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

I think it was the in the third term of my first year at university that I discovered Mr Fry in his printed, writerly form. I loved him and Hugh, have an ancient soft spot for Lord Melchett and could listen to him speak on any topic for as long as possible please. But it is a special sort of pleasure when he sits himself down and writes me a book to read. Not through a tv screen, or on the big screen, but written down and handheld – that’s how I enjoy the wonderful Mr Fry most. He is unique amongst the writers that I love, because as well as having a very distinct written voice, I can also hear his physical voice when I read his books.

So on Monday, when I got the chance to see him at the Royal Festival Hall reading from his latest installment of autobiography, I jumped at the chance. Literally jumped. Which for me, is a grand old effort. Meeting one old friend and one new, both equally as excitable as me (well actually Petra won the “dewy-eyed groupie” award for her unique brand of slightly unhinged enthusiasm) we marched into the RFH, books in hand and hearts in mouths. Seriously. Really love Mr Fry.

Of course he was funny. He was witty. He was wonderfully charming. But he was also extremely generous with his time, warm and friendly to every fan that met him and patiently endured me snapping away in the corner.

Standing next to me in the queue were two lovely people (I was too excited to ask names), one of which had brought along an iPad for Mr Fry to sign. Here he is, Sharpie in hand, signing the shiny back of that iPad.

stephen fry @ the royal festival hall // © kate griffin photography

Then it was my short turn to say hello, to offer my book, to thank him for writing it and probably to gush a bit.

mr fry signs my book // © kate griffin photography

Dear, wonderful, lovely Mr Fry – do get yourself back to Norfolk and write me some more. Much appreciated. Yours, groupie of Guildford.


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  • September 15, 2010 - 10:52 pm

    Paul Inwood-Pells - Perfect choice in going to monochrome Kate – Great pics!ReplyCancel

  • September 17, 2010 - 3:46 pm

    Petra - Seriously proud to be a Fry disciple!

    Awesomely gorgeous night – still grinning like a giddy schoolgirl (I heart Stephen) 🙂ReplyCancel

It’s good to have a little sister. You can get them into all sorts of trouble. When we were little, we would send her into the front room, having prepped her to show mum and dad how good she was at spelling. Obviously the choice of words was less than desirable. She got told off. Me and my brother got a laugh out of it.

And then there’s also the opportunity to play hairdressers. But when you’re 6 and she’s 3, it is a recipe for disaster. I’m quite clumsy and don’t really have the patience to keep a steady hand, so her new do was quite extreme. Enter mum. Bringer of all justice. I got a haircut too.

Now she’s a lot older, but I’ll always be those 3 years ahead. But she is much better than me at doing hair. Plus her vocabulary of profanity is quite excellent.

happy birthday little sister // © kate griffin photography

Happy, happy birthday little sister.

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I remember being much younger, bundling into the car and going to visit Grandma and Grandpa up in London. I remember a house filled with old books, newspaper clippings, a typewriter on Grandpa’s desk, a pale green dinner set, and a garden with fruit trees at the bottom. Dad grew up there, climbed the fruit trees and indulged in the fruit crumbles that followed.

So it was lovely to visit a Grandma and Grandpa that belonged to somebody else, but also had a house filled with books and music and a garden with fruit trees at the bottom. They were lucky enough to have their grandchildren over from Australia and asked me to photograph them at home, without fuss, playing in the garden and having fun.

Two more lovely, sweet natured grandchildren you couldn’t hope for.

the grandchildren over from down under: guildford child photographer

Usually I like to arrange a consultation before a session, so that young children get a chance to meet me before the camera comes out. It isn’t always possible but that’s not a problem. That’s where my silly stories, jokes and whispered secrets (about Bob the little mouse who lives in my camera) come in handy. Play first, photograph second. By working outside of a studio they get to climb trees, run and pick flowers – I get to roll around on the floor ungracefully, encouraging them to be silly, to smile, to enjoy themselves.

racing in the garden: guildford family photographer

Because when you do that, they want to get you to play too. And I am always happy to oblige. Climbing trees may be a bit beyond me now though. I’m game, but I haven’t yet found the tree that could cope.

climbing the apple tree: guildford family photographer

And then the inevitable rain comes. Just a light sprinkle. But it helps you find the little quiet spaces in Grandma’s garden to sit, and smile, gather your flowers and…

smiling at the rain: guildford family photographer

…find a squadron of paper planes to send flying at the photographer. Look at that face – cute right? That boy had fantastic aim.

captain paper plane: guildford family photographer

The rain stops. We have races and games, but the little one can’t keep up. She’s happier picking flowers and visiting Grandma’s lap for a cuddle. That’s when the boys get to wrestle.

wrestle with dad: guildford family photographer

And all that wrestling takes it out of you. So you sit back on your legs, heave a big sigh and take one last look in that camera lens to see if there really is a mouse living in there.

looking for bob: guildford family photographer

Then the very best thing is to stretch out on the grass, look up into the apple trees and wait for your little sister to come bounding over to smother you in a cuddle.

cuddle under the apple tree: guildford family photographer

Thank you so much for inviting me over and letting me spend some time getting to know the next generation of your family. I was so pleased to be able to capture them for you during their short visit.

Now I hope they will look at these photographs and remember visiting Guildford, dodging the rain, picking the apples, throwing the planes and enjoying such special time with their Grandparents.

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