Brothers and sisters can be rough with each other. Bickering, name-calling, the odd bit of hair-pulling, a stray, playful punch. It’s so easy to push each other’s buttons, to scramble over siblings when competing for attention, to elbow each other out of the way. Big fights erupt from petty, small things. You’ve never been so sure, in your whole short life how absolutely, blatantly, UNFAIR this is.
SHE DID IT.
HE SAID THAT.
SHE BROKE THAT, NOT ME.
Scream it kid. Because screaming makes it true.
If you have a family with multiple offspring, you’ll recognise the above. You may even have the shrill tones of the last fight over who’s turn it is to clean out the hamster still ringing in your ears. But…
But when the storm clouds blow over, when the kids settle down, and one says something that makes the other one laugh, or cuddles up a bit closer in front the TV, those rolling, raging fights are quickly forgotten. Probably they’ll flare up again soon. But for now, there’s a hush. Things are quiet, and they remember, although they would never admit it to your face, that they quite like being part of your tribe. That there’s comfort in company. That when push comes to shove (and it does) deep down, there’s a whole lot of love fuelling those fires.
Family is important. Even more so beyond those first few years together. Brothers and sisters mean so much more to each other as they grow up. They become part of each other’s lives, a reflection of each other in themselves. I love to capture that in older siblings. The connection. The affection. The gentle teasing. The bond.
But for all my talk of spats and rivalry, these 3 kids couldn’t have presented a more united front. Rarely have I met such a gentle, caring threesome. When the youngest boy worried about horse-seized dogs running through Regent’s Park, big brother put his arm around him and lead him off to the safety of Mum. Big sister had the mothering instinct too – a kind word, a smile to settle the boys. All so polite, so lovely to photograph. A real treat for someone who is often having to bribe a quick-footed three year old, or roll around with a crawling baby who manages to move at warp speed away from the camera.
I love both types of session. But they bring their own challenges. For older children, they’re aware of themselves now, perhaps a little awkward and unsure. The attention that a little one soaks up in a photography session, can be too much for them. So you have to know how to bring out who they really are. Give them permission to be real. Themselves. And reassure them that that is enough. More than enough.
Being playful. Having a sense of fun. Remembering what it’s like to be a kid, with a brother or sister, who can argue and fight, but who love each other deeply. To be able to see the connection. To capture it.
That’s my recipe for a successful session with older siblings.
Got a family you adore? Well, I’d love to meet them and find out who they really are. For limited sessions before the end of 2012, you can call me on 0784 147 9035, or write it all down and send it to me at email@example.com.