm yet. Give me time and a arsenal of animal noises and I will bring them round.

So then we have the delicate issue of asking a toddler to pick a “favourite.” As it turns out, he loves them ALL. Loves to sit and flick through the pages, study the pictures, touch and feel the different textures in those fantastic board books in his mini library.

So seriously Alistair, you’ve flirted with an “In the Night Garden” book, but cast it aside. Talk to me.

After much deliberation and heated debate, Alistair points out and picks up The Gruffalo’s Child. I always knew he had excellent taste.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

Alistair has the cutest little desk by the window. He often likes to sit there and look through his books. But not today.

When you’ve won the war, you’ve got to know when to retreat gracefully. Insistent pointing at my camera and my bag was a very clear sign. But there is always time for one more, soulful little portrait.

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I LOVE photographing for this project, so I would really like to hear from you if you have a little bookworm that wants to take part.

Reticence about photographers is absolutely fine. Love of books is a deal-breaker. Click here to take part.

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Kitty was waiting for me. Very patiently I might add. When I arrived to photograph her and her mum Gheila for the MILK breastfeeding project, she was sat on the floor building rainbows out of wooden blocks.

“Where’s Kate?” I heard a little voice say. So when she saw me, she smiled. Not really at me (although people are often overjoyed to see me, of course) but because she knew she’d managed to wait long enough. “Leche?” she asked her mum. And so we got to work, finding the best light in a little pocket of space by the kitchen window.

Leche is Spanish for milk. I only know this now because I asked Gheila. My GCSE French is appalling, so maybe I can be forgiven for not recognising Spanish being spoken by a toddler.

The reason Kitty knows it (apart from being a bright little girl) is because her mum is a member of La Leche League, a group that offers breastfeeding support from mother to mother. If you’d like to find help and friendly support in your area, you can find a local group here.

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I was born and bred in Guildford. I’ve moved around a bit, lived in different places, but I love this town and I’m very happy to call it home. It’s small, and that appeals to me, not just because it makes it walkable (and you know I embrace a touch of laziness), but also because you get the opportunity to move quickly between locations when photographing people.

For this family session, we started in the Guildford Castle grounds, which was the perfect place to let one little knight run amok whilst his mum and dad could only look on and laugh. Boys this age wear their characters on their short sleeves and if you can keep up with them, capture their imagination and make them laugh, they light up for the camera. The world is full of fun for them. There’s an adventure around every corner.

When we’d explored the walled gardens of the Castle, we wandered down the hill to the River Wey to watch the barges pass through the lock, to roll down hills without fear, to roar with laughter.

It’s lovely to experience these places, the ones I know so well from my own childhood, through the eyes of someone else. You remember the time you spent on family picnics, eating cream cheese sandwiches, slurping noisily on a carton of 5 Alive, paddling under the bridge when it was warm enough.

So as the session unfolds, I see these future memories begin for another family, and know that the photographs will keep them clear, vibrant and ever present.

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Photography sessions with me are not about lining you up and hoping you smile. It’s about knowing what is important to a family. It’s about  seeing who you are and capturing what you mean to each other.

If you have kids you could cuddle till they pop, let me know. I know this perfect little place to explore.

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  • November 13, 2012 - 11:27 pm

    rosie - WONDERFUL. Love these – the colours, the tones, the emotions, the atmosphere. Beautiful family, beautiful pictures.ReplyCancel